Beginning My Journey in the Global Advocate Program

Hi everyone,

I cannot believe the amount of support I have received since I first launched my fundraising page just a little over a week ago. I am incredibly excited to say that I am already more than halfway to my goal of $20,000. I want to say thanks to each and every one of you who have donated to my cause and helped spread the word; I could not do it without all of you!

As many of you know, for the next nine months I will be working with the organization Mama Hope and their partner White Orange Youth in Moshi, Tanzania. I wanted to take this first post to discuss who these organizations are and my role in them.

What first drew me towards Mama Hope was how they are doing things differently. Many times international development has actually done more harm than good, even when an organization has good intentions. Most organizations go about international development in a top down approach. They think that they know what is best for a community and believe that they are the best ones to implement the change. When they fail to understand the complicated nuances of the community and their issues, the community can be left in a worse situation than before. Furthermore, when the funds dry up or the organization moves on, the community is left with nothing. Mama Hope believes that it is the community themselves, that can and must be the catalyst for their own change.

This is why Mama Hope is changing the way international development works. They partner and cultivate strong relationships with grassroots organizations, founded and run by the community, who want to see sustainable change. Instead of just giving these organizations money, Mama Hope wants to see this money invested in projects that will continue to generate income for these local organizations for generations to come.

John Kessy, the founder of WOY, during a lesson at a local school

As a Global Advocate for Mama Hope, I have been partnered with an organization called White Orange Youth who believes that when young people are empowered they can create a quality life for themselves, their families and their community. Their mission is to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and increase the quality of life of young people in the Kilimanjaro Region through education. WOY was founded in 1999 by John Kessy on the idea of peer to peer education. Young people looking to get involved can go through an intensive week long training course in which they are taught to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS prevention, life skills, overcoming peer pressure, relationship skills, reproductive health, STDs, puberty and drug abuse. These sessions are run by John, Gama Mbalase the WOY program coordinator, and special guests who come to speak such as doctors and family planning organizations. It is the young people themselves that then go into schools in order to facilitate 1–1.5 hour workshops with students.

The land recently purchased for the WOY farm

In October I will be traveling to Moshi to help John create a business plan for the expansion of one of his income generating projects, specifically a farm, that will allow WOY to provide more integral programs while building financial independence.

The money that I raise will go directly to the expansion of this farm. My goal is to not only gain experience and knowledge in the area of financial sustainability, but also to help create long lasting change that will help generations to come.

John and some of the youth involved in WOY curriculum

To learn more about Mama Hope visit their website here: http://www.mamahope.org/

To learn more about White Orange Youth visit their page here: http://www.mamahope.org/where-we-work/white-orange-youth/

To donate to my cause visit my fundraising page here: http://give.classy.org/WOYZJ/

I look forward to continue keeping you all updated.

Thanks again, Zach

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