HOPE International is launching a new savings group program in Tanzania! And Anna Makundi recently joined us as the country director, with the task of forming a new team and bringing on new church partners. We’re grateful for her pioneering spirit and willingness to set the foundation to serve more people through savings groups.
Born and raised in Tanzania, Anna holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Victoria University of Wellington and has extensive international development experience with several prominent nonprofits. Anna lives with her husband and their three sons in Arusha, a city in northeast Tanzania.
Recently, Anna sat down with us to share her thoughts on why HOPE is launching in Tanzania, her dreams for HOPE’s impact in local communities, and how we can pray for her growing team.
Q: As HOPE prepares to start savings groups in Tanzania, what are you most excited about?
A: I’m looking forward to seeing HOPE be able to reach underserved communities—especially in Arusha, where I live, but also in Mwanza and other regions. What excites me most is the spiritual transformation that comes when people learn about the Word of God—at the same time, their mindset changes on how to address poverty in their communities using local resources and opportunities.
I’m also excited about seeing spiritual and economic impact as we help people to know that God loves them and He has given them important talents and gifts to support themselves and their families. Instead of sitting back and saying, “I’m poor; I don’t have this or that,” they can look at their available natural resources and opportunities and tap them.
Mindset transformation with zero capital injection is such a sustainable way of fighting poverty.
Q: What is the need for HOPE’s services in Tanzania? What spiritual or financial challenges do underserved families face?
A: In general, the people we hope to serve in Tanzania are those stuck in poverty’s vicious cycle. For example, underserved entrepreneurs are often unable to borrow capital from the banks to do business simply because they don’t have the collateral. They may live in a marginalized area with no connection to the power grid or the water system; they may live far from medical or education facilities; they may be less connected to tarmac roads and don’t fetch good market prices for their produce. So, they’re isolated, in a way. You can see how challenging it is to get out of the poverty cycle.
It’s very important, then, to break the cycle, and that often starts with igniting people’s minds.
We say, even if you’re less socially connected, even if you didn’t finish your education, even if you can’t borrow money from the bank, you’re not empty-handed. What do you have?
Often, people can start by identifying resources at their disposal and knowledge or skills in their possession—even if it seems like a small thing. The moment they appreciate and value it, it multiplies and can become a source of income to provide for family and community needs.
Q: Where is HOPE Tanzania in the process of becoming operational?
A: We’ve already gone on a long journey from when I joined the office in August! But right now, we’re thanking God that we just got our registration certificate. The certificate is like the foundation to every piece of administrative work of our program here. We waited a long time, so we’re very excited to complete that step!
Now that we have the registration certificate, we’re hiring for key positions, and we just moved into the new office.
We’ve forged relationships with two church partners and have started to map out who the participants will be and what the process will be. I thank God that the journey has started—and now it is really speeding up!
Q: How can we be praying for you and the HOPE Tanzania team?
A: First is for a smooth official launch on November 14. There are a number of things that will need to happen in advance of that, and I’m praying that God will help us anticipate all of those pieces so that we’re fully prepared when the day comes.
Second is for the HOPE Tanzania staff team that God is bringing together. Our church partners will be also making important staffing decisions.
And finally, maybe the biggest prayer is for the people who will make up our first savings groups. We pray for God’s grace in their lives, even now, and for hope. And we ask God to lead to the right people to be part of this in the beginning, so that we can build and then reach even more men and women in the years to come.
Want to support HOPE as we launch savings groups in Tanzania and seek to serve other underserved communities around the world? You can make a financial donation here or sign up to become a prayer partner here.