Clemens Mulokozi

Clemens Mulokozi

Founder & Director

“He who stands on his own feet” – Ndyetabura – this is the name my Tanzanian great-grandfather gave me. Throughout my life “standing on my own two feet” has taken on a special meaning for me. In a figurative sense, it is the guiding light for Jambo Bukoba – making children strong through sport.

Growing up in different worlds
I was born in Munich and moved to Tanzania, my father’s home country, at the age of five with my sister and my parents. He was a professor of chemistry and had studied in Munich in the 1960s where he met my German mother. I mainly lived in Tanzania until the age of 12. We moved seven times during this period.

70er in Tansania

Moving so often was difficult for me because I had to give up friends I had become fond of. Early on, I was confronted by the fact that the colour of my skin made me different both in Germany and in Tanzania. What I learned from this experience was how to adjust quickly to new and foreign situations, to meet mistrust with great openness and to find common ground with people when exchanging ideas. And this is also one of my special strengths today: building a bridge between the different worlds in Germany and Tanzania.

After my parents separated, my mother, sister and I returned to Munich. I was 12 years old and was well aware at the time of my situation: my future prospects would have been limited if I only had a Tanzanian education.

The death of my father and a sweaty, signed football jersey
In the spring of 2006, my father died in Tanzania. I was 41 years old at the time. As a result, I thought a lot about my second home and my own childhood through the eyes of an adult. I found my father’s doctoral thesis when I was cleaning out his house. I became aware for the first time of what he had actually accomplished back then as a 20-year-old man from a village near Bukoba.

How was it that he came to study in Munich? How were my grandparents in Tanzania able to afford it? “Education” was the thread running through my research about Tanzania, the Kagera region and my family.

I found out that there were only 12 Tanzanians with a university degree back then. That my father was chosen to study in Germany and then to return to his country. That my grandfather, who was a farmer, initiated the idea to use crop yields to invest in education for their children.

Children in Tanzania – An affair of the heart
I started viewing statistics on HIV/AIDS infections and orphans in Tanzania from a different perspective. I saw people, not numbers. Memories came flooding back. Of girls who were sent to fetch water with canisters every day who didn’t have time to study. Of children who are still taught today using books from the 50s. How lucky I had been in my formative years in Germany to have an environment conducive to education. It was clear that children in Tanzania didn’t have these opportunities. And therefore also didn’t have a chance to successfully be the masters of their own destinies later on. This is particularly true of girls.

60% of new HIV/AIDS infections occur in individuals between 15 and 24 years of age. The existing programmes and projects for better education, health and equality in Tanzania do not appear to truly reach children and young people.

A sweaty football jersey signed by Willy Sagnol compelled me to take action. A friend handed it me happily after a Champions League match with the words “Do something with this for your people!” It was during my time as the manager of sports sponsorship at HypoVereinsbank. I knew that I could really do something for Tanzania with a clever idea.

Kinder in roten Trikots
Making children strong through sports
The Ambassador of Tanzania set up meetings for me with leaders from the fields of education, health, family and sports in Bukoba in November 2008. I visited a vocational school to discuss my idea with students: The girls and boys who were playing football on the shore of Lake Victoria in Bukoba shared a few pairs of thin trainers and wore only one shoe on their shooting foot. When I asked them what sport and football means to them, they answered “football games help keep our minds off our problems. When you’re playing football, you forget you’re hungry.”

After all my research and discussions with many people and experts in Tanzania and Germany, it was finally clear to me: I want to help children in Tanzania. Give them better education, improve health and gender equality and use sport as a path to hope and a way to open doors.

Whether swimming certification or jogging – sport has always given me more energy and self-confidence and shown me what I can achieve. I later discovered marathon running for myself through co-workers. I draw strength from my daily training, I free my mind and live a healthier life.

In December 2008, I founded Jambo Bukoba e.V. together with our financial director Andreas Meindl, my wife and some other nice people.

We want even more children to be able to stand on their own two feet!
I meet many wonderful people through Jambo Bukoba. With volunteers, donations and as an ambassador, we not only make children in Tanzania strong, but ourselves as human beings.

Jambo Bukoba Gründung

ASHOKA, a global non-profit organisation that promotes socially responsible company start-ups also validated our work in a survey in August 2014: Attendance rates of pupils have increased, scores are better, children are better informed about HIV/AIDS and girls are more confident.

Jambo Bukoba Merkel unterschreibt

Spurred by this positive result and the wonderful (team) spirit, I decided to work full-time for Jambo Bukoba in October 2014 at the age of 49. My courage was rewarded. Chancellor Angela Merkel honoured Jambo Bukoba with a national startsocial award in spring 2015 and Ashoka selected me for support as a social entrepreneur at almost the same time. Now, I can put all of my energy into pursuing my goal of making the children of Bukoba strong.

These girls and boys of today can be the leaders of tomorrow if they have access to education, better health and gender equality. Give us your support!

Munich, 24 August 2015
Clemens Ndyetabura Mulokozi