TFFT Receives Accreditation from Molly’s Network

May 22, 2017

I have the pleasure to announce to our donors and supporters that The Foundation For Tomorrow received accredited status from Molly’s Network, Tanzania’s first rigorous, independent NGO accreditation agency. This accreditation means a lot to us and represents proof of the team’s sincere efforts to make our programs and operations effective and efficient.

Molly’s Network was established in 2011 by Paul Joynson-Hicks. The inspiration to create an accreditation agency was born of the challenges he encountered when he wanted to donate to small, local organizations through the Dar Es Salaam Goat Races (one of Tanzania’s largest fundraising events). He was unable to identify credible small-scale organizations that were not on the standard circuit. With the help of NGO and donor experts, Molly’s Accreditation was born. Molly’s Network accreditation agency was shaped by their thorough research of existing accreditation models—from government endorsed accreditations to non-profit independent accreditation agencies to private sector accreditation agencies. This was further honed with the help of Good Governance Group Foundation (G3F) who worked with them to ensure their assessment process is rigorous, standard, and transparent and that decisions are not prone to bias.

The assessment process involved interviewing our partners, stakeholders, beneficiaries, and staff members and going through our policies and documents. Six areas were considered: Strategy and Purpose, Reputation and Community Buy-in, Legalities and Governance, Financial Accountability, Program Management, Growth and Resource Mobilization. 

In order to score highly, an organization under consideration must be able to demonstrate that it is meeting a need that has been identified by the local community. The organization must be able to demonstrate that it has a good public profile and is well known for its work within the local community. TFFT also demonstrated fulfilled legal requirements to be recognized as a legitimate organization and demonstrated rigorous financial processes and controls. As an organization, we showed proof of our project targets and quality results. We also demonstrated our plans for future growth.

The Foundation For Tomorrow garnered an aggregate score of 97.5 from these 6 areas, out of a possible 120. This is a huge accomplishment for us considering that since Molly’s Accreditation started in 2011, 90 organizations have been assessed and to date, only 12 have been awarded the Accredited status! This accreditation status will help us continue to earn public trust, recognition of our work, and hopefully open doors to more partnerships and access to local and international funding. The assessment panel also gave us recommendations for areas to strengthen within our organization. We are taking the recommendations seriously and we are working to implement them.

As we bask in this moment of glory, we would like to thank you for your unrelenting support for The Foundation For Tomorrow. Your support inspires us always to continue doing the right thing even when challenges abound. I also have to compliment the TFFT team for their passion and hard work and our Board of Directors for their guidance.

Posted in Development, Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

Scholars’ Excitement for the Learning Centre

May 16, 2017

We are excited with anticipation for the groundbreaking of TFFT’s Learning Centre…and so are our scholars! We believe that offering opportunity to the future generation gives hope for a better tomorrow for us all. The Learning Centre will help do just that. Equipped with a library and resource centre, technology and computer training centre, higher education advisory and scholarship centre, teacher training and literacy lab, NGO and social entrepreneurship incubator, and office and conference rooms, TFFT’s Learning Centre will serve as a true change agent. Today, we share interviews with three of our scholars who explain a bit about themselves, how becoming a TFFT Scholar impacted their lives, and hopes for the Learning Centre’s impact.

GADIEL: age 14, Class 5 at Usa River Academy

My name is Gadiel and I am 14 years old. My favorite subjects are math, Kiswahili, and English. I go to the school library and read books over the weekends and I also like to draw during my free time. Science is difficult for me, so TFFT arranged for tutoring outside of class to help me improve. I hope to become a pilot in the future. I also hope that one day I will be able to help children in my community by paying their school fees, just like what TFFT does for me now.

I have five siblings. Only two of my siblings were able to complete their primary education. My mother works as a shopkeeper, and my father passed away when I was young.

My happiest memory is when I found out that I was admitted to TFFT’s Scholarship Program. This was the happiest day of my life! Since my two siblings who completed primary school were not able to advance to secondary school, I see the opportunity to attend school as a great gift. I was also very happy the first time I was able to meet my sponsor, Laura Thompson.

I am excited for the Learning Centre to open because if there are things that I was unable to learn at school, I can go to the Learning Centre for help. It will help me to supplement my studies and to learn other things like computer and life skills education. I believe the Learning Centre will help the community by providing classes and programs that are not taught in school or elsewhere. Parents who do not have enough money to buy books for their children can borrow from the library in the Learning Centre. They can also take their children to computer classes offered in the Learning Centre.

