Liberian football belongs to Liberia, Ugandan football belongs to Uganda and Kenyan athletics belongs to Kenya. On every one of our projects, from the minute go, our team are working to make ourselves and our expertise redundant to our partners.
One of our amazing pledgers put it best after generously pledging their support to The KANJU Campaign last week...
"Fantastic ethos and initiative. Help to those who need it without unnecessary intrusion."
And that's really it. Our mission is not to transplant the support programmes that have been effective in the UK, USA or Australia to Liberia, Uganda or Kenya. These programmes, whilst incredibly successful in producing results, rely on the stacking of resources and are barely sustainable with the support of some of the strongest economies in the world.
Where these programmes have been mimicked in disadvantaged communities, they have often come to rely on an unsustainable level of external financial support whilst importing expertise and coaches from overseas, obstructing the development of local staff, who have a far superior understanding of the cultural demands and unique obstacles in the locality.
Our approach is slightly different.
We believe that by working in partnership with our partners on the ground, through collaboration, we can develop locally-driven, scientifically-sound, accessible and sustainable performance-support programmes that complement the work of the locally-run academies and initiatives already producing the next generation of African sportsmen and sportswomen.
There's nothing mystical about our approach, we are simply bridging the gap between local innovation and knowledge (kanju) with the expertise of our team in exercise physiology, sports medicine and athletic development and together generating appropriate and relevant solutions to enhance athletic performance.
In the short term, our team plug skills-gaps in our partners coaching and support staff whilst simultaneously (and in partnership with international governing bodies) up-skilling and certifying local staff to maintain and evolve that support.
Over the long term, our role is diminished as highly trained local staff develop the capacity to grow their performance-support programmes in their own mould, the Liberian way, the Ugandan way, the Kenyan way without the need for our team.
But to bridge that initial gap and build that capacity, we need your help. Through The KANJU Campaign, we can fund our three projects in Liberia, Kenya and Uganda and create long-lasting change, empower communities and inspire future generations across the African continent!
Thank you to everyone who has pledged their support to our campaign so far - not one pledge goes unnoticed and every single one is making a huge difference.
This weeks update comes by means of our first EVER vlog from Founding Director; Tim Harper. Tim recaps our launch event, outlines why sport matters and goes on to explain what The KANJU Campaign is all about.
Like what you see? Please share the vlog with your network and encourage people to pledge their support via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-kanju-campaign
There are just 14 days left until we launch our crowdfunding campaign!! A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us so far - through pre-pledges, introductions, sharing our posts on social media and various email campaigns (both from us, and your own guerilla-style workplace campaigns) we've been able to build some real momentum over the past fortnight. Please keep it going! We appreciate every single effort people are making and it really is making a difference - please keep talking about the campaign!!!
As we turn onto the final straight before the launch, now is as good as any time to outline exactly where the funds from 'The KANJU Campaign' will be going. As I hope you know by now, Harper Performance is a non-profit social enterprise that exists to support athletes, sports teams and sports organisations from disadvantaged, deprived and marginalised communities worldwide. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we'll be focussing on three specific projects which we've introduced individually through this blog previously:
But how exactly do we provide that support?
Harper Performance's Projects team is made up of some of the most experienced and most qualified performance-support practitioners in elite sport from Europe, Australia and the USA. However, our mission at Harper Performance is not to transplant the high performance sports systems of Western Europe, Australia or the USA to the organisations we work with in Liberia, Uganda or Kenya. Instead, we are looking to utilise the enormous expertise of our small and agile HP Projects team and the local expertise and 'KANJU' (see previous blog for explanation of KANJU) to foster free-form development in these disadvantaged, deprived and marginalised athletic communities.
The money we raise from the crowdfunder will fund the implementation of our work with our partners in Africa, i.e. sending a team of expert practitioners to audit the provisions in place at each of our partners and then implementing programmes where progress can be made, in a locally-driven and domestically sustainable manner. In essence, our team is there to plug an enormous skills gap (in the short term), i.e. how to turn potential into reality in talented athletes and put programmes in place for that skills gap to be filled by local expertise as soon as possible.
See the graph below for a breakdown of where the money from 'The KANJU Campaign' will be directed.
So, lets cut back the jargon and really explain what that means...
Crowdfunder Fees - the crowdfunding platform takes a cut of 5% of everything we raise through our campaign. We've carefully selected a platform that is both well-versed in helping non-profit social enterprises but also one that is the most competitively priced.
