Vaines Mbaga, is a community development expert from Tanzania who has dedicated her life to working for community programs that aims at improving social and economic wellbeing of the marginalised groups. Her passion is with children and youth especially young women because she feels that they face a lot of challenges as they try to find their place in the community. She has worked with different local and international NGO’s focusing on peace programmes, leadership and mentoring programmes, and human rights education.
Vaines speaks with Sunday Oyinloye, Publisher, Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable
You have served in different community projects like ‘Amani Kwanza’ ,what does it entails?*
I served as Educational Officer at Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC)-Tanzania in Amani Kwanza Project. The project aims at preserving a spirit of understanding, peaceful co – existence and dialogue among Tanzanians, to mitigate and address obstacles and threats to peace and development. I have also worked as Regional Coordinator at We World GVC in Tanzania in Sauti Mpya project, a project that focused on amplifying youth and women voices through Media- Civil Societies Organisations partnership
And currently, what are you doing?
I am currently the Global Girls Ambassador and am proud to be part of it because at Global Girls, we put women and girl’s stories on stage, transforms lives and creates global citizens. Through rigorous theatre and dance training, participants develop essential life skills including self-awareness, resilience, tenacity and grit – skills which help them succeed on stage and in life. Global Girls’ mission is to equip females of color with experiences, mindsets, and skills to nurture their individual growth and inspire them to become change makers.
What has been your experience working at the community level?
Working as a community development expert been a wonderful experience as I get to interact with people, listen to their stories, but above all, to see them excel is the most fascinating experience. But there are challenges that come with working for community, like people being not ready for change due to various factors like norms and traditions. Another challenge is limited resources to support community programs.
I want to know the state of girl child education in Tanzania?
The most wonderful experience working as a community development expert is to see girls and women more engaged. And there have been a lot of initiatives aimed at improving the involvement of girls and women in different angles including access to education of the girl child. I would say the situation is improving, although we need to put more efforts to reach out to the communities and make sure the right to education is granted to every girl child especially in rural areas. Some of these girls have low self-esteem due to poor parenting, poverty, poor infrastructures and forced marriage, all of which affect their right to education
What are the major challenges facing NGOs in your country and which is the way out?
From my interaction with different NGO’s in Tanzania, I see lack expertise on how to mobilise resources as the major challenge that these NGO’s need to work on. Many founders started the NGO’s with so much fire burning to solve community challenges, but unable to go far. I will suggest that they get to know the criteria of securing funds, invest in improving the competence of their team in writing proposals as well as managing projects.
Give me a picture of Tanzania of your dream?
The big picture I have about Tanzania in years to come is to see more women in leadership. I want to see a country with no inequalities, where women can lean on men and men can lean in women, a beautiful country everyone is working so hard to achieve the level of development that every child can go to school, every community member can access health services, and a community where the girl child and young women can stand firm and speak for themselves and achieve what they want.
What are your final words?
Community development requires involvement of all people, let’s work together to bridge the gaps that hinder us to achieve development. Let’s build a community that recognises the contribution of every member. Let’s work towards a community where every child will be free to pursue their career path so that we can create more leaders with high level of integrity to lead our nation to development.