FATUMA: age 10, Class 5 at Usa River Academy

I am Fatuma and I am 10. I go to school at Usa River Academy and I love to read books. Before joining TFFT, I lived with my grandmother, and now I stay with her during school holidays. I used to struggle in school. The happiest day of my life was when TFFT came to my family to tell us that I would be sponsored for my studies. I am happy at Usa River Academy and thankful to be able to study at such a nice school. My teachers help me to improve my studies and stay motivated to do well in school.

I think the Learning Centre will be useful to the community because people will have access to learn skills such as tailoring and computer literacy. Also because there will be books in the library and students will come to read and learn different things outside of school.

NELSON: age 14, Class 5 at Usa River Academy

My name is Nelson. I joined TFFT in 2016 and started school at Usa River Academy on January 11th, 2016. My favorite subjects in school are math, science, and geography. I also like to read.

Before I joined TFFT, I was sponsored by another person to go to school. Unfortunately, after I finished class 3, my sponsor was unable to continue helping me so I had to stop attending school because my parents could not afford to pay tuition. This was upsetting to my parents and me. I am so thankful that in 2016, I was able to go to school again, sponsored by TFFT.

My goal is to study at university and then become a pilot. I believe that receiving an education will help me to support my community. I think that the Learning Centre will be very useful for me to learn computer skills and bring compassion to other people.

Thank you for supporting TFFT as we move into a new chapter. Your support means the most to our scholars, and time again we hear so many of them say that the happiest memory they have is when they found out that they would become a TFFT Scholar. We cannot wait to provide them with a space and resources that before they could have only imagined. Thank you for being a part of this with us. The Learning Centre truly will have a monumental impact on the lives of our scholars and the community as a whole.

Posted in Development, Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Career Mentoring Tour

May 12, 2017

TFFT Form 4 graduates are busy individuals! This is a great privilege. For many Tanzanian students who have completed Form 4 and are waiting for the next year to start Form 5, this period can be a long drawn out time. At TFFT, we like to give our scholars during this time opportunities that will inspire them, make them grow, and keep them learning. In between completing community service work and starting a three month computer course, our post Form 4 students were invited on an educational day tour of Arusha.

The Career Mentoring Tour took the form of visits to three different educational institutes in Arusha. We visited Arusha Technical College, University of Dar es Salaam in Arusha, and the National Tourism College. The purpose of the tour was to inspire our scholars with possibilities that they might not have previously thought about. We gathered practical information about the courses offered, selection requirements, and learned about enrollment processes. The most fruitful experience was meeting so many people that were enthusiastic about their work, and prepared to share their passion.

At the Arusha Technical College, we saw civil engineering workshops, mechanical engineering garages, and woodcraft and metalcraft students at work. At the University of Dar es Salaam, we met an enthusiastic lecturer who shared his passion for blogging and spoke of computer courses on security, commerce, and mass communication. He is even going to write a blog about our visit! At the National Tourism College, we saw students baking breads, taking cooking lessons, and setting up a room for a conference and fine dining. We visited the library and discussed with the college academic coordinator the employment possibilities in the tourist industry in Northern Tanzania.

We all had an interesting day, seeing things we have never seen before, and meeting people we would never have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Perhaps the scholars did not change their life goals, but they gathered a clearer understanding of university life and internalized the importance of further study.

Posted in Scholarship Program, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Special Education Training Follow-Up

May 9, 2017

In November, special education teachers participated in a 10 day long practical training at Step-by-Step Learning Centre, one of TFFT’s partner schools. The goal of this training was to build the teachers’ capacity to provide quality instructions to students with special needs or disabilities. I completed a follow-up assessment of three special education teachers at Uhuru and Meru primary schools in Arusha City. The goal of the follow up was to see how these teachers apply the knowledge, skills, and attitude gained from training into their lesson plans. The assessments helped to determine whether there was any need for extra support to help the teachers to make these differences. We also wanted to see what works and which area needs improvement in our training sessions.