Operational Costs - these are costs that we don't include in our project budgets and includes things like ongoing insurance for the team, a nominal marketing budget for the social enterprise and the usual costs associated with running a non-profit.
Project Funding - the exciting bit! Our project funding covers the following:
> Sending a team of expert practitioners to project locations for a 3-day audit plus at least two service delivery deployments of 4-6 days. During the audit, our team work in collaboration with our project partners to identify areas that can be improved. The team work with our contacts in the host country to explore solutions such as food sourcing options, potential local partnerships as well as spending as much time as possible with the coaches, support staff and management to understand where skills gaps exist. The team returns to the UK and works to make sense of all the information before generating an actionable proposal which is then delivered to the project partners through a minimum of two, four to six day, deployments - all of which is supported remotely through online and offline educational resources. Our mission is to build capacity and not reliance, and this process is the most cost-effective mechanism of delivering high quality, highly effective consultancy services whilst ownership is maintained by the project partner.
> Resource production (educational, CPD and upskilling resources).
> Staff renumeration - none of the HP Projects team are volunteers and whilst we are unable to pay our expert practitioners their market value, to ensure we can continue to attract the very best practitioners possible, we offer our staff a fee for their work. The HP Projects team often take unpaid leave or holiday from their usual roles in elite sport in order to deliver our services and so we work hard to respect that sacrifice by remunerating them accordingly.
> Long term, remote support costs - we have a responsibility to ensure that our project work has a lasting, sustainable impact. We set aside a small budget to ensure that our project partners can access our expert team remotely in the long term to troubleshoot issues as they arise and act as a sounding board for further development.
Reserves - as with any responsible business, especially one operating internationally, we have to build in reserve budgets to ensure we can maintain service delivery in the face of market fluctuations and unexpected costs cropping up along the way.
So that's where our crowdfunding money will go should we hit our £30k target! Now you know!
Got questions? Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us via the CONTACT tab above.
READY TO PRE-PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT?
We're thrilled to release the details of our rewards packages for the upcoming crowdfunding campaign!
Rewards start at just £9 with the following highlights:
> Limited Edition HP apparel produced by our partners Red7.
> Limited Edition HP branded accessories.
> VIP private dining with the HP Projects team.
> Naming rights to an HP Project!!
> FREE tickets to HP Social for LIFE.
> Personalised & signed memorabilia from our HP Projects.
Check out the brochure embedded below for full details. With limited availability, guarantee your chosen package before we launch by pre-pledging your support right HERE: https://goo.gl/MxEEkW
By Tim Harper; Founder & Director at Harper Performance
One of the most common questions I’ve been asked since Harper Performance announced we’d be running a crowdfunding campaign, is; what is ‘kanju’ and why is the campaign named after it? Well, with less than a month to go until we launch the campaign, it’s probably time to explain ourselves…
I was first introduced to the concept of ‘kanju’ by the incredible Nigerian-American journalist; Dayo Olopade (pictured above) in her book ‘ The Bright Continent’ but had experienced its magic whilst on the African continent before.
Kanju, put simply, is a "specific form of creativity born from African difficulty”. It is a rule-breaking, informal and super-agile ethos that makes it possible to just get things done in the face of constant obstacles, headaches, failing infrastructure, corruption and a dogmatic and bureaucratic banking system. It’s why cross-continental truckers in Africa stuff their axles with bananas in lieu of proper lubricant. It’s why an entire informal economy (commonly referred to as 'jua-kali') exists on the backstreets of Nairobi, where your machinery, watch, phone or car can be fixed with tools and materials that can really only be referred to as ‘junk’ and it’s why productive subsistence farms pop up on the most unusual scraps of land around Lusaka, the Zambian capital city.
Kanju is nothing short of a force of nature and it is one of the many reasons visitors to Africa and the developing world in general are left charmed, in awe and somewhat shamed by the resourcefulness on show - an inspiring but solemn reminder to the dearth of access to the proper resources and tools in the developing world that we take for granted back home.
I was privy to an incredible example of ‘kanju’ at work whilst visiting a farm in Zambia. The story goes something like this.
A tractor on the farm had been playing up for a couple of weeks when one day, without warning, it’s brakes failed and it careered into a nearby warehouse, promptly bursting into flames before being dowsed by a group of farmhands. To most, certainly to me, the tractor had met its maker, it was, to coin a British term, ‘a write off’.
Within 3 days, the tractor had been reborn, with not one single piece of actual automative material used, the farm workers had utilised things largely lying around the yards - bit’s of string and wire etc. to fix the tractor. One year on, it’s still apparently working.
