10 Years of Pamoja

In the year 2000, I watched Nkosi Johnson, a twelve-year-old South African boy, give his powerful speech at the 13th International AIDS Conference. Nkosi used this platform to bravely advocate the need for open conversations surrounding AIDS and its treatment. I was inspired by Nkosi’s immense bravery and courage and his determination to bring about change. Nkosi sadly passed away the following year.

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Nkosi’s courage made me realise that we all have a responsibility to be kind and do what we can to improve people’s lives – wherever they may live. This ultimately led me to volunteer with VSO; first in Tanzania, then in Uganda.

 2008 - Me (left) in a village in Tanzania

2008 - Me (left) in a village in Tanzania

My time with VSO in East Africa was my entry point to the world of Monitoring and Evaluation. There I observed the work done by non-profits and advocacy groups, and the impact they were having on this world. Sometime later, I founded Pamoja, the Swahili language setting the tone for the organisation's future. Pamoja means ‘together,’ with the value of working together being central to Pamoja’s philosophy as a consultancy.  

This year, Pamoja is ten years old and, in that time, has provided monitoring and evaluation support to some of the world’s known organisations. We specialise in measuring the hard to measure through our innovative work on developing and applying Contribution Tracing– a new approach to impact evaluation.

Nkosi would have been 29 this year if he had benefitted from the treatment he fought so hard to make accessible for others. In 2012, I meet Gail Johnson, Nkosi’s adopted mother for the first time. How strange that fate should bring us both together. Gail showed me around Nkosi’s Haven – an incredible legacy of Nkosi and an enduring testament to Gail and her team’s commitment to improving the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS.

 With Gail Johnson

With Gail Johnson

As we celebrate a decade of Pamoja this week, I want to take you with me on a walk down memory lane. Stay tuned for more updates!