East Africa Leadership Forum Strengthens Their Network

The East Africa Leadership Forum (EALF) composed of current and former Pangea grantees held their second annual meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi in mid-July, 2017. It was hosted by Pangea Grant Partner, Francoise Nibizi of SaCoDe. The following is a brief overview of what took place.

EALF ’17 from left: Francoise Nibizi of SaCoDe (Burundi), Margaret Nyungwe & Sarah Nsenga of TADEC (Tanzania), Wendo Aszed of Dandelion Africa,  Ferdinand Wafula of BIOGI & Joshua Machinga of Common Ground (Kenya)

The group started by reviewing their progress since they first met in June of 2016. It’s apparent from the report prepared by Wendo of Dandelion Africa that all of the participants had learned a lot from each other and have greatly benefitted from their ongoing mutual exchanges. Here are some examples:

  •  TADEC visited SaCode to learn how to make sanitary pads and learn about SMS as an effective tool for the deaf;
  • SaCode learned how to improve record-keeping for savings groups from Dandelion Africa and is receiving training in permaculture to improve food security in Burundi communities from BIOGI and Common Ground.
  • Several partners expressed improved leadership skills in motivating their teams, increasing trust, delegating responsibility, balancing personal life and work, expanding their networks, learning from peers and mentoring others.

EALF ’17 also idendified new opportunities for resource mobilization and discussed sustainability issues.  Key learnings came from various discussions they had about how to to keep their organizations motivated for maximum performance and accountability, how to best demonstrate impact to the community and donors, and best practices for utilizing volunteers and managing growth.

Additonally, the group  took time to mentor two organizations, from Bujumbura that came to meet with them. AJUVA – working with street children, and GIUU – providing education to girls on sexual reproductive health.

EALF sees mentorship important to advancing social change in their communities and reaching more community members in order to alleviate poverty. They examined their role as community leaders in contributing to sustainable change in their organizations and communities and concluded that the following concepts were key:

  • Respect for human life, trust, and love
  • Education of the community and interaction between leaders and peers
  • Hands-on approach to work and encouragement of self-sustainability, instilling confidence rather than a “beggar mentality”
  • Being role models of ethical interaction with their communities as a way of improving the political climate.

Ferdinand Wafula of BIOGI participating in a learning session with mentoring groups during EALF 2017.

The EALF participants expressed gratitude to Pangea for supporting this year’s forum and provided this wonderful synopsis.

We have seen how our organizations have a life of its own, like a river, how much water that runs in that river, the silt, the streams, the rocks in the river, the hills around it, the weather, all contribute to how the river flows and so does our organizations, we must feed our organizations with good values (water), talk about the rocks (stability versus challenges), and feed each other with support so that we can impact on our communities.

EALF tentatively plans to meet next year in Tanzania at TADEC. They look forward to mentoring groups there to be identified by TADEC. They are also hoping to be able to meet twice a year.

Pangea’s Africa pod, that recommends and monitors grants awarded in East Africa, is thrilled that their dream, years in the making, is helping our East Africa partners improve their programs while providing a much needed support network for one another. A Pangea Giving grant covered all  transportation expenses for the particpants of this year’s forum.