Ending Poverty Through Community Development

I am James Kirima. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Community Economic Development (BA-CED) from Moshi University College of Cooperative and Business Studies. I decided to join AVC because I want to use my skills, knowledge and experience to help my community identify challenges and find ways to address them. In my future, I hope to contribute to the community and help people rise out of poverty by initiating different development projects.

This year I am volunteering as a social worker at Mshikamano (Solidarity), an NGO that works with people living with HIV/AIDS. At Mshikamano I help groups of people living with HIV/AIDS to create business plans, write funding proposals, and organize fundraising events. I am learning a lot about myself and the community I am serving; I am learning about how I can work with people of different ideals, knowledge, perspectives and cultures. I am also learning how to be a good community facilitator through conducting seminars, trainings and meetings with groups of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Currently, I am working with a group at Mshikamano called Jipe Moyo (Give Hope). The individuals in this group are working to raise chickens so they can sell them to raise money to support their families. I wrote a business plan for Jipe Moyo, and in the future I want to help with raising funds so they can expand their business. I facilitate meetings with Jipe Moyo where they discuss their challenges and I give them advice. Their biggest problem is that they do not have a permanent place to keep the chickens. The owner of the house they rent now would like them to leave, so they are working to save money so that they can build their own house.

I feel good that I am able to advise the Jipe Moyo group because they are taking my suggestions, which are helping. I advised the individuals to develop their own small savings so that they can save up to build their own house. They are also working with a VICOBA (Village Community Bank) to take out loans and are hoping to receive help from the community and possibly the government. They are appreciative of my work because they have families and children to support. Some of the Jipe Moyo group members also help children that don’t have families because their family members have died of HIV/AIDS. Through this project of raising the chickens, they are able to buy food, send children to school and pay for health services. They just need a permanent place for the chickens to stay.

Volunteering is a great opportunity for me to understand the community challenges and find out the best ways to address them and bring about positive changes in my community. I would like to thank AVC for giving me the opportunity to work with Mshikamano.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill