Karibu; "Welcome and at your service", is the title of this blog about my PUM-mission to Tanzania. Karibu, because I felt very welcome in the organization Jobortunity and in the family of the director, where I stayed almost a fortnight.
Every PUM-mission is different, that’s what makes the voluntary work for PUM so interesting. It was my first visit to Tanzania and to East-Africa. In my mind I compared my first impressions to Niger (my first PUM-mission in 2013), Aruba - where we lived from 1978 until 1984 - and Suriname, where I have been quite a few times.
My impression now is that Tanzania comes closest to Suriname. The poor infrastructure, the crowds in the street; with or without all kinds of trade, small shops, small enterprises in woodworking, welding, cementblocks or just having a cow or some goats grazing besides the road. And all of that in a beautiful, green environment, where almost no one really starves. The Arusha region also has some national parks and stunning high mountains like Mount Kilimandjaro and Mount Meru. So tourism is also important.
In Jobortunity I found a modern organization with an engaged staff that developed their own strong concept, which proved to be successful. Remarkable is that, although the circumstances in the region of Arusha differ very much from those in the region of North Kennemerland in The Netherlands, there are many similarities between Jobortunity (www.jobortunity.com) and “De Oude Keuken” in Bakkum (The Old Kitchen; www.deoudekeuken.net).
Both organizations work for vulnerable groups, people with a distance to the labour market and fit within the EU definition of social enterprises. By training, coaching and educating, both organizations greatly increase the opportunities of these people to find a job, find an existence and find happiness. Although the labour market in both regions differ significantly, they both provide in the demands of enterprises for trained staff.
Both organizations exist since around 10 years, are founded by the current director (both women) and not only proved their right to exist, but have grown to their current size into a solid organization. The current dilemmas are very similar; how do we go on? The will to grow is there, the will to still make more impact on society, but how? There are limitations to the location. Which products and services, which legal structure, with what staff, and so on.
The role and position of the director/founder also plays a factor in both organizations. Driven by passion, the two women built an organization with a lot of pioneering, that demands - other than passion - innovation and perseverance, which both women have to a great degree. But are these now the same skills needed to run the organization in it's current form? Does their role as director offer a sufficient challenge to them? I think I know the answer, but it is of course up to themselves to answer this question.
By doing the mission for Jobortunity in Arusha, which has not yet been completed as far as I am concerned, I had the opportunity to advise on the strategic plan for 2019-2024 and I can use this experience for other strategic plans, De Oude Keuken included. What else could I wish for?