Inside TFFT’s Annual Programme Review: Musings for 2015

March 25, 2015


YES-We did it again, this January 29-30, 2015, at King Solomon Hall in Arusha we hosted our Annual Programme Review. We established TFFT’s Annual Programme Review in the interest of learning and accountability. We use these action-packed sessions to share our progress and challenges of the previous year and to absorb ideas, lessons, and experiences from other stakeholders. This exercise helps us improve our service delivery and develop more appropriate solutions to education challenges and the plight of most vulnerable children (MVC).



It is always hectic coordinating partners, including civil society organizations, orphanages and children centers, private and NGO run schools, media, government officials, and beneficiaries. Nevertheless the value of the review stems from the multidisciplinary participation.


Over the course of two days, our program managers present an overview of their program, and in-depth discussions follow each presentation.

This year, among other topics, we discussed:

How best to expand engagement of guardians and their accountability in providing quality care to scholars?

What role should schools (together with other stakeholders) play in improving academic, behavioral and talent development in scholars?

How best can mentoring and coaching of scholars and teachers be leveraged through networks with stakeholders?

How do we sustain buy-in with Government and stakeholders to pilot the newly improved personality and Sports Development curriculum with schools following the successful baseline conducted by TFFT?

The most critical question to stem from the challenges in 2014 was:

How to effectively deal with the “allowance syndrome” and sustain teacher motivation in professional development?


We also identified our priorities for 2015:

  • Develop the new strategic plan 2015-2020
  • Piloting new projects such as Personality Development and Sports curriculum and Co-school management
  • Media advocacy on MVC
  • Expanding Household Economic Strengthening component
  • Teacher motivation and mentoring
  • Co-creation of learning and teaching resources and,
  • Strengthening (with District Government) quality of care in orphanages and children centers in Meru District

We learned many lessons during the brainstorming session with boundary partners that we will strive to integrate. We see great opportunity for engaging media in advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable children. We will continue to work towards strengthening and formalizing partnerships. We will strive for joint coordination of teacher training and mentoring that will involve regular discussions with schools, guardians, and scholars.

TFFT is shifting away from service provision to developing and providing solutions to the key challenges that afflict most vulnerable children and education in Tanzania. We will integrate learning through technology, programming, pilots and studies to model innovations that inform change. We will increasingly work hand in hand with stakeholders (CSOs, Private Sector) and government as partners to scale up solutions to the twin problems of quality education and most vulnerable children.

We thank you all: My African Child, Mkombozi, AfricAID, Step By Step Learning Centre, Secondary Education for Girls’ Advancement, &Beyond, Seeway Tanzania, and many others whose ideas continue to inform our work.

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And so it begins!

March 2, 2015


The goodbyes to family, friends, and especially my dogs :) were (as always) a bit sad, but I am now so happy to say that after about 24 hours of travel, I finally made it to Arusha, Tanzania! My flights over went smoothly, and luckily all of my bags made it here in one piece. It was wonderful driving from the airport to Arusha, as it brought back so many wonderful memories from two summers ago when I was here!

mt meru

Mt. Meru

Friday morning, Meghann and I went on a nice and hilly run, which was good because getting adjusted to the terrain and altitude helped prepare me for the race on Sunday. During the day on Friday, I joined TFFT Team Members, Chloe, Hedwiga, Melissa, and Ken for a meeting they had with education coordinators from around the Arusha area. In the meeting, each Team Member presented the program they are in charge of, as well as discussed dates and actions for improving their programs this year.

relaxing day (blog)

On Sunday, Meghann, Uswege, and I woke up at 4:15am to make the drive to the town of Moshi where Mt. Kilimanjaro is! We got to the Ushirika Stadium with about an hour to stretch and get our minds set for the big race ahead of us. Needless to say, the half-marathon was one of the coolest things I have ever done. It wasn’t easy, but was most definitely worth it. The first half of the race was spent running uphill with beautiful views and many villagers cheering us on. We even ran a bit of this part of the race on dirt trails with the lush trees surrounding us. The second half of the race was spent going downhill, which was nice after spending so much time running uphill! The last 7km was probably the most difficult part of the race for me, as my muscles were aching and my legs were wearing on me. However, I forced myself to keep a positive mindset, and to keep telling myself, “It doesn’t hurt” and “You can do it.” And… I finished! I felt very proud to finish the race, but even more proud to be supporting TFFT’s efforts while running.


