Reflections on Transition – Kenneth Chomba

In early January, the Tatua team realized that our work had moved away from being community based and was becoming much more institutionalized than we intended.  As a result, we decided to enter into a three-month process  led by the executive staff to reaffirm our vision and mission as well as re-affirm our values. We have done this as an entire staff 100% of the time, which is not a common way of doing things in an organization.  This also included discussing Natalie and Sarah’s upcoming departures, coming-up with a new organizational structure,  deciding on staff roles and salaries as a team. I asked the Tatua team to give their thoughts on the process and what it has meant to them.

Our first reflection comes from Kenneth Chomba

I closed the year 2013 with a good plan and expectation of what would become of 2014. I had a good appraisal from 2013 that raised my salary for 2014, and added new job responsibilities. I began to make plans for 2014 with lots of excitement. One day Natalie came in with a concern about how the organization was growing and challenging the path we had chosen to expand.  It would challenge our organization structure, design of programs and inevitably my expected pay check. I received it with a lot of fear and became so defensive. I was not even sure of staying in an organization that would support these possible changes.  Instead of leaving, I chose to open my heart to this uncertainty.  I have experienced the warmth and company of the Tatua staff all through the time.  e have approached these situations together, we have had sessions of expressing our frustration to each other and those have helped in facing this hidden fears and go through a process that has shaped my leadership and relationship to the world tremendously.  It’s hard to express with words what it feels to come out of this process  victorious. 

 

Kenneth Chomba with Natalie after a leadership training in 2013.
Kenneth Chomba with Natalie after a leadership training in 2013.
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Reflection :: Lining the world up with truth

Tony Ngala, Tatua Community Organising Fellow in Mandika, reflects on his work of restoring truth in our world. Tony is leading a campaign in Mandika to get parents to take responsibility for their kids going to school.  

“Our work is lining the world up with truth.”

These words gave me strength during my coaching session with Ken and Natalie last week. The community has its foundations of lies, former encounters with “people” coming to fix the community that have lied to the community. The community has been disappointed by people who have promised to come back after taking a few videos, photographs, collecting a few documents about the groups in the community and then, leaving.

During my work of asking parents to come together and talk about the challenges facing our children it has been extremely hard to introduce myself as a member of the Tatua Kenya staff because of their perceptions of NGO’s. The push hard and then the truth looks bitter but I know my work is to offer a view of a new kind of NGO and to “line the world up with truth,” that is my work.

Follow this link to vote Natalie Finstad for Most Valuable Organiser in 2013 — http://rootscamp.neworganizing.com/awards/2013/mvo/entry/natalie-finstad/

Update :: Tatua Builds Partnerships for Greater Impact

Sign describing services offered at Hope World Wide Kenya in Makuru
Sign describing services offered at Hope World Wide Kenya in Mukuru

Kenneth Chomba, Co-Founder and Field Manager shares about how Tatua Kenya is building partnerships for change with other organizations in Kenya. 

Kenneth Chomba, Tatua Kenya Field Manager, teaching at a training at Nyumbani Children's Home.
Kenneth Chomba, Tatua Kenya Field Manager, teaching at a training at Nyumbani Children’s Home.

In the past week, Natalie and I had the opportunity to visit one of Hope worldwide projects based at the heart of Mukuru kwa Reuben, one of the informal settlements in the capital, Nairobi. Hope worldwide has an incredible staff that is grounded on offering services that will help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the slum area. In just one visit, I realized that there activities were so coherent and easily identify to their goal. I remember saying to the team that it feels like I have known this place for too long. The project is a case of worth partnerships that have worked together to develop different programs at the centre that will help steer the community towards an HIV free generation.

They have managed to offer clinical tests and management of HIV/AIDS, Counseling services, care for orphaned and vulnerable children and several tertiary courses that are taught to community members at a very minimal cost. Benson, the coordinator of the institution also brought to our attention that the land in which the centre is established was donated by the community through its local administration. The organization has been in Mukuru for a couple of years. One question I asked the team from Hope, “why do you think the spread of HIV/AIDS exists? Is it utter ignorance from the victims or lack of information about the causes of HIV/AIDS?” Most of the answers we got touched on poverty. However, we do know that there are HIV victims coming from wealthy and informed backgrounds. It is with this realization that we started looking towards a behavioral change approach to prevention of HIV/AIDS spread. Tatua Kenya is excited on the possibilities of having a fellow jointly with Hope worldwide that would work in Mukuru on an initiative towards behavior change for prevention of HIV/AIDS spread.

In the same week, Tatua Kenya hosted a public Narrative training in partnership with Children of God Relief Institute (COGRI) at their Karen Head Quarters. The training brought together COGRI alumni from Lea toto, Nyumbani Village and Nyumbani Home all part of COGRI projects. Most of the children graduating from the program are orphaned children from poor backgrounds. Tatua Kenya is looking to having a fellow jointly with COGRI that would start a campaign that looks to create, strengthen and implement policies towards the care of orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya from the bottom going up. Tatua and COGRI entered a consensus that we would hold a one day training to build relationships with the alumni who would be potential candidates to the 2 year fellowship. Tatua is excited to start this partnership with COGRI from the overwhelming expression of interest to join the fellowship from the participants of this training. We are now on course to open the application process for the candidates in a few weeks.