Growing New Leaders

January 29, 2013 5:10 pm Published by

Before the students at JBFC’s Joseph and Mary School headed back to class, their teachers went back to school. We held two weeks of staff development earlier this month. And it reminded me – we’re not only shaping young minds, but we’re growing new leaders among our employees.

With three in 10 Tanzanians unable to read, only one in four attending secondary school, and even fewer going on to higher education, finding quality teachers and educated employees has been a challenge. And we’ve stepped up to it by investing in and grooming employees who are dedicated to our mission.

And it looks like our system of training is working. Before we introduced rigorous professional development last year, we let go of eleven teachers that weren’t making the grade. That’s nearly half of the teaching staff that we had to replace. This year, only one teacher contact wasn’t renewed. Out of 21 teachers, 20 are returning.

Even more inspiring is how our management team, all of whom are East African, have really taken ownership of our mission and of making our staff better. They were the ones who came up with our new department goals and this year’s professional development theme – “work beyond your limits.”

Mzee Kitula, our campus manager and one of our longest-serving JBFC employees, addressed the staff in our weeklong workshop. This was his message to our staff:

Everyone needs to evaluate at the end of each day whether they have added anything to our organization and our goals. If the answer is yes, then you can sleep well. If the answer is no, you should lay awake and think about what you can do tomorrow so that your answer is yes.

I thought this was a terrific message to carry with us throughout the new year – a message made even more powerful because it didn’t come from me. It shows that our mission, of ending extreme poverty, is truly being embraced by our staff. 

Chris Gates is Executive Director & Founder of JBFC.

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This post was written by Mainsprings