While we were in East Africa last month, we sat down with social innovators working in a variety of community development projects and asked them one question. From animal husbandry to education to job skills training, here is what they have learned.
“It is good to start small with a business like this for the first time. It gives you time to build your muscles as it grows. If you were just given a huge project right at the beginning, it would not be good. You learn as you go, from failure, from trying things.” – Edward, Tanzania
“I remember sitting in the CCW and looking at…the Circles of Protection, how communities could [protect the vulnerable by providing] jobs and wanting to offer a way for people in my community to have work, to provide for their families. I have started to work with some parents, and now I really focus on the youth – the next generation. I ask them, what do you love? And then I ask myself, who can I find to train them in that?” – Bosco, Uganda
“We have learned in our small business that everyone has a role – then we all make a little profit together. As we looked over our profits, we realized that most of our money is going towards rent, and this is a challenge. We hope someday to have our own land – to not have to rent, and to also have a farming co-op.” – Barthelemy, Congo
“Relationship is key. It’s not just about getting teachers the right training and outward forms of teaching. It’s about the heart, and the teacher connecting to the heart of the child. Then they will understand what that child needs to succeed.” – Sypora, Uganda
“We are learning that it takes time to build up the herd, make a profit. There are setbacks, but over time we can make it sustainable. Knowledge is power. If we can gain knowledge, and apply it, so much transformation can happen.” – Geoff, Tanzania