Q&A about Caravan of Care
Since our recent article in The Asian Banker Magazine (here for the original article, here for our version), many people are interested in and have questions about the Caravan of Care so, we thought you might benefit from this Q & A interview with founder Philip McMaster, an online PowerPoint Presentation and even an audio transcript from a meeting of International Social Development Researchers & Practitioners gathering at Jet Li’s ONE Foundation offices at Beijing Normal University.
At its Core, Caravan of Care Closes the Wealth Gap With Care and Respect, not Money.
In preparation for the necessary Sustainable World Order (SWO) that is creatively disrupting business-as-usual around the planet, we propose the emergence of a New Rich Nobility (NRN), comprised of conscientious High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) from “meritocracies” around the world who wish to participate in new forms of Philanthropic Tourism and Impact Investing.
Ours is a radically new approach to both philanthropy and social development as well as meaningful, low impact tourism.
We hope this is just the beginning of more questions, suggestions and even healthy criticisms, as long as along with your critique, you support your argument or dispute with possible alternative solutions.
Please address your email comments to CaravanOfCare [ at} gmail com
So, please enjoy the on-going creation of this adventurous effort to create a Sustainable World Order, a return of Nobility to Philanthropy, and our small effort to support the thousands of NGO already out there doing a wonderful (and largely thankless) job.
If you know NGO’s, NPC’s, or Social Enterprises that would like to help us, we would like to help them with relevant consulting contracts to increase their incomes and stability.
And of course we are looking for an elite few HNWI’s who are Adventurous, Entrepreneurial and Community-minded people who will fill the role as Ambassadors of Care, send us a note at CaravanOfCare [ at} gmail com
The questions are answered by the creator and founder of the Peace Plus One - World Sustainability Project and “Caravan of Care”, Philip McMaster.
Why did you create the Caravan of Care?
What is the solution in your opinion and observation?
What is the Caravan of Care concept?
Why 4X4 vehicles? Aren’t you against cars?
Why did you choose the name ‘Caravan of Care’?
What are some of the Community Objectives of the Caravan of Care?
Why are tools and maintenance so important to you?
Why are training and teamwork so important to you?
Why is this training, cooperation, maintenance and tool ethic important to you?
How is the Caravan of Care structured? What is the time commitment for participants?
How can Caravan of Care help with family relationships?
What do you look for in people who participate in Caravan of Care?
What about security for the participants in Caravan of Care?
What happens at the Gala Event?
Is Caravan of Care a Charity, Non-Profit or Social Enterprise?
Who is behind the Caravan of Care?
A- The ever widening wealth gap in countries, including developed and developing countries is reaching a critical stage. The wealthy have cause to worry - not only for the safety of their fortunes, but for the stability of the society around them and even their personal safety. There are no walls high enough, gated communities secure enough or food sources pure enough to protect those who do not share their wealth and concern with the communities that facilitated their financial gains; as well as caring for the Earth itself which provided the limited resources for that wealth.
We only have to observe the Occupy movement in the developed Western countries, the Arab Spring in Africa and the Middle East and acute concerns in Asia regarding the growing environmental, social and economic inequities, to see that change is sweeping the world, and the best way for people to avoid being kicked into the dustbin of history is to become part of the solution.
A- Observing this situation and the actual acceleration of the wealth gap in China, it is clear to me that, to paraphrase Albert Einstien: ‘you don’t solve current problems with past thinking’ - so as an outgrowth of our “THiNK SUSTAINABLY” (the small “i” is intentional) Campaign from the McMaster Institute for Sustainable Development in Commerce, World Sustainability Organization and the “Peace Plus One - World Sustainability Project“, we developed an approach to the wealth-gap problem that fits the interests, needs and habits of the wealthy in China.
The basic premise is, you don’t solve the money-gap problem by throwing more money into the gap - we all know where too much of it goes, and that’s the problem.
