Name: Don Stoll
Organisation: Al Wahda Private School, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Role: Academic Dean
Country: United States
I write a blog called “A whole village” which discusses the relationship that my wife Marianne Kent-Stoll and I have built with the people of a remote village in northern Tanzania, starting with our visit there as tourists in 2007. At the villagers’ request we have returned every year with volunteers who live near us in Santa Cruz, California, with the intention of bringing them improved education and healthcare and whatever else it will take to lift them permanently out of poverty. But ignorance and lack of resources hinder us—our own ignorance and lack of resources, that is. Marianne and I can lay no claim to the knowledge of how to end poverty which seems to have eluded the entire development community. I received my advanced academic training in Western philosophers like Plato, Hegel, and Nietzsche while Marianne studied poets like Gerard Manley Hopkins, W.B. Yeats, and William Carlos Williams. Our training as well as our inclinations led to careers first in higher and then in secondary education until, in our fifties, we stumbled by way of friendship with a few Tanzanian villagers onto the minefield of international development. As confessed nonexperts we have hazarded a guess that ending poverty might have something to do with spending money wisely. However, if one can justly accuse the global development community of spending foolishly, at least Marianne and I and the small nonprofit we founded in 2008, the Karimu International Help Foundation, have very little to misspend. So “A whole village” records, among other things, our ongoing education in the art of development. We expect many failures while hoping that, ultimately, our successes outweigh them.