Shalin 2015

Sharing your Skills efficiently is a major part of Development

Sharing your Skills efficiently is a major part of Development
25 Aug 2015


It has been almost two months since I arrived in this huge, sunny, chaotic, stirred and lively city of Dar es Salaam. I have begun to understand its rules and customs and I am also able to manage basic Swahili chats and bargaining. I am adapting myself to this city as I slowly start to tame it!


Jumping midway to an ongoing project is not easy, because it requires some time to understand, assimilate and link the numerous information together, whether about the history, the various persons involved and their roles, responsibilities and implications, achievements, perspectives, the current situation and the issues to deal with… Fortunately Asta has been happy to support me by sharing details and patiently answering my questions.

The fact that numerous partners are taking part in the Vikuruti project is simultaneously an asset and a challenge. Indeed, because we all, as organizations and individuals, have very different backgrounds, competences and knowledge, which is definitely an advantage, this also implicates we have to be aware of these differences and then adapt first our expectations and then our methods, in order to be truly efficient by considering this plurality. Moreover, being several partners means that more time is required for coordination and as a result, more patience is needed too, especially in a position of volunteer like us. Thus, we do not have any concrete power of decision: then the challenge is to actually build our legitimacy and to facilitate and support decision-makers in the diverse processes they have to face.

The situation here has encountered several unexpected and sudden changes that each partner had to deal with. That is a real formative experience from the field, because we have to, every step of the way, reconsider our planning and to adapt our perspectives and strategies to this continuously evolving situation.

Another key element I have learnt from these two months is the value of social relationships and networks. You can obtain a lot of things, from specific expertise to a house for instance, through informal talks: the social networks are not only virtual ones and many people would be ready to help you whether they personally can or they know someone who would be able to.

As cliché as it sounds, the social bonds built and the various lessons from multiple conversations shared remain the most precious and valuable learnings from these two months in Tanzania, and I hope that this integration of cultures and personnalities will continue!




I am Elsa Guéneau, from France. After having studied history and political sciences, I am concluding my Professional Master’s Degree in International Humanitarian Action & NGOs with this internship at Shalin. I am actually interested in capacity building projects, in particular about natural resources management and sustainable agriculture. I am currently in Tanzania to support the SkillsFAST project within Vikuruti Farm, especially through the development of a business plan exploring various possibilities and the coordination between the various partners. This is a great opportunity to understand and take part in a real project implementation process and thus increasing my professional skills on managing it in the reality of the field, improving my technical knowledge about environmental, economic and social sustainability in agriculture, as well as it is a significant inspiring and humane adventure.

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