The organization of the Festival au Desert become more difficult each year, mainly due to the decline in international sponsors, which is directly associated with security concerns in the northern region of Mali.
It would be easy to give in to difficulties and say 'OK! We stop here because it is impossible to organize a festival in these conditions' ... But the festival is too important for local people! Especially now that, following the international bans, tourism has greatly reduced, the festival is the only event that can now attract hundreds of Western tourists and boost the economic fabric of the region. The economic spin-offs of the festival on Mali as a whole are not negligible: 800 Western in the space of 2-3 weeks to travel 1000 km to go and 1000 km in the alley back! They eat, they sleep, they are transported, they buy souvenirs ... they keep up the economy! And do not forget the airlines: they are among the first to benefit from the festival. 800 West to come by plane from the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia.
And far more important, the Festival plays an indispensable role to ensure that this region does not get isolated from the world and avoid that the local young population, driven by poverty, lack of resources, lack of work, loss of hope and isolation, are attracted by the easy money that come with bandits and / or religious fanaticism.
That's why we don't want and we can not stop and we strive to find solutions to problems old and new.
We have introduced significant changes to the festival management to try to improve the use of available funds. Our goal is to gradually eliminate the waste of money and extra costs related to poor planning and management.
With this in mind, we have introduced, during the 2011 edition and for the first time, a financial audit (PKF Mali Sarl). The purpose of the audit is twofold:
- Obviously, certifying the accounts of the festival
- but also and above all, identifying the accounting problems of the festival to find solutions.
This is the first festival in audit and whatever problems we had, with the support and patience of PKF Mali who accompanied us throughout the year, we managed to solve them! and for the first time we can show you a certified financial audit report!
Our biggest problem is not the lack of resources as such, but rather the lack of resources at the right time.
For good action planning is essential to know the available resources, as well as for a successful implementation of planned actions is essential to have liquidity to trigger actions at the right time.
Unfortunately, the reality is completely different! Especially now that most of the economic resources come from national government, a significant portion of the funds are made available to the festival just weeks after the festival itself!
And also the firm commitments of expenditure (ie the letters signed by the ministers who engage departments to give money to the festival) come just few days before the festival. With these letters in the past, we were able to obtain bank loans, but only two or three days before the festival, while the festival requires action even three or four weeks in advance.
Under these conditions, the logistics become critical! The lack of liquidity to pay festival suppliers is a major constraint and obliges the festival management to implement solutions that are far from optimal and very often result in an economic surplus.
What to do and how?
Of course, we must do better to find international sponsors (and we are striving to do it), but we also want to try to put in place procedures that allow us to be more independent.
We have established a 'Festival Supporting Fund'.
The Fund is managed by the Association Amici di Moussa, which supports the festival for many years and whose president is Dario Berardi.
The money from this fund will be made available to the Festival at the beginning of december as a loan that the festival will have to refund. Thus, the Festival Supporting Fund will provide liquidity to carry out at the right time the different activities of the festival. Once the festival will have received money from its sponsors (Malian government and / or private national and international) it will have to refund the Fund, thus ensuring its perpetuity.
Help us to make the festival more independent from external ressources.
You may help us by making a donation for the 'Festival Supporting Fund'.
I, undersigned Dario Berardi, president of the 'AMICI DI MOUSSA' Association in charge of managing the 'Festival Supporting Fund', make the following pledge:
- All money that will be received as a donation for the 'Festival Supporting Fund' (FSF) (less the quota taken by PayPal and the cost of the bank transfers) will be made available to the Director of the Festival au Désert starting 1st of december. The Director will have to write an official letter to unlock the fund, letter that will be recorded in our database.
- After the end of the festival, I will start the procedures to get refunded by the festival itself. I will personally follow the procedures until refund is completed or the deadline for refund (september 30, 2012) has been reached!
- All movements of money from and to the FSF will be posted on a special internet page that will be accessible to all donors. Upon reception of a donation, the donor will receive an email with all information required to login to the special internet page.
- Money available on the FSF and unused by the Festival au Désert will be guarded on the Fund and will be available for next edition of the Festival.
- In case the Festival au Désert will cease to exist, all money available in the FSF will be devolved to the local touareg populations according to the recommendations (direct support, project development, etc.) from the Director of the Festival.
Date: august 5, 2011.
Deadline for donation: december 25, 2011