BigChange makes it to Madagascar to raise £1,500

Our corporate partners BigChange started 2021 by completing their Big Adventure challenge, raising £1,500 for Transaid in the process.

On the 1st January, the Big Adventure team collectively covered just over 10,000 miles on their virtual journey from Leeds to Madagascar. The team followed a virtual route that included ‘stops’ at the BigChange offices in France, Ukraine, and Cyprus, as well as places from Transaid’s programmes in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The virtual challenge, which was launched on 1st October 2020, saw 50 colleagues from BigChange offices across Europe clock up the miles by running, swimming, cycling, or walking, all contributing to the overall target.

The team reached Madagascar on 1st January

Johann Levy, Chief Innovation Officer at BigChange, organised the challenge as a way to bring the company together despite travel restrictions.

“I was motivated by wanting to help Transaid’s programmes,” Johann says, “and because we were all in different levels of lockdown.

“We wanted to do a team building activity that would combine the two aims.”

The team tracked their progress using the My Virtual Mission platform, which included virtual postcards from milestones along the way to keep people motivated.

Some of these milestones included locations from Transaid’s programmes, such as the Safe Way Right Way training centre in Mukono, Uganda, which delivers professional driver training in partnership with Transaid.

The final stop was in Madagascar, where Transaid has been working for over ten years on a number of transport and health related initiatives, including an Emergency Transport Scheme which has in the past involved canoe ambulances and the use of hovercraft.

The initial challenge was initially planned to end in Zambia, but a month before the end date, the team decided to push themselves by adding a final stop in Madagascar. However, soon after, an injury slowed the team’s progress.

Nevertheless, the team managed to finish the challenge just in time. “For me,” Johann says, “the best part of the challenge was finishing exactly on 1st of January”.

The Safe Way Right Way training centre in Mukono was one of the stops along the virtual route

“We loved seeing BigChange’s progress,” added Florence Bearman, Transaid’s Head of Fundraising. “They did an incredible job covering such an enormous distance in three months. We’d like to say a huge thank you for choosing to take on this challenge for Transaid, and for raising such a fantastic amount of money.”

The team raised funds by holding virtual raffles at different milestones of the journey, as well as seeking sponsorship. The amount raised is enough to fund three bicycle ambulances for the MAM at Scale programme in Zambia, which is currently helping rural communities tackle severe malaria and COVID-19.