Meghann, Uswege, and me at the Kilimanjaro Marathon

After the race the TFFT Team went on a hike to the Marangu Waterfall, where we relaxed and enjoyed some snacks for the afternoon. It felt so good to “ice” our muscles in the pools of the waterfall, and the site was just stunning!

hike at marudu waterfall

Marangu Waterfall

Today, I will be moving into the Matonyok Parents’ Trust Orphanage, and I could not be more excited. Two summers ago, I spent three weeks living there, and fell in love with the children and lifestyle. There is something about the genuine, grounded, and loving atmosphere at Matonyok that has taken my heart. Part of my job there will be to help assist class and tend to the daily chores around the orphanage with the children! I can’t put to words my excitement to see the children again, as I know they have grown to be even more amazing and inspiring individuals.


Matonyok Parents’ Trust 2013






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Back in Tanzania!

February 25, 2015


I arrived in Tanzania 7 days ago and I am already feeling at peace. I arrived mid day and a friendly face greeted me at the airport. I then went to my favourite restaurant Fig and Olive to pick up my house keys and carried on home and to the grocery store to get properly set up. The first week was consumed with meetings to try to finalise obtaining land for a new project we are working on. Negotiating land contracts in Tanzania with foreign laws and understanding land use were never things I thought I would need to have in my arsenal, but lets just say in the past 8 years launching and running TFFT has taught me a WIDE range of things, a blessing I will never go a day without acknowledging.

Photo credit: Image Is Found

People always are shocked my trips over are 6+ weeks, but in all honesty I never feel like it is enough. Maybe it is being with the team or loving the inspiration our scholars provide, or being out at schools and in the orphanages we work with seeing the determination and change first hand. It is combination I will never be able to get enough of.

URA kids laughter

This week I’ve seen a good deal of our older scholars, which has been nice. Spending time with the scholars in small groups has made it possible to genuinely know and understand how they are doing. Form 4 National Exam results came out last week, so we are celebrating today with those scholars, while also goal setting and talking through plans for their next steps.

We’ve also spent the first part of this week talking on different radio stations about orphan and vulnerable children and how quality education plays a role in ensuring their success. Its great to see these invitations come; it is a direct result of Anton’s work with the Media workshop and our advocacy work paying off. It is nice to see the local community believe they too can be a part of the change, impacting even just one person’s life!

This week ends with the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon. I am clearly running for more than exercise. I am running to advocate on behalf of our scholars. I am running to improve the state of this world. I am running to ensure TFFT has more tools to train teachers and develop life skills curriculum. While it isn’t the most fun, seeing as it’s 6.5 miles up and then 6.6 miles down, it has more meaning than any other race I have run. It has purpose and so does our work. I hope some of you will consider donating and helping me reach my goal. This morning I am 81% there and I have 4 days left – you can read more about it and donate here.

Thanks again for following along in the TFFT journey–know you to can be a part of this impact and we are happy to have the village behinds us making TFFT’s work possible!

