Our main aim is to fundraise for the two local organisations we work with. With the funds we provide African Conservation Trust and Manyoni Private Game Reserve help communities to develop themselves and their surroundings. We also help Manyoni Reserve with funding for projects to preserve or increase the biodiversity.
Our ultimate goal is to develop our rural communities in such a way that they can deliver food stuffs and other products directly to the park without degrading their surroundings, but actually improving them. This will eventually also include micro-financing to develop small businesses. The secondary goal is to make these communities into prime examples for surrounding communities and to make them the foundation for the development of their neighbours. The reserve will benefit through the delivery from fresh produce, reduced poaching pressure from the communities and intel from these communities regarding poachers from further afield.
Nature conservation is also part of the Roots Up’s secondary goals. Preserving nature is one of those things, which should be high on the agenda of any rational person. Manyoni Private Game reserve is one of those places where the big five can roam, but they are also involved in the preservation of many smaller animals, like the Pangolin. This animal has the dubious honour to be the most poached land animal in the world. Therefore Roots Up will also raise funds for specific programs run by the reserve.
Roots works with two organizations have more than earned their spurs in the areas they are active.
African Conservation Trust has been active for more than 20 years in development aid to the poorest communities in South Africa.
If one wants to make the biggest impact on community life, one needs to understand the local customs. As such ACT employs people with a Zulu background to be their eyes on the ground, which translate a western point of view in such a way that they can mesh with local insights. True, durable cooperation can only take place, when all noses point in the same direction. https://projectafrica.com/
Manyoni Private Game Reserve is a combination of lodges which dropped the internal fences to create a 23.000 hectare area, which has gained much experience through its nature conservation efforts. The employees and the external manpower they hire are dedicated professionals with real commitment for nature conservation. Manyoni has started many initiatives to help reintroduce endangered species. Some of our donations will therefore go to these initiatives.
Manyoni has also initiated the crèche program for the neighbouring communities. These are the same communities Roots UP and ACT are active with their improvement programs. More information here: https://www.manyoni.co.za/conservation
The board members fro Roots UP each have their different backgrounds. Each has their strengths, which they can contribute to the foundation. Mister Grieger is a farmer with much experience in the areas of agriculture and livestock management. Mister Kooistra highly independent entrepreneur with a strong financial background. Mister van Walsem has strong interests in regenerative agriculture and livestock management, water and nature conservation with a strong interest to implement and integrate these in the communities.
Despite the fantastic ways to communicate these days, we do notice that face to face contact with our local partners would be preferable in certain situations. Being in the same room is a better way to communicate. It is not a big weaknesses, but it would have helped to discuss ideas and to determine quicker if some of our policies are viable.
As South Africa has an instable political climate, it happens that exchange rates can have an influence on the funds we will be sending that way. As such it can happen that one quarter we have enough funds to start up a project, but the next quarter there suddenly is a shortfall. Fortunately the opposite also holds true. It is point of attention and as such we will reserve a small buffer for these unforeseen circumstances.
Another point of attention is the unfortunate and rampant corruption in South Africa. We will have to keep the books thoroughly in order to make sure that everything is spent as we have planned. Olivier van Walsem has had a number of questions from his private bank pertaining donations to Manyoni for goods and services donated. Our partner organizations will have to make sure they are accountable and provide us with clear cost estimates, receipts and hours worked by their employees.
The foundation structure is ‘lean and mean’. Many large development organisations do good work, but have rather large overheads. Roots Up is only a small foundation and wants to stay that way. There are no reimbursements for the board members. Any costs such as for instance travel costs will be born by the board members themselves. Minimising overhead costs, makes that we can send the maximum amount of money to our projects. The only costs which will be born by the foundation are those for the maintenance of the website, our accountant, costs for mail etc. We are committed to spending 90-95% of donations in our projects. The costs in the first year will be around 10% of the donations we aim to raise in 2021 (Which will hopefully amount to some €40.000) Many of these costs are one-off costs, such as development of the website and costs for the notary public.
Roots Up aims to involve donors more with specific projects than would happen with larger organizations. Once per half year there will be a newsletter from Roots Up, in which people can read which projects the foundation has supported in the communities and the park. Apart from this there will be a quarterly report from ACT, which will be published on the website. Apart from this we will publish short videos and messages on social media like Facebook, Youtube and Instagram.
Roots Up will mainly raise donations from select private individuals and companies. The ANBI status means that we can try to bind donors for longer periods to us, if they want make use of the opportunity to deduct a higher percentage of their donation from taxes. Receiving the same amount of money for a number of years will also mean that we will able to budget for future projects and will have to spend less time trying to raise donations. Obviously we will design the website in such a way that we can raise smaller donations as well.
Distributing funds for projects will take place on a quarterly basis, after Manyoni and ACT have submitted the estimated costs for the coming quarter and these have been discussed in-depth with Roots Up. After these discussions we will determine which projects will be implemented first.
In 2021 we expect some 40-50% of costs will be made in the first quarter. This mainly has to do with one-off costs for setting up Vetiver grass and useful tree nurseries. Apart from these costs we have two of the crèches which are in phase 1B (establishing food forests and staple crops gardens). After setting up these facilities most costs will be made for educating and counseling participants of our projects. Also we will use some funds to employ local people to work on specific community wide projects. This has multiple benefits. It brings much needed cash into the communities. It helps train people to do certain jobs, which they can implement for themselves. It gives people a sense of responsibility to upkeep structures within their communities.