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Delivering two lectures in the coming weeks … one at Net2Camb and one at Cambridge University to the MBA course.

Quite nervous as want to ensure that I do my best for those hoping to glean some pearls of wisdom but also to try and leverage a little more funding for Kitchen Table Charities Trust.

Pondering specifically, the use of social media for fundraising and building brand awareness. Had an interesting chat the other week with John Humphrys (KTCT’s founder and Radio 4 presenter, Mastermind chair etc) and although he personally isn’t a ‘fan’ of social media and doesn’t use it in the way his colleagues at the Today programme do, he does recognise that the slow and steady drip of small donations to KTCT has increased since we started using Twitter and Facebook to spread the word of the life changing benefit of small grants.

Also had an interesting meeting with Howard Lake, the founder of Fundraising UK who has spent the last 11 years working with the Internet to help smaller charities leverage funds.

There are quite literally tens of thousands of charities in the UK alone … too many perhaps or too many gaps that people saw needed filling. In this competitive space at a time when people’s back pockets are increasingly empty and against a backdrop of massive disasters such as Haiti and Japan it is easy for the work of tiny charities to go unnoticed and for sources of funding to dry up…

Hence the value of using the Internet …

right … research to be done before Net2Camb on 24th May and Cambridge University on 1st June.

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So they have made the process of applying for an Indian visa alot more complicated … went in queued up, having filled in the epic form online, was told they can’t do it in one day any more so have to wait and monitor online and hope …

humph

slightly anxious it won’t be ready for my flight on Monday and without a passport I won’t be going anywhere …

I need to say sorry … I’ve been totally useless in the lack of recent updates to my Madagascan story … unfair leaving my reader hanging with much more of the story to be told.

I came back from Madagascar overwhelmed by the people I met, the sights I saw, infact the whole experience – and a revolting case of writer’s block… oh and over a thousand photographs and several hours of video footage to go through.

In the meantime I have been busy twittering to raise the profile of the amazing work which the Kitchen Table Charites Trust undertakes @KitchenTableCT and convincing people that Madagascar really is a country, and not just a cartoon movie (yes some people really do think that – depressingly enough) and importantly that it is a country with a people in dire need of recognition, services, schooling and water.

The rest of the story will be published, but in the meantime you might be interested in the film I posted up on the Facebook page for Kitchen Table Charities Trust with thanks to Malagasy TV.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#!/video/video.php?v=420518471626&ref=mf

Thanks also to those who have contributed to Kitchen Table Charities Trust via http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley – I am aiming to raise £5,000 which will make a very dramatic difference to many lives. All donations go direct to the tiny charities that work at the heart of needy communities across Africa – thank you.

The joy and excitement at the opening of the new school in Ambohitrakely bubbled up across the generations … I think this video clip sums up the exuberance and the sense of occasion felt by all … the particularly poor dancers are me, Brian Donaldson and my husband Roy. I am wearing the very beautiful woven silk scarf that I was presented – a remarkably generous gift and memory of the whole experience (as is Brian).

It was such an honour and such a privilege to be a part of the day.

First – a flavour of the dancing the way it should be done

and now a second clip, with the rank amateurs joining in!!

Don’t forget – more children can be given a future and more can be done with so little money – please consider donating at http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley

This time next week, ash clouds willing, Cambridge will be a very long way away and I’ll be settling into a bed in Antananarivo having met up with Brian Donaldson and enjoyed an afternoon of getting bearings and a first taste of Malagasy cuisine. I will have seen a little of a beautiful city, and experienced some of the extreme poverty of the nation’s capital first hand.

Tana as the city is known is described in Wikipedia as being, “situated in the center of the island (of Madagascar) length-wise, and 145 km (90 miles) away from the eastern coast. The city occupies a commanding position, being built on the summit and slopes of a long and narrow rocky ridge, which extends north and south for about 4 km (2 mi) and rising at its highest point to about 200 m (660 ft) above the extensive rice plain to the west, although the town is at about 1,275 m (4,183 ft) above sea level. It is Madagascar’s largest city and is its administrative, communications, and economic center.”

Antananarivo at sunset (2005)

The description in the Lonely Planet guide introduces a colourful, noisy, chaotic city – home over 6 million of the capital’s 20 million population and has a bustle described by one website as putting the frenzy of New York to shame.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/shop_pickandmix/previews/madagascar-antananarivo-preview.pdf

However, it seems that the charm of the picture of the sunset over the hill side city hides a very real picture extreme poverty. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and Tana will be a stark reminder of this according to many of the blogs and travellogues I have read.

