Written by Richard Johnston, Lucy Karl, and Bob Treitman
We three FoTZC directors, along with Judi Wineland, just returned from an action-packed Directors’ trip to Tanzania. On this trip, we visited our partner communities to evaluate our completed projects and to discuss future ones. One of the most interesting and productive meetings was at the Ngorongoro District Office in Loliondo. We were very pleased to find more than ten district officials there to meet with us on a Sunday afternoon, including the top ranking District Commissioner. Their presence indicated to us a strong interest in our organization and work.
This meeting had three purposes. First, we wanted to get to know the District government officials and give them a chance to ask questions about FoTZC. We believe that having an open dialogue with the government in areas in which we work is crucial to our success. Second, we wanted to discuss the nature of FoTZC’s relationship with Thomson Safaris, which has a significant business presence in the area. Third, we wanted to discuss the dispensary (medical clinic) we plan to build in the area with the District Commissioner, the District Medical Officer and other medical officials.
We told the government officials about our history in Tanzania and elaborated on our extensive work in Ngorongoro District. The District Commissioner enthusiastically offered his full support for FoTZC projects in the area. He and other officials said they were not only grateful for the projects we had completed, but that they want to help and partner with us on whatever projects they can. The District Commissioner and District Legal Officer told us that Thomson is an honest and well-regarded company, and that we should feel confident in the Thomson Safaris-FoTZC partnership in Tanzania.
We also had a long discussion with the District Commissioner, District Medical Officer and the District Nursing Officer about the dispensary project we plan to build in Sukenya Village. They expressed excitement about the project as well as the proposed location and said they want to help us move forward. The District Commissioner and the District Medical Officer re-committed to assigning staff to the dispensary, paying their salaries, supplying furniture, and providing medications once we construct the building.
We were impressed by the level of detail these government officials were able to discuss, their commitment to their district, and their willingness to assist us with our upcoming projects. We are particularly excited to break ground on the dispensary soon!