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

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…