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Building perfect partnerships: Talking to Tandum co-founder Ruth Rowlands

The recent success of the Naro Moru Women’s Group greenhouse project in central Kenya has been a real source of inspiration for everyone at Tandum.

In our eyes this was the perfect kind of partnership; an opportunity that empowers individuals at the same time as providing sustainable, long-term solutions for drought-stricken communities.

Tandum co-founder Ruth Rowlands said she feels energised by how exciting partnerships can be.

“There is a saying by Helen Keller – ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’ The women’s group provided resources and we provided resources and together we are seeing great changes happen.”

Ruth began Tandum seven years ago after living and working in Kenya made her aware of enormous gaps and inequalities in the child sponsorship system.

"Unfortunately it was very selective and only certain kids would get sponsored," she said. "I learnt a lot from that project and the main thing is that we need to partner together."

Discussions Ruth had with community members made her see that people wanted local, ongoing projects, not just sponsorship, and that's how Tandum was born.

Ruth's hope is that the organisation will continue to grow and be able to work with many more communities across Kenya as the country battles a drought that has been declared a national disaster.

With every greenhouse project, Tandum also provides education on issues facing the community such as HIV, alcoholism and birth control.

Working to empower and educate women is particularly important to everyone on the team.

"There are loads of statistics out there that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that investing in women's lives impacts not only their children but also their communities," Ruth said.

After having seen the fantastic results the greenhouse project has already achieved, Ruth feels confident these dedicated women will continue to be successful.

"They are the ones that came up with the plan and have done most of the work to see it happen. I think if someone owns and feels part of it they will work hard at seeing it succeed," she said.

Ruth will be visiting Kenya in July to find out firsthand what’s next for this amazing group.

Tandum greenhouses are sourced through Amiran a world class organisation offering quality greenhouses, training and ongoing assistance.

By putting up a quality product, this ensures that the community looking after it have a great foundation to build on.

To find out more about Tandum’s current and future projects go to


INSTAGRAM @tandum_org

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