I interviewed and conducted classroom observations for Anna Lekule from Uhuru Primary and Neema Lema and Yuster Njau from Meru primary school. I was happy to see that these trained teachers cascaded TFFT’s training to fellow teachers in their respective schools. This helps to broaden the impact of TFFT’s trainings and  enables a common understanding of each training’s purpose. Each teacher discussed how the training contributed to many positive changes in their attitude towards teaching children with disabilities. This has a positive impact on the students’ lives both while they are at school and when they are at home. For instance, I noticed an improvement in the relationships between teachers and students. This was due to the use of positive behavior modifications, taught by TFFT’s training. Before the training, methods used to discipline students negatively affected their relationships with teachers.

The training allowed for daily and weekly activities to be integrated into the special education curriculum. One such activity is circle time, when students from each grade level are gathered together each morning. During this time, the students sing songs like the National Anthem, discuss the weather, learn the days of the week, and get to know each other. Walking is another activity introduced on every Thursday for the younger students. The children walk around the school neighborhood and learn skills such as crossing the roads, buying small items from a store, and safety in general. This is beneficial for the students to learn these simple street skills in a safe environment under the care of their teachers. The teachers have also established time for gardening as a class, to help special needs students to learn skills that will help them in the future, outside of school.

Another factor taught at TFFT’s training that I witnessed in action is the application of individualized instruction to special needs students. Before, the teachers did not use individualized instruction, but after the training they learned to integrate individualized learning plans (ILP) based upon the abilities and interests of each special needs student to effectively support each of them. The teachers’ instruction in the classroom has improved since attending the training and I saw how they apply relevant participatory teaching techniques that caters to the students’ needs.

As a result of my classroom observations of the special education teachers, I took note of how the training helped them to blend the theories they have into real practices. The Foundation For Tomorrow looks forward to see how the teachers who have attended our training sessions will continue to make progress at furthering quality education in their respective schools and throughout Tanzania.

Posted in Tanzania, Teacher Training, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

TFFT Parenting Workshop

May 4, 2017

Last week, we spent time with a group of 14 guardians of our scholars at TFFT’s first parent training. The main purpose of this training is for TFFT to emphasize the importance of guardians’ involvement in their child’s life both at home and in school. The guardians have been grouped according to geographical location, and we expect to host training sessions for all of our scholars’ guardians to attend in the location that is most convenient.

We shared with each guardian details about their child’s aspirations and what areas they excel in at school, and the guardians shared details with TFFT about what they observe when the scholars are at home on break. It was interesting to compare what goals the scholars share with their guardians vs. with TFFT.

We explained the importance of creating a relationship with the scholars while they are away at school. Ways of doing this include visiting them at school and picking them up from and dropping them off at school before and after holidays. At the training, we encouraged the guardians to praise their children’s work to motivate them and to improve self esteem. We also explained how to help children balance the various aspects of school and home life. We focused on how the development of a well-rounded, successful person happens through more than academics and grades. We want to help our scholars to develop in social, creative, and emotional ways.

We also talked about the six dimension of the wellness wheel. This includes six important elements: intellectual, physical, social, environmental, emotional, and spiritual as seen. Ideally, all six aspects should be attended to for a balanced life.

Part of the training session focused on behavior. We began with a quote from James Lehman, “Good behavior is a skill, and kids can learn the skill they need by making it a goal to achieve”. We went through four steps to help guide our scholars’ guardians on how to enforce positive behavior during break. First, pick one or two behaviors to work on with their child. Second, define a behavioral issue in a positive way for a child to understand. Third, to come up with a goal, which is realistic, specific, and measurable. Finally, create steps to take that will help meet the measurable goal.

Before the training was over, we had a brief review of each topic covered throughout the day. The guardians present participated in the training and left with an assignment to do with their child during the next school break. We hope to check in with them in June when the scholars are on break.

Posted in Development, Psychosocial + Health, Tanzania | Comments closed

Livelihood Initiatives Progress

May 1, 2017

Daniel interns with our Psychosocial & Health Program to build TFFT’s Livelihood Initiatives. His strong passion for our mission is inspiring, and we have seen him bring a positive impact to TFFT’s work. Read Daniel’s reflection about his latest projects below.

TFFT’s Livelihood Initiative project helps our scholars’ parents and guardians learn and jump-start business plans to supplement household income. We aim to enable guardians to support their families and provide for their children. We also hope that children within these households can observe and learn livelihood skills from their guardians.