Photo credit: Image Is Found

All photos by The Image Is Found

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February 23, 2015


Hello! We are so excited to have one of our TFFT Scholars, Nicemary Felix, write a blog post for you all today! Nicemary has been involved with an organization called JUST BE WITH US. The organization works to provide awareness of HIV/AIDS through planting trees and educating others more about the disease. Read Nicemary’s post below to learn a little more about this awesome community service project she has put so much of her heart into…

JUST BE WITH US — An essay by TFFT Scholar, Nicemary Felix

JUST BE WITH US is an organization that we started in July of 2014. We came up with the name JUST BE WITH US because we want to do good for different people from around the world.

nicemary blog pic 3

JUST BE WITH US has been doing different projects and working with government schools and different organizations to plant trees, as well as educate others about HIV/AIDS. One of TFFT’s partner orphanages, Matonyok Parents’ Trust, is one of many of the schools that we plan to plant trees and teach others about HIV/AIDS at.

nicemary blog pic 2

The Foundation for Tomorrow has helped JUST BE WITH US through its support with helpful pieces of advice on how to expand the organization into doing more projects in different locations.

Nicemary blog pic 1

We are looking for more volunteers to help with the activities that we have been doing from simply helping us to plant trees, to helping us teach about HIV/AIDS in the community.

nicemary blog pic 4

Our current goal is to reach more than 20 schools in the Arusha area of Tanzania. With our goal, optimism, and perseverance we feel JUST BE WITH US is on the way to becoming a huge success.

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Media Workshop

February 13, 2015


Last month in Arusha, TFFT organized a workshop for 25 journalists who represent various nationwide media companies. The goal of the workshop was to engage the media in advocating for the issues of Orphans & Vulnerable Children (OVC) and child rights in Tanzania. TFFT convened these media representatives to enhance community awareness and to increase participation in addressing issues relating to OVC.


Five radio stations, three television stations, and twelve newspapers were present for the workshop. We provided these journalists with an in-depth look at the situation of OVC in Tanzania. According to UNICEF, there are nearly 2 million Orphans in Tanzania. In addition to this, the numbers of unsupported OVC are nearly twice as likely to drop out of school than non-orphans. The facilitator of the workshop also shared in detail about general child rights according to the UN charter, of which Tanzania has signed and also according to the constitution of The United Republic of Tanzania.

A current challenge is community members’ perception that OVC are the problem. We urged the media to use their voices to change this perception. One of our goals of the workshop was to teach these journalists to inspire communities to have the desire to adress the challenges OVC face.


We taught the journalists that OVC issues should be presented in a way that influence and inspires the community to participate and help solve the problems facing OVC. For example, we instructed the journalists to encourage entrepreneurship activities so that in the event of a child’s parent(s) passing, the child will still have the ability to gain the necessary support and means to live a successful life.

All in all, the workshop was very interactive and involved empowering group discussion in which the participants had the opportunity to share their own opinions, ideas and questions. Most of the journalists that spoke expressed their gratitude for the workshop, as it had opened their minds to the issues among OVC and Child Rights, and led them to feel more confident to advocate for these issues in their publications, news, reports, and/or articles.


The workshop was reported on over 13 blogs and online news sites across Tanzania. The participants all agreed that the issue of OVC is a pressing one, and that this workshop has pushed them to make the issues OVC face a key priority in upcoming nation-wide media campaigns and networks.

A special thank you to the participants: Triple A FM (Anthony Masai), Radio 5 (David Rwenyangira), Ideo Radio (Daniel Lucas), Mambo Jambo FM (Rotlinde Achimpota), and Habari Maalum Media (Daniel Magulu and Edith Laizer), Star TV (Magesa Magesa), Channel Ten (Jamilla Omar), and Clouds TV (Beatrice Gerald), Majira (Queen Lema), Nipashe (John Bosco Ngunge), Mwananchi (Peter Saramba), Habari Leo (Veronica Mheta), Jambo Leo (Rose Kitosio), Mtanzania (Eliya Mbonea), Uhuru (Lilian Joel), Upendo (Jetrula Bernard), Arusha Times (Happy Lazaro and Wankyo Gati)), Tanzania Daima (David Frank), The African (Mary Mwita), The Guardian (Cynthia Mwilolezi), and lastly, the Jamii Blog (Pamela Mollel and Woinde Shiza).

