Maisha Roots is an NGO that combines the efforts of two entities, a Spanish one (Maisha Roots Spain) and a Tanzanian one (FYWCO, Focus for Youth, Woman and Children Organization), with the common goal of fostering development in Tanzania.
Its origins are found in the local decision of establishing a prosperous community to achieve the development of the community where we work.
Maisha roots believes in development cooperation as a tool of accompaniment and local empowerment, always through a participative approach. Thus, our mission focuses on the improvement of the life quality of its beneficiaries in the areas of livelihood and education. We also consider that, in order to achieve it, it is also necessary to promote other areas.
The name Maisha Roots comes from the Swahili word ‘maisha’, which means life, and the English word ‘roots’, forming the expression ‘life roots’. It represents the two main action pillars of the organization: education and livelihood.
We have chosen livelihood and education to be our core action areas because we believe the development of people and communities is closely linked to both of them. We understand ‘livelihood’as every activity developing the productive aspect of a person, through which the person obtains experience and remuneration. We understand ‘education’ as every training or formation dedicated to developing the intellectual, moral, and affective capacity of a person as well as the civil right to receive basic and free education.
Livelihood and education are two tools that contribute to the autonomy, independence, and empowerment of people. Moreover, education and livelihood strengthen values, dynamics, and initiatives that answers other population demands and wishes. Therefore, Maisha Roots focuses on fostering the capacity and resources for the construction of common well-being, evolution, and development.
In Spain, we try to reinforce the work carried out in Tanzania. We create cultural bridges through sensitization programs (especially in educational centers) and we develop fundraising activities to raise funds for our projects in Tanzania. Our action and part of our volunteering program are developed in the Comunidad de Madrid, though we also develop some activities in other communities, especially Cataluña, where we also have opened a delegation.
Nowadays, we develop our activities and projects in Arusha, a city in the north of Tanzania, even though we do not rule out expanding our actions in other areas of the country.
Here is where we develop our development projects and volunteering program.
From 2016, Maisha Roots is developing and collaborating with projects with Tanzanian roots, specifically, in the city of Arusha.
Although, since its independence, Tanzania has enjoyed political stability and peace, this has not meant a better level of life for most of its population.
Arusha is a big city and an important international diplomatic center. It is a city characterized by its multiculturalism, populated by Tanzanian from different origins, Bantus, Arabs, and Indians, though also by Caucasic minorities from Europe and North America.
Arusha is a sprawling city, this is why many of its neighborhoods are in continuous and fast growth, therefore they lack minimum services. Here is where we try to focus on our actions.
They are the official languages, though only educated people speak English. Primary education is given in Swahili, while secondary education is given in English, one of the reasons why many students drop out in the secondary grades
On the other hand, the unemployment rate in official media and public institutions do not register high numbers, but in the reality, especially in big cities such as Arusha, youth who have dropped out school, especially during secondary or when this one finishes, are unemployed and without the necessary qualifications to find a proper job or start a business.
These are the main areas where Maisha Roots aims to influence and change this reality, putting its beneficiaries in the center of each intervention, using a participatory approach in all its actions, and making people become their own main protagonist of change and life promotion.
In 2020, we have started a new project together with a group of local people, who participated in Chagua Maisha and who have worked in development cooperation for several years.
In 2019, an eco-friendly orchard for communitarian use as well as for the education of the children attending school was built in the Chagua Maisha space. At the end of this year, we gave the total Chagua Maisha management to the local counterpart. We decided to start a new project in the community.
In 2018, we carried out sports activities for more than 100 children of the neighborhood to promote sports and free time enjoyment through educational activities. Besides, we opened a shop that sold basic products to contribute to the maintenance of the project
In late 2016 and early 2017, we built a pre-primary classroom for 25 kids at risk of social exclusion. We also develop social workshops with the community and start a youth sports camp.
Además, abrimos una segunda aula y construimos un espacio público que sirvió para proyectar películas, ofrecer comidas, proveer de juegos de mesa y libros a los habitantes de la zona y, en definitiva, crear comunidad en un barrio en expansión. Besides, we opened a second class and we built a public space where movies were played, meals were held, and board games and books were promoted, and ultimately create a sense of community in a growing neighborhood.
From 2016 to 2019, we collaborated with the Tanzanian NGO Progress for Africa with a common project called ‘Chagua Maisha’ which means ‘choose life’ in Swahili. In this collaboration, we developed several development cooperation projects, aiming to contribute to the improvement of the beneficiaries in Born City, a growing neighborhood with limited access to basic needs.
Although Maisha Roots was born recently, our experience and history started in 2014.
During 2014 and 2015, the group of students who later would fund the Spanish counterpart, begun to develop educational and health activities in Arusha through volunteer programs in other centers of the city. Among others, we have collaborated with Good Hope Orphanage, Upendo Pre-Primary school, and Mont Meru Hospital. .
Our current structure is mainly based on volunteers, especially in the case of Spain, where, apart from our Projects’ Technician, all the team is composed of volunteers. In the case of Tanzania, the team is composed of workers.
We believe that, within our organization, all voices must be heard. Since we are two parallel counterparts, we have two governing organs and two general assemblies. Furthermore, in the Spanish team (where we have all volunteers), we count with various working groups which vary according to the needs of the current moment.
It creates Maisha Roots’ audio-visual content. It coordinates the informative activities and spreads this work in social networks, the webpage, the communication campaigns, etc.
It coordinates the relationship with educational centers. It transmits among schools, universities, student residencies, and other educational centers (through different sensitization activities such as talks, workshops, or games) the reality lived in Tanzania as well as the organization’s activities.
