Plaudits for our first climate change conference!

by Benedicto – Project Leader

 

agricultureAgricultural training.

We are proud of the steady progress we are achieving with Zeze community with your generous donations.

Up to now, Zeze community has not had enough food to feed its population, let alone have income security for families’ services like school uniforms, medicines, kerosene for light and more. With your support we have made a great step in making Zeze more self-sufficient in food, and able to access clean and safe water.

Sustainable Farming and food security

Agriculture in Tanzania employs more than 80% of the population and contributes more than 75% of the national GDP. It is the only source of food to everyone here. However, agriculture is experiencing several challenges including droughts, land infertility and diseases and pests. Through training and small loans to enable farmers to buy improved seeds and plant trees we are supporting the community to run more sustainable farming and improve their livelihoods.

Meliana is a woman raising a family of three children, two of whom are in secondary school. She attended our recent sustainable farming training at Zeze. She is now maintaining her maize farm better. “I am now very happy with my farm at Zeze. Since I began farming, I have never had such a crop. The crops are so impressive and I am sure I am going to feeding my family and get more money for my children school needs”.

Small Industries, businesses and income security

Zeze village lacked power therefore lacked industries and businesses opportunities. Bringing an electricity generating engine to Zeze has been a great success in setting up small industries, businesses and income generation to youth and the community as well.

Juma is a 25 year old man and the head of a family of 5. He is the one of the youth who are working at MVG workshop at Zeze. Before that he went throughout Tanzania unsuccessfully looking for employment. Since Mboni ya Vijana established their welding and carpentry workshop, he is now settled at Zeze and improving his life. “I never succeeded to get employment until I found an opportunity here. Now I am finally getting an income and supporting my family.”. Juma says.

Environmental conservation and education

Poverty and illiteracy have been major factors hindering environmental conservation. The community have been reluctant to plant trees, stop wild fire burning, or implement sustainable farming because of illiteracy and lack of knowledge about the environment and its benefits to development. So MVG has been training the community in order to bring environmental sustainability and enable the community to generate income.

Ayubu is a 22 years old married man and has the family of three. He never planted trees or long lasting plants because he believed he would die before benefiting from them. After our environmental training he has planted 58 palm oil trees for environmental conservation and income security. “Now I know planting trees is wealth to me and my family in the future. The future is made from today so I am proud to be part of trees and palm trees scheme.” said Ayubu.

Dr. Francis Njau is the national and international climate change trainer and a lecturer at the Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP) – Dodoma Tanzania. He was invited by MVG to train village leaders from four villages, NGOs leader, religion leaders, politicians, journalists and community members about Climate Change and Adaptation in our first Climate Change Conference. During his training, MVG’s initiatives were used as practical examples to the trainees. Dr. Njau says; “Zeze and Kasulu  are lucky to have such a fantastic organization. I see here excellent climate change adaptation activities. I have gone around Tanzania, East Africa, Sub-Sahara countries and Europe, and this organization is the only one I have seen achieving these developments at village level. If we support this organization, for sure Zeze village is going to be an international centre of innovation. I am going back to my college and  will bring our students here to learn from here and collaborate”.

Access to Clean and Safe Water

Streams and ponds at Zeze and neighbour places in Kigoma region are drying as the result of climate change. The communities are getting challenged with its ability to access water for domestic and farming purposes. Mboni ya Vijana is solving the issue with its technology to adapting the communities to access and rely on ground water. MVG have drilled more than 5 water wells from which the communities are using the water for development.

Almachius is the Kasulu District Development Community Officer. He knows well how much of a challenge water is for the development of Kasulu community. He visited a number of water projects where MVG has drilled and installed pumps for community use, and told the community “We have a big problem with water and deforestation but today I say we are lucky that we have youth who have made an important revolution in the water sector with their hand drilled bore holes – as no doubt all of you can see! I am very impressed they have now set up a tree nursery and are supporting their community to protect the environment. I appreciate, the work they have done. We should all participate to protect and develop the scheme which they have established, for ourselves and our children”. The conference was also attended by journalists from Radio Kwizera and Star TV and featured on their channels.

