As we take a look back at 2019 we thank you for your support, prayers and contributions. We have had a very exciting year of new beginnings, new collaborations and new frontiers. Take a quick look at the main highlights and lowlights for 2019 as we get ready to start the new decade.
Charity Status Approved – No. 1429
We had a very late start to our 2019 season in the second quarter, but for a good reason. At the end of March 2019, we finally were approved as a registered charity in Barbados with our charity number being #1429. This was very important to us as it would provide more access to additional funding and resources needed to complete our mission, and allow our financial business and individual partners to gain tax benefits.
Growth in Activity and People Reached
In spite of the late start, we were able to almost double the number of awareness sessions and engagements we had with our ket target markets. As buzz about our campaigns grows, a greater need is seen in schools, youth groups, and parenting communities for the insight and support we provide in how music, social media, and digital addiction impact the mental health and behaviour of youth. We were able to reach over 2,100 predominantly youth through our schools, camps and youth group campaigns; and over 400 parents through our parenting seminars, church sessions and partnerships with school PTA’s and PAREDOS.
The highlight of our youth campaign for 2019 was our “Change the Culture” youth events held in July, in collaboration with HFS Elevate and the Global Leadership Summit Barbados Youth arm. The series of events included a youth leadership summit and Pure Music concert featuring local and international motivational speakers, leaders and music artistes. It also featured a parenting seminar with clinical psychologist Ms. Joanne Nicholls who gave greater insight on adolescent brain development and navigating digital influences. The weekend of events climaxed with small group sessions where young people had an intimate look at how social media can influence their self-image and the power of music in influencing behaviour.
EKCO Nation goes regional with Caribbean EKCO
Probably the biggest highlight of our year was our partnership with the global organization Impact World and its outreach campaign to Antigua in November of 2019. Impact World reached out to us to provide a Caribbean contingent of music artistes and performers to join their international body of performers to positively impact Antigua over a two-week tour. The target was to reach over 30,000 people with the campaign and to see 9,000 responses; to reaching every student in every school and stage 10 community shows. The campaign tour did not reach its target in terms of people and community shows but saw over 11,000 predominantly young people positively respond to the message of salvation. Caribbean EKCO participated in all of the community shows and staged 20 school assemblies; reaching over 4,300 students and seeing 2,800 make decisions. Our message was just not a showcase of the Gospel using music and the arts but also on sharing our message about how social media, music and the internet impact our self-image, mental health, and behaviour. The success of the tour as opened up the opportunity for Caribbean EKCO to join Impact World on other tours internationally and regionally. We thank Impact World and the people of Antigua and Barbuda for hosting us and providing this opportunity to be a part of a nation-wide transformational initiative.
Lowlights: Funding and Cancellations
2019 was not without lowlights and for us, the inability to reach our 2019 budget of $100,000 was the biggest setback for our year. We were unable to pursue funding and sponsorship while awaiting our charity approval; this meant limited sponsorship and a short time to execute several activities at the level we wanted to. Several cancellations and tough adjustments had to be made, impacting our campaigns and operations as a whole. These included having to cancel all our radio shows for 2019 (a major part of our public campaign); as well as having to close operations at our Welches St, Michael office in mid-2019. Other campaigns had to be severely cut or canceled including print and public awareness campaigns. In total, we were only able to raise over $25,000 for the year 2019 which was unable to meet our annual expenses and commitments.
Looking ahead 2020 Vision: Innovate, Infiltrate, Influence, Increase
We are excited about the new opportunities and journeys the turn of a new decade will bring. We are encouraged with how much was accomplished with little in 2019, but we understand the need to build our volunteer and financial foundations to ensure our influence and impact is sustainable. We are looking to develop new ideas, strategies, and innovations in collaboration with our volunteers and partners community; to better reach and engage our key target audiences, infiltrate and influence new spheres and increase awareness and support of our mission. Our goal is to reach over 5,000 youth and 1,000 parents with a clear campaign message; building trust and engagement to see positive lifestyle change. If you want to volunteer, support or become a financial partner please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 246.254.3526.