It promotes events, charitable initiatives, and collaborations with other entities, with the aim of raising funds for our projects.
It coordinates the actions of the different working groups, with the aim of providing a global view od the organization’s activities. It is in charge of compiling information.
Collaborating with us is really simple. You can do it in different ways, such as, contributing with a punctual donation, granting us a space, volunteering with us, etc. Moreover, Maisha Roots believes that the social fabric of a community is the key to growth and, therefore, we also look for links and alliances with enterprises, entities, and other NGOs. We expect these collaborations to be more than economic support and we try to establish collaborations that promote the development in Tanzania.
Thanks to your help, 118 families already have their anti-Covid kit.We have finished the anti-covid campaign, making a total distribution of 118 kits and posters and prevention information, reaching more than 500 beneficiaries in Arusha, Tanzania.
Due to the current situation of global pandemics and, as a consequence of the vulnerable situation in which most of the Tanzanian population is, we have decided to carry on a campaign against the spread of the virus in a neighborhood called Olasiti, which lacks basic supplies such as water. In a neighborhood where more than 300 families live below the poverty line, prevention against Covid-19 becomes complicated, mainly due to the lack of resources such as tap water, soap or bleach. That is why we decided to distribute packages with these materials among the most vulnerable groups. Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to help prevent the virus in families:
On behalf of the entire Maisha Roots team, we thank all the people who have participated in the campaign and Proyecto Amanecer for helping us make this possible.
Maisha Roots believes that the success of every project resides on a good identification of the population’s needs.
Therefore, after the acquired experience and the lessons learned from our first project “Chagua Maisha”, we have decided to start a research process that defines defines the most demanded and needed projects in Arusha’s neighborhoods.
This needs assessment is being carried out jointly by the Tanzanian team and our Projects Technician, based on the project cycle methodology:
Development cooperation includes a very technical part for which adequate professional training is needed. Therefore, and always considering the great experience of the Tanzanian counterpart in the sector, we believe in continuous training which takes place simultaneously to the needs assessment. The main aim of this training is that the Tanzanian counterpart can continue developing their knowledge on the projects’ identification and development cooperation.
Volunteering is one of the most important roots of this organization, therefore we need volunteers to join our teams both in Spain and Tanzania. Send us your CV and a letter in which you explain to us your motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org.We are happy that you join our team..
If you are a university student, currently doing a degree or a masters, and you are looking for a place where to do your internship, Maisha Roots might be the correct place. Students from Rey Juan Carlos University (degrees in International, Relations, Economics, History, Political Sciences, Communication, and Media, etc.), Carlos III de Madrid University (master’s in international Solidarity and Social Inclusion), and Complutense and Politécnica de Madrid Universities (master’s in Strategies and Technologies for Development).
We are looking for committed students who join our teams in Tanzania and/or Spain to support our areas of project management, finance and accounting, legality, communication and media, etc.
If you are interested, send an email to email@example.com and we will contact your University to do all the paperwork, and if we already have an agreement with your University, please contact the internship manager to ask for our vacancies and the procedure to apply to it.
As Eduardo Galeano said, we believe that...
many small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world
You can help us with a punctual donation. Any amount you consider will be very important for our sustainability. You can do it through a wire transfer or a deposit in this account:
In Maisha Roots we believe that economic sustainability is the key to success in any development project. We consider that microdonations have a bigger impact on the sustainability of the NGO, so we have created a profile in Teaming. For less than the price of a coffee, you will be collaborating on the sustainability of our projects. Donate 1€ monthly and help us keep on growing.
If you are a member of any school or educational center, you can join us an collaborate with our projects. In Maisha Roots we promote activities in some educational centers in Spain, with the aim of achieving the sensitization of the students regarding the African continent, the situation in Tanzania and the importance of education to development.
Our most solid school partner nowadays is Arcadia School, with whom we have an active collaboration and we develop sensitization activities during the school year. We have also developed punctual collaborations in other schools, such as African Day in Valdepiélagos Public School, solidarity race in Manuel Núñez de Arenas Public School.
Maisha Roots looks for organizations that aim to collaborate in the development of Tanzanian societies. We try to establish long-duration relations that go further than economic donations, based on a win-win strategy for both organizations. It can be through corporative volunteering, pro bono services, or economic donation. We also look for ethical corporations, that accomplish with our partnership selection mechanisms.
We have collaborated with enterprises such as GAJO, an ethical trademark of clothes with developed corporate social responsibility. We also keep a solid partnership with Proyecto Amanecer, a Spanish NGO which collaborate in the execution of development projects. Punctually, other organizations have collaborated in some of our actions, such as two theatre companies (La Locandiera Teatro y Katharsis Teatro), Palencia’s Diputación de Deportes, Mbuyu Association and an Arts exhibition ‘50x50x50’,
Maisha Roots advocates for transparency and good governance, accomplishing with the stipulated regulations, both intern and extern, in all the actions that we undertake.
Maisha Roots identifies, as good governance principles, these:
Therefore, we have created some documents as a regulatory body for the performance of any action taken within the organization which applies to:
All these members assume the accomplishment of these principles automatically, in their date of commencement within the organization.
With the aim of accomplishing our commitment with transparency and good governance, Maisha Roots makes available to the employed and volunteering staff, donors, suppliers, partners, etc. a complaints channel that allows us to identify irregular behavior within the organization. This irregular behavior includes any illegal action, irregular or against law- both intern and extern- undertaken by the organization Maisha Roots or any of its members.
In this link you might find the related document to our complaints channel: Complaints channel.