 

OUR HAPPINESS WITH YOU FOR THE NEW YEAR 2017

Great maize harvest after farmers training

Great maize harvest after farmers training

A prosperous life for everyone in Zeze is the major demand of us (Mboni ya Vijana and donors). However, we could not have the way to that without the support from you all.

2016 has been a great year in Zeze evidencing a lot of changes in lives of many people towards satisfied families, prosperity and wellbeing. This is what together we are cerebrating together with you all!

Access to clean and safe water is making lives easy to people in Zeze by giving them opportunities to engage in other development activities and have less stomach infections.

Youth and women have been trained on best farming practices and supported with seeds and fertilizer to enable them produce enough food and feed their families and persuaded villagers to stop encroaching the forest reserve and develop sustainable farming on previously exhausted land near their homes. We have also managed to evaluate the results from the previous supported farmers who are going to harvest a greatly increased amount of maize after passing the dry season irrigating their farms.

Children in Zeze have had an exciting year though books learning with the opening of Mboni ya Vijana Library.

Development of the other income generation and industrial development projects and infrastructures, are increasing the opportunities for prosperous lives to Zeze community. These projects and infrastructures are enabling the community to access food, water and other services easily.

The achievements which Zeze community is benefiting with, have been from your support which we are celebrating this year end.  Thanks to you, we have made fantastic achievements in 2016, and we still have much work to do.

Many thanks for your continued support us and we wish you a wonderful 2017 from everyone at Zeze..

This new water pump has improved many livesThis new water pump has improved many lives

New libraryNew library

Carpentry workshop
Carpentry workshop

Enjoying a mango!
Enjoying a mango!

Donations matched 50% for next 5 days!

Ensuring everyone in Zeze community can feed themselves requires a long term plan to stimulate the development of agriculture and income generation. This report outlines the progress we are making with your generous donations.

Julias_Grid7Julias collecting water for his family.

Julias is 12 and in standard 6 of primary school. Since we built a new pump near his house he often collects water for his family after school. In traditional African villages like Zeze, women and girls are usually the ones to collect water and firewood. Julias is breaking down this stereotype. He says; “Now water is nearer our home, I don’t have to wait for my mother or sister to return from the farm to collect water. I know I have to support my mama, so I collect water when I return from school. My Mama is every day at the farm and she knows I support the family so she can work for longer at the farm and produce more food for us” Julias said.

Zeze villagers grow and eat beans, maize and cassava. This limited diet is not nutritious but people cannot afford to buy the better food they like. We have dug a fish pond to enable cheap fresh fish to be sold to the community, greatly improving their nutrition and reducing the current high levels of child stunting.

Boosting farming in Zeze requires irrigation systems and crop storage facilities.  With your donations we have managed to build an Agricultural Community Storage facility and tool loan scheme. We are now establishing irrigation schemes which will enable farming throughout the year and a wider range of crops.

Steven and Evarist are two friends who did not believe that water melons could grow in Zeze village. These guys are two friends who are training and doing carpentry with us. When we started planting water melons in July they were very sceptical. But after eating water melons for the first time. Steven says, “I agree now everything is possible if you get education and tolerance. I knew that the soil is dry, with no rainfall so how can water melons grow here? But now I appreciate them, they are sweet and very good to eat in this heat. I will be the next to grow them on my land” Evarist added “It is a business that requires a big heart, but I am very impressed to eat water melon here in the dry season”. The success of water melons is an important step in improving nutrition and income in Zeze.

Vedasto is a farmer who has adapted organic farming to increase his yields per area. He has planted a wide range of vegetables and has already harvested a bumper crop. He joined our environmental campaign to stop deforestation and slash and burn. “I have made a good profit and enough food from the plot of land which I have improved using compost from leaves and grass. I now understand how they improve the soil so I am the part of this campaign to stop people from felling trees and burning bushes”.

Leah is a mother of 6. Since her training and other support the productivity of her farming has greatly increased. I visited Leah’s farm and witnessed this success. She has grown maize and yams and she is happy with them as they are going to enable her family to eat well. Leah says, “I am a mother. Everyone in the family looks to me for food, school needs, and other domestic matters. Since I got improved farming training, I adapted it quickly. MVG supported me with education and seeds which have made a big impact to my life. I am sure after two months I will have enough food for my family but I will also be able to sell some surplus to others. I will be able to afford my family’s other requirements and to diversify my works” Leah said.