This month, I visited the guardians involved in TFFT’s Livelihood Initiatives to observe the progress that they have each made. The households that I visited received a loan from TFFT within the past one-two months. I was able to assess the progress made and help them to incorporate any business advice.

In the monitoring visit survey, the guardians were asked questions about their work and how many hours per week they spend working, exactly how they used their loan from TFFT, how profitable the business is, and how they will manage the profits to repay TFFT for the loan. We also discussed the number of customers who come to the business, the records that each guardian logs each day, who is responsible for daily operations and purchases, and what they view as successes and challenges.

During visits, I worked to help solve any challenges that guardians said they faced in business. I provided education and ideas about customer care and innovative business ideas to attract more customers and raise profits. TFFT’s intention is to ensure that the guardians of our scholars succeed in their business ventures.

I visited six guardians who live in Usa River, Sakina, Kikatiti, and Unga Limited. Their businesses include selling swarm, charcoal, and fish, keeping chicken, selling maize in the market, and selling drinks like beer and soda. Each guardian has expressed happiness for the livelihood opportunities that TFFT has helped to provide them. They also see the benefits that they are able to provide to family members and take pleasure in the ability to provide for their family’s basic needs. Many aspire to continue to grow their business through TFFT’s Livelihood Initiatives. The guardians have so much pride for their work and give thanks to TFFT for the help they have received through this project.

Posted in Development, Psychosocial + Health, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

TFFT Alumni Meeting

April 26, 2017

Throughout the course of each TFFT Scholar’s educational journey (an average of 12 years), many lasting connections and relationships develop. When a scholarship is completed, it is not possible to end the interest and concern for that young person. They have been family for too long! While financial support of a scholarship may come to an end, the psychological connection continues.

The number of TFFT Alumni is growing as scholars complete their formal education. Presently, we have 11 alumni and within a year, we will have 16 alumni. TFFT’s Scholarship Program is making efforts to start an Alumni Group that will see to the needs of our past scholars. To this effort, we gathered our alumni a few weeks ago, for our inaugural meeting.

Our first important step was rebuilding connections and catching up on what has happened over the last year or so. Our meeting started like most family gatherings in Tanzania – with tea, cake, and samosas. The scholars who were able to attend chatted informally, reminisced about old times, and shared stories they knew about others who were not present. All enjoyed the reflective exercise that followed, where participants thought about and shared their ambitions and dreams, their roots, and all the people along the way who have supported them.

Some of our alumni have retained close connections with TFFT, visiting the office often to assist with programs and running mentoring sessions with the younger scholars. However, most alumni have traveled throughout Tanzania to pursue careers and independent lives. For our first meeting we had one alumnus travel from Lushoto, and it was great that he had the opportunity to connect with old friends. He was so enthusiastic and excited. This reminds us that TFFT Scholars have developed strong bonds, and meetings such as this are indeed a celebration.

The purpose of alumni groups can vary, and how to formulate a functional dynamic and purposeful group is learning experience. For most of us on the day of the first group meeting, it was a new concept. Members of the TFFT team hoped that the group of alumni could start planning activities they would like to do, but what we found is the group really didn’t have much of an experience of a group such as this and what it could achieve. Therefore, we took time to discuss the function of alumni groups in general, the power of networking, and the importance of giving back to the society.

Phone numbers were exchanged and promises to meet in a few months were made. Our Alumni Group has great potential and we were encouraged to think that it will be a great way to maintain connections. As more TFFT scholars graduate, our Alumni Group will grow in numbers and in strength.

 

Posted in Development, Scholarship Program, Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

TFFT Scholar Volunteer Work

April 24, 2017

TFFT works to empower our scholars to actively contribute to development in local communities. One way we prepare our scholars for this is by giving them the opportunity to participate in community service work. Our post form four scholars volunteer to help with a project of their choice for one month during their break from school.

This year we had four scholars volunteer at the District Social Welfare Office -Meru, located at Tengeru District Hospital in Arusha Region. The scholars were Star High School graduates Joachim Filbert, Allan Varraeli, Fadhili Peter, and Ashura Yohana.

Working alongside the district social welfare officers in their work and helping to keep records at the office was an enriching experience for our scholars. Some of the other volunteer responsibilities included supporting doctors at Tengeru hospital during the blood donation day and keeping the office organized. TFFT Scholar Fadhili was excited to help collect information to prepare identification cards for community members.

