Friends of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania

3. April 2019 15:27
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Kara Forte

Raising Awareness 2019

Kara Forte

Kara Forte

BIO

Kara Forte is a professional living and working in Zug, Switzerland with a passion and commitment to helping people less fortunate live better lives. Kara began her career in Los Angeles, California in 1992 as a teacher in an inner city school in an impoverished area with persistent teacher shortages. She then went on to recruit and train hundreds of teachers throughout the United States to teach in these challenging inner city communities as the Director of Recruitment for a non profit organization called Teach For America.  This experience opened her eyes and fuelled Kara’s drive to eradicate inequalities in education and life prospects throughout her career. She met children and families who suffered needlessly due to a lack of resources in their neighbourhood schools and extremely tough living situations.  These children surely deserved the same start in life and the same high quality education as their more affluent suburban counterparts but this was not the case.

Kara continued her fight for educational equity in New York by serving as the Executive Director of another non profit called The “I Have a Dream” Foundation. The Foundation provides long-term support to children and youth living in under-resourced communities to achieve their full potential, by promoting from an early age, values of higher education and career success, with opportunity guaranteed through financial resources, and other services.

Upon relocating to Zug, Switzerland with her husband and two boys in 2008, Kara got a job teaching at a local international school.  Despite her love of teaching and her many inspiring students, she longed to get back to helping those in need but it seemed nearly impossible in this utopian country of Switzerland!

Her opportunity came in 2016 when she met a couple involved in the early stages of funding a programme in Tanzania with a unique approach to eradicating the cycle of poverty.  Kara was thrilled to take on the position of Executive Director of the Friends of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania dedicated to making a massive difference across 4 critical areas in a single community so that the entire community can be lifted out of poverty.  Kara’s role is to raise awareness and funds to support the projects of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania.  These projects include a Health Centre serving the needs of over 30,000 people, a Community Based Rehabilitation Programme to help treat people with disabilities, a women empowerment programme called SASA and a programme called Tackle Africa that uses football to teach young people about HIV prevention.

In her free time Kara enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage boys, seeing friends, cooking, travelling and doing yoga.

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

Cedar Foundation Tanzania

Cedar Tanzania-Changing Lives

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania

Meet Kara Forte


1. What is FOC?

The Friends of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania promotes awareness and raises funds to support the projects of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania.  These projects revolve around four key areas:  health care, education, women empowerment, and entrepreneurialism.  The Foundation works together with the local community and government and embraces collaboration and believes that the community should be empowered from its core with a holistic approach to bring about sustainable change.

 

2. When was it founded?

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania was founded in 2014 and The Friends of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania was founded in September, 2016.

 

3. Why are you involved and what are your duties?

I am involved because I was looking for a way to channel my passion and commitment to improving the lives of people less fortunate in an international setting and came across the Cedar Foundation Tanzania and knew this was it!  I was inspired and intrigued by the founder Mark O’Sullivan’s commitment to inclusivity and respect for honouring the culture and traditions of the local community in the entire decision making process.  The idea of embracing all aspects of the cycle of poverty, instead of just focusing on one also intrigued me.  As Founder Mark O’Sullivan puts it:  “You cannot tackle a problem in isolation, you must engage with all of the problem areas and work with the entire community.”

 

My responsibilities include:  diversifying and expanding the funding base for Cedar Tanzania, particularly within Switzerland, Europe and the U.S. to fund the expansion of ambitious projects and plan for future growth.  I also engage with Swiss charitable foundations, corporations, and individuals in an effort to raise funds and establish corporate partnerships.  I am charged with building a board of directors to manage the strategic direction of the organization and ensure future sustainability.  I plan and execute an annual charity gala in Zug and conduct donor stewardship throughout the year with the goal of increasing awareness and stakeholders who can help us spread our mission and carry our message to new potential donors who want to help us change lives in Tanzania.

