Nayman Chavalla joined the Global Volunteers Reaching Children’s Potential staff in 2020 as Tanzania Country Director. Having served as General Secretary to the Bishop of the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Global Volunteer’ host partner, from 2006 to 2020, Nayman was well-acquainted with Global Volunteers and CEO and Co-founder Bud Philbrook. Now, Nayman is leading the effort to extend Global Volunteers’ Reaching Children’s Potential Program (RCP) throughout the Iringa District.
As Tanzania Country Director, Nayman is responsible for the operational and financial integrity of the expansion of Global Volunteers Reaching Children’s Potential Program (RCP) in Tanzania. He oversees all Tanzania staff – a total of 28 members – and is the lead manager in the field. He is also the point person for fundraising initiatives. “We’re expanding the program from five to ten villages to serve 1,200 families,” Nayman explains. “After that, the plan is to build many RCP Centers in the country, scaling up the successful experience from the Ukwega Ward, Iringa.”
“Working with the RCP Program is very interesting because we are addressing our national priority of fighting stunting and malnutrition among women and children,” he continues.
Nayman completed his secondary education in Iringa and earned a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Resource Assessment from the University of Dar es Salaam. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Development and Public Policy.
A Short Interview with Tanzania Country Director Nayman Chavalla
What is your assessment of the RCP Program?
Five years ago, the RCP Program started as a very small project in Ipalamwa and Lulindi villages, and in a short time was able to expand to three more villages. We are soon looking forward to expanding our work to five additional villages, for a total of ten villages. The expansion is quick and well planned.
To strengthen the communication line, we are planning to print many promotional materials in simple Swahili language in our RCP villages and in the Iringa District.
How do you envision the RCP Program expanding in Tanzania?
We need to reach at least 200 villages in 20 or 30 years to come. This is because stunting is so severe in many places in Tanzania. According to the 2019 Tanzania National Nutrition Survey, approximately three million children under five years of age were stunted in 2018. I would like to see us expand the RCP Program to ten villages in 2022 and set a goal of adding at least five new villages every year. This will also require a very serious resource mobilization.
What compels you to work for Global Volunteers?
I have known Co-Founder and CEO Bud Philbrook since 2007. He became my mentor and friend. He shared with us many plans and visions about Global Volunteers. I am here to contribute my talents and efforts. I greatly enjoy seeing an activity or plan change from an idea into reality. For example, this year we started hosting pregnant women at the RCP guesthouse. I was so happy to see that building being used to help moms. I can’t wait to see the expansion of the program to five additional villages become a reality.
What value is offered by volunteers working for a week or two in your community?
It is easier for someone from outside the community to foment behavioral change in Tanzania. If someone from the U.S. or Poland, for example, comes and explains how EarthBoxes will help a family grow vegetables, that makes more sense than when hearing someone from the same community tell you that. Volunteers make a huge difference in that regard.
We currently need a lot of volunteers in the Ukwega Ward of Tanzania to work with the community in building fuel-efficient stoves, building chicken coops, and planting EarthBoxes for RCP families. There is a lot of work to do here!
“It is easier for someone from outside the community to foment behavioral change in Tanzania. Volunteers make a huge difference in that regard.”– Nayman Chavalla, Tanzania Country Director
What has been your satisfaction with your position that keeps you working with RCP?
Since 2006, I have worked with different communities here in Iringa. My biggest satisfaction is when I see our interventions transform those communities to a better life than before. The RCP program managed to summarize the 12 essential services as per UN agencies into three main promises to the community: to eradicate hunger, improve health, and enhance cognition. The RCP Program offers parents the tools to deliver the 12 essential services prescribed by UN agencies in the Essential Package. Communities are transformed when stunting is reduced and children can reach their full potential.
“Seeing an activity or plan change from an idea into reality. For example, this year we started hosting pregnant women at the RCP guesthouse. I was so happy to see that building being used to help moms. I can’t wait to see the expansion of the program to five additional villages become a reality.”– Nayman Chavalla, Tanzania Country Director
Nayman Off the Clock
Nayman and his wife, Agnetha, have two children: a son, Zion (age 14), and a daughter, Rose (age 12). In his free time, Nayman likes to jog, read books, or have fun with his family or close friends. He also likes to watch soccer games and the news.
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