BLOG, MISSION POSSIBLE, AUG 2016. THE LIVELIHOOD QUESTIONS
On the third day of their deployment in Tanzania, the team of Mission Possible volunteers started the task of choosing beneficiaries for livelihood projects. It began with the selection process in the villages of Mzambruni and Ubangaa, as Nabil Ahmed and Akeel Iqbal explain.
Nabil Ahmed: We started the day at Ubangaa village, meeting and interviewing potential beneficiaries of livelihood projects. We were looking to set up a family with a local shop and also to give two cows for livestock business.
We met 6 families, and during the interviews we were trying to find out more about their individual situations, their family life, their current financial situation, how a livelihood project would benefit them and whether they had the capacity to utilise the project to its full potential.
Once all the interviews were completed, we had the difficult task of deciding on whom to allocate the projects to. All the candidates were deserving of help but the team had to consider who would benefit the most.
We also had to consider that some projects weren’t suitable for certain situations. For example there was a disabled lady living with her parents but she would have found it difficult to travel to the shop we were proposing and also to buy stock from the local town. We gave it to another family who had more dependants, therefore benefitting more people.
In the afternoon we were back in Mzimbaruni to speak with a further 6 potential beneficiaries. This time we were looking to give away one cow and one shop. The process was similar, and while walking around the two villages we were also able to visit those people who had previously benefited from Islamic Help’s livelihood projects.
The hardest part of the day was making the decisions and then telling the unsuccessful candidates why we weren’t able to help them this time round. At the same time it was good to know that we were making a real difference to the lives of the 5 beneficiaries that we had chosen.
Akeel Iqbal: The three main livelihood projects are small shops, dairy cows and a goat distribution. However, today, Day 3 of our deployment, we had three cows and two shops that we could provide villagers with. The initial interview questions provided us with some basic background information of the potential beneficiaries and led to further related questions to determine applicants’ suitability.
The interview process started with the main questions including:
- How many dependants are currently living in your household?
- What is your main/current source of income?
- How is your health and do you have any disabilities?
Everyone is deserving but some circumstances may make it difficult for the beneficiary, rather than making their life easier with a source of income. One villager that stood out to me was an elderly man named Yaqoob Ramadhani who we were interviewing for a small shop. He could not walk properly because he had injured his leg. He said: “A shop would be difficult for me to handle as my condition restricts what I can do.”
It was important for us to ask these questions and choose the beneficiaries wisely so that total benefit could be derived from the project. It was also daunting knowing that there were five livelihood projects for us to provide and 12 people. This meant that even though some people will benefit from these projects, others will have to be let down.
I was given the task of telling a young woman with a leg disability that we had chosen another villager to give the small shop to. This was extremely difficult for me as she was young and energetic. It may have changed her life around and given her confidence.
Letting people down or saying no to people is out of my character so this was really challenging for me. At one point it was hard to keep my self-composure while I was giving her the bad news. The look on her face showed me that she was trying to do the same.
On a happier note, the beneficiaries who did receive the cow or the shop were really happy. Also, knowing that we changed a few lives helped me cope with the fact that we had to let a few people down. Inshallah in the next few days we will also be distributing a number of goats to the beneficiaries of the surrounding villages.
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