Someone from TRR visits both Makete and Nkasi every year.  Sometimes there is more than one visit.  We do this to see how things are progressing with projects we are supporting and to discuss the next steps with local people. The costs of visits do not come out of money donated to TRR projects.

We generally travel by road from Dar es Salaam in a hired vehicle with a driver.  Without transport it would be very difficult to get around to the outlying villages.

When we discuss new projects with local people, we agree on the contribution that the village will make.  This is sometimes in kind. TRR is a kick starter, an enabler and we want local people to have ownership of what is happening in their area.

When we support building projects we send the money in stages, and it does not get sent until we know that that progress has been made.

What we do in Makete

On Health 

At Makete District Hospital we have helped with new pipes and a storage tank to improve the availability of water, particularly to the Children’s Ward.  It was only available for four days out of seven previously.  We have sent out a container of various kinds of medical equipment  – even the container itself is in use.

The hospital generates a huge amount of washing.  Coping with dirty sheets and blankets by hand is no fun at all so we have provided an industrial washing machine to replace the broken domestic one formerly in use.

We continue to work with the doctors and nurses on their priorities.

Primary education starts at five or six years of age and finishes at 14 and is available for all children.

We previously supported  MASUPHA, a local charity working with people who are HIV/Aids positive, helping with education and anti-stigma activities and are pleased to say that they seem to be standing on their own feet now.

For Children and Young People

Primary education starts at five or six years of age and finishes at 14 and is available for all children. 

Working with the Most Vulnerable Children’s Committee, we have provided school uniforms and other necessities of school life for children attending Bulongwa Primary School.  We pay for a number of school meals – we understand learning and behaviour have both improved as a result. The children have generally lost one or both parents and relatives can’t always afford to pay for extra dependents.

We also work with primary schools and village officials in same way at Idende, Ilolo, Madihani and Mahulu/Kitula, all around Bulongwa.  We buy books and material for the schools from time to time and have funded the building of toilets, kitchens, a library and a workshop where school leavers are taught carpentry.  We have sometimes refurbished classroom floors.

Capital projects at four secondary schools in the area (Mwakavuta, Kipagalo, Ipelele and Usililo) include three dormitories for girls and a geography room.  We have also provided books, beds, solar lighting and science equipment in varying amounts.

We have offered financial support to pay for paper, desks, security etc. to around 25 students in each school during their school career.  Now much of this support is being provided by the Government and we are considering how we can best continue to help in the future.

Some of our supported students are now doing A levels and attending university and we continue to support them with travel costs and other expenses as necessary.

Water

The water problem was raised with us on our very first visit to Bulongwa.  There is plenty of water due to the mountains and the rain BUT there are a lot of problems with its distribution. The aging network of pipes, pumps and stand-pipes, poor maintenance and lack of funding have all contributed to this. 

We did a lot of research but it was five or six years before any solution was found.  Working with the District Water Engineer and the local village Water Committee we eventually funded a new storage tank at the Unyangogo intake high above Bulongwa, and paid for pipes all over the area to be repaired or replaced.

Water began to flow again to the 12 villages on the system.  It is still rationed and we have funded a motorbike for the water technician to travel between villages to turn stopcocks on and off.

We have now invested in a scheme to create a second intake near the village of Iniho with the aim of increasing the flow and the pressure and getting a more reliable supply to the very end of the system.

Supporting the local economy

To get out of poverty, having the opportunity to earn a reliable income is vital.

So we support Juhudi (Zeal), a group of women who have set up a kind of Credit Union. We provided the original Loan Fund and now nearly 40 women belong to it. 

They take loans, pay them back with interest and have created a wide variety of income generating projects.  These include rearing pigs, ducks, and chicken and selling the end products, sewing and tailoring enterprises, a mobile (walking) shop as well as a few of the more static kind, brickmaking, and growing  crops for sale.

We have provided training for them in accounting and related topics and they provide support for each other.  They also have a co-operative venture in that between us we paid for a chain saw. This is hired out locally, with an operator employed by Juhudi, and it provides a steady income.  Trees cut down are replaced.

Maendeleo (Development) is a similar organisation with fewer members but providing larger loans than Juhudi. We helped them buy a piece of land where they collectively grow trees for timber. We also contribute occasionally to their loan fund.  All the members have small businesses of their own – a butcher, shops, market stalls, bars and cafes and a wholesale bottle unit. They have both men and women members.

What we do in Nkasi

As in Makete, we work closely with the District Council, especially the Water, Education and Health Departments and with Village Committees. We try to do things in partnership with local people.

Health

When TRR members first visited Nkasi in 2007, we were taken to the village of Kipili, beautifully sited on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. It was quite a formal visit, and the villagers laid on entertainment for us.  The song they sang was about their needs and priorities.  They wanted a new road down to the village – we sympathised with that but felt road building was beyond our means – and a new dispensary or health centre.

We agreed we could help with the dispensary. The village community provided local materials and much of the labour, TRR bought ‘industrial materials’ such as roofing sheets, cement, nails and paint.  Water for Kids paid for a water harvesting system. It was a slow business, but 6 years later the new dispensary was in use and is now serving local mothers, babies, toddlers and older people, promoting good health and looking after those who are ill.

We continue to support the dispensary by providing equipment such as a delivery bed, scales and a bed for night staff to use if they have to work overnight. We are helping to provide proper staff accommodation.

We have also supported the village of Mtenga with self-building a maternity room. Several villages want to build dispensaries and we are discussing with Mwai and Katongela how we can help.

Water

We have a rolling programme of installing or repairing pumps in the villages of the District.  This is carried out in consultation with local people through their Village and Water Committees and with the advice of the Council’s water technicians. We ask for a contribution from the village community and we fund training programmes in maintenance and using water wisely. 

Access to safe water is vital in preventing cholera, which is a recurring problem here.

We have also invested in the renovation of Kantete Water intake and associated repairs to pipework that will bring back a reliable water system for 3 villages near Kate.

Children and Young People

As in Makete District, we work with Village Committees to support primary age children in Swaila and Mkole, with shoes, uniforms and school equipment.

TRR connected Isunta primary to the national grid soon after it came to Namanyere, to enable them to study in the evenings.

We are supporting Swaila Primary in building new classrooms and helping provide new toilets at Mkole Primary School.

At secondary level, we have assisted in building a laboratory at Mkole Secondary, installing a borehole and pump at Mkwamba Secondary, investing in a laboratory there and planning renovations to the girls’ dormitory.

Over the years we have supplied books and laboratory equipment to a number of schools on a number of occasions. We were able to present the first microscope in the District to Nkasi Secondary some years ago. Secondary students used to have to pay for all sorts things such as a desk, a ream of paper, for security guards and much more and we used to help schools with this.  However, the government abolished these contributions in 2015 we now contribute to ensure that vulnerable children, living away from home, have enough to eat.

Local economy

Akinamama Bugani Nkomolo is a group of women working collectively like a credit union to increase their incomes. Many Tanzanians still live on around a dollar a day.  TRR has put money into their loan fund and funded training in business finance for them.

It is important that people can become self-reliant and this is a way of promoting that.