So – I sit here now having had a blissfully happy night last night with friends in Brixton – wondering how I’ll deal with arriving there jetlagged, excited and apprehensive.

I flew into Kampala a few years ago, the journey from the airport to the city was beautiful and shocking in equal measure – banana trees, bouganvillia flowers, cattle in the road, people everywhere, lots of green and every other shop a coffin shop – people walking along with coffins on their heads. Uganda is a nation of relative wealth by comparison to Madagascar.

In Madagascar a recent ILO, UNICEF and INSTAT study found that about 1.8 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 years have to work, most performing hazardous occupations. A child born in Madagascar has only a 21% chance of living to the age of 40. Some more facts and figures here http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_MDG.html

So – I’m excited, I’m nervous, I feel daunted and challenged by the journey, and determinted to do all I can do to help people understand that Madagascar isn’t a thriving tourist location, brim full of furry talking cartoon creatures, but is one of the worlds most bio-diverse, beautiful and poorest nations.

I’ve got much more research to do – but if you’re interested I’ve found this link helpful (if you scroll down a little – past the reference to the talking cartoon creatures movie)
http://www.answers.com/topic/madagascar

Interesting also to read the current Foreign Office advice to people travelling to Madagascar and staying in Antananrivo.
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/madagascar

http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley is where I’m doing my fundraising for the Kitchen Table Charities Trust – you can help by following the link and clicking on the donate button…

Frustrated by the UK election results?

Concerned Clegg will sell your soul to Cameron?

Don’t believe anything you do can make a difference to the world?

You can make a huge difference – here’s how:

* In many poor countries children cannot go to school unless they have uniforms. It costs just £4 in Tanzania to provide two uniforms and a few exercise books and pens for a child – but when you are dirt poor that’s a huge sum.

Four pounds can change a life
* There are millions of people who are blind from cataracts and, therefore, utterly destitute. A charity hospital in Dar es Salaam will perform a cataract operation for £10 – not that they turn anyone away.

Ten pounds to see again.
* Tens of millions of people contract the worst form of malaria because they have no protection against mosquitoes. It costs less than £1 to supply someone with a mosquito net impregnated with insecticide.

One pound to protect someone from a deadly disease.
* It costs as little as £25 to help a woman buy a reconditioned sewing machine so that she can run a little business and feed her family.

Twenty-five pounds to give a family a future
* It costs approximately £500 to build two water points that will provide a decent water supply for a village of a few hundred people. This means the women and children no longer have to walk many miles every day to collect water that is often rank and disease-ridden.

Five hundred pounds to transform a village
* It costs £35 to cover all school costs for a child in primary school for a year.

A child who can read is a child with a future.
* For £100 a year a teenage boy girl can be taught a skill – carpentry or dressmaking or even computer skills. They become self-sufficient and the whole community benefits. The future looks brighter.

£100 for a real chance in life.

Please click donate … thank you so much

http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley

So far I’ve raised over £1200 for Kitchen Table Charities Trust to support projects like those outlined here – I want to get to £5000 – please help … this time you really can make a huge difference – every penny goes to the people who need it most.

(c) Ellie Stoneley & Kitchen Table Charities Trust 2010

http://www.kitchentablecharities.org/studies.htm

that is now a statistical fact …

I had 3 hours sleep … fascinated by all the too’ing and fro’ing in the UK election – some good wins – Julian Huppert in Cambridge and some sad losses, Jim Knight in Dorset in particular … good that no BNP victories and truly marvellous to have Caroline Lucas as the first Green MP in Parliament. It’s going to be interesting to see how Markets and the rest of the world respond to all this. I think the media have come out so badly in the UK – whipping up the concept of Cleggmania, the insane furore around ‘bigotgate’ and the Tory ‘tits’ farce in the Sun and on and on …

Anyway we are where we are and the next few days will bring coallition from one side or another – we can only hope that it makes for a more considered Parliament. It works elsewhere – so maybe a good time with Europe and UK in such dire financial straits to have forced discussion. How will the ‘country’ respond? That remains to be seen – the media and the party leaders need to show some strength at this point.

Sleep on it seems a cunning plan in the short term.

Anyway – another election took place – in Mauritius – over 70% turn out there and the Prime Minister was relected http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8667439.stm

Mauritius is regarded as one of Africa’s few social and economic success stories.

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