If you have built castles in the sky,
Let not your dreams go to waste;
Just build the foundations under them
– Henry David Thoreau
Tanzania, here we come! Tickets are booked and it’s time to get down to work. The TPM team will finally be reassembling on January 31st on Mount Kilimanjaro. We have all been working separately to move this project forward and now it’s time to get together and begin making some major progress.
Of course, I wish I could report that the project was fully funded and that we were getting together to begin building the eco-lodge. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to raise the full amount of money needed. As we continue to raise money to begin construction on the eco-lodge we want to make the most of the time we have now by preparing for outrageous success and improving the quality of life in Mkyashi.
I hope you know that we would never throw around a buzzword like “capacity building” without being sure to explain exactly what set of activities we are referring to when using the word. Here at TPM, we do try to avoid buzzwords as much as possible (see our last post “The Words We Use“). Our upcoming program will focus on building capacity in four primary areas that will prepare Mkyashi and TPM to support the eco-lodge project as well as contributing to our long-term goal of ending poverty in Mkyashi:
Building Supplier Capacity
Lodges use up resources. Every tomato, piece of meat, or pound of coffee consumed by the lodge is a resource taken out of the local market. We have to be careful to ensure that TPM’s eco-lodge is not causing prices to rise locally and taking food away from local people to feed tourists. This is why TPM is partnering with Better Lives to bring its FAITH Garden initiative to Mkyashi. FAITH (Food Always In The Home) teaches people how to grow enough food to feed a six person family on a 100 square meter organic farm. The program also teaches people about creating compost and organic pesticides
Building Staff Capacity
The Ritz-Carlton’s customer service motto is, “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” We are definitely not trying to build a Ritz-Carlton in Mkyashi, but when it comes to benchmarking service standards, why not benchmark with the best? We want to prepare our ladies and gentlemen to serve the ladies and gentlemen who visit the eco-lodge. It is never to early to begin training in customer service, English language, and other necessary skills.
Having a strong in-country network of support is crucial to the success of TPM’s eco-lodge. Connecting with other NGOs and foreign ambassadors will help TPM connect with development experts who can offer guidance for the lodge’s social mission. Connecting with other lodge owners and tour operators will help spread the word about TPM and bring in guests once the lodge is open. As soon as the lodge is built we want to be booked full and making money!
Building Community Project Management Capacity
As soon as we are making money we want to be able to start putting it into the social projects that can lead to prosperity in Mkyashi. Part of the 2013 Capacity Building Program will include organizing local people into a Village Board and carrying out a series of pilot projects. All projects will have to fit within the following criteria to receive funding:
- The project addresses a demonstrable need identified through needs analyses.
- The project is sustainable without continuous funding.
- A detailed budget has been prepared for all project expenses.
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals have been established for project outcomes.
- A committee has been formed which is responsible for over-seeing the success of the project.
We could not be more excited to begin working on the program and we hope you will follow along to watch the progress.
He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything. – Samuel Johnson