At Seed Change we do our very best to have a positive and sustainable impact on the lives of those living in Kigoma region. But it is important to know that we are not the only ones with this mission.
Last week, two members of the Seed Change team attended a “Forum for Civil Society Organizations in Kigoma”, organised by the Belgian Embassy. The event reminded us just how many non-profit organisations are operating in Kigoma. These organisations have origins all over the world; Tanzanians, East Africans, Europeans, Australians and Americans are all striving to improve human development in the region.
Yet, local people are driving development here. At the forum, we met with over a dozen local organisations working for myriad causes: protecting wildlife, improving agriculture, setting up health care and education programs, installing land plans, fighting for gender equality, to name just a few. Several of the people working for these organisations have invested most of their lives fighting for these causes. It is not difficult to imagine the knowledge and experience these people have collected over the years.
Next to the big guns of the UN, western governments, and big international NGOs (think Oxfam, Care, World Vision), these smaller organisation are equally important when developing answers for local problems. Local knowledge is key to providing solutions to these local problems, and so these organisations, although often small and with limited resources, can create a big impact in Kigoma’s communities. At Seed Change we work with the community here to build a development strategy that is embracive of global opportunities, but driven by local context.
We are not alone. While we fight poverty by investing in local, sustainable and small-scale palm oil producers, other organisations work beside us, often within the same communities, to improve lives across Kigoma Region. Meeting these organisations at the forum gave us the opportunity to get back in touch, discuss our work, share experiences, and discuss the future, because in this sector, we need everybody: the big and the small, but especially the local. After all, no NGO is an island, entire of itself.