|“I would be so happy to describe Tandana to someone who doesn’t know it. I love it, and that’s why I am on so many committees. I would tell them that Tandana doesn’t come with a predetermined project for the village; they come and ask what difficulties you have and what you need. They will ask what you have in the village that can help, and what you can’t find in the village that you need.” |
--Anouh Tembiné, Kansongho, Mali
Community Initiatives Overview
Tandana partners with communities in Mali and Ecuador who are working on projects that help them reach their goals. We support projects that are the initiatives of local communities and organizations, because we respect their ability to define their own priorities and envision ways to make their dreams into reality. The local community always makes a significant contribution to the project, and sometimes visiting volunteer groups help too. We also provide certain services at the request of local communities. You can donate directly to a specific project or to our general fund.
Because the projects come from the priorities of the communities, they are of all different kinds and are adapted to the specific situations and conditions in the communities they serve. Often they fall into the broad categories of:
Leadership and Management
Local community councils, school or organization leaders, or, often, specially-formed committees, lead and manage community initiatives in Ecuador and Mali. These committees establish rules and practices for making sure the projects are sustained well and meet to make decisions about the project. Project committees report to the general assembly of the village.
Each member of the committee fulfills specific roles and functions important to the project's success. A grain bank committee in Mali, for example, includes a president, secretary, treasurer, salespeople, and an elder adviser. On the cotton bank committee in Kansongho, in addition to the usual offices, there is a secretary for conflict resolution, and all members are women except for one man who is charged with explaining the committee's needs to the men of the village.
Tandana provides training in how to execute these roles and also on the responsibilities of the committee for overseeing work and reporting back to the community. We encourage all community members to keep up on progress and ask committee members for status reports to ensure accountability.
With committees leading the projects and the community as a whole overseeing committee work, the projects are assured a more beneficial outcome as well as more comprehensive long-term sustainability. And in the process, community members hone their management skills and gain more self-confidence, which further prepares them to lead new initiatives on their own.