Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ngeresa: the man we all rely upon!

Ngeresa holding the baby of a girl mother.
 Sometimes, there is a ‘go to’ staff member that everyone trusts and relies on.  In fact, the very existence of an agency may be dependent on her/his flexibility, range of skills, and willingness to do whatever is needed to help the team achieve its goals.  Sauti Moja – Tanzania has that person in Ngeresa who was a founding Board member, has been Acting Director, liaises with Government, plays an important role in all programs, manages all capital assets , hosts visitors and interns, drives for the project, and, in his words, “always available for another task.”

Ngeresa is not only appreciated by co-workers, but his service is highly-appreciated. Government contacts him on all administrative matters; he was appointed to the District Health Committee; he is a health representative for the Arusha Diocese of the ELCT; and three times, made presentations to parliamentary committees concerning the right of girl mothers to publicly-funded education.

Ngeresa unloading pipe for the water line at
Oltepesi School.
As a respected leader, Ngeresa is an effective representative of SM-TZ when he has an opportunity to talk with government and other agencies about good development practices, the needs of vulnerable communities, and presenting success stories. This same respect makes him an effective family mediator and advocate for the right of girl mothers to return to school rather than be married-off by their fathers.

Ngeresa and his wife, Eliawara, also host university interns to SM-TZ.  For several years, students have been welcomed to their home for stays of up to three months. Becoming members of this caring family provides them with insight and appreciation for life in a Maasai town.

Ngeresa preparing training materials.
In December, I was expressing appreciation to Ngeresa for his good work and faithful support to our programs.  He told me that his favourite activity is supporting the education of girl mothers. As a former teacher, his passion for education is not surprising, but his commitment to the most-vulnerable in society – both girl mothers and people living with HIV/AIDS - is in contrast to and an example for others.

Both SM-TZ and Longido District are well-served by Ngeresa – a man with a big heart.

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