Just beng a normal girl in the village of Kware in Ongata Rongai, I did not know what direction my life would take after I cleared my high school. Joining an organization that worked on the ground already seemed like the perfect way to at least help my community.
During primary and high school I would go out into the communtiy to sensitize about HIV/AIDS. Every time I would go out into the community and distribute sanitary towels to the girls I was asked for more than I was offering, sometimes food or clothing and it killed me inside knowing I did not have the power to solve all of the problems.
Tatua has been my hope and my inspiration. I love my work in the Ngong community helping them see that they are the solution to their issues.
When I see Mr. Solomon or Pastor Florence volunteer to give bus fare for people who could not get themselves to the leader’s training, I am thrilled about what the community can do when they come together.
Tatua has made me the leader I am today. I can now talk in big forums and tell them confidently there is an answer to their problems when they come together. I have learned to embrace each challenge knowing that I have a solution. Being a leader in not just being that person that calls the shots, but enables others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty.
-Rose Chege, Community Organizer in Ngong
One of the most terrifying things when it comes to community organizing is that you never really know how the community will react. We base it on assumptions and imagine the outcome and reaction prior. You do not know if they will be receptive or not, but always hope it is the case.
My first time working with the Ng’ando community was hard as most people did not understand what it meant to have ground up solutions applied to the challenges affecting the child in the community. Top down solutions come with fast results, but often treat the wrong ailments and there we go again, back to step one trying to figure out why poverty is still chasing us.
Ground up solutions, on the other hand work towards the root cause and consider community involvement as fundamental. ”Do not sit down and wait for anybody to solve your problem”,were the words Clement spoke out as she looked at her baby seated on her lap. That was a breakthrough for me. At that point I knew the community was ready to begin initiatives towards eradication of child poverty by mobilizing local resources.
The Ng’ando community has set up a leadership team, vetting/oversight committee and decided to increase the number of children going to school as their initiative.
In my case, what I hoped for is what happened. What have you hoped for your community before?
-Liz Njeri, Community Organizer in Ng’ando
There are moments in our work where we sometimes feel like we are not accomplishing anything. It can be hard to quantify the work and see a tangible impact. That does not mean one does not exist!
Last week James held a meeting for the vetting committee in Rongai and the committee had invited a few new members to see what was happening. When those new members started asking questions, something incredible happened- James did not have to answer!
It may seem like something small, but when the members of the vetting committee were able to effectively answer the questions James became aware that something was happening and his work was moving forward.
Look for small details in work that show you are doing something because they are there.
Throughout the process of community organizing we talk about relationship building. We all know that it is a crucial step, but it is so amazing when we get to see it go to a deeper level.
First you have to establish a connection and begin to foster that relationship. For Rose and Jacob in Ngong their new relationships are now deeper than just their work.
One of their leaders, Moses, called Jacob the other day not to talk about work, but to geniuinely see how he was doing. He asked about family and health.
Judith, another leader, texted Rose to wish her a good day. Jacob and Rose feel loved and taken care of by the community.
How much easier is it to work when you feel taken care of and looked after by the people you work with?