A new paradigm in global philanthropy

The journey to start EAF began with a vision—improve the flow of philanthropy to East Africa. A year into the vision and with only six months of operations, we are beginning to see that vision truly come to life. In this month’s update, we are delighted to share the news of our first corporate sponsorship as well as our summer plans to host a capacity building workshop for our Tanzanian partners.

I think many wonder- “why is this vision important,” especially those not familiar with traditional aid and the work of global nonprofits. If you will bear with me, I would like to explain in brief why I think it is…

Our connections with local experts in Tanzania and Uganda have taught us that the traditional top-down approach to development funding is not working. Only 2% of international aid goes to local partners, meaning the majority of support is funneled through foreign organizations to implement outside approaches. In a western culture that has wholeheartedly accepted a local movement, from food to clothing to craft beer, it is time this mentality be used to improve our intentions and actions when we support organizations globally…

At EAF we swap the traditional aid paradigm for something that resembles true connection and local support. We do this by sharing the power of local partnership with global philanthropists; so far, we have been amazed at the result. Our facilitated connection between Arrow Electronics, a $30 billion global tech company, and Apps & Girls, a locally organized nonprofit in Tanzania is a real example of this new aid paradigm in practice. By simply sharing the story of Apps & Girls with a partner who has the right capacity to help, EAF has created a bridge to link resources with direct beneficiaries and via local experts. This proves that we can take the “foreign” out of this paradigm and truly support local initiatives.

We acknowledge that we are not the only ones envisioning and pursuing a better system; our friends at the African Entrepreneur Collective have made amazing progress to invest in East African entrepreneurs and there is even a 2019 Obama Fellow, Debo Baranshamaje, bringing awareness to this issue through his Social Impact Incubator at the Segal Foundation. Change is happening and EAF strives to be a leader.

We only get what we give…

At the start of a new year, I like to reflect on the successes and challenges of the last twelve months and set intentions for the next twelve to come. Reflection and intention setting for me isn’t something that can be done in one sitting, in one hour, or even one day—it takes time, it grows, and then every once-in-a-while, bam, it will hit you!

This past week, I was back in my childhood hometown and feeling sluggish after weeks of holiday treats and gatherings, so I hit the road on a morning run with my Tanzanian dog Auzi. It was a typical Kansas winter morning—dreary, cold, and cloudy. I happened to be listening to an old 90s playlist (childhood throwback) and was singing along when all of a sudden the sun burst out from the thick, dense, haze and the song I was listening said it perfectly…“you only get what you give.”

There are so many things that I love about this saying; it speaks to me as an individual, as a community member, and as the founder of the East Africa Fund. Whatever it is that we want to manifest in this world, it first begins within us. If we need time—we should find time to volunteer; if we need money—we should find a way to donate a little; if we need hope—we should give hope; and if we need joy—we should smile. It might sound a little cheesy, but I strongly believe in this philosophy. Even when we feel like we have deficits in our life, in our time, and in our resources, we can still find something to give and when we do miraculous things will happen.

In 2019, the East Africa Fund will continue to connect our East Africa partners with the three resources they need most- financial resources, institutional training, and community partnerships. As a nascent organization however, our capacity and resources are limited. If we had a million dollars, you better believe 100% of that million would be invested in financial grants, workshops, and community partnerships. Spoiler alert, we don’t have a million dollars!

We are new, we are building, and we are planning for a bright future. We know that we will get what we give and we are investing our resources in what we want to see in this world. We are giving hope and opportunity to our nine East Africa partners. When we give to them, we know that our vision and purpose grows. This mentality will help us get what we need as an organization too. We hope that 2019 brings you—our supporters, followers, and champions—the things that you most desire in this world. Give of your resources wisely, you might just get a lot in return.

We wish you a very blessed new year – Heri ya mwaka mpya!
From the EAF Team

Getting Down to Business: A Brief Summary of EAF’s Newest TZ Partners

After three slow weeks in Dar, we finally hit the road in our new East Africa Fund cruiser; destined for the lush and cold southern highlands and anxious to meet our pending partner organizations.

The Road Trip:
With all the car kerfuffle behind us in Dar, we were pleasantly surprised to have  a smooth drive through the scenic mountains. Having traveled this route many times by bus as a Peace Corps volunteer, it was quite the different journey by private car.  No complaints here, and a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who contributed for our purchase!

I think our joy is evident in the complimentary road shots below, enjoy 🙂

Good bye Dar!

