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!

Bringing Broadband to Zeze School

20150817_220310School life in Zeze is rather different from the one I remember.  For a start, most pupils walk for over an hour to get there.  They also have to carry water with them to clean the school  as there is no water source nearby.  Their parents are subsistence farmers who struggle to provide them with food and uniforms.

There is no electricity in the village and kerosene is expensive, so they struggle to study after dark.  So Benedicto, TDT’s enterprising local representative has set up student study groups.  Each group of 5 students was given one solar light, cost £4, which they share to study at night. Students are extremely ambitious.  They realise that doing well at school could be the only route out of poverty for themselves and their families.

There are very few text books in the school, and none for research or further reading, so when I visited in June I brought a raspberry pi computer with downloaded content such as Wikipedia and Khan Academy videos on it.  As there is no electricity in the school they run this from a portable battery which they recharge in the headteacher’s house which has solar panels.

But now Zeze has the opportunity to have a free satellite broadband installation, courtesy of funding from the UK Space Agency.  Very few of the students have ever left the village.  There are no female staff. The headteacher, Mr Mabhuye is very keen for the  girls to have successful role models to boost their confidence.  He is also keen to develop links with schools in the UK to expand their horizons and share ideas.

However there is a catch.  They need to install solar power in the school by the end of September in order to order to benefit from this offer.  At a cost of £780 this is way beyond the scope of the school. If you would like to contribute to this project you can do so here.  All donations gratefully received.

Bees and Sunflowers in Zeze

zezetree2I was last with Benedicto in Zeze in January.  Then he was talking about his dream of constructing bee hives to improve incomes in Zeze village.

Now, thanks to many of you the hives are in place.  It hasn’t been without its challenges.  Moving the wood was delayed due to flooding during the rainy season, which also led to delays in the wood drying out sufficiently to make the hives, but last week the remaining hives were hung in the trees near the Moringa field, making 63 in total.  I’m glad I wasn’t here to witness this as it looked like a very precarious operation.

zezetreeAlready 12 hives are occupied by bees, and Benedicto is confident that by the end of July all the hives will be full, meaning they’ll be on track to harvest honey in October as planned.

20150627_152615In January a donor had given me £9 to give Benedicto, which he spent on Sunflower seeds.  These he planted during the rainy season and has just harvested more than 10 times as many.

I (briefly) helped his father in shelling these, ready to press into oil to sell.

Benedicto never asks for money.  I asked him why, as the sunflowers had been so successful, he isn’t planting more now. He explained he can only grow them in the rainy season as his land is far from water sources so irrigation is impossible now.  When pressed on what he would need to do this he explains.  If he digs down 25m with a spade he can borrow from his neighbour, he could set up a solar pump to power a drip irrigation scheme.
Such a system would transform agriculture here, and with help from generous donors he will start this in July…I’ve been promised avocados next time I visit..

Tackling inequality in Zeze village with sustainable agriculture

Building rural livelihoods and eliminating poverty in Tanzania…

I met Benedicto Hosea by chance. A well wisher from England who he’d met online had been so impressed with his drive to improve life in his village she’d asked me to take out a camera to him.

zeze tanzaniaWhen we met he talked with such passion and knowledge about the youth organisation he had set up in his village of Zeze I was convinced to take a one day detour along dusty, potholed roads to take a look.

Benedicto is the first in his family to go to secondary school, let alone university. When he finished his degree in in November he returned to Zeze and set up an organisation  to counter its poverty and malnutrition.  Mboni ya Vijana (it means “the eyes of youth” in Swahili) is small but committed and growing month by month.  Its members who pay monthly subscriptions of 5000 shillings (about £1.50) to buy bulk seeds and farming equipment . Even this modest amount is often a struggle for these subsistence farmers and they have to sometimes borrow from each other.  They are worried about the costs but excited about the possibilities.

education in tanzania
Even with this small capital they are transforming lives.  Changing practices have doubled maize yields,  growing the nutritional wonder plant Moringa will bring in 4 times their current income.  This means children will be able to go to school, needed medicine bought and villages won’t go to bed hungry so often.

They have big plans: bee hives, a cassava processor,  pumping water from a nearby stream in the dry season,  all meticulously researched and costed. Benedicto lives in a village without electricity but every night he walks through the rural darkness with his laptop to find a neighbour with charge from a solar panel or generator. He works from 2am, when the mobile signal is strongest. Discussing best irrigation techniques with farmers from El Salvador,  negotiating prices with moringa processors, and planning….

Next week they are holding their training camp in Zeze to keep spreading the word..

With 40% of Tanzanian children stunted by malnutrition,  it’s a timely message.

MVG are new to social media so please like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.  You can hear Benedicto explain his ideas here.  If you would like to invest in them please email me at j.chapman@tanzdevtrust.org