The best way to empower people and the community they come from at large is by killing the spirit of dependency and expectation of free things and hand outs from the government and organizations within the region. When we give to people they end up having that mind set of ‘we are vulnerable and we are entitled to receive help’ rather than believing that they have potential and they can start with whatever small they have to better their lives. As an organization we have been struggling to kill this spirit for a long time and we are happy that participants in our various projects have realized they have the potential and we are just here to help by guiding them through trainings and assisting them attain their goals.
When we introduced the concept of cost sharing in purchasing the required farm inputs, most participants thought that we were trying to swindle them but at the moment we are happy to share that they feel good when we deliver to them an asset that is as a result of their collective effort and not just a handout from Jitokeze. We have also seen participants working hard to acquire what they need without asking for financial help from us but just for linkages with suppliers. For instance we have participants from our poultry project who have gone ahead to purchase the eggs of the improved breed of chickens and hatched them on their own rather than waiting for the organization to supply them with the improved chicks as they had expected earlier. They say they have been given knowledge and skills which is more important and they can not keep on waiting for us to bring the chicks when they can make local arrangements and get eggs and consequently the desired chicks.
This attitude has encouraged us as an organization because it has helped us to see that our efforts are helping the community to grow towards self reliance and sustainability.