Here are the links to the blog posts that resulted from the workshop (apologies to our English readers… they are all in Swahili!):


Asante to all!

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Love Many Things

February 11, 2015


Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well, Vincent Van Gogh.

Part of what I admire so much about The Foundation for Tomorrow is the passion that drives this organization; the passion for genuine, real things such as opportunity and happiness. It’s the caring nature embedded in the Team Members, Scholars, donors, and volunteers that fuels this organization into attaining a more just world.

maketheworldabetterplace STL graphic

This past weekend, as a part of the SHARE the LOVE Campaign, Team Leader, Lambeth Allen, and I hosted a SHARE the LOVE Social. It was such a fun and eventful night most definitely filled with lots of love!


We started off the evening by having 15 girls over for some yummy salad, pasta, and Lambeth’s now famous quinoa brownies! As dinner came to a close, the girls all put on their creativity hats and made some very decorative and heartfelt Valentines for our TFFT Scholars.


After some arts & crafts, we all convened in the living room to watch TFFT’s new promotional video so eloquently put together by the Halle Project. Lambeth and I felt it was important for all of the girls attending the SHARE the LOVE Social to be able to fully understand and see what TFFT is all about.


All in all, we had a fun, love filled evening where we felt each girl walked out with a better sense of hope and idea for how to begin to attain a world filled with equal opportunity for all.

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Kilimanjaro Half-Marathon

February 5, 2015


Well it’s that time of year again and I am running up quite a mountain to raise funds and awareness for QUALITY education in Tanzania. Some would say our mission itself is an uphill battle, and on certain days I would have to agree. However, I am literally running 11.5km uphill and then 11.5km straight downhill in support of The Foundation For Tomorrow’s work- The Kilimanjaro Half Marathon!

Kili Marathon 2013 Pic

When I explain myself to people, I talk about the clarity running gives me, the peace and the ability to feed my competitive nature – all reasons why I love running. In the past decade though a lot of my races have been tied to something much greater than myself. Did I mention it’s my 6th year in a row doing this? Over the course of the last 6 years, thanks to you guys, I have personally raised over $30,000 to support improving access to QUALITY education for orphan and vulnerable children here in Tanzania. I am running to ensure these kids have a voice, and that it is an informed voice that can add value to this world. This year we want to keep that momentum and excitement that exists in TEAM TFFT.

Triplets and MG June 2014

Have you ever had interest in coming to Tanzania? Running a half or full marathon in an interesting location halfway around the world? Have you felt the urge to run under watchful eye of Mount Kilimanjaro? If your answers were yes – JOIN ME! In a little under a month I will be embarking on this race once again. I’d love to see some familiar faces and be able to get you all involved a little deeper in our work – so what do you say?

All in? – Book a flight to Tanzania today!?

With me in spirit? – Donate to TFFT as a sign of solidarity!?

URA kids teamwork in classroom

Photo credit: Image is Found

My team and these kids show me hope in action on a daily basis. Join me to continue breaking down barriers in our fight against poverty. Education is our key, and these children are our future!

TEAM TFFT Kili Marathon 2014


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February 3, 2015


Our theme for February is SHARE the LOVE, and this will be the third year of a fun Valentines Campaign Challenge. This year we have 12 awesome Team Leaders who have committed to SHARE’n some LOVE this season!

getoutthere STL graphicThese young women are empowering and all capable young women with such big hearts, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them serve as Team Leaders for this year’s challenge. The goals of our Team Leaders are to gather everyone they know and spread awareness of TFFT’s work, while ultimately showing that when working together, we can all make a difference!

