From Toronto to Tanzania

Following long and successful careers in business management and marketing, Gerry and Sharleen Moodie, of Toronto, retired with the intention to travel the world. However, while planning their adventure, they were introduced to Cuso International and decided to see the world a different way—as volunteers lending their business expertise.

Currently, through Cuso International, the husband and wife team are volunteer business advisors for the Tanzanian Local Enterprise Development, a program providing mentorship to small business owners. The objective of their year-long placement is to increase employment opportunities for Tanzanians, especially women.

One example of the many small- to medium-sized enterprises the Moodies are supporting is Rabika Poultry. Rabika is developing a social enterprise to provide chicks, feed, veterinarian services and training to raise healthy poultry. Participants can earn an income with no start-up costs, and are provided opportunities to purchase shares in the company’s new processing plant.

“We are helping Rabika develop the business plan to seek financing, and design the processing plant and its operation so that it meets all food processing certification requirements,” said Gerry. “We are also helping Rabika develop a marketing strategy to attract members to the social enterprise and to sell his products throughout the region and country.”

Prior to volunteering, Gerry spent the last five years of his career in Toronto as a business consultant, specializing in planning and development, business start-up, implementation and general management. Sharleen completed her career focusing on strategic business development in Internet recruiting companies.

The volunteer placement in Tanzania is the second Cuso International mission for the couple; the first was in Laos. “Cuso International provides a remarkable opportunity to travel, participate and contribute,” said Gerry. “For professionals recently retired and wanting to make an impact, volunteering provides a chance to make a positive difference in the lives of the less fortunate.”