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After a close-call with a hippopotamus while canoeing in Africa, Tim Barnes celebrated life with African artists and artisans by commissioning a custom, hand-crafted “hippo chair”. After 25 years of consulting and leading IT organizations, Tim decided to give back to a third-world community — but more than aid — by creating awareness and business opportunities via first-world marketing channels and old-school import/export legwork.

Tim Barnes has spent the last 20+ years in the Information Technology industry, half of which as a consultant for Deloitte and Accenture and half as Director of Information Delivery at Devon Energy. Tim has lived in both the US and Canada and enjoys backpacking around the world. Today he is the Founder at MoreThanAid.


Key Takeaways

  • More Than Aid is a cause that helps villages in Malawi, Africa help themselves by providing an international marketplace to sell Malawi artwork.
  • Malawi ranks 173rd out of 188 countries worldwide on the United Nations Human Development Index.
  • 20 pieces of art has been shipped and sold to US and Canadian art collectors which has provided resources for 3 kids to go to secondary school.
  • Over 50% of the population in Malawi are 15 years old and under. The adults time are focused on farming and food and water, not trying to create economic change.
  • In most aid situations, most of the money goes to the bigger cities, not the rural areas.
  • Tim used Excel to develop a pricing formula for the artwork.
    • How big is the picture, how many colors, how complex?
  • Facebook became THE platform for communication and coordination, both on the marketing side and the volunteers.
  • Accepting a Facebook friend from an impoverished country can be eye opening.
  • It’s important to people in Canada and US what its like to be a native in impoverished countries.
  • People in developing countries think differently than privileged because of the challenges they’ve overcome.
    • They’ve learned how to survive.
    • They may inflate their situation to get noticed.


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