In Tanzania, I’ll be working as the Director of WomenCraft, a fair trade enterprise that sells traditional baskets and other products to generate income and improve their community.
Situated in Ngara, Tanzania, on the border with Rwanda and Burundi, WomenCraft also partners with many repatriated refugee artisans who until recently lived in Tanzanian refugee camps and who have now returned to Burundi to rebuild their lives.
WomenCraft is committed to sustainable social and economic change while preserving the natural environment. As part of the social sustainability component, WomenCraft aims to have Tanzanian operations 100% locally run as soon as this is feasible. So, while I have committed to serving as the Director for 2 years, it is my hope that a local leader will be ready to step into the Director position by the end of this time.
During my time there I’ll be working closely with local counterparts to help them become proficient in budgeting, Excel, QuickBooks, inventory management, invoicing, pricing, distribution, operations management, human resources management, exporting, etc. So in many ways, this assignment is similar to Peace Corps, where my goal was to work myself out of a job by transferring my knowledge and skills to local people. Unlike Peace Corps, however, I’ll be jumping into an established development effort with a much higher level of organization, and with a strong and experienced team already in place
According to the current Deputy Director of WomenCraft (also a former Peace Corps volunteer), the job is “soooo different” from Peace Corps.. “in a really good way.” Well, I’ll know soon enough!