Giving back to the community is important because it ties our scholars to their roots and helps them understand the need for TFFT quality education. In order for the scholars to thrive in their home communities, they need to actively participate and engage in their communities. This is what TFFT’s Scholarship Program seeks to achieve through scholar community service projects. We hope that our scholars will use this experience to increase their passion for bettering the lives of themselves and their fellow community members.

Posted in Scholarship Program, Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Fueling Change

April 21, 2017

A recent article in my hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, made a compelling and enthusiastic case for building a $93 million—ninety-three MILLION—dollar library in downtown Charlotte. This sort of investment shows that we KNOW the value of state-of-the-art learning facilities.

Then I found myself in a conversation where I had to passionately insist that students in Tanzania deserve more than bare concrete walls and a tin roof.

The inequity sickens me, but the way the individuals who support The Foundation For Tomorrow respond to this inequity makes me proud.

The TFFT community has taken a stand to say this is insufficient. Together you have invested millions of dollars in making sure children in Tanzania receive the quality education they deserve. Time and again you have demonstrated that you are ready to think beyond the bare necessities in order to focus on QUALITY education for all. You have joined me in my steadfast belief that geography should not dictate how far an individual can go in their life or the quality of education someone receives.

Up until now this has taken shape through TFFT’s Scholarship, Teacher Training, and Full Circle Programs.

We are now at a time in the life of our forward-thinking organization where we are ready to build a learning centre that will change the trajectory of education in Tanzania. With an extensive and technologically advanced library and computer centre, literacy lab, teacher training centre, entrepreneur incubator, and college guidance facility, this 17,000 square foot learning centre will be a catalyst for Tanzanians to unlock their own potential.

This is a big moment for The Foundation For Tomorrow. This is a big moment for Tanzania.

In partnership and with 2.2 million dollars, we can co-create something powerful, something that will be the first of its kind in Tanzania—something that will represent and ignite hope and potential.

Through TFFT we have the unique opportunity to dream with the people of Tanzania to create a place that will open doors for students young and old. The library in Charlotte says to learners and leaders in the community: You are worth it. You have valuable ideas. Let’s build something that sends the same message to our learners and leaders in Tanzania.

Posted in Development, Food for Thought Friday, Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

Matron Workshop

April 10, 2017

TFFT is able to support our scholars and other Tanzanian students by ensuring that the people who have daily interactions with them have the skills and knowledge needed to ensure positive outcomes. TFFT has programs to build the capacity of teachers, school administrators, parents and guardians, our scholars, and TFFT staff. Recently, our Psychosocial & Health Program has introduced initiatives to build the capacity of matrons, patrons, and the nurses in our partner schools to be more effective in supporting children.

Matrons and patrons are ‘house mothers’ or ‘house fathers’ who live with the students in the dormitories. They are the responsible adult who provides safety and simple support for students 24 hours each day. School nurses have more access to training than matrons, but still have simple and limited decision- making responsibilities. Matrons, patrons, and nurses can be the first port of call for students who have problems, and they routinely refer young children and young adults to appropriate people for follow up. It is critical that these individuals are skilled in emotional intelligence, are good communicators and can build and maintain a pleasant culture and atmosphere in the school community outside the classroom.

Many Tanzanian schools have non-academic support staff who have little formal training. TFFT has provided training that taps into support activities such as simple counseling, how to provide comfort to a distressed child, or how to create an environment where children are happy to come and express themselves. Through TFFT’s facilitated sessions, these critically important staff members were able to discuss the meaning of vulnerability, and how vulnerability can be expressed through a child’s behavior. They learn about the importance of appropriate referrals and recording of interactions to facilitate follow up and accountability. Through this training opportunity, the participants were able to talk to others in the same position from different schools and share ideas and challenges.

The knowledge of a child’s psychological development is very important for anyone with any responsibility for school children. Through TFFT training, the participants were introduced to this important topic. The sessions were practical and relevant and used many different learning techniques to stimulate thinking, and actively problem solve various scenarios.

There will be careful follow up and mentoring interactions for these staff members who play such a large and important part in the lives of our scholars. We aim to provide them professional development opportunities, and believe that by building relationships with these staff members, TFFT can positively influence a healthy and peaceful school environment.

Posted in Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed
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