Bringing light to Zeze

By Benedicto Hosea – Project Leader

Power is vital for the improving the lives of human being, however access is unevenly distributed in rural Africa. Zeze village 41 km from grid electricity and very dark at night.  People chop trees in the forest for cooking and use and burn expensive and smoky kerosene for lighting their homes.

Development of affordable and environmental friendly electricity technologies such as solar technology is playing central role in transforming rural societies like Zeze, and help protect their environment and people.

Grid electricity will not come to Zeze for many years.  Our society is poor and cannot afford even small solar lights, so Mboni ya Vijana has begun our solar light project to support persons in the village to secure solar lights for fair and friendly expenses. This scheme is showing great success as it is bringing happiness and health improving to the poor people at Zeze. There are many case studies which have proven the importance of using solar lights than kerosene and forest woods and below are some case studies from Zeze.

Maria is a single mother nursing her baby. She is not living in the house with electricity. Her baby is very roughly moving here and there. Maria cooks on a forest wood fire which is very danger to her eyes and child as well. She says, “Since I got this solar light, my child can stay in the bed by all the time I am cooking without problem as she is keen with the light from the solar light. It gives me the freedom to cook as my kid is with my solar light and no need to have the kid care – Maria said”. She believes her child would have already injured by fire or boiled water if there were solar light to stay with her kid.

Older persons are the most vulnerable to access to both forest woods and money for kerosene purchase. Solar light provisions gave happiness to Mlenga and Tati who both are older persons. When they received the solar lights, Mlenga says, “This is liberation to my life! I was sleeping in dark with no ability to see anything in the night. For this, I will be able to do some simple works in the night”. Tati says, “Good things are coming at the age I am passing however I am very glad to have this because it will help me to light my homes and will get more time to stay talking to my grandchildren”.

Damian is a young person from Zeze and has a family of four family members including the heads of the family (husband and wife). As other people in the village have no grid electricity, they have adapted the use of solar light. Damian is saying, “It brings happiness in the family because neither soot nor smoke anymore as it was when we were using kerosene to light our home. The solar light suits me and my family and we encourage other to use it for house light”.

With the other stories from beneficiaries of solar light scheme, portrays that, solar light is suitable to the people of Zeze and the other rural societies which are not yet supplied with grid electricity in Tanzania. Apart from lighting the homes, solar lights are worthwhile for reducing cost of buying kerosene and the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere from burning kerosene and the bad health effects on eyes and lungs.

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.

 

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

Our Vision

tanzanian children in zezeWe believe everyone has the right to life’s basics. A roof, enough food to eat, clean water to drink and the education needed to build a brighter future. What we take for granted can only be dreamed of by communities in extreme poverty such as Zeze. But his dream isn’t impossible. It doesn’t take years of research or huge multinational organisations. It only takes the hard work of MVG, the villagers of Zeze and your donation. Will you help us to bring life’s basic needs to the people of Zeze?


What is the issue, problem, or challenge?Global warming has led to a reduction in rainfall in Zeze village. The subsistence farmers find it increasingly difficult to grow enough food to feed their families, let alone have a surplus to pay for medicine or school uniforms. 40% of children in Tanzania are stunted due to malnutrition. Working with the schools, we will select families in extreme need from this income generation project and enable them to grow cash crops such as tomatoes and watermelons.

How will this project solve this problem?

tanzanian village

We will provide access to a water source, irrigation materials and a seedling starter kit containing sunflowers, tomatoes, water melons and local nutritional crops to all families. We will provide initial horticultural and dietary training, together with weekly monitoring visits and a support group to ensure their crops grow well. We will also provide a guaranteed market for their crops, and entrepreneurship training on maximizing their income and expanding their business.

tanzanian children

Potential Long Term Impact

We will enable 500 vulnerable families to generate an income, allowing them to ensure their children have sufficient nutritious food and uniforms to attend school. They will also be able to pay for health care when they need it, and to start rising out of the extreme poverty they are currently in.

Find out more here.