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

Advertisements

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.

 

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

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.