I could not have asked for better travel companions; thank you Simon and Sili!

Great training for this budding driver!

First stop, Njombe town:
Moving south through the Tanzanian highlands, we gradually dropped from about 85 to 45 degrees. The cool temperatures were a welcome change, but the cool nights were an adjustment…brrr!

With the cold temperatures also came inspirational encounters with four outstanding organizations. First, we met with SHIPO, an organization specializing in water pump engineering and water sanitation education. A large and very well-established organization, we look forward to finding ways to partner. Second, we met with SUMASESU, a unique organization tucked away in a remote community. After a two hour, off-road trek to their site from Njombe, we learned that SUMASESU specializes in health education through entertainment and media. We toured their state of the art radio studio where they broadcast from daily to bring vital health education to Njombe’s rural and poor communities. SUMASESU wins the prize for most innovative approach, using radio as a social enterprise to fund their meaningful work…we were impressed!

Back in Njombe town we continued the dialogue with two more organizations, both focusing on health education and economic empowerment for children and vulnerable populations. These partners are Highlands Hope Umbrella and COCODA. Smaller, but no less passionate, these organizations have big hopes for their futures and their communities and we look forward to partnering to bring them the support to makes these dream a reality.

Second stop, Songea town:
For those of you who know me (Sam Temple), know that Songea is the heart of my Tanzanian home. It is the rugged and rural town where Luke and I were posted during Peace Corps and where we found our passion for Tanzania. Songea is very much the reason that EAF exists and is why our focus is on southern cities in Tanzania. Like most southern cities, Songea is hard to reach, has poor infrastructure and development, and the main challenge is a lack of resources. Grit and determination are needed for survival and we found plenty of it here! Happy to welcome PADI and Songea Paralegal Center to the EAF Songea community!

Large and very well run, PADI has a complex portfolio of projects including microloans, water and sanitation, health, and advocacy for Tanzania’s aging population. I was moved by their passion to help and support the aging population in Tanzania and their successes so far are profound. But advocacy and legal barriers are not just an issue for Tanzania’s aging population, it also adversely effects women and children. To break this barrier, hundreds of rural community members turn to Songea Paralegal Center for free counsel and representation. Run by Fatuma (pictured below), a self-funded, un-paid, legal warrior. Fatuma’s clients are the only fuel she needs to keep the work going and her walls are littered with success story after success story.  We cannot wait to share these successes with our U.S. EAF supporters and help PADI and Songea Paralegal expand their impact in Tanzania!

Fatuma, legal warrior and champion for the women, children, and men of Songea!

Next stop: Denver, Colorado
Our Tanzanian journey has been fruitful to say the least; we have travailed almost 1,000 miles in country, visited seven organizations (two more still to visit), and setup systems and supporters across the country to serve our work in the years to come. As the Founder of the EAF, I feel blessed by our reception, humbled by our supporters, and energized by our new partners. A big thank you to every partner who opened their doors and their hearts to us, we look forward to building this bridge together. Next stop, Denver, CO, where we shall turn this fodder into a blazing fire and kick-start our fundraising needs for these organizations in East Africa!

Cheers,
Sam

 

Buying a Car in Tanzania, Part 1

I had the privilege to meet a 1995, Mitsubishi Pajero… a picturesque safari cruiser (see image below); but safari will not be the work for this tank, because it has a new special home…hopefully…in the village of Magagura. Once in Magagura (my old village) this beast will serve as a livelihood for Sili, a resource for the community, and a mode of transportation for the East Africa Fund staff. I have named this blog, part 1, because the Pajero still has much terrain to pass; we haven’t even left Dar es Salaam, eek!

So how does buying a car in Tanzania work?

Luck
I was fortunate to find a classified posting for this car from diplomats here in Dar – they happen to be some of the most genuine and wonderful people I have had the opportunity to meet in Tanzania. After meeting them and their ‘95 Pajero, I knew it was the car for me and Sili. The process has not been quick or easy, but their support and patience has made it much more bearable!

Patience
I gave myself two weeks to complete the process of finding a car and registering it with the Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA). We are going strong on week three at this point (slamming hand against head). Mostly due paperwork hold-ups with the TRA office…shocker…I really should know better than to give myself deadlines here.

Some More Luck
Two days after my arbitrary planned date for departure, the car broke down, it wouldn’t start at all. Because we had been delayed, that breakdown fortunately happened in the seller’s front yard and not on the side of an interstate. The mechanic told us the breakdown was immanent and it would have happened; good thing we were two miles from his shop and could easily tow it. Asante mungu (thanking God)…at least someone has a plan here!

