From Occasional Potato Farmer to District Loan Manager

Speeches Shim

Monday, March 11, 2019
Laveck, who has grown from an occasional potato and corn farmer to a District Loan Manager, standing in front of his farm in Ntokela Village
Princely H. Glorious, DAI Global LLC

From his farm on the base of Mount Rungwe in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, Laveck Ngogo, 22, looks back on how life changing the past seven months have been for him since engaging with the Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth activity. Growing up, Laveck dreamed of opening the largest shoe store in Ntokela Village. However, like many youth in Rungwe, he had neither the capital nor the access to loans to fulfill this dream.

In May 2018, Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth held a series of training events in Rungwe on establishing youth savings and lending associations. Laveck was among the 61 young people who received this first round of training. The training introduced Laveck and fellow youth to the many opportunities of generating capital by starting savings and lending groups.

As a result of the newly acquired skills, Laveck established three formal credit associations that save together and issue loans to members from their savings. In doing so, participants build a documented savings and lending history and gain collateral for future borrowing in formal institutions. The youth have gone on to establish 88 savings and lending groups with over 1,400 rural youth members – providing loans to a group that is often financially excluded and disempowered.

On a personal level, since the training, Laveck has grown from a sporadic potato and corn farmer to being elected chairman of his ward’s youth credit association. He says:

“Seven months ago, I had no real source of income and no real vision for what I wanted to do. I felt as though I was condemned to either joblessness or hand- to-mouth farming since I did not have the capital to build my dreams. The training from Advancing Youth taught me how to save, how to plan for the future, how to identify business opportunities and how to mobilize other youth to do the same.”

Laveck’s position as elected chairman of his ward’s youth credit association allowed him to vie for an opening at the district level to become Loan Manager for the Rungwe government’s Youth Development Fund. Laveck says:

“The leadership training I received from Advancing Youth included sessions on persuasion and developing action plans. These skills came in handy when it came time to vie for the Youth Development Fund Loan Manager seat. We had to propose policies and present our action plans at the district government, and the Advancing Youth training sessions gave me an advantage over those I was competing against. My experience in establishing and managing three successful youth credit associations after learning from Advancing Youth also set me apart. Out of the 29 young leaders eligible for this district-level position, I was elected as the most qualified and most persuasive.”

Now, Laveck’s sights are set on expanding the fund’s reach to youth across villages in Rungwe district. Youth unemployment in Tanzania remains a pervasive problem, with an annual rate of 800,000 youth entering a job market that produces only around 100,000 jobs. As a result of Advancing Youth’s efforts to improve livelihoods, leadership, and life skills for healthy living, tens of thousands of young Tanzanians, like Laveck, are increasing economic opportunities for rural young people. As of February 2019, about 5,500 young rural Tanzanians have been reached through the activity. Over the life of the activity, Advancing Youth is on track to benefit more than 33,000 young rural Tanzanians.

Laveck says his new goal in life is to ensure as many youth from his district better their lives through the fund:

“I have grown so much since being reached by Advancing Youth: I have become a leader not just because of this new position, but in terms of vision and self-management. It is now my goal to help as many young men and women as I can to know the power they have within themselves to change themselves and their communities. I also want them to know of opportunities like this fund, so they can start businesses and employ themselves and others.”

Last updated: October 26, 2020

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