We all know the story of what happened when Bill Gates and Warren Buffet came to China asking the wealthy to donate a substantial portion of their wealth to charity - the wealthy stayed away from the dinner table in droves… not because they were cheap or weren’t already giving, but because many rich Chinese highly value privacy in their financial affairs, and want their charity to go where they want it to go… most often to people with whom they have some close relationship - not into anonymous pockets along the way.
So the solution is the direct giving model of the Caravan of Care. The key is that the wealth-gap is not narrowed by money - it’s a relationship gap - the gap is narrowed by building relationships - trust and respect for each other.
A- Simply put: Wealthy ‘Ambassador participants’ of the Caravan of Care, through their connections and resources, purchase a shopping list of supplies needed by a remote community (analysed and vetted by a relevant NGO) and, with their own assets (4X4 vehicles) deliver the equipment & supplies (not money) directly to the community in need under the protection and supervision of the authorities. Everyone’s included, everyone benefits, it’s a win-win-win situation for government and the community in need, the NGO’s , and the Corporate leaders and industrialists who participate.
No, I love cars, especially 4X4’s - but I come from a challenging rural area of the mountains of Quebec in Canada where 4X4’s were sometimes the only vehicles that could get where we needed to go. I used my Range Rover in one of the worst snow storms in Winnipeg’s history to help the Red Cross get people and their supplies to inaccessible parts of the city. I was also on jungle expeditions using Landrovers, where only competent vehicles and competent drivers could make up a safe and efficient caravan of vehicles.
What I’m against is 4X4’s or SUV’s being purchased by many urban dwellers and clogging up the streets - it is a huge waste of resources - heavier, more metal, rubber, glass, plastic, higher fuel consumption, more difficult to drive and park, and possibly most significant, it worsens the wealth gap by ”showing off” with a vehicle that in an urban environment makes the statement: “I’m wasting the use of this very capable vehicle to get to the shopping mall to shop for something I don’t really need - I’m so rich I can afford to waste”. This blatant, in-your-face kind of waste is part of the problem.
The reason we use 4X4 vehicles in the Caravan of Care is because many wealthy people already own them or have access to them. We’re encouraging the good use of a vehicle that has already been manufactured and purchased. The Caravan of Care puts these valuable vehicles to task, teaching their drivers how to handle the vehicles in rough conditions and giving their owners an opportunity to “really use them for the offroad purpose intended” with the bonus that the 4X4’s are being used to help other people live better lives.
Caravan of Care puts competent 4X4’s to work where they should be… in the rural countryside, where they were designed to operate best, and assist people to get where they need to go to help others. When the 4X4’s return to the city - they will be subtly but specially identified, and have changed their status from a symbol of opulence and waste to a symbol of competence, leadership and care. (you’ll learn later how a special insignia is affixed to vehicles that participate in Caravan of Care, and how those insignia will protect the vehicles, reward the NRN owners and reduce the animosity between the ostentatiously wealthy NRN and the poor.)
My personal background includes sustainable tourism development work in Brazil and China, and over 20 international expeditions, including the Camel Trophy Mundo Maya in Central America and Landrover/ Camel Trophy Selections in Japan. Combining this personal international travel logistics experience with work at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Research Center for Eco-Environmental Science, Chenduo (CCTV) Television Productions, China Philanthropist magazine and a number of other organizations at the Chinese end of the Silk Road, led me to merge the ideas of caring voluntourism, sustainability, philanthropy and the adventure of tourism, (PhilanthroTourist) similar to the caravans of old between China and the Western countries.
The Caravan of Care name was chosen, because in the process, people who Care (our Ambassadors) take a Caravan full of goods to people in need, in exchange for goodwill, good CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) meaningful entertainment, cultural exchange and ultimately the happiness of a child’s smile.
Of course the primary objective is to deliver the goods and supplies determined by the Consulting NGO in charge. These supplies could include school books and school supplies for the children, medicines and medical equipment for the elderly, agricultural equipment and systems for alternative energy sources etc.
