Springfield's Doug Pitt: A Goodwill Ambassador to the People of Tanzania

Brother of Hollywood's Brad Pitt came to St. Louis to join the local World Food Day relief effort. He granted an interview with Patch.com.

Doug Pitt is the owner of ServiceWorld Computer Center, which recently celebrated 22 years in business. ServiceWorld is a past recipient of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award.

ServiceWorld recently was recognized as the Springfield Business Journal’s Philanthropic Business of the Year. Some of his fame comes from being the brother of Hollywood actor Brad Pitt.

Although Pitt starts his day out at ServiceWorld, it gets interrupted often due to his many philanthropic pursuits.

Much of his time rests in the continent of Africa. In the Spring of 2010, Doug was named the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Republic of Tanzania by President Jakaya Kikwete. This honor was the first Goodwill Ambassador position ever awarded by the country of Tanzania.

As Ambassador, Pitt works with NGOs, businesses and faith-based organizations that want to do business or provide humanitarian partnerships in Tanzania. Past efforts include clean water, schools, agriculture, sanitation and tourism. Pitt is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture and U.S. partners on a food development program within Tanzania.

His work in the clean water space in East Africa garnered the attention of the government and many leaders. WorldServe performed 200 water projects in Tanzania in 2011 alone, and has brought the gift of clean water to almost 2 million people since Pitt joined their efforts almost six years ago.

He was at John Burroughs School Friday as an Ambassador of Goodwill for the local World Food Day Project St. Louis effort to pack more than 200,000 ready-to-eat meals for malnourished children in Tanzania.

This is what he had to say to Patch in an exclusive interview:

Patch.com: So how did you get involved in this project in the first place?

Doug Pitt: I’m a Missouri guy and actually born here in St. Louis and like anyone else, a citizen who volunteered to be part of this effort. All the food packaged is going to Tanzania and I am the Goodwill Ambassador there so I am thrilled to see these people be provided for.

My speciality is in the water process. Once we get water, it happens: food stations, medical dispensaries, faith based community. They teach irrigation and sanitation to the people. Once water is in place, communities start to develop and food is the next step.

Patch: Have you been to Tanzania often?

Pitt: I have. First, it’s a beautiful place to visit. They have some of the greatest game parks in the World there.

Patch: How great is the need?

Pitt: The need is great. Democracy is very young there. The biggest struggle is just the physical size of the country. It is 2 1/2 the size of California. They don’t have the road infrastructure to get every where. You take a 60,000 pound water rig and getting there is many times the chore it would be anywhere else.

Getting to towns is difficult, although we are getting closer every day.

Patch: How do you manage to work around your business career?

Pitt: Owning the company allows me the time to be flexible to work on these kinds of projects. I just went over there six years ago with the President (Bush) and some things just chose you.

I saw the immediate impact water made and I was hooked and a thrilled to be involved ever since. It definitely has become my life’s work.


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