ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERY FAMILY IS OUR PRIDE

By Benedicto Hosea – Project Leader

We started our “Enough Food for Everyone” campaign to ensure all families have nutritious food to improve the health of the one of the most impoverished societies on the earth.

Previously in Zeze people struggled to grow enough to eat.  However your donations and support has transformed Zeze society as it is now able to feed itself. From November 2016 to June 2017, we have produced more than 218 tons of food mainly Maize.

Christopher and his wife Modesta have been married for more than 24 years and have 5 children. Previously not able to succeed in farming due to poor farming methods and lack of good seeds. They have lived in grass thatched house all of their lives. “We are all very happy with this programme because we have extra food for feeding ourselves and selling to improve our house. I have never harvested 22 sacks (2200kgs) of maize in my life but I have more than these harvests on only one acre in this season”. Christopher said.

Benedicto is working hard in his society to stand as a role model in adapting Zeze community to adapt sustainable farming and development. “I want to show our society that it is possible to change. These harvests are a demonstration to the unknown, unobserved and unsupported societies that they can make the difference that will make other persons trust change is possible”.

Honorata is a woman married to Juma and they are four in the family. She made unbelievable achievement in maize farming and harves

ting for food and for cash. “I have harvested a half of my farm and I have already plucked 56 buckets (11 sacks) of maize seeds, I am harvesting the same amount too. I will not sell the extra (60 buckets) when the bucket will be sold at 20,000Tshs and the money I will make, will help me improve my house and expand my farm

These few stories represent all the farmers who have cultivated, planted and harvested maize at Zeze village this season. Zeze community has also planted 625 palm trees planting as part of a climate change adaptation project, as well as 1600 fruit trees including oranges, mangoes, guavas, avocados and others which we know by their local names.  The world can be a better place if we can make it sufficiently productive to provide food for everyone.


Christopher and Modesta

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.

 

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…

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..