As anyone working in development can attest to, the most important thing of all (besides donors, besides resources, besides impact metrics and theories of change) is a solid public-private partnership with the local government players.
Without this fundamental groundwork in place, any change an NGO attempts to enact will likely fail or be short-lived.  One cannot underestimate the worth of local buy-in when trying to effect change in a developing country – not just at the community level, which is fairly easily won if you have a good idea and a vision of how that idea will bloom into action, but also at the government level, whether it be ward, district, region, or national.
Toa has made significant headway in solidifying our relationships with the Regional Commissioner of Kilimanjaro, the District Executive Director of Moshi Municipality, and all the various councilmen and women in the wards where we work.  I’m hoping to further strengthen these relationships in the year to come as Toa cannot operate in Tanzania without this all-important support.
Thus, the following article from the Tanzania Daily News caught my eye and piqued my interest.  It is about the insistence of the Zanzibari government that the state and NGOs be partners.
I’m pretty sure that the title of this blog entry, a nod to a popular Beatles song, is about some weird ’60s druggy stuff, but for the purposes of Toa, let’s keep it clean and focus on this couplet from the ditty: I know you, you know me / One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.
Come together.  Right now.  Over me.
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The Minister of State at the President’s Office, Zanzibar, Mr. Issa Haji Ussi, yesterday urged non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to complement the government’s efforts to provide the best education possible to Tanzanians.
He said they should work closely and collaboratively in pursuing social development agendas, to neutralize the perception by some community members, that they were rivals.  Mr. Ussi made the remarks when gracing an event to launch a new office for Green Light Foundation in Zanzibar, an NGO which supports and motivates students across the country.
“NGOs should not fight or antagonize the government but work collaboratively with government institutions instead, towards achieving our development goals,” the minister said.
Mr. Ussi said civil societies had a great role to play in supporting the government’s provision of social services that include education, and commended the GLF for its commitment to address challenges facing Tanzanian students.
“As a nation, we need to create a learned society and I commend you for supporting that cause, thereby helping students prepare a better future for themselves, their families, and for the nation at large.  Without educating our young people, and imparting skills and knowledge on them, the nation will hardly attain the much needed success,” he said.
The chairperson of the Green Light Foundation, Mr. Salim Omary, told the minister that the foundation was focused on motivating and inspiring students who are in need of both tangible and intangible assistance in Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania.
“We normally provide them with financial and material assistance including uniforms, bags, text and exercise books, and calculators that would enable students to best and easily cope with the educational challenges.  “But we also visit them, talk to them, and inspire them to pursue their dreams and avoid distractions that spoil their future,” Mr. Omary said.
As part of the activities to mark the opening of the foundation’s office, GLF conducted a tour to the State University of Zanzibar where two young entrepreneurs, Jokate Mwegelo and Nice-Monique Kimaryo gave motivational speeches to students.
The key theme was inspiring the student population to recognize self-employment as a viable career path.  The two young women shared their success stories and offered advice on how the students could venture into entrepreneurship amid the rising unemployment rate among college graduates.
“Let your education be a tool for exploiting many opportunities around you.  Set your dream and follow it relentlessly; you can be anyone you want to be as long as you stay focused,” Ms. Jokate, a renowned actress and CEO of Kidoti Company, remarked.
Jokate was named by Africa Youth Awards as among the 100 Most Influential Young Africans in August of this year. Her company produces slippers, wigs, school bags, and other fashion accessories, under the Kidoti brand.
Ms. Nice-Kimaryo, a recent accounting graduate and co-founder and director of Go-Kimz Ltd, urged the would-be graduates at SUZA to use the education they had acquired to formulate business ideas.
She said they started with almost nothing, but gradually, and after studying the market, they were able to launch a brand called Kimz Hair that sells quality hair for crochet and other styles and their business had grown tremendously.
“Pitch your ideas to people and they will support you.  There is nothing like using the opportunity that you have right now: for instance, how do you use social media?  For us, our brand has grown through the use of social media.  We have many followers right now,” she stated.