• Team Followings

📣 Founder update: Sydney leadership event, Uganda update and our fundraising pivot post-COVID.

Followings Foundation founder, Lauren Exton, shares our focus for 2021, an update from Uganda and insight into what the team (Lauren and Beck) got up to in Sydney.

Recently Busubi was hit by a large storm which damaged both electrics in the learning centre and the solar power battery storage. Combined with the office laptop recently dying, the BEC team have had a challenging time with office management and computer class now disrupted. This also means the team are unable to provide us with the brilliant reports they send through each day.


Thank you to everyone who has offered support to get BEC back up and running. We really are truely grateful for you. A massive thanks also goes to our volunteer Dave who has continued to provide electrical advice and materials to the team on the ground in Busubi.



Transcript

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hi


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i acknowledge the traditional custodians


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of the land upon which i sit the


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gumbangir people


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and pay my respects to elders past


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present and emerging


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i also pay respect and gratitude to the


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ancestral spirits of the lands that we


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all live and work on


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it's been a really long time since i


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came on here and talked about followings


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so that's what i'm going to do today


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we've just come back from sydney beck


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and i


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back as you know helps me run followings


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thank goodness


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um and we were attending the future


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women conference which was amazing


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and we've come back very inspired but


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also acutely aware of all the challenges


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that


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corporate australia and uh the


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government of australia


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states and federal and local all face


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um in the coming years for me


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my greatest


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cause for despair right now is climate


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action um but there's plenty of work to


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do in plenty of areas so


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we're just gonna get on with it as many


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of you know the learning center that we


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built in 2017


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um was closed for five months last year


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due to covet restrictions


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and it reopened in september 2020 so


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it's been open again for almost six


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months


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which is really exciting um and there's


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lots of covert safe practices going on


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and classes are back seven days a week


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still for free still with the same


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teachers because we were able to


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continue to pay those teachers


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during the lockdown sort of like job


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keeper


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if you're in australia you know what


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that is um we were able to


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continue paying their wages throughout


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the lockdown so that was really great


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and it meant that all those great


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teachers that we've


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always had were able to return back to


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the center when we were able to reopen


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as you may have also heard the gentleman


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who has been president of uganda for


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almost as long as i've been alive


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retained his presidency earlier this


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year so not a lot of change happening on


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the government front in gender


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but we are doing what we can do on the


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ground


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with your support thank you to make sure


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these children in these rural areas are


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even an education


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that they deserve you know it's a human


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right to access education


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and so through


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the skills-based courses that we're


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offering and through this place for the


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community together


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the basubi learning centre is just a


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vital part of the landscape they're in


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pursuit now which is


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so lovely and something that i think all


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of us


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whether you've supported us financially


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or in spirit which i'm telling you is


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just as good


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can be really proud of despite the


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adversity faced in 2020


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and 2021 the local leaders of the center


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our partners did not lose sight of the


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bigger picture


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they've continued every single day to


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turn up to show up for their staff and


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for their students and to teach


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and to share their knowledge and it's


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just so wonderful to watch we get


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daily reports and if you ever want to


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take a look at them you can just hit me


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up and i will forward them over to you


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and


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a lot of them appear on our social media


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and on our blog on our website so


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make sure to check them out if you're


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ever looking for an update um


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and yes i should be getting on here more


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often than updating you in person


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sometimes facing the camera is not the


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most


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exciting thing to do so i appreciate you


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uh accepting that i only get on here


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every so often


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obviously our fundraising model was


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disrupted pretty heavily by the fact


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that we couldn't travel to uganda


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anymore and honestly i'm okay with that


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don't get me wrong i love visiting


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uganda so much


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um and i love taking people to visit


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uganda as well


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um especially when they're fundraising


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for a wonderful cause like followings


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but


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the whiff of colonialism was getting


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far too strong and for me being on the


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sidelines and letting these local


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leaders do what they were born to do


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is much more fulfilling and much more


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satisfying and


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much much more important so


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we are pivoting we're changing the way


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we raise money um


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for so long y'all have supported us so


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well but it's time for us to ask


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for a little bit more from people who


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have big corporations


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so that's what we're up to right now


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we've got some grants proposals in the


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works


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so we're changing up the fundraising


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model and we are putting a really heavy


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focus on


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governance governance of what happens on


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the ground in uganda and governance of


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what happens here at followings


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so there are child protection


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policies and procedures being


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implemented over in uganda


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and that's a long process you know


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making sure we've got all the training


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happening making sure that


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everyone not just children that visit


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the center is in a safe


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place and we're taking a look


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at home as well so making sure that


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everything that followings does is


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completely above board


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we are due for a financial audit


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as a charity that's just something we


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have to deal with


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it's expensive though and we have to


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foot that cost so we are looking for an


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accounting firm


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who will do that for us and hopefully


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not charge us a jillion dollars


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um and we're really focused on


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growing we just want followings to be


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doing more


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so the focus on growth is great but i


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