Humor
Over the last two weeks we have seen five different mechanics and spent countless hours at various shops. What was supposed to be a quick tune-up by a well-respected mechanic, turned into a circle of lies and discoveries. But overall, with humor and hindsight, I wouldn’t change any of it. Being lied to by the first mechanic who agreed to change the oil update all fluids, and fix a starter delay, gave us a huge learning opportunity, mostly for Sili who will quickly become the caregiver of this car. Lesson # 1 for Sili: NEVER TRUST WORDS, only trust your eyes. After learning this lesson, Sili and my drive Simon, spent close to five days sitting in various mechanic shops physically watching as the Pajero was given its needed tune-ups, including: an oil change, radiator flush, temperature gauge repair, fuel pump installation, and tire alignment. Each of these opportunities become a teachable moment for Sili, who enjoyed every second of it! The kid is a natural learner and we was beyond thrilled to spend his afternoons at the car shop, watching, learning, and even lending a hand. Hindsight is 20/20 and I am again thankful for how this has all worked out.

Trust
While we did learn the errors of too much trust in the hands of a stranger, I am again reminded through this experience, to trust the process and to trust Tanzanians. When I embarked on this endeavor, I knew that I would never be able to purchase a car on my on in here. The first thing I did was seek out a local advisor who would walk with me, step-by-step, and be my advocate. The man I found, Simon (pictured below), has not let me down. He is intelligent, detailed, humble, and extremely honest. I have put a lot of trust in his hands and he has not failed us. I am thankful that he can be a role model for Sili and he has been a super advocate for me!

I write this blog post as Sili and I sit around waiting for word from TRA. I am sending prayers that we get the word today, just as Simon keeps reminding me to be patient (que the eye roll). But I do trust and have faith that it will go as it should, and we will be on the road when it is our time. If it happened sooner than later, that would be great too 😉

Personal Introduction from the Founder

The East Africa Fund (EAF) for me is the greatest opportunity of my lifetime (so far). It is an opportunity that I don’t take lightly, and I am beyond grateful for the privilege I have been given to make it a reality. A privilege…? Yes, to embark on something new, something untold, something risky, is only accomplished with support from friends and family, particularly my husband, Luke. For this support I am beyond grateful and privileged. Thank you.

The EAF for me represents both a goal and a product. The goal is to create a continued connection and purpose in Tanzania. The product however, already accomplished, is the success of combining both skill and passion to create a vision of service.

So, what now…If you have read the website and been acquainted with the mission, vision, and timeline, you know that I am only on the first leg of this long journey. This leg I call “Nipo,” in swahili this means “I am here.” Literally I am here in Tanzania right now, to build the necessary partnerships with local organizations. I am here physically, and I am here mentally. I am 100% committed to this goal and I am allowing myself the physical and mental space to make it a priority. It has been a goal for a while, but only now have I found the support and time to make it a reality…thanks to the many of you who are reading this!

A jumping off point also helped…quitting a comfortable job and leaving my beautiful home and family in Denver, was no easy choice. But the decision was made clearer when I was given the opportunity to join a delegation of American women in Uganda for a Women’s Leadership Retreat (see images below). This retreat was coordinated by a Denver based not-for-profit – The Global Livingston Institute. With that opportunity, I decided to say “yes;” this was the time to take the leap. So, a week ago I joined that delegation in Uganda. A delegation of U.S. women came together with a delegation of East African women to listen together, think together, and act together. The fruits of those conversations and new relationships will be many. I am just now beginning to reflect on how powerful the experience was and I can’t thank the GLI team enough for the invitation to join their retreat. The lessons and relationships gained at this meeting will no-doubt last a lifetime.

One week after the retreat I find myself in Dar es Salaam – the hot, sticky, crowded, and beautiful port of Tanzania. The sounds, smells, and sights of Dar awaken my senses like no other. What a sweet homecoming it has been. Here I find the energy to embark on the EAF partnership building, “nipo.” I have already had great success connecting with local organizations and hope to continue over the next 1.5 months; stay tuned for upcoming blog posts to learn about these partnerships and to join the journey!

Cheers from TZ- Sam

If you read this and think…hmm how can I help…I am still fundraising for Sili’s car! – link here – https://www.gofundme.com/SilisDream

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