The capacity to make a difference in Tanzania

March 20, 2015
SAWAKA staff support community members in the field

In the remote northwest corner of Tanzania, you feel like you can disappear.

Bumpy roads with ruts that could swallow a man. Fields of banana trees that block out the sun. Roads that suddenly turn into dirt paths, and then just as abruptly, disappear into grassy pastures.

It is perfect for getting lost.

Except for SAWAKA. A longtime Pact partner, SAWAKA stands out.

When Pact first partnered with SAWAKA in 2006, the local nonprofit was small, with only five staff. They had few resources to carry out their work and measure their success.

But SAWAKA, which aims to improve the standard of living for vulnerable groups, was determined to help their communities, so Pact helped it develop the tools to succeed.

With training and support, SAWAKA traded mounds of paperwork for computers. Two new motorbikes give them easier access to remote villages.

Pact’s financial management, monitoring and evaluation, and social mobilization trainings have led to a bustling office, with more than double the staff and new units for monitoring and evaluation.

“Before, our M&E system was not good, but now we have an M&E officer. In case someone comes to look at our data, it is possible to have everything,” said Livingston Bartholomew Byekwaso, programs coordinator for SAWAKA. “And our financial management systems are at international standards.”

Easy-to-use tools helped Livingston and his team to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Each year, they reassess where they are and what they need.

“The Organizational Performance Index is a good tool to monitor the performance of an organization,” said Livingston. “Using this tool, we have witnessed a lot of changes within the organization. For instance, if we received 4 points, when we check again, it is 4.5, so we know our capacity is increasing.”

Pact’s work with partners like SAWAKA is one way it support sustainable change in local communities. It enables opportunities not just for today, but also for the future. It is about the opportunities our partners will be able to seize and the challenges they will be equipped to address when we are no longer there.

“It helps us serve our community better,” Livingston said.

Using Pact’s capacity assessment and performance measurement tools, our local partners can measure their performance and improvement. From our Organizational Capacity Assessment tool, which allows partners to analyze themselves and plan for the future, to our Organizational Performance Index, which captures growth in performance across time, local organizations have the power to implement sustainable change in their communities.

They have the power to reach the vulnerable. Because now they not only stand out for their desire to help. They stand out for their capacity to help.