Since our inception, we have dedicated ourselves to doing things a different way. Our unique management and development philosophies have allowed us to implement creative and valuable programming that has the potentail to make a lasting positive difference in people's lives. While the Kiteto CERC has been ground-breaking in terms of education development in Tanzania, the structures that we set in place for governing and evaluating our work are perhaps more influential as they set a model for effective grassroots development work.
How we Work
At Jifunze, the end does not justify the means. We believe that building a sustainable democracy includes a more transparent and accountable system of governance, and we feel that this can be best taught by modeling these values throughout the process of development. Jifunze is a small organization, founded in and for the local Kiteto community, but benefiting from international expertise. We recognize the importance of integrating our international staff into the community in which we work. To this end we are committed to traveling by public transportation rather than purchasing vehicles, encouraging our staff members and volunteers to live in homestays so that they may form deep roots within the community, and conducting our meetings in Kiswahili, rather than in English which which woudl ostracize the less well educated.
Furthermore, we are committed to transparency and have a zero tolerance policy for corruption. While it would have often been easier to cut corners and exclude the Kiteto community from some of our work, we instead choose to involve them as much as possible. As we developed the Kiteto CERC, we maintained a commitment to investing in the local economy and to building local capacity rather than simply finding the lowest price. We supported this commitment by working in collaboration with local businesses and laborers from Kiteto District for all stages of our project development, often spending a great deal of time training them to perform work with which they are unfamiliar. We bought all available materials and supplies through local shops, we ordered all of our furniture from local carpenters, we had all of our doors, windows and gates assembled by local welders, we employed a local Kibaya elder and retired government building engineer (with over 40 years of construction experience) as our main building contractor, and our playground was built by craftsmen who had never seen a tire bridge or monkey bars. In spite of or perhaps because of these efforts, we never needed to sacrifice quality in pursuit of our objective. We invested the time that was necessary to obtain quality final products, and we adjusted our implementation time frame in order to accommodate for these changes.