THE OLIVE BRANCH FOR CHILDREN
The Olive Branch for Children (“TOBFC”) helps remote communities in Tanzania assess their primary needs and establishes programs that target the most vulnerable in those communities. We focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and care, early childhood education, food security, environmental issues, gender equality, and vulnerable children and women. The goal is to establish community-led programs which empower remote communities and generate models that can be replicated in communities throughout Tanzania and elsewhere.
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The Answers You Need
Where does TOBFC work and how many communities do you help?
TOBFC is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated in Ontario, Canada. TOBFC is a registered NGO in Tanzania. While most of our fundraising occurs in Canada, our operations are conducted in the Mbeya Region of Tanzania. Our offices in Tanzania, Kubuni Centre and Collaborative and Zion Home are located in Uyole, Mbeya. Our community outreach programs operate in over 40 communities in the Mbarali District of Tanzania.
How is TOBFC community-based or community led?
All but two of our staff are Tanzanians and generally they come from the communities in which we work. This ensures that from the initial idea a project/program, we seek and receive important input from Tanzanians who are familiar with the issues we strive to address and overcome. Additionally, target communities are heavily involved in the design and implementation of programs. We constantly receive feedback from our beneficiaries, village leaders and government to ensure that our programs align with the needs of our communities and Tanzania.
I’ve read a lot of articles about childrens’ homes in Africa and that they are detrimental to growth of children. How are the children homes TOBFC operates different?
TOBFC is aware of the wide criticism of childrens’ homes from the international community. We understand where the criticisms are coming from, and agree that homes providing care to vulnerable children anywhere should be carefully scrutinized to ensure the well-being of children who are involved.
Our homes are different.
Our homes have stable and consistent parents
We invest in high quality education. We commit to providing our youth with post-secondary and/or technical college training, if that’s the desire and capability of the child.
We provide our youth with internship opportunities and connections with businesses in Mbeya for future employment opportunities
We prioritize a loving, happy family environment
All of our youths volunteer with the Olive Branch during school holidays to assist in their own communities.
All essential staff of our homes are Tanzanian
NONE of the operating costs of our homes are predicated on “voluntourism”
The care provided at the Zion Home is unique. TOBFC staff go above and beyond to ensure that not only the basic necessities are met. This means that there is a large financial investment in extra development activities for children in our care. This can range from ensuring our libraries are fully equipped, to providing the children with ready access to computers to learn various programs (Garage Band, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft etc.), to private tutoring for our students, to day trips and weekend family trips (for example, Lake Malawi, climbing Mbeya Peak etc.). We believe this investment is necessary in order to assist in the healthy development of our children, allowing each child to bond with others and truly create a family environment.
Does TOBFC accept all volunteers?
TOBFC recognizes the ongoing debate around “voluntourism”. It is true that volunteering internationally can be a very exciting and meaningful experience for the volunteer. However, if done incorrectly, it can be detrimental to local communities. Because of this, TOBFC does not accept all volunteers. All prospective volunteers must first pass a background check. Volunteers MUST provide a CV demonstrating their skillset to ensure they can actively participate on our projects in a way that is beneficial to the volunteer, the communities, and the beneficiaries whom we are assisting.
To learn more, visit our volunteer page.
How many staff do TOBFC employ? How many are Tanzanian?
TOBFC employs over 80 staff of which 2 are non-Tanzanian.
What are the sustainability measures used by TOBFC?
At TOBFC we use a variety of measures to identify the success of our projects. Using these measures helps us identify whether or not our programs are sustainable, and if any changes should be made.
Our sustainable measures include:
Number of Children being educated and/or continuing education
Number of Children graduating university
Number of trainings and workshops hosted
Number of attendees
Number of students completing placements at the Olive Branch for Children, and the rate of employment after completing placements
What are the biggest expenses incurred by TOBFC?
The biggest expense incurred by TOBFC is our Zion and Peace Homes, and Academic Scholarships, We provide well-rounded care at our homes, including high quality education, medical care, extra-curricular programing including family trips, summer camps and private tutoring.
We project one of our biggest expense in the upcoming years will be school fees, as our students complete high school and start university/college. We commit to paying school fees for children in our care into post-secondary levels, and we pledge to providing laptops to students starting university.
“Kindness of others shines through in the faces of the people they have helped”