The Caravan of Care also provides the opportunity to bring teachers, technicians and specialists to these remote communities, (as determined by the consulting/ supervising NGO’s, and authorized by supervising government authorities) to assist the communities in the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, telemedicine and medical equipment, agricultural systems and equipment, and to learn from experts about the care and maintenance of the newly installed systems.
We call it “Rebuilding a Culture of Care”.
As a participant in various international expeditions over the years, as an ocean-going yacht racing crewmember, and as an owner of a variety of Landrover ‘Series models’ and Range Rovers back in my home country, Canada, I have always been a mechanic, problem solver and maintainer of boats, engines, transmissions and running gear.
Tool use is how we humans have achieved so much in our world, and now to achieve sustainability, it is necessary to bring back the basic ethic of tool use and the maintenance of things.
I know how equipment works, what things sound like when they’re not working, and what each tool’s capability is to repair or build or re-create when applied to different situations. This happened over time, with successes, failures, reworking solutions and a lot of thinking. This experience gives me confidence to try new things based on experience and when presented with any kind of life or business problem.
It’s a kind of leadership training.. look after people and things around you, keep them happy and in good working order and you learn how to solve problems and become a leader.
Unfortunately, I observe poor quality tools and poor knowledge of tool use throughout China.
I believe this lack of good tools, lack of respect for how tools are best used, and often using tools incorrectly, leads to poor maintenance of virtually everything from buildings and bridges to residences, appliances and vehicles, promoting an un-caring, un-creative mentality, compromising maintenance, regulation, safety, innovation and of course, leadership.
One of my objectives is to deliver a clearly branded , valuable, high quality tool kit to each Caravan of Care community and entrusted to a community leader with the training and knowledge to be a mentor to the community in tool use and maintenance. (probably centered around the community school) When something in the community breaks, needs to be repaired or maintained, the “keeper of the tools” will lend out specific tools, and expect them returned, clean and in good condition within an agreed period of time.
This is an opportunity for a high quality Chinese toolmaker to not only increase their brand awareness as a high quality product, but to also ‘be part of the solution’ helping Chinese people improve their image and status around the world as a society that Cares about maintenance, safety, and the smooth running of Society, Environment and Economy.
I hope this Branding Reputation opportunity gets circulated to industries around China! They can contact me at CaravanOfCare [ at} gmail com
Rebuilding leadership and a caring attitude toward friends & strangers.
Every voyage, whether in business, transporting yourself and others from A to B, or participating in the Caravan of Care, requires the ability to read the map, the roadsigns, and clearly communicate the safest and most direct or scenic route to the destination.
Advanced communication and human relation skills are the cornerstone of all great endeavours, and the Caravan of Care provides the proving ground for authentic leaders of the 21st century.
Years ago when sailing the pacific from Panama to Hawaii on a 76ft racing yacht for more than 30 days, we could only get 100ft away from each other (to the top of the mast) at any given moment - so for safety, progress and sustainability, we had to take responsibility for each other, cooperate and get along. Life experiences like this and the Caravan of Care itself, illustrate the desirable characteristics of Sustainability Ambassadors and how successful human beings make better leaders.
Caravan of Care is the first stage of a larger, more important part of the process in addressing the wealth-gap issue. Caravan of Care is essentially charity, the 1st step - the wealthy High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) bring needed materials, equipment and supplies to people in need.
First they are “bringing the fish to eat for a day”, even though it isn’t actually food, they are often consumables - school supplies and books for the children, requested medicines for the elderly and infirmed, and maybe some short-life-span materials or equipment.
But the majority of CoC donations will be durables - efficient cooking equipment and the installation of alternative energy systems (solar, wind, geothermal) water treatment, sanitation, telemedicine, medical and waste treatment equipment etc.
Each of these systems need to be installed, instructed on use and maintained for the long term use of the community, by the community.
Our objective for each COC community is sustainable self-sufficiency, and therefore specialized training, good internal cooperation, high-quality tools and a high level of tool use ethic and equipment maintenance ethics are desired.