 

 

4. How many people are in the NGO and what is the reach?

I am the sole employee of the Friends of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania but relies on a great group of volunteers and her Board of Directors which has 6 members.

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania has 6 full time employees as well as a team of 20 doctors and nurses who staff our Kamanga Health Centre.  *Please note that all administrative and overhead staffing costs at both Friends and in Tanzania are fully funded by a generous benefactor.  Therefore, all money raised goes directly to our programmes that help people in need.

 

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania serves the needs of over 30,000 people and more living in the Nyamatongo Ward in northern Tanzania.

 

5. What is the focus? 

Our projects focus on the following four areas:  health care, education, empowerment, and entrepreneurialism.

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6. Where does FOC work?

The Friends of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania operates out of Zug, Switzerland but through social media channels its reach extends beyond Switzerland and aims to raise awareness and funds for its worthy projects globally.

 

7. What projects do they tackle?

Our first major project was building a Health Centre for the community.  This decision came from the community members themselves through a rigorous assessment survey conducted at the beginning of our relationship.  The survey results showed that the highest priority and need for this Tanzanian community in the Nyamatongo Ward was access to quality health care.  Within months, we broke ground for the building and in just over one year, in January 2018 we opened the doors to the Kamanga Health Centre!  Since its inception, over 9,000 patients have been treated at our Health Centre and we’ve delivered over 310 healthy babies!

 

The second biggest issue the community faced was gender inequality.  Women had far less power than men.  To tackle this issue we partnered with a Ugandan organization called Raising Voices with a strong track record for success.  The aim of Raising Voices is to address a core driver of violence against women and children:  the imbalance of power.  Together with Raising Voices we are in our third year of implementing the SASA programme to ensure an effective and systematic process of change in the community about how women and girls are treated.

 

Another large problem in the Nyamatongo Ward is the lack of access to health care for people with disabilities living in very remote areas of the ward.  As they cannot get to the Health Centre, we must come to them and treat them where they live.  Thus the Community Based Rehabilitation Programme was born.  CBR identifies and addresses the needs of people with disabilities by providing medical outreach services to them.  We employ one nurse and one occupational therapist to diagnose and treat PWD’s via a mobile clinic on motor bikes.

Unforunately AIDS is still the number one killer of young adults ages 18 – 24 in Tanzania!  To combat this problem we have partnered with a programme called Tackle Africa.  Tackle Africa has developed over 100 football drills which cover a range of HIV related topics.  Young people are taught how to prevent the spread of HIV, how to live with HIV if they have it, and where to access support services if they need it.  The sessions are designed to show young people that they have the power to make healthy lifestyle choices in the fight agains HIV/AIDS.

Since Cedar Tanzania began working with the local community in Kamanga, over 500 people have been tested for AIDS and those that have been diagnosed have been given treatment and counselling.

 

8. How can we help?

You can help in many ways.  Please visit our website at www.cedartanzania.org to see the great programmes we are running in Tanzania.  You can ask your company to Sponsor a run or a health awareness week where employees raise money for our Health Centre by logging

the number of kilometers they run, walk, bike, swim, etc. for a week and then matching that with a designated franc donation per kilometer.  You can donate directly to our foundation and as we are an official Swiss charity, your donations are fully tax deductible.  You can volunteer with Kara at our local office, you can offer your services and time to the Friends of Cedar Tanzania Board of Directors.  You can share our Friends of Cedar Tanzania posts on your personal Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram pages to spread the word and help raise awareness for this worthy cause!

 

“You cannot tackle a problem in isolation, you must engage with all of the problem areas and work with the entire community.” – Mark O’Sullivan, Founder

 


Mark O'Sullivan, Founder of the Cedar Foundation Tanzania

Mark O'Sullivan, Founder of the Cedar Foundation

www.cedartanzania.org
Photos copyright by: Cedar Foundation & Kara Forte

Cedar Tanzania

Cedar Foundation