Rikolto Project Facilitation
Working with home, far from home.
International development has been a revelation to me. I have always been drawn towards social-economic impact projects. It has therefore been quite a dream that I get to build a career in it. I prefer working with an implementing organization as a practitioner because it keeps you closer to the impact you are aiming for. I recently took part in the Rikolto- Tanzania Southern Highlands project and trust me; It got as close as I could imagine!
The entire process of assisting in a project from my home country while in the Netherlands was of course quite exciting. I got to hear stories from my home country with familiar names and accents. I got to create a video with Kiswahili subtitles and voiceovers which felt like welcoming myself all over again to my work. Having talks with the agricultural coaches from Mbeya and Njombe and pausing mid-sentence because someone just addressed me as Dada (sister). It is quite a rush, I must say.
I didn’t go through the process like a smooth Disney musical, of course. I did have moments of slight panic and self-doubt; What if I misrepresent my culture? What if my country brothers and sisters talked to me once and found me lacking? Is my Kiswahili still sounding genuine or is it punctuated by a foreign accent? Am I rolling my Rs too much? Do I sound like; “Karrrrribuni” ….
But of course these were short lived and disappeared the moment I translated a handout or saw a video of the training materials used on the field. Or when I had a meeting with the coaches and we easily fell into the lingo and expressions, and even the common teasing of each other’s regions. And mostly when in the end the coaches had such kind words and were expressive of the impact the project has ad on their careers and life.
As I write this, I realize that when we think of the impact of social-economic or capacity building projects, we visualize it as an “out-pouring” process and often forget of the impact that comes back to us. When I think of this project, I see also the big impact it has on me! The fulfillment of being near home while so far but also how rewarding the entire experience has been. So, like I said… It was quite a rush!