We have now established a Welding and Carpentry Workshop in Zeze to improve farming activities like fabricating hand hoes, water drilling and supplying facilities, crops storage trays and boxes, and enable youth to generate income that will be injected in farming and other family requirements. It will alsol train youth in the community and enable them to be self-employed.

Deus and Patrick are two friends who finished standard seven of primary school in September and are now waiting for their school results to see if they can continue their education. They have received advice and financial support from MVG for sustainable farming that has enabled them to buy better seeds. They are preparing their farm for maize and egg plants. Deus speaks for both and he says, “We don’t want to be lazy, the school has gone and the results are expectations. We can’t wait for then to plant”

Maria is a married woman with 5 children. She lives in Zeze and she too has received farming education and seeds from MVG. Her farms are well maintained and she expects better yields. Maria proudly showed us the plots of tomatoes and maize saying, “I wish all the villages should have kind people like you who are close to the people. I have never experienced crops like these since 1997. The land was completely exhausted and I was not expecting to improve it. I am sure I will get good yields because of the support I have received which will enable me feed my family.

We established Moringa Oleifera farms because this plant is extremely nutritious and rich in minerals. In 2011, we organized and trained people for Moringa farming and supported them with free seeds but people were not convinced then and did not plant them. But now people can see the benefit and every week we receive people asking for Moringa seeds.  We tell them about its many uses as a dietary supplement and fertilizer, as well as a valuable cash crop and support some them with seeds for planting and leaf powder for nutrition. So although this change took longer than we wanted, with your generosity, we are getting there in the end..

And for the next 5 days donations up to £50 will be matched by 50% by GlobalGiving, so if you’d like to donate more please do so quickly!     Asante Sana!

Vedasto with the sign protecting the forest – Evarist and Steven eating water melon

Zeze Village

Crowd2Map Tanzania

Putting Zeze on the map – a post by our friends MBONI YA VIJANA youth community in Zeze – paints a picture of the Zeze village, as well as documents the very beginnings of the Crowd2Map Tanzania, and how we hope to literally put it on the map. Why is that so important? Well, see for yourself:

This is how Zeze Village looks on Google Map at the moment: (marked point is the village market, -4.89913606, 30.0578204)

Zeze Google MapSad, isn’t it.

This is how it looks on Open Street Map. (A little better? But…)

Zeze OSM(Note, that neither find “Zeze” if you search for it by name.)

This is how it actually looks via satellite:

Zeze Google SatelliteA little more than a blank space, eh..?

And we have nearly 20 points marking its schools, shops and offices, to name a few:

Zeze Village Office -4.825259, 30.0034184 (5km accuracy) Zeze Village Office

Zeze School Library (-4.91136445, 30.0474693) Zeze School Library (-4.91136445, 30.0474693)

Mtus Restaurant (-4.89908231, 30.05751572) Mtus Restaurant (-4.89908231, 30.05751572)

Kulu's Bicycle Shop (-4.89918704, 30.05762403) Kulu’s…

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2015 in Review:

2015 was a great year for Mboni Ya Vijana and Zeze village. Here’s what we accomplished:

  • tanzania projectCreated a microfinance group which jump-started the businesses of over 100 women in the village
  • Fixed a water pump, sparing the villagers from taking hours out of their day to collect water from the nearest river
  •  Installed 67 bee hives, with the purpose of boosting agriculture and collecting honey for sale
  • Trained over 150 people on small business and entrepreneurship skills
  • Put roofs on the school labs
  • Set up broadband satellite internet in the school

Stay tuned for our next update!