This is the essence of 'kanju’. It’s an almost mystical level of just getting things done, whatever the situation, whatever the materials, whatever the conditions.
It’s a concept that is at the very heart of our mission at Harper Performance. As Dayo Olopade contends; “one of the biggest problems with the world’s longtime orientation toward [the developing world] is a preference for interactions between governments; or between gigantic formal institutions, when the most vibrant, authentic and economically significant interactions are between individuals and decentralised groups.”
Our mission at Harper Performance is not to transplant the high performance sports systems of Western Europe, Australia or the USA to the organisations we work with in Liberia, Uganda or Kenya. Instead, we are looking to utilise the expertise of the small and agile HP Projects team to foster Olopade-style free-form development in these disadvantaged, deprived and marginalised athletic communities.
Ownership of the performance-support systems of those we work with remain in the locality, with our team there to plug skills-gaps, provide expertise in the same way we would with a client back home and help facilitate the development of a ‘Monrovia/Kenyan/Ugandan’ solution to performance-support for elite athletes. After all, the best solutions to problems, in elite sport or otherwise, are local, developed by the people closest to the problem, not solely by our team, not by any think tank in the comfort of their London offices preaching theoretical and formalised solutions.
Our mission is to build capacity, not reliance, to complement, not take over and at the very core of that is to remember that the informal, rule-breaking, locally-driven hustle that is ‘kanju’ when combined with sound science holds the answers we seek! Similarly, our approach to performance-support is to deliver sustainable interventions, that can flourish and self-sustain themselves long after we’ve gone home. To do that, our approach has to be incredibly lean in it’s design, it has to take on the qualities of ‘kanju’.
That’s why our campaign is named after this incredible ethos and why ‘kanju’ is at the heart of everything we do at Harper Performance! We might have expertise in performance-science in no short supply at Harper Performance, but we don't have all the answers. Our innovative, sustainable, relevant and accessible solutions are born from the tight, vibrant and authentic collaborations we are able to build with our 'kanju' "trained" partners on the ground.
So, now you know…
Like what you’ve read? Spread the word, give us a share on social media or tell a friend!
This morning we announced the first of our reward packages ahead of the launch of our crowdfunding campaign - this rewards package; The TEAM Pledge is specifically designed for sports teams who want to pool their support for The KANJU Campaign. Want to pledge as an individual? Don't fret, we've got packages with your name on coming soon!!
How does 'The TEAM Pledge' work?
Each member of the team or sports club contributes between £5 and £15 each. A team leader or captain then pledges the total amount to the campaign on behalf of the team. If the team can successfully pool £500 or more, we will thank the whole team with the following exclusive rewards:
> Each individual donor will become a 'Friend of Harper Performance' - securing themselves exclusive discounts and offers from our partner brands, exclusive ticket deals to HP Social events and discounts in the HP online store for life plus quarterly updates on our work around the world working with athletes from disadvantage.
> Each individual donor will receive a limited edition HP metal keyring (up to 40 units).
> The team will receive a framed HP Project photo with personalised commemorative plaque for your clubhouse or headquarters (like the one pictured above) and it'll be signed by the HP Project leaders. The frame will be shipped complete with a personal letter of thanks from Harper Performance.
> The team will receive permanent recognition on the HP website and will get a shout out on our social media channels to say a big thank you for the support!
There are just 10 of these packages available and one was secured within an hour of us announcing this morning! Don't miss out on this chance to pool your teams support and grab a unique piece of sports memorabilia for your clubhouse.
How can I secure the package for my team?
Easy! All you need to do is pre-pledge your support via the link below and make sure you pre-pledge at least £500 and specify that you're pre-pledging for The TEAM Pledge. We'll make sure we reserve a package for your team and on the eve of our launch, we'll email you the link to complete your pledge with any debit or credit card via our crowdfunder.co.uk portal.
Then all you need to do is collect the individual contributions from your teammates and coaches!
When will the other reward packages be announced?
We'll be announcing the packages gradually over the next 14 days - be sure to stay tuned to our social media channels as some of the packages have very limited availability! Remember to pre-pledge your support to reserve your chosen package ahead of time!!
READY TO PRE-PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT? CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW!
Before we get down to the business of introducing our final HP Project of 2018, a heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing supporters who have now taken the average pre-pledge closer to £120!!! Please keep pre-pledging using the button at the end of this post, and don't worry if you can only pledge a little - every single pledge makes a massive difference and we are sincerely grateful for each and every one!
