Tuesday, December 8, 2009

November 2009 project and budget update

To all you faithful followers of these updates, we've changed a few things that you might find interesting. I've explained them for each of the applicable projects. Also, it looks like we might have some grant money coming in over the next few months. We'll update you on this very exciting news!

Robertsport Community Campsite
We've seen enough sustained income from the campsite that we wanted to reward the work that local surfers Alfred Lomax and Benjamin McCrumuda have been contributing the project.

Alfred Lomax is now the official Manager, responsible for setting up hammocks, tents and lanterns, keeping the pit latrine freshly ashed (to keep the smell and bugs down), welcoming guests and collecting campsite fees. Those of you who know Alfred personally know that he's a hospitality natural, and it will be no surprise that he's doing an excellent job. Alfred gets a $2 commission from each $5 camping fee, so that's why the numbers might look a little different this month.

Benjamin McCrumada is the campsite's Groundskeeper, responsible for building small benches, upkeep on the thatch around the latrine and shower area, and keeping paths and the parking lot brushed of bush grasses. He's paid a monthly salary of $15 for this--about the equivalent of the piecemeal work he was getting to do the same jobs, but now a steady a reliable source of income for him and his family.

Thanks to the magnanimous generosity of RCW Board Member Magnus Wolfe Murray, we've been renting his small ($10/night) and large ($15/night) tents to help raise funds for the campsite and the Community Fund, which provides the seed money for our microenterprise projects. As you'll see, now that it's dry season and thanks to the Nana's Lodge Sports Festival and Family Fun Weekend, we've had a good month.

Ben's salary: $15
Paying security one weekend because management didn't collect fees from the campers (it won't happen again): $60


Campsite fees: $72
Tent rental: $75

Sub-total: $72

Community Beach Cleanup
New gloves for community members (30 pair): -$40
Sub-total: -$40

Women's Sewing Cooperative and The African T-Shirt Company
The Women's Sewing Cooperative did a good business going into the Christmas season, selling bags online through The African T-Shirt Company and at the US Embassy's Christmas Craft Fair. To make sure we had enough in stock, we expanded the Coop to 12 young women, diversified our product line to include yoga mat bags ($15) and hand bags ($10), and made some strategic scaleup and management decisions I'll blog about later. Based on good feedback from the bags, we've raised the price of the beach bags to $15. Because of the increased revenue and the new setup, we raised the amount of income coming in from 5% of profits to 10% -- an investment that will help make the project more sustainable. More about this in a future blog.

Income from Women's Sewing Coop bag sales: $48
Entry fee to sell Coop products at the Craft Fair: -$10
Transport and $10/day stipend for Bendu to come to Monrovia and sell at the Craft Fair: -$30

Our fundraising arm, The African T-Shirt Company, sells t-shirts--most of which we design ourselves, some of which we sell for friends. Three of our t-shirts fundraise directly to project areas:

Surf Liberia: These profits from these shirts goes to the Surf Liberia Scholarship Fund. In addition to paying half the school fees for our sponsored local surfers (they earn the other half by working on or running microenterprise projects), we also mentor them personally and professionally, helping them create short-term and long-term goals both for their surfing and their larger futures.

We held the 1st Annual Surf Liberia Contest this month and gave away
Income for Surf Liberia project from shirt sales and surf contest: $189
Expenditure for Surf Liberia t-shirts for local surfers in the contest: -$48
Travel and $10/day stipend for Solomon to sell Surf Liberia contest shirts in Robertsport that weekend: -$35

Cotton Tree: The tree that wraps around the front and side of this shirt is the ancient cotton tree on the Robertsport Community Campsite -- the historic tree that the boat carrying first President of Liberia Joseph Jenkins Roberts to Liberia was tied to. All profits from this shirt support our environmental programs--projects like beach cleanup and the community eco-walks in the surrounding rainforest.
Income for conservation projects: $45

African Women = Power: These shirts fundraise for gender-based violence programs in Liberia run by the American Refugee Comittee. All profits go to safehouses across the country where women and girl survivors of rape receive medical, legal, justice and psychological services. More on this in a future post.
Income for the ARC's safehouses for women and girl survivors: $36

Sub-total: $169 + $36 for the ARC

Project Summary

Robertsport Community Campsite: $72
Community Beach Cleanup: -$40
Women's Sewing Coop and African T-Shirt Company: $169
Total: $201

Budget Summary
Community Fund as of October 2009: -$711
Community Fund as of November 2009: -$510

Thanks to everyone for your support, suggestions and for helping us make this work.


  1. Greetings from cold and windy NYC! It is so amazing to watch the progress RCW is making and to read about all the great sounding changes taking place on the beach in RP. I absolutely cannot wait to come back in the early spring for a follow-up to our classic Memorial Day weekend of surf and sun.

    Keep up the fantastic work!


  2. This looks great. I love the transparency. The projects are really developing. What direction you do you think the marketing will go?

  3. It would be helpful to have a visible link from this main page directly to the women's bags and surf t-shirt. They are hard to find...