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Growing up with Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide CEO Tom Arnold recently visited Tanzania, where Concern has been helping the country’s poorest people for more than 30 years.

During his visit, Tom surprised six members of staff that have worked for Concern in Tanzania for over 20 years. The award is a framed certificate and a painting, commending them for their length of service and dedication.

It was presented to the delighted employees at the head office in Dar es Salaam. Collectively, they have given 133 years to Concern.

An opportunity

One of the six is logistician Katron Thomas, aged 39, who has been working with Concern for more than half of his life. After performing poorly in his school exams, Katron had no employment options apart from helping his parents at home on their farm. When Concern began implementing a project in Khatron’s home village in Iringa, central Tanzania, he saw an opportunity to better his life.

“I applied to the organisation for work as a gardener. As Concern’s operations grew, I was employed as a driver. These two jobs opened my mind for further thinking. The more I met different people, the more I learnt from them. This developed an aspiration to be somewhere else, in a better position.”

In 1994, Katron was deployed to the Rwandan boarder to assist with the influx of refugees into Tanzania and was transferred two years later to the head office in Dar es Salaam to work in logistics.

Respect and trust

When asked what’s so special about Concern, Katron said “Concern respects and trusts people.”

“In my village, we were given time to discover problems ourselves. Only then would Concern offer technical assistance in the form of advice, physical inputs or whatever was appropriate.”

From beneficiary to a vital member of staff, Katron’s story sums up Concern in Tanzania. Demonstrating investment in people is a fundamental value. Concern Tanzania is proud that it employs 97% of its workforce directly from Tanzania.  

From left to right in picture: Hawa Ngatunga (25 years); Martha Zumba (21 years); Tom Arnold; Katron Thomas (24 years); Vicent Kikoti (21 years) and Michael Nziku (20 years).

Furaha Zanzibar (22 years) is based in Iringa and was unable to receive his award on the day.