Looking forward to 2016

In 2016, we hope to accomplish the following goals:

  • Trained 500 beneficiaries in Zeze village on climate change (concept, causes, effects and coping strategies)
  • Have in place three (3) fish farm dams for fish production/harvesting
  • Have in place up to 10 hand drilled bore holes with rope hand pumps and the equipment and local skills for making a further 40 each year
  • Established seed and seedlings production centre (greenhouse) in which more than 10,000 seedlings of various plants/crops will be produced
  • Established a tool loan program
  • Established 25 modern and improved farms where a wide variety of suitable crops and trees are grown
  • Increased interest of many communities around Zeze to get involved in the project
  • Increased households’ income and food security, reduction of poor faming and environmental degradation
  • Open for other organizations, institutions, and individuals coming to learn best practices.

To achieve these goals, we will need financial support. Please consider donating by visiting our MyDonate fundraiser profile page here.

How solar power can boost Zeze, Tanzania

benefits of solar power in tanzaniaOne natural resource that is plentiful in Zeze is sunlight. While the sun is great for nourishing crops and providing natural light, there are so many ways that we could use solar power to boost the Zeze community:

Solar pumps

In August 2015, Mboni Ya Vijana fixed a water well by using a solar-powered water pump bought on Ebay. There are 9 water pumps in Zeze, but only 3 work currently, including the one that was fixed in September. With Solar power, we could fix the other 6 pumps. This would decrease time spent waiting in line for water and increase agricultural production (which is currently limited by water access).

benefits of solar power in tanzaniaSolar lights

Currently, students walk to school in the morning, and when the arrive, only one classroom is lit (by solar power). When they walk home, they often have chores to do, which last until dark. When the sun goes down, they finally have time to study, but often no light to do it with. We currently have a program going of loaning solar lights to groups of 5 students, but it would be better if they could access these lights on a permanent basis.

Powering Tech

In the school, we have broadband satellite, so the students can access the internet on their raspberry pi computers. However, these computers can only help so long as they stay powered, which is still a challenge in Zeze.

To help us get the solar panels required to boost Zeze’s potential, Please consider donating by visiting our MyDonate fundraiser profile page here.

Putting Zeze on the map

zeze tanzaniaIt’s the rainy season in Zeze so everyone is busy in the fields making the most of the precious water to try and grow enough to sustain their families over the dry season. The unpredictability of the rainfall and lack of any storage is not without it’s problems.  The roads quickly turn to inpassable mud and malaria rates soar.
village in tanzania

There is one minibus per day into town.  Otherwise if you need to go to the bank, hospital or council office you have to go by motorbike, which gets harder when it rains..
african village tanzania

These 11 year old boys had cut grass for an hour and then carried it for a further hour, to sell it for the equivalent of 10p.

african communities tanzaniaThe womens’ microfinance group is going very well with small loans continuing to transform lives.  I spoke to Deniza, getting a loan to expand her tailoring business.  Unable to walk, her life was transformed by her bicycle, but others are not so lucky.  Amos can only go to school if he crawls or someone carries him..

people of zeze tanzania

The secondary school laboratories now have roofs, but still no doors or windows.  I brought some simple science equipment such as springs and pH paper and so they excitedly did their first practical experiment – testing the pH of a local drink. Even the headteacher, a science graduate had never had access to indicator paper before.

If you look for Zeze on Google maps you will just see a huge empty space where there are hundreds of villages. So, using Epicollect+, a free app designed at Imperial College, London originally for mapping diseases, and donated tablets and phones we’ve been adding places of interest in Zeze and beyond to an online map here.  The idea is then to add it to Google maps and OpenStreetMap..

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our fundraising campaign.  We are using the money to purchase equipment for hand drilling and rope pumps, meaning we can dig water sources around the village for drinking and irrigation. If you would like to contribute you can do so here.

Helping Water Problems in Zeze, Tanzania with… an Ebay Pump?!

water problems in africaWater dominates life in Zeze.  Everyone conserves the little they have as obtaining it is so difficult – carrying it long distances to your home, queuing at the pump…  There is also the continual fear that another of the pumps will fail, making water even harder to obtain.  These are constantly breaking down.  When I visited in June only 5 were working, on my most recent visit in August, only 3 were working. There have been times when the whole village of 8000 people are down to 1 working pump.
solving lack of water in africaGenerally the problem is seals and bearings.   The local fundis (handymen) appear to be resourceful and show initiative, even to the extent of trying to make local parts where possible.  The water officials in Kasulu town 40 km away are less helpful, and frequently promise to help and visit but don’t.  They don’t stock any spare parts in Kasulu and say they order them from India when necessary.  One pump has been broken for over a year because pipes have broken off and fallen inside the well and there is  no equipment to get them out.