As part of our HP Projects commitments in 2018, we're absolutely delighted to announce our final project of 2018 where we will be working in partnership with the 'Monrovia Football Academy' in Liberia. Similar to our other projects this year, Harper Performance has been tasked with developing the sports science, strength & conditioning, sports medicine and nutrition provisions available to the athletes of this groundbreaking and fast-growing academy.
Monrovia, and more widely Liberia, is more commonly associated with the recent outbreak of Ebola and before that, the hideous conflicts that have marred the region since the 1970's. The reality though is that Liberia is a country finally finding it's feet, releasing itself from the shackles of colonial rule and difficult transitions since, ready to lead itself into a new era of prosperity. The recent election of former-Arsenal player; George Weah as it's next president brings with it a renewed enthusiasm for Liberian sport and football in particular as a vehicle for social change, an enthusiasm that will not be lost on the amazing initiative that is the Monrovia Football Academy.
The Monrovia Football Academy is the first school in Liberia to combine high quality education with elite football development. The Academy provides Liberia's most talented youth with academic classes, football training, and life skills lessons to improve academic performance, break down gender barriers and prepare their students to lead positive change in Liberia.
The Academy's students are at the Academy from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, with breakfast, life-skills and football training in the morning, lunch at noon, and academic classes in the afternoon - a schedule that academy athletes in the UK will recognise!
Without MFA's domestic academy, talented footballers in Liberia are vulnerable to predatory agents offering development opportunities abroad. Culture Foot Solidaire, a French NGO, estimates that 15,000 West African footballers are illegally trafficked overseas every year, with many of them coming from Liberia. According to the BBC, players 'gratefully accept invitations' from shady agents who offer them false contracts, confiscate their passports and then abandon them in foreign countries.
Despite this issues, a number of Liberian footballers have played for professional clubs around the world including George Weah (now President-Elect), James Debbah and Christopher Wreh.
The Monrovia Football Academy provides Liberia's best young footballers with access to professional coaching at an accessible, domestic academy. Since opening in 2015, the Academy has developed a comprehensive football curriculum that disrupts bad habits, introduces fundamental techniques, and encourages the student-athletes to "think the game" at an elite level.
Harper Performance has been tasked with developing the off-field provisions for the athletes, including the athletic development, sports nutrition and sports medicine support available at the Academy. As with all our projects, our team of expert practitioners will be working in close collaboration with the coaches and personnel at the Academy to ensure that ownership over the programme remains Liberian. Our team will be assisting the Academy with filling skills gaps in the permanent team at the MFA and providing a long-term upskilling programme that maintains the culture of the MFA at its heart.
Harper Performance will be striving to support the Academy as they develop the 'MFA Way' in providing elite performance-support to their student-athletes and we're incredibly excited to be involved with such a noble and impactful project.
The upcoming 'KANJU Campaign' will be key to ensuring our support to the Monrovia Football Academy is as effective as possible, so if you like the sound of the work of the MFA and want to help us provide them with the performance-support they need to develop their athlete-support provisions, please don't stop talking about 'The KANJU Campaign'. We are always just one conversation, one email, one social media post from securing our next pre-pledge!
Thank you for all your support so far - it's been truly humbling - let's keep the momentum building ahead of the launch on February 22nd!
#TheKANJUCampaign #MonroviaFootballAcademy #Liberia
READY TO PRE-PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT TO THE CAMPAIGN?
Click the button below to find out all the details and make your pre-pledge (no credit/debit card required)
** This post contains potentially upsetting images **
First up; a massive thank you to all of our supporters who have been busy pre-pledging to the upcoming crowdfunding campaign. There has been a positive surge this past week, with the average pre-pledge now topping £100 and over £1k pre-pledged in the past 4 days!! A sincere and heartfelt thanks to you all - please keep spreading the message and encouraging your friends, family, co-workers, family pets etc. to join you in supporting our campaign!
As part of our HP Projects commitments in 2018, we're absolutely delighted to announce that we will be working in partnership with the 'Football For Good' Academy in Northern Uganda. Harper Performance has been tasked with developing the sports science, strength & conditioning, sports medicine and nutrition provisions available to the athletes of this groundbreaking academy.
The academy is based in Gulu, a city in the centre of a region most commonly associated with devastating conflict that enveloped the area during the 1990's and early 2000's which saw whole generations of children at risk of kidnapping and enforced-recruitment to become child soldiers in one of the most bloody and scarring wars in modern African history. After suffering through over two decades of civil war and unspeakable violence, Northern Uganda is no longer a dark and dangerous place. The bright lights of the international media and the deep pockets of aid organisations have moved on, yet the region is now proudly a self-determined economic hub for Uganda, with the Football-For-Good Academy at the very forefront of changing the narrative that the Global North associate with the region.
