Change Maker of the Month: Heiko Egert

We call our donors and supporters “Change Makers“ because, with their support, young lives in Tanzania are directly impacted and a positive change is being made to give them better futures.

Our changemaker this month is Heiko Egert. Heiko was born in Wiesbaden, studied business administration and has been a sponsoring expert for over twenty years. He lives in Ingolstadt, where he works for Audi, and spends much of his spare time on his motorcycle – preferably going to watch his favourite club, Eintracht Frankfurt, play a match. Heiko has been supporting Jambo Bukoba since 2015.

“I support Jambo Bukoba because I can personally witness how my donation is spent and how it is helping young lives to better futures.”

Heiko is a big guy and not just in stature – his motorcycle is pretty impressive too. In Tanzania, he became known as “Heiko with the Big Machine”, when he rode in on the bike while on a visit there in 2015.

And it was during that first visit that he developed an especially “big” heart too – for children in Tanzania and for the work Jambo Bukoba is doing to support their education. Since then, Heiko has helped to finance many Jambo Bukoba projects through personal donations and fundraisers within his own network and circle of friends.

Projects like the financing of a new toilet house at the Mugeza Mseto Primary School and two motorbikes, which are used by the Jambo For Development team to get around more easily. Heiko bought the bikes in Dar es Salaam with the help of Dany Mussa, a friend from the Kagera region, and delivered them personally to Bukoba – with a short detour to Arusha to Mount Kilimanjaro and the odd adventure on the long way.

And Heiko also supplied high-quality protective motorbike clothing: helmets, jackets and pants. With the donations he collected, the Katoke Primary School was equipped with benches so that no child has to learn while sitting on the floor anymore.

Heiko’s fundraisers are carried out on his Facebook page. Right now, his annual “Reverse Advent Calendar” action is up and running: Behind every virtual door of the calendar, is a donation to Jambo Bukoba. What a great idea! By Christmas, Heiko hopes to have collected EUR 4,000. This will fund an urgently needed new classroom in the primary school in Baraka. (At the time of writing in early December, Heiko had already raised nearly 40% of the funds needed.)

Heiko – How did you come across Jambo Bukoba initially?

I lived in Africa for almost three years, more precisely in South Africa around the time of the world cup. I supported various large NGOs with projects throughout the continent, and for a while I even sponsored two children in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. I made several attempts to visit these projects or the sponsored children, but it was never possible. I felt that my money was gladly taken, but aside from one or two letters from the children (and I wasn’t sure if they were really written by them at all), these NGOs didn’t want my personal involvement.

I knew Clemens (founder of Jambo Bukoba) already through our professional lives in Germany and he told me about his organisation and what it was doing to help children in Tanzania.

“I am impressed by the commitment of the Jambo Bukoba and Jambo For Development team and the close cooperation with local authorities in Tanzania.”

What inspired you ultimately to donate to Jambo Bukoba?

I planned to undertake a motorcycle trip from South Africa to Germany and I approached Clemens and asked him if I could pay a visit to the Jambo Bukoba team while on the trip and see how it worked for myself.

This visit in April 2015 showed me that I was obviously right in my desire for a more personal relationship with organizations I support and donate to. The commitment of the then still very small team in Bukoba was very impressive. A meeting with the School Council of Mugeza Msetu Primary School, where I wanted to finance a project, was set up for me along with an official handover of donations in kind that I had arranged and that had just arrived from Germany.

That was an overwhelming experience – and I can only that recommend everyone to travel to the region once with one of the annual Jambo Bukoba evaluation trips or on an individual visit!

„The concept behind Jambo Bukoba is truly positive and impactful: The combination of learning life skills, sport and construction projects improves the children‘s daily lives.“

What impressed you about the Jambo Bukoba concept that you decided to fundraise for it?

I like the combination of “Life Skills through Games”, sports and construction projects that directly affect and improve daily life at schools. And of course, the personal relationship with the team through my acquaintance with Clemens and the visit to Bukoba brought me closer to the work of the organization. „I like that the donations go primarily into the projects and not into marketing costs.”

What would you say to someone to motivate them to donate to Jambo Bukoba?

It‘s important to me that my donations and the donations from friends, who I encouraged to donate, flow into the actual projects as much as possible, and not into marketing and administration costs. (Author: As a DZI-recognised organisation, Jambo Bukoba is obliged to keep marketing and administrative costs below 30% of donations).

The project costs naturally include the work of the teams in Tanzania and Germany, not just the construction costs for a classroom or water tank. I am happy to confirm this to my friends and acquaintances, who tell me time and again that this is also an essential reason for them to donate to this organisation. They truly see where their money is going.

Heiko, that is a truly inspirational story. We thank you for your ongoing support and its direct, positive impact on young lives in Tanzania. We are happy to name you our Jambo Bukoba and Jambo For Development Change Maker of the Month 😊