Difference-fin-smThe challenge runs now through February 14th, and each Team Leader will be asking family and friends to make small contributions of $5, $10, or $20 to support the vulnerable and deserving children we serve. A small donation may not seem significant, but in the end what starts out as something small, truly turns into something life-changing!

maketheworldabetterplace STL graphicIf you have some LOVE to share, we suggest you head over to meet the phenomenal SHARE the LOVE Challenge team leaders and make a $10 contribution to one of their campaigns!

tfftkidsneedyou STL graphic

Each of our Team Leaders has such creative and fun fundraising strategies, ranging from homemade Valentines, to SHARE the LOVE dinner parties, to hot cocoa sales! These fine women couldn’t be a more kind-hearted and caring group of individuals, and it is our hope that you will be just as inspired to SHARE the LOVE as they are.


We also have the fun opportunity for you to send some homemade love to the TFFT scholars! Gather your family and friends together to get crafty and make valentines for the TFFT Scholars. We will then hand deliver them to Tanzania! More information on that over here.

Step 2Lastly, on behalf of all of our TFFT team and scholars we want to emphasize our many thanks to our wonderful Team Leaders and those who have loved them and made them who they are today. It is because of individuals like you, that our scholars are able to have the opportunity to thrive and succeed in life.

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2014 in Review

January 29, 2015


Hello! How is the first month of 2015 almost over?! I can’t let January pass me by without posting our Annual Blog Review! (You can read 2013’s review here and 2012’s here.) 2014 was another full year for TFFT. Now, as we begin a new year, pausing to reflect on all that the previous year held is an important place to start. Today and tomorrow our team is hosting our Annual Program Review for all our stakeholders (anyone involved with our work) in Tanzania. More on that soon, but the timing is right to look back at 2014 through the blog!


In our office, we have been thinking a lot about living intentionally. It is easy to be pulled into a pattern of being busy. However, it’s important to remember that the mere act of busying yourself is not fulfilling. What is it that you are working so hard to achieve?

The Foundation For Tomorrow envisions a world where orphans and vulnerable children contribute to society as active and empowered citizens free of exclusion, disadvantage, and vulnerability.

2014 was Kennedy’s first full year as TFFT’s Country Director, and he started the year with some reflections on TFFT’s priorities moving forward. He followed up with additional reflections in the fall.


In an effort to ensure that our support reaches the most vulnerable children, we introduced our Community Identification Process for scholar selection. This led us to welcome 10 new scholars to the TFFT Family!



In February, 9 young women stepped up as Team Leaders in the SHARE the LOVE Challenge and raised awareness and funds for TFFT! Many more of you showered our scholars with love through homemade valentines.

STL team leaders

YOU showed us that you believe in TFFT’s work by supporting the Annual Fund Campaign! During this campaign, I had an ice-cream meeting with TFFT’s youngest member of the Impact Circle, 5th grade Kieran Caniglia.

ice cream meeting

Your support helped us broaden our scholars’ worldviews with an exciting Guest Speaker Series, through community service, and on a field trip to tour the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. You can read about this experience from the scholars’ perspectives here. We also led a 6-day workshop on leadership, communication, confidence, goal setting, community service, and project planning, in collaboration with RENEW.

Our scholars had the opportunity to be reporters for a day.

In an effort to empower our scholars’ families and guardians, we hosted our first ever Entrepreneurship Training.



In an on-going effort to equip educators with valuable resources, our Teacher Training Program published the first two volumes of Tufundishane, a collection of essays written for teachers, by teachers. Melissa also urged teachers to open their minds to alternative (and more effective) forms of assessment. YOU helped Melissa share books of hope through Literacy Resource Centers.


Meghann represented TFFT at the US-Africa Leaders Summit, thanks to an invitation from Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, the Tanzanian Ambassador to The United States. Meghann was also the only American Global Shaper invited to attend The World Economic Forum’s regional summit SHAPE AFRICA in Nigeria. Upon her return, Meghann shared her lessons learned. Meghann also spent time in Tanzania and  was always ready to share her insightful thoughts (more here!).