The Football For Good (FFG) Academy launched in Gulu in January of 2015 and quickly became the country's best full-time residential youth football academy and scholarship programme. The FFG Academy provides a professional youth football set up that delivers elite training and competition, a world class education, a character building programme and global opportunities on the field and in the classroom.
Elite opportunities are rare in post-war communities like Northern Uganda, where international funding and support is centred on 'programs-for-all'. That sole focus creates a leadership gap, where there's little chance for potential high-achievers to get the education, training and character building they need to go from 'good to great'. The FFG Academy is leading social change through a programme that will provide a, elite academy football training, b, enhanced academics and c, a character building programme, ensuring that every graduate has an international pathway to success.
As with all our project work, Harper Performance's expert practitioners will be focussing on delivering a locally-driven and sustainable, Ugandan approach to high-performance football so these talented athletes are equipped with the athleticism, sports medicine support and the physical prowess they need to compete with their counterparts around the world in their own way... the Football-For-Good way.
The upcoming 'KANJU Campaign' will be key to ensuring our support to the FFG Academy is as effective as possible, so if you like the sound of the work of the FFG Academy and want to help us provide them with the performance-support they need to develop their athlete provisions, please don't stop talking about 'The KANJU Campaign'. We are always just one conversation, one email, one social media post from securing our next pre-pledge!
Thank you for all your support so far - it's been truly humbling - let's keep the momentum building ahead of the launch on February 22nd!
#TheKANJUCampaign #FootballForGood #Uganda
Ready to pre-pledge?
Find out more and complete our pre-pledge form using the button below!
We are less than 50 days from the launch of our crowdfunding campaign.
Today, we introduce Project Africa Athletics, one of our HP Projects clients for 2018 and one of the beneficiaries of the funding we're looking to raise through The KANJU Campaign.
Introducing the first #HPProject of 2018; Project Africa Athletics (PAA). PAA is a non-for profit organisation registered with the Northern Ireland Charity Commission and Athletics Kenya, set up in 2014 to help support athletes and athletic clubs in rural areas of East Africa, primarily focusing on Uganda and Kenya.
PAA provides ongoing training support, race logistics and travel assistance to aspirational elite runners in the region andhave had representatives competing in:
- Belfast City Marathon- 2015, 2016 and 2017
- Dublin City marathon- 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Jersey Marathon- 2016 and 2017.
- Walled City Marathon- 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Armagh International 5km 2016.
- Cardiff Half Marathon- 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Barcelona Marathon- 2016.
- Bath Half Marathon- 2016.
- Perkins Great Eastern Run- 2016
- Highgate Harriers Night of 10000mPBs- 2017.
Through their race winnings, PAA athletes have been able to drive their own development back home; building new homes, purchasing land, planting crops and supporting their families.
Harper Performance has been tasked with improving the sports science, athletic development and sports medicine provisions in place for PAA athletes in 2018.
Staying true to our process, we have committed to work in collaboration with the coaches and athletes on the ground, and we're excited to offer the expertise of our elite practitioners to develop and improve the physical preparation of the PAA athletes whilst maintaining the ultra-effective West African methodologies that have made the region such a hot-bed for distance runners in recent years.
Like all our project work, this project is not about wholesale change, nor is it about transplanting approaches from the UK to rural Kenya. To make a significant and long-term impact on the performance of the PAA athletes, we need to ensure our work is accessible, relevant to the athletes and circumstances they live and train in as well as ensuring local sustainability, so our impact lasts long after we've gone home.
Pre-pledging is NOW OPEN for our crowdfunding campaign. Successful crowdfunding campaigns hinge on the power of momentum, with the first few days of any campaign being critical in harnessing the support of as many people as possible. By securing pre-pledges from our generous supporters, we can best utilise our finite resources and manpower to garner the support of the wider community and trust our early momentum will be fed by our amazing band of pre-pledgers!
By providing a pre-pledge using the button below, you are indicating that you happy to be contacted to complete your pledge online once the campaign goes live in February 2018. You will receive an email reminder of your pre-pledge, and all you'll have to do is head over to our crowdfunding page with your debit or credit card in-hand to complete your pledge! But don't worry - we don't take any money or card details from you ahead of the launch date (22nd February 2018).
Thank you so much for your early support - it is massively appreciated!