Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
The idea behind The Great Primate Handshake began in a tent in South Africa, where I was volunteering at The Vervet Monkey foundation, a sanctuary for orphaned or injured monkeys, and using my skills as a videographer to help promote their work.
There I met Alasdair Davies who was making a website for the organisation. Alasdair and myself were unique among the volunteers as we were volunteering to do something different.
Like us the other volunteers had skills, degrees and many were professionals in different areas including digital media. These volunteers wanted to help and were undertaking key tasks, that were needed but were not utilising their proven skill sets and therefore not being the best that they could be.
Through Alasdair and myself's shared love of digital media and travel we came up with a unique idea. To travel across Africa visiting different conservation projects and create digital media tools for them free of charge, funded by paid volunteers.
We wanted to create a project where skills not typically sought after, but were a great help, could be utilised.
Therefore by raising awareness about conservation using primates as a flagship species, we could help people on both a local and international level better understand their environment and the world they live in and how to help protect it.
In short we wanted to; Travel, Create and Educate.
It took three years of blood, sweat and tears to get the first expedition off the ground and since 2008 we have run 6 trips across three countries; Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.
Each trip sees us lead a team of 20+ volunteers and our global reach has seen us have over 66,000 YouTube views and we average over 100,000 website hits a month.
We are now looking at expanding our vision to include more projects, countries and communities and create a global handshake.