Meet the new National Director of Habitat for Humanity Ghana, George Nzomo.
George Nzomo holds a MA in Sociology and Community Development from Washington International University USA, a BA in Sociology and Development from University of Nairobi, Post Graduate Diploma in Administration and Education from the University of Nairobi and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and Income Generating projects from the University of Haifa, Israel.
His career started in 1978 after graduation from University of Nairobi by working with Government of Kenya in the rural area managing Community Development programs and Administration and he then later moved to work with UN agencies and NGOs.
Why did you decide to join Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity International is a very good NGO providing a service (Housing) which is very necessary in life for every human being. Everyone must have a good home to go to after the day’s work. Even the animals have it. So I was happy to be part of this great endeavor of helping the needy get decent homes. Also as one gets older it is important to get closer to home, hence the need to work in Africa and closer to home in Kenya.
Tell us about your vision for Habitat for Humanity Ghana?
My dream or vision for HFH Ghana is to move it from a program with challenges to one of hope, stability and very sustainable. With regard to the above, I will also want to move HFH Ghana to the next level in fundraising by making it a multimillion dollar organization with a well motivated staff and partners. I therefore want to, whiles working to reform the HFH Ghana program, to be also aggressively looking for funds from in country. Efforts will also be made to seek funds from outside by writing good proposals to seek external donor funds. I have very good experience fundraising and managing large funded organizations and I would like to bring the experience to the HFH Ghana program.
How do you see HFH Ghana getting to the point where your vision is a reality?
Ghana is one of the oldest programs in Habitat and I would like to instill confidence in the staff, affiliates, the local leaders and government officials. Once we have that confidence and we can continue to fundraise locally, we should come up with a three year strategic plan and then move forward to planning for the next five year. We need to be in line for the country’s government strategies. Housing is major problem in this country and we can never succeed without the help of all the players involved. For the program to move to the next stage we need commitment and enthusiasm. Ghana is a very stable country; the people here can do everything they put their minds to. Any developmental plans will succeed if you let the people take charge of their own development.
What message would you give to anyone interested in volunteering with or giving to Habitat for Humanity?
My message would be simple. Please come and help the less-privileged. They need your help, whether it is a donation in money or your time personally. Just give your energy to help. If we want to instill confidence in those we help we need your support. Visit us.
What have you learnt working in war-torn and conflict-ridden countries?
I worked in Sudan then moved on to Afghanistan. The lessons I learnt were to be patient: the time will come when it is right to make changes. I saw how people were stripped of their livestock, had nothing to eat and see children and children and mothers suffering and walking for long distances to get water and food. I’ve learnt that these people need peace and they need people to listen and to care about their situation. I learnt that it is important to choose the right people to help, have the right criteria when choosing your beneficiaries. This also applies to our policies here now, we have to work with communities and understand their needs.
Tell us a little about your life and where you grew up?
I come from rural Kenya. Rain and drought has been with me since I was born. Where we lived we were dependant on relief aid most of the time. I learnt that it was good to assist and grew interested in Sociology – the study of people. I’m thankful for this background in the journey my life has taken – purely if it is to know how to sit for hours and listen with the people. The passion to help is in me, I was born with it. It has been almost thirty years now that I’ve been doing this type of work.
You said that it was time to move somewhere where you could be close to your family. Why is that?
Even when I was working in the rural areas I’ve never lived with my family for long periods. The time came when my wife said: “Hey, it time to join us.” My children (one girl, four boys) are growing up and it was time to move to a more stable country so that I could spend time with them. We are currently looking for schools for them and for employment for my wife and then hopefully in about three months they will join me here. Even though we are five men and only two women in the family, you will find that the women dominate most of the time (he laughs).