Strategic Planning Part 3 – Our Vision

16 Mar

By Meghann Gunderman, TFFT’s Founder and Executive Director

What is your ideal world?

That is a BIG question. Even if you stop to think about it, it’s hard to put into words, but this is what our facilitators challenged us to articulate during our three-day stakeholder workshop. Representatives from our partner schools, TFFT scholars, heads of our partner orphanages, the TFFT Team, private sector donors, civil society organizations, and other interested parties were all present. Everyone had to sit and think/meditate about what their ideal world would look like.

We then got together in small groups to physically draw what we thought this world looked like. We were all working within the education and orphan/vulnerable children sphere, so in a sense there was a lot of overlap with regards to THAT ideal world–free from stigma, equal opportunity, families, social services, governments, NGOs all working in collaboration, education for all. These were all themes that ran deep.

To give you an idea, the illustrations looked something like this:

When each group presented their ideal world, we finally saw that the facilitators were, in fact, trying to get us to articulate our vision for TFFT. It was idealistic and lofty, yes, but that was the purpose. This collective vision took us all to a place where we hope to one day be:

“A world where orphans and vulnerable children are free of exclusion, disadvantage, and vulnerability and contribute as empowered and active citizens of a just society”

Melissa brainstorms

TFFT scholar, Irene, shares her views with our stakeholders

Daniel takes the stage

This stakeholder workshop was the second step towards developing our strategic plan, and we spent three jam-packed days sharing opinions, discussing our work, and debating how we can advance our impact over the next three years. We even invited the media and received coverage from the national station TGA.

The sessions took us down many interesting paths, which included tons of diversions, philosophical discussions, what if-s, and how to-s. With all this, though, we were able to truly hunker down and devise a plan for progress—a way to move forward—to make our mission more succinct and strategic, setting us apart from other non-profits working in our arena.

A main conclusion from the initial phases of our strategic planning was that, in order for the TFFT scholars to reach their full potential, we need to focus on securing quality education AND the appropriate psychosocial guidance/support. That will be the priority with everything we do moving forward. They will go hand in hand.

What does your ideal world look like?

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2 Responses to “Strategic Planning Part 3 – Our Vision”

  1. Wendy Werling March 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    What are the major challenges to quality education that you have witnessed at the USA River Academy? Also, what are the major challenges to psycho/social guidance and support? Are there challenges working with the partner orphanages to ensure the OVC receive the best care possible in their early years, so they will be in the best shape possible when they reach a quality boarding school?

    What steps to we need to take to create as safe, secure, protective, and empowering environment around these children so they can thrive and reach their fullest potential? I love the work you are doing, it completely engages me!

    • tfftafrica March 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Hi Wendy! Thanks for asking. It’s hard to capture all right here but what we see a lot of is lack of properly trained teachers, thus hindering the quality of education. You also are seeing a really full syllabus, so the teachers focus more on getting children to pass the tests, rather than learn the materials. URA faces many of the same problems schools around the country face. What is going well for URA is that they have a beautiful campus with plenty of access to water, and the ability to take advantage of a considerable amount more resources than the traditional schools. With regards to the psychosocial support..the biggest issue is lack of training professionals. For every 100,000 people in tz, there is one social worker. We then work with children that all come from difficult backgrounds adding complexities that kids who grow up in a traditional two parent family homes don’t have. We are in the process of finding partners that are trained in this area of expertise to guide us and help train our team. An amazing team working out of Moshi is called TAWREF. They are working on a study called Positive Outcomes for Orphans (POFO) through Duke University here in the US. Really talented people doing some amazing research in our field. Partnership are key for success anywhere, however, there will always be challenges. With any parter orphanage we work with we are looking to build capacity, enabling them to better serve their target population. Should those children funnel into our Scholarship Program we would want them as well prepared as possible. Once they enter our program and enroll in one of our partner schools it is there where they have the best chance to get a more well rounded, holistic education. Through our Full Circle Program and individualized scholarship model we hope to truly capture what makes each child special and cultivate that. Thanks for taking such an interest in our work, we appreciate your support!

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