Professor Chris Johnstone provides this week’s blog. Chris has partnered and traveled with ETI to Karagwe, Tanzania as head of the needs assessment and evaluation of ETI’s community development systems. He is a substantial asset and strong partner to ETI as the organization carries out community-inspired initiatives in developing areas.
Christopher J. Johnstone, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota
In the summer of 2017, Educate Tanzania, Inc (ETI) will partner with the University of Minnesota’s Master of Development Practice (MDP) program to further its work on Opportunity Centers. ETI, hoping to build on its successful October 2017 launch of Karagwe University College (KARUCO) is exploring “Opportunity Centers” to facilitate community development in nearby communities to the university. Further, the centers will serve as a physical hub for leveraging the talents and skills of KARUCO graduates in support of community development.
Opportunity Centers are built on a successful Women’s Opportunity Center model in Rwanda. The ETI model is still under development, leading to the collaboration with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ MDP program. From May – July 2017, the team of Isabel Posada, David Wittman, and Tarere Eyimina will be tasked with conducting focus groups and participatory rural appraisal activities to better understand community needs and desires related to Opportunity Centers. The Team is supervised by this writer, oriented to Karagwe by ETI and assisted by Ms. Rachel Kakulima, a resident of Karagwe who is conducting doctoral work in Educational Leadership in Minnesota.
This project is based on a philosophy of reciprocal development and community-informed practice. ETI’s vision for Opportunity Centers is that they will be driven by the most pressing needs and the most desired services in their host communities. To this end, the organization has waited to share the over-arching plan for Opportunity Centers until community members have the opportunity to contribute ideas. Such contributions will take place through structured interviews this summer with MDP students.
Kudos to ETI for facilitating these activities and for moving forward with the Opportunity Centers project in a spirit of partnership with local stakeholders in Karagwe District.
Sharon Davis Design
Photography: Elizabeth Felicella & Bruce Engel
Christopher J. Johnstone, Ph.D. , Assistant Professor
211B Burton Hall