It was a RIDETZ year, which means that an amazing group of riders came together and rallied for TFFT’s work during the adventure of a lifetime. We are still AMAZED by the generosity of our riders and their families and friends. Together the riders raised $105,000! Most importantly, they opened their hearts in indescribably ways and left as ambassadors for TFFT. (Meet the amazing Pam, Katie, Rachel, Patty and Stu, Lisa, Charlotte, Sutton, Nate, Keyla, Kautia, and Aileen)




Our donors continued to amaze us as they hosted special gatherings to share TFFT’s work with their dear friends and family.


Some impressive interns strengthened our team: Maggie returned, Elizabeth joined us in Charlotte, and Anna traveled to Tanzania.

maggie back


The brilliant Tyler Wolford and Nate Kaiser artfully captured TFFT’s work through video and photography before leading RIDETZ.



Anton joined our team as Partnership Development Manager.


Full Circle launched an exciting pilot project that has the potential to impact all government schools in Tanzania.


In September, we celebrated the graduation many of our scholars, some from primary to secondary (middle to high school) and some from O-Levels (the first part of high school). Graduation is always a powerful symbol of all that we are accomplishing together.




In November we celebrated the individuals who’s generosity makes our work possible. It is both powerful and very special to gather so many people who believe in TFFT’s work together under one roof.


In December we hosted the first-ever Family Day for TFFT scholars and their families and guardians.


And then we focused up to plan for the New Year!


Thank you for choosing the stand behind TFFT! Together we are moving mountains!

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Introducing Ramon!

January 14, 2015

Hello! It is with great excitement that we introduce Ramon Richardson, TFFT’s new Director of Operations! Ray’s passion for education, extensive experience working for educational equity, and legal background make him the perfect fit for the role. Our entire team is eager to work with and learn from him. The Director of Operations is critical to TFFT’s growth and success. We hope you’ll take a moment to read below to see how lucky TFFT is to have Ray on our team. Please join us in welcoming Ray to The Foundation For Tomorrow!


My name is Ramon Richardson, and I am from San Diego, California. Throughout my life I have lived in various locations within the United States. I was born in Wichita, Kansas on May 13, 1977. As a child and as an adult I have lived in many cities – from Wichita, KS to Los Angeles, CA to San Diego, CA to Washington, DC and now Charlotte, NC. I have now been in Charlotte for the past seven months with my fiancé, Rebekah, and our son, Jeremiah. My immediate family includes my parents, sister, three nieces and nephew. My extended family includes fourteen aunts and uncles, and over two hundred cousins. Family is extremely important to me! Aside from enjoying time with family, I love reading books, watching movies, cooking, going to the gym, and taking pictures of nature.


I graduated from the University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA), in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in History. Upon graduating from UCLA, I joined a Teach For America where I committed five years teaching elementary students in the Compton Unified School District, at Ralph J, Bunche Elementary School. After teaching for five years I decided to further my education and attended Howard University School of Law where I earned my Juris Doctorate. While attending law school, I had an opportunity to go to Cape Town, South Africa for a six-week study abroad.  During this short summer experience I had an opportunity to visit and work with orphan children infected with HIV. It was a great experience.


After completing my law degree, I was a practicing attorney in Washington, DC, for two years. I realized while practicing law that working with children and giving back to my community in some capacity was my life’s mission. With a new direction in life, I was afforded the opportunity to become the Principal of Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School, where I served for five years. This past May of 2014, I decided that I need to do something more to impact the lives of children.


My goal for the year is to make the work that we do in both Charlotte and Tanzania seamless. We are in two locations yet the work that we do serves a common purpose. I hope to work with the both locations to make the physical separation of offices seem nonexistent.


I am so grateful for my life’s experiences because without them I would not have found TFFT or had this opportunity to work with staff and the amazing scholars that we serve. I am so excited to join the team and continue in the great work that the TFFT team has already begun. I truly believe in TFFT’s mission and working toward securing quality education and emotional support for underprivileged children. I believe that all children are capable of accomplishing great things, when access to resources and opportunities are provided.


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