An educational organization encouraging traditional peoples to combine their ancient wisdom and practices with modern technology

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An educational organization encouraging traditional peoples to combine their ancient wisdom and practices with modern technology

Tanzania
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

 I believe that the future of Africa is bright because of the possibility of nurturing the still existing rich cultures of the traditional peoples and enhancing them with modern technologies and tools for entrepreneurship.  This is done by working face-to-face with students and developing the way forward. 

About You
Location
Project Street Address

145 Arusha Shule Road

Project City

Arusha

Project Province/State
Project Postal/Zip Code
Project Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on:

Tanzania

What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

YouTube Upload

N/A

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

<$50

Innovation
Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.

I believe that the future of Africa is bright because of the possibility of nurturing the still existing rich cultures of the traditional peoples and enhancing them with modern technologies and tools for entrepreneurship. This is done by working face-to-face with students and developing the way forward.

What makes your idea unique?

Many projects in Tanzania start with the assumption that the path to development is scripted in innovations that worked more or less well in other countries and cultures. All of Terrawatu’s programmes honor first the beliefs, values and expectations of the people we work with and then teach about innovations that may improve quality of life.

From the beginning, I chose a Co-Director to share equal power with me in the development of Terrawatu’s programmes. This partner, Ole Sululu, is a Maasai from Tanzania with almost no formal education himself. Together we embody the idea of combining ancient wisdom with modern technology. Our unique strategy is stay close with villagers and encourage them to respect, honor and keep alive their indigenous practices while learning ways to integrate modern innovations into their lifestyles. Sululu draws on his wide network and respect as an elder in his community to teach “his people” to be proud of where they come from while I draw on my wide network of international community workers to provide resources such as financial investment, volunteer teachers and trainers, and technology such as computers and solar equipment.

What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)

Children & Youth , At risk youth , Education , Education reform , Girls' development , Mentorship , Youth leadership , Development & Prosperity , Adult education , Communications , Community development , Conscious consumerism , Economic development , Employment , Fair trade , Fundraising , Globalization , Income generation , Information technology , Infrastructure , Marketing , Mentorship , Networking , Philanthropy , Poverty alleviation , Rural development , Scholarships and grants , Social Enterprise , Sustainable development , Technology , Travel and tourism , Environment & Sustainability , Biodiversity , Climate change , Conservation , Energy conservation , Environmental justice , Green business , Green consumerism , Sustainable agriculture , Water , Wildlife conservation , Health & Fitness , Food , Health care , Health education , HIV/AIDS , Infant mortality , Indigenous cultures , Intercultural relations , Women's issues , Arts and culture , Cultural preservation , Spirituality , Youth leadership.

What impact have you had?

Our amazing impact since 2000 is both tangible and intangible. Tangibly, we have completed and managed a dozen classrooms both for teaching government curriculum and for Internet-connected computer labs. We bring over waves of volunteers from the States and Europe to train teachers and students in innovative educational programmes and support the work of local staff at these facilities. We have ten Tanzanian girls who would have otherwise not been schooled, sponsored by Americans for their school fees and related expenses through secondary school. We have built three traditional medicine clinics and support the work of local doctors who combine traditional health care with allopathic practices. We have supported the creation of six nurseries where thousands of trees have been cultivated and transplanted to private and public lands. And we have lead dozens of groups of university students and teachers from the States on educational tours of Tanzania where ideas are shared and new projects get launched.

Less tangibly, we have helped educate countless men and women about family planning and prevention of malaria and HIV/AIDS; the importance of restoring the natural environment; and the power of traditional health care and spiritual practices. This impact is not as easy to measure as it is a shift in attitudes. If you spend some time in a village that has been touched by Terrawatu, you will hear from villagers how they are taught to remain proud of their roots while finding ways to improve their lives with new attitudes and technologies.

Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.

If all African cultures and countries took the same path of development that the United States and other countries have taken, natural environments would likely be completely degraded, rich traditions and communities would be lost or severed, and economies would rest on weak foundations.

Many places in Africa have a chance to “leap-frog” to a more sustainable, soul-based future. To do this, individuals on the ground need education in this concept. They need teachers who inspire them to be proud and to have hope. And provide tools to create their own future.

Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.

1) Co-Directors wholeheartedly embody the concepts of pride in tradition and power in innovation;
2) Take as much time as necessary in villages to hold respect, trust and understanding;
3) Develop programmes that lead to “planned human obsolescence” – that the NGO is not needed when self-sustainable;
4) Teaching teachers – identify the leaders in a community and impart information to them so that ideas spread faster and more easily.
5) Learn from mistakes! and do things differently the next time.

Impact
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Success in Year 1:

Successful development of small businesses in-country that help sustain the work of the organization.
Continued financial support from outside investors to complete already initiated projects.
Effective imparting of information from volunteers to project staff in Tanzania.

Success in Year 2:

Successful development of small businesses in-country that help sustain the work of the organization.
Continued financial support from outside investors to complete already initiated projects.
Solidification of model in terms of inflows and outflows of resources both domestically and internationally and more predictability of annual schedule.

Success in Year 3:

Solidification of model in terms of inflows and outflows of resources both domestically and internationally and predictable annual schedule.
Teaching and learning is happening as always and everyone is feeling justly rewarded for their work.

Do you have a business plan or strategic plan? (yes/no)

Yes

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 1:

Secure financial inputs to pay staff and other overhead costs.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 2:

Secure solid and effective partners.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 3:

Secure financial inputs for new initiatives. E.g. land has been obtained for a farm that would used to train locals in more sustainble agricultural techniques and funds are needed to prepare land, train, seeds, etc.

Describe the expected results of these actions.

More time would be made available for teaching and training instead of fundraising. Excellent staff would not be lost to higher paying industries in town. Programmes would obtain much-needed boost and villages and environments would be positively impacted.

What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Arriving back in Seattle after learning about the indigenous beliefs and practices of the Maasai of East Africa and realizing that some of their traditions were more advanced than “post-modern” America/Western. Knowing we can’t go backwards to live in mud dung huts, I began advocating for locals in Tanzania not to mimic unsustainable livelihoods of many Americans. I launched my mission to combine the best of both worlds – of America and Africa - and help create the foundation for a more peaceful and sustainable future.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Please see an interview with Dr. Tanya Pergola at: http://www.adevelopedworld.com/article/show/30

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Via infoDev in Washington DC.

Sustainability
What would prevent your project from being a success?

Our project is already a success. We have had an amazing impact. We would be even more successful if we had more financial support; steadier staff; and more effective partners.

Financing source

No

If yes, provide organization name.
How long has this organization been operating? (i.e. less than a year; 1-5 years; more than 5 years)
Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes. A Board of Directors and an International Advisory Board.

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs? (yes/no)

Yes.

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses? (yes/no)

No.

The Story
Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government? (yes/no)

Yes.

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

The government of Tanzania supports our initiatives emotionally and sometimes financially with matching funds. After much explaining, it is understood that we are not in competition but in collaboration for a better future for all. This is critical because otherwise our computer labs would be shut down and teachers and students would not be allowed to learn anything other than what is dictated by the national curriculum. Our partnerships with NGOs both inside and outside Tanzania are critical as they help provide Terrawatu with clients and resources for our programmes.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001-10,000

What is the total number of employees and total number of volunteers at your organization?

10

What is your organization's business classification?

Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Have you received funding from any of the following groups? (Please check as many as apply.)

United Nations Development Progam (UNDP) , USAID (United States) , World Bank .