“We are ready.” Those words have been on the top of my mind since May when I traveled to Kigoma, Tanzania, for a four-day review of the Tuungane Project, a partnership with Pathfinder International.
While we’re focused on securing forest habitat for endangered chimpanzees and creating sustainable fisheries on Lake Tanganyika, they’re focused on improving the health of women and children by helping people plan their families. Yet we’re an integrated team with a shared vision of success.
We’ve come far in the last six years. More than 35% of forest habitat and 12 fish breeding sites are now protected. Twelve health facilities have been renovated, and 132 medical staff have been trained in emergency obstetric and newborn care.
After more than half the families in a village became “model households” demonstrating positive health and sustainability behaviors, we adjusted the measuring stick to create a “model village” that would advance progress across the entire ecosystem.
On the last day of the project review, we reported our progress to 25 visiting local government officials. Buhingu Ward Councilor Masoud Sibonja declared, “My village is ready. We want to be a model village. We cannot wait any longer. Change is happening too fast. We are ready.”
I realized that we’ve built not only demand for better land and fisheries management and demand for healthier reproductive lives, but also trust.
Driving localized impact, combined with influencing national policy, is key. We will ultimately be most successful if we pave the way for local people to shape a future that sustains them. This takes time — but when achieved, it’s a game changer.
I’m seeing the results of your support and our fantastic team, and I am excited for the future.