ebay water pumpSo Benedicto and his friends decided to fix this hand pump with a solar one I bought on ebay, courtesy of a generous donor and brought out in my luggage.  As the water is so deep (36m down) we had to run it at 24V on two car batteries.  Getting these was a mission in itself.  You can buy very little in Zeze itself so a
friend bought them in Kasulu and put them on a daladala (communal minibus) to drop them off at the junction 10km away where they were met by another
friend with a motorbike.  Unfortunately when they arrived they were suspiciously light… because they were empty of the necessary acid, meaning we had to repeat the process the following day with bottles of acid..

water pumps in africaWe’d spent a long time negotiating with drivers in Kasulu to bring the 1000l plastic tank on their roof.  The first one in the village, this was a great novelty.  Benedicto tracked down the one man in Zeze with a saw and proceeded to make a wooden structure to put the tank on.

Getting the right seals to fix the pipes was another challenge.  I’d brought out all the seals I thought we would need and we bought the only jubilee clips we could find in Kasulu, but in the end had to tie things together with old car tyre strips..

But finally, by torchlight, the pump, dry for over a year, started pumping water, to great cheers and excitement.  The pump isn’t really powerful enough for this. It takes around 5 hours to fill the tank and it can’t keep up with the demand for water.  The long term plan is to raise enough money to buy a heavy duty pump capable of filling the 1,000,000l tank that has been out of use since the 1970s..

water pump tanzania

But, for now, the villagers are saved a long walk to a working pump…

Microfinance in Zeze

20150815_175617In August I spent a week in Zeze village and met the chair, vice chair and secretary of the microfinance group, as well as many of the women who have received loans.

I  also visited many of them in their homes and businesses and spoke to the Village Chairman, Village Executive Officer, and chair of MVG, who are running the scheme who all confirmed the positive impact the scheme is having on the village.

20150815_175301Petronia had her loan in May, thanks to a new injection of funds from Wabia. She buys palm oil from farmers in the fields and resells it in the market, making approx. £8 profit per week.  Recently her 8 month baby started excreting blood and she was able to take her to the doctors and buy medicine.  Without her business she said she would have been unable to do that.

Pendo buys petrol in large containers and decants it into litre bottles which she sells in the market and on the road.  Her profits mean that she is able to pay for her son, who was unemployed, to study to be a mechanic.

20150815_175505

Edita received her loan last month.  She is making bible covers for 80p that she sells for £1 in Kasulu, the town 40 km away that she visits twice a week.  She had sold 40 to a shop there the previous day.  She is saving to purchase a second sewing machine so her husband can also make them at the same time.  She also wants to branch into mpesa (mobile money)

Josrene had an initial £18 loan which she repaid,  then a £50 loan in May.  She collects maize and beans from farmers in the field and then grinds flour and then sells in bulk to buyers from Kigoma.  She is saving to build a bigger house for her family with larger storage capacities as she wants to sell wholesale directly in Kigoma in the future.

20150818_173509Godliva had a second loan in June.  She also sells beans and maize, but also soap. She gets a profit of 80p  per box for this.  She is saving money to get a soap factory so she can make her own soap.  This would cost £120 but she estimates it would bring her “20 a week profit.

What was generally striking was the pride with which the women talked about their businesses.  They have noticeably grown in confidence since I met them in January, and have a higher status in their family and in the village as a whole. Originally I was told that there was resistance from some men in the village, concerned that women getting loans would be a threat to their authority.

20150818_180652Now the same men ask Benedicto when their wives can get a loan.  It was touching to see a number of the women working closely with their husbands as partners in the business, whereas previously they worked much more separately. This appears to have had a positive effect on their relationships, which was confirmed by the women themselves. In the training women were told “Don’t use your loan to exploit your husband, rather money should be a tool for strengthening the love in your family”.   They seem to have taken this to heart!