It appears that quite a bit of confusion has arisen over this part of the effort to keep the drives going, so I want to take a moment to provide a bit of explanation as well as announce a change of approach.
The purpose of the WEmerchandise group from the start was to involve viewers in creating awareness by allowing them to create and sell items that promoted the drives. It was left up to them whether or not to add a mark-up to the goods sold, if so this was to be theirs and this was shared as such in the blog around the announcement on the promotional efforts.
Over time, due to a lack of sufficient follow-on communication and especially after the temporary open of a separate Djuma shop, the impression grew that some of the those with on-line stores were actually competing with Djuma. This was never the case and at all times they were acting with our full support. If any blame is to be attached for misunderstanding of the set-up it belongs firmly in our court not with those who were trying to help save the drives with our approval and support.
This situation did make it clear though that a change in the set-up was needed. This was further strengthened by the realisation we had come to that those who would buy the merchandise would most likely be those already watching and that having a store would be much more helpful as an additional way of generating some revenue than as a promotional effort alone. (Not that one excludes the other.)
Therefore we have decided to change our approach. A new, centralised, Djuma store will be (re)opened with profits generated here going to Djuma to support the drives. This does not affect the need for increasing viewership as store revenue will to too unreliable to rely on for salaries and other monthly bills, but it can help cover irregular costs like e.g. replacement of batteries or tyres.
The new stores will have items that were generated by Djuma as well as item from viewers in it, including the wonderful ‘Who dung it’ line. We have spoken to the existing storekeepers, they are happy to support this change in approach and we hope all of you will as well.
We are currently working on the set-up of the new store and it should open early next week, so watch this space.