Coming from a Nordic environment, professionally working in teacher education, both authors engaged in developmental work and research in the Uluguru mountains in Tanzania. The research is carried out in a community-based organization for vulnerable youth, Mgeta Orphan Education Foundation (MOEF), which builds on principles of action learning and action research. We have followed and participated in the development of the organization since 2010, and this article builds on data gathered in 2016-17. We will show and discuss some of the transformations we have witnessed, mainly in the older members. The transformations seem to have an emergent character, and we examine further factors we have seen as crucial for transforming the lives of the young people in the orphan education project. Surprisingly, duty was a factor coming forth in the data. The youth perceived duty in a relational way, mainly caused by inner motivation nurtured by the example of their coordinator, Solomon, and by facing the continuous, emergent need for assistance in their local communities. Less surprisingly, belonging transpired as a fundamental factor. Previously, we have analyzed the transformational learning among the youngsters, and identified a set of transformational tools (Gjotterud, Krogh, Dyngeland, & Mwakasumba, 2015). Building on the transformational tools, we have derived a model for Relational Transformation. Transformative action research is the approach we follow, and one aim of this article is to contribute to the understanding of the reciprocity of transformative processes in transformative research.
Transformative experiences can happen at unexpected times, in unexpected ways. This paper tells the story of how a gift of a goat can lead to the transformation of a life. Many organisations globally are engaged in a struggle to overcome poverty and injustice by providing livestock as a means for transformation. The animals in themselves are not enough for the transformed lives; they can be a valuable starting point. In the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania, a Tanzanian and a Norwegian together took one such initiative in order to support teen-age orphans, one of the most vulnerable groups in the community who were struggling to survive. As practitioners and researchers, the four authors had been taking part in the development of the Mgeta Orphan Education Foundation (MOEF), which had developed through action learning/action research. Selected students received a goat and training, and the opportunity to join and develop a network of orphans throughout the region. In this article, we discuss the benefits and challenges the orphaned youngsters face when joining the foundation. How do they benefit from having the goat and what are the challenges, how do they learn and how do they contribute to fellow farmers in their communities? We claim that many of the students have experienced transformation, and provide examples to give evidence of this claim. However, the students are not the only ones who are transforming; so are we who, as co-researchers, have had the opportunity to play a role in and witness their efforts.