Caravan of Care is structured to meet the time constraints of wealthy entrepreneurs and business leaders. Few highly successful people can take very much time away from their business and family commitments, so the Caravan of Care is designed for maximum efficiency. Preparation is done on weekends, with the expedition itself taking 3-4 days over a long weekend and the follow-up gala event is held the following weekend during non-work time.
Wealthy families sometimes have problems with money focused relationships, achievement and education pressures, succession issues and often the lack of ‘Bonding Opportunities’ between absent mothers or fathers and their children.
Another important aspect and opportunity of Caravan of Care is for wealthy Ambassadors of Care to bring their children with them to learn about compassion, hardship and ‘doing the hard thing to get a meaningful result’.
The Caravan of Care is also an exciting opportunity and experience to plan, travel and work together to help others, outside the family circle.
School reports on ‘what I did last weekend’ will never be the same!
We are looking for philanthropists, literally, people who like and want to help other people.
Naturally, because of the requirements of purchasing supplies from the community shopping list and doing more than asked for from a financial point of view, our objective is to celebrate the wealthy High Net Worth Individuals in our communities that are true philanthropists - people who are creative in understanding and helping serve the needs of the less-fortunate communities and the world as a whole - this is why each supporter of the Caravan of Care is nominated as an “Ambassador of Sustainability”.upon the successful completion of their CoC expedition.
Because of the “Ambassador of Sustainability” status of the participants, the national and local governments make all the logistical and security arrangements for each authorized, “official” Caravan of Care.
As Official Ambassadors of the World Sustainability Organization, philanthropists involved in the Caravan of Care carry a VIP status, and are themselves treated with care and respect by local authorities.
For security reasons, and for smooth, uninterrupted expeditions, the identity of the participants , the route and the exact destinations of each Caravan of Care is not disclosed to the public, (until AFTER they have left the community and all parties involved agree) and while the CoC expedition is being arranged, the information is only known to a specially and uniquely assigned team which include a few government leaders, and NGO leaders (even that team is not aware of the actual identity of the participants until shortly before the Caravan begins)
Throughout the expedition process of the Caravan of Care, the lead (paying) PhilanthroTourist participants have the final decision on any public disclosure of date of departure, participant names, route taken and disclosure of destination community.
The lead PhilanthroTourist participant of the Caravan of Care makes the decision of a “private” (undisclosed) or “public” (CSR) Gala Event normally held the following weekend, when their good deeds, compassion and care for the community is revealed to an audience of peers and VIPs.
The Caravan of Care Gala Event is a combination of “Video documentary presentation”, Awards Ceremony and Miss LOHAS Pageant.
The video crew that accompanies each Caravan of Care expedition produces a short “personalized movie” with highlights of the Caravan of Care expedition and the participants. This is shown to the gathered friends, government, business associates and VIP’s invited to the Gala Event.
Sponsored by the NGO’s involved in the Caravan of Care, a beautiful, meaningful and entertaining Miss LOHAS Pageant is next, where local beauties who embrace a Lifestyle Of Health, Happiness And Sustainability (LOHHAS) - and who are beautiful in their personality and care for others in a beautiful way ‘compete’ for the title of Miss LOHAS.
Awards are then presented to the Caravan of Care expedition participants by the new Miss LOHAS, local government, NGO and commercial colleagues.
A private auction for the next Caravan of Care proposed by various NGO’s is held, where friends and competitors who witnessed the fun, adventure and praise for Corporate Social Responsibility have a chance to create their own Caravan of Care.
Organizers, sponsors and media producers:
FOR MORE INFORMATION on Caravan Of Care, please visit:
Caravan Of Care PPT Presentation:
Article from Asian Banker Magazine about Caravan Of Care:
Philosophy, Questions And Answers about Caravan Of Care:
OR COMMUNICATE THROUGH:
Caravan Of Care (a) gmail (.) com , with “Caravan Of Care” in the SUBJECT line.