von Jana Ersfeld

Aus Fehlern lernen – talking with Cathbert Tomitho about the KNOWLYMPICS 2017

Seit 2015 werden die KNOWLYMPICS veranstaltet und Partnerorganisationen von HORIZONT3000 dazu eingeladen, ihre (Projekt-) Erfahrungen aufzubereiten und zu teilen. Ziel ist es einen Lern- und Austauschprozess zwischen den Partnerorganisationen zu fördern. HORIZONT3000 begrüßt insbesondere auch das Teilen von negativen Erfahrungen, da wir daran glauben, dass die Aufbereitung von negativen Erfahrungen und die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse uns und anderen sehr viel lehren können.

Im letzten Jahr hat unsere Partnerorganisation HAKIARDHI aus Tansania mit einer negativen Erfahrung teilgenommen. HAKIARDHI beobachtete eine geringe Teilnahme von Frauen an Debatten über Landrechte. Durch dir Aufbereitung dieser Erfahrung konnten sie Strategien zur Kapazitätsentwicklung unter den Frauen entwickeln und sie in genannte Debatten inkludieren. Wir haben mit Cathbert Tomitho, Geschäftsführer bei HAKIARDHI, über ihre Teilnahme und das Potential aus Fehlern zu lernen gesprochen.



HAKIARDHI was one the few organisations that decided to hand in a negative experience describing a failure and the lessons the organization learned from it – Why did you decide to do so and what have you gained from it?

Cathbert: While organizing public debates in 30 villages in Morogoro and Kilindi Districts, where HORIZONT3000 funds our projects, we realized that women attendance and participation was very low in comparison to our expectations. For us, this was a lesson learned which needed to be resolved for future engagements. We found it interesting to share this lesson learned with other partners through the KNOWLYMPICS. And apart from the price that we won, it also has given us the opportunity to reflect internally on how we can improve the debates and the activities in the communities to ensure that women and all other groups are involved and benefit from the project.


Do you think there should be a more open discussion on failures and negative experiences?

Cathbert: Yes, since we all learn and grow after realizing that we have failed somewhere. However, the organisations have to be encouraged to admit and share the failures and negative experiences from their projects. For HAKIARDHI, we believe that there is a need for a more open discussion in this area as it encourages others facing the same challenge to rectify the situation through sharing and learning.


The negative experience that you submitted described the challenge you had with poor participation of women in debates about land rights. Could you eventually include women in such debates through the reflection and analysation of given failure?

Cathbert: Definitely, the inclusion of women in several projects implemented by HAKIARDHI is now the key agenda within the organisation. In fact, there are initiatives done by Land Rights Monitors in selected villages in project areas to establish so called “land rights study groups” where women are strongly convinced to attend and participate. Through these groups women will enhance their capacity and ability to actively participate in public gathering for decision making and other socio-economic and cultural events to represent their demands.


Could you notice any positive outcomes in relation to the status of women after you reflected and analysed the failure?

Cathbert: Everything is in progress and the organisation has started to invest much in women inclusion as part of achieving the SDGs. Therefore, it will be realistic to report on outcomes in some months and years later on.


Do you see benefits for the work of partners in East Africa through the exchange of experiences and knowledge via the KNOWLYMPICS?

Cathbert: Analysing and sharing of experiences is very important for our objective of advocating for the rights of small-scale producers, including women. For HAKIARDHI every experience is worth sharing as it has the potential of advocating towards a number of likeminded organisations and the public. Through the KNOWLYMPCIS we also came to understand what other organisations in East Africa and elsewhere are doing. I therefore support and encourage HORIZONT3000 to keep doing the KNOWLYMPICS every year, as it is a space for learning and improving our interventions through others experiences.

I have gone through other experiences published on the KNOW-HOW3000 Platform. I did so for many reasons, such as learning what other organisations are doing and how they organise themselves. By reading others experiences, I have shaped my mind on how organising myself and HAKIARDHI.


You were one of the winners of the KNOWLYMPICS 2017 and won a laptop to support the documentation during fieldwork in rural areas. Tell us a bit how this prize has affected the work of your organisation!

Cathbert: When I began systematizing the experience last year, some of my colleagues where not sure what was going to happen because it was the first competition of such kind that we participated in. However, when we won it was an amazing experience to every one of us and encouraged us to keep more information and documentation of the stories collected from the fieldwork and other relevant activities. This laptop has enhanced our works in terms of documenting information.


Any additional comments on the KNOWLYMPICS?

Cathbert: I encourage other organisations to participate in the KNOWLYMPICS 2018, not only for winning a prize, but rather as an arena for sharing their experiences with other organisations worldwide. Most important, I would advise other organisations to share their negative experiences. It’s not showing their weakness but it is a direction towards finding more sustainable solutions to several challenges which may have contributed to a negative experience.

The Land Rights Research and Resource Institute – HAKIARDHI (means land rights in Swahili) is advocating for the land rights of small-scale farmers and pastoralists since more than 20 years. Main objective of the Institute is to provide a fair and equal access to land rights for local communities. Besides research, HAKIARDHI is engaging in public relations, education of local communities about their land rights and the lobbing for a higher transparency of such rights.