The Importance of Team Building

Team building is an essential skill in community organizing.

Each one of our communities is working on creating a leadership team and a team of volunteers to support their work. In order to do this successfully our community organizers will employ their skills in team building.

Jacob realized the importance of this the other day after speaking with some of the Ngong volunteers. They expressed their concern that they did not feel like a cohesive group. Rose and Jacob held a meeting where they set rules, norms, norm corrections, and next steps. After the meeting the group feels much more comfortable with each other and understand what their individual roles are and how they work together.

In the next coming weeks each of our communities will have a leadership team ready to work. Follow our blog to keep updated on the progress.


Sometimes we all just need a little encouragement. After a long day of pouring yourself into your work, those last couple of hours can be really difficult.

When Tony felt that way last week, he knew he needed to send out a text reminder to people about his forum, but his engery level was so low. After his first round of texts he received 3 responses that inspired him to keep going and end the day with a renewed energy.

A man named Isaac called Tony immediately to say, “Thank you so much for minding about our community. Thank you so much.” One mama texted back saying she would be there. FInally, Chief Abdirzak called to say thank you as well. Those three people, without realizing it, are contributing in a big way to the community work.

What keeps you going when you are feeling burnt out?

Tips From Tatua::True Poverty

April 6th I was asked to give a TEDx Talk in Mathare. The invite was exciting, fun and incredibly humbling. TED is a non-profit organization that asks speakers to share their life story and how their unique past led them to the work they are doing. This story/result should challenge the audience’s beliefs and provoke conversation.

You would think for some one who is versed/teaches narrative this would have come easily to me but I was forced to really think about what I wanted to say. I didn’t want to get up there and give the usual “Tatua Rocks” schpeel, though we do rock. Instead, I was hoping to focus on the method/belief behind our work – that true development goes beyond the material to the spiritual.

This belief is based in our understanding of poverty. We believe that poverty is more than a lack resources; it is a lie that you are in fact, inferior to the people who hold those resources. It is a lie that you do not have the power to create your own solutions.

Currently, the majority of our development programs are focused on addressing the lack of resources rather than the lie that causes and encompasses that lack of resources, for more on how we’ve come to believe this lie see here.

The trick with narrative is that to tell a good one you’ve got to know why you know something is true. I mean, I know that but this was a new narrative for me, I haven’t really talked about when I knew the difference between the tangible lack of resources I experienced as a child (I’ve talked about that before) but this time I was talking about when I felt poor.

I was able to coach myself well enough to get to a story that I could tell.

I was ten years old, it was cold outside and time for recess. I was wearing this old, pink, thin windbreaker. I ddin’t want to go to recess, I didn’t want the other kids to see my jacket, they all had warm clothes. So I hid, I curled up in a little ball in the ourdoor hallways of bendwood elementary and I hid. I continued hiding for the next eighteen years. 

-Natalie Finstad, Executive Director of Tatua Kenya

First Community Forum in Nkoroi, Success!

Ken Chomba leading a discussion at his forum in Nkoroi.
Ken Chomba leading a discussion at his forum in Nkoroi.

Ken Chomba, community organizer in Nkoroi, hosted his first community forum last week and this is what he had to say about it.

For the first time in my life i felt so over privileged when people said all the good things at me. The chief insisted that we do a vote of thanks and they all just praised me. However, that was just a moment of feeling like a king, it got me back quickly to the quote Natalie read to us on the Easter weekend on servant leadership. I remembered to praise everyone back because honestly, it was about them. They showed up so this meeting would be a success. This community here is just the bomb. They have just increased my passion for doing this work.

I met a group of 8 young mothers that have been saving 50shs every week, but they didn’t know what to do with it. We agreed that they choose 2 among them to be their leaders and from there start to recruit some sort of support. They now have Risper Wanjiku as their liason with me and I will get them a lady from Equity foundation and a contact from Jamii Bora to help them build their personal capacities to manage the money they have saved.

I will still be happy to say that 58 people attended the forum. So humbling folks. I am reminded that this work is definitely happening. Challenging people to their power. These ladies are a perfect example of community starting to awaken.

Click Here to see photos from the forum!