A warm thanks to everyone who has contributed to the projects, both in Tanzania and in Norway in 2018! Two groups, one in February and one in October, traveled from Norway to Mgeta where they participated in voluntary work. The last group supported and participated in the local culture festival “Juu Africa”. Throughout the whole year we have seen local inhabitants’ strong and preservering efforts in the construction, farming and continuation of the projects. Our tireless, enterprising, charitable and knowledgable colleague in Tanzania, Solomon, coordinates and leads the work. Without his efforts as an enthusiast, creative thinker/doer and role model, little would be possible.
There is close cooperation between Friends of Mgeta and their sister organization in Tanzania, Mgeta Orphan Education Foundation through Solomon. There is often several Skype conversations each week. The frequent discussion and working-through of experience provides the basis for revising and launching of new measures. Both on Skype and in the field the friends are continually active!
The support from friends in Norway is still needed. Several friends have asked for gifts when they have celebrated “round” birthdays, for Friends of Mgeta. The gifts have been vital for the scope of the projects in 2018. The local group in the Norwegian Civil Service Union at Norwegian University of Life Sciences has supported the construction of the third boarding facilities (hostel) for girls in Mgeta. The Christmas bazar at the Waldorf school in Moss has paid for the completion of the science building at one of the secondary schools, whereas the market from the Tokke Assosiation of Rural Women in Telemark has funded the building of housing for teachers in the Kibuko primary school. Several friends give a monthly contribution, often for specific goals, such as the education of some of the youth. In December the sale of coffee from Luale, generously roasted by Tim Wendelboe’s Coffee Shop, and sold in attractive sown bags made by the young orphan girls, has provided a considerable surplus that is sent to Mgeta and the projects.
The vision we have is to develop solitary capitalism that takes care of the ecosystem in Mgeta. The principal is help for self-sufficiency. To realize self-sufficiency and capitalism where the surplus is returned to the local community takes time, but we see light at the end of the tunnel. The projects are directed towards education and development and the two are closely related. The projects in general education and in trades are directed towards both to give vulnerable groups a basic education as well as knowledge and skills in income generating use of local resources. The income generating projects are based on environmentally and socially orientation and profitable use and refinement of the local resources. At the moment, most focus is on production of coffee and avocado on a small scale as an addition to an agriculture based on self-sufficiency of food items.
Completing secondary schools helps young girls come out of poverty and makes it possible for them to take a more active part in the life of the community. Boarding facilities for students are common on the land in Tanzania. In the Uluguru Mountains Mgeta’s Friends have supported building of three boarding facilities that together can give room to 200 girls. The boarding facilities have started during the last 3 years, the last one in 2018. Now the girls can live at the school and avoid the long walks to school on unsafe paths.
With education in a safe place, the girls can avoid early pregnancy. In addition, they receive an education at a high level in the village and become role models in their local community. The school performance levels improve markedly. Kikeo secondary school in Luale was rated as number 25 of 27 schools in the Mvomero district in relationship to school performance in 2015 before the boarding facilities opened. In 2018 they were number 3 and the girls that were boarding were the ones who raised the levels.
Cooperation with the children’s primary schools suffers because of lack of teachers and teachers fleeing from the villages. Often there are new teachers and principals each time we visit the schools. Good teachers’ accomodation helps to keep the teachers longer. In 2018, we have managed to get funds for building teacher houses at the children’s school in Kibuko. Friends from Sveio in Rogaland sent funds for the ECOSAN toilets at the school, so that the urine mixed with biochar can be used as fertilizer. Trøgstad Rotary Club has funded an ECOSAN toilet at Tchenzema secondary school to be used for instruction and courses for Mgeta people coming to the nearby central agricultural market place. At Kibuko and other primary schools at village level, local courses are held for farmers, teachers and pupils in green fertilizing and composting to improve the fertility of the soil and prevent erosion. In 2018, 200 avocado trees were planted at the school in Kibuko. On good soil, the 200 avocado trees can produce a large profit on a Tanzanian scale. The goal is that the local community takes on the responsibility for a vitalized children’s school and that the school provides a warm lunch during the day.
There is a close connection between primary education and development of sustainable and profitable production. The primary schools have become local learning and development center for production of coffee, avocado and macadamia, complete with nursery gardens for plants and courses for adults. The farmers get instruction in how to plant, harvest, store and treat coffee. In December, 40 farmers attended a course in coffee production at the coordinating innovation center which we are developing next to the boarding facilities in Luale. These farmers will advise and coordinate the coffee producers in their villages.
One after one, the eight young leaders who have followed the project since the beginning, get the trade education the projects need. Unesmo started an education in agriculture in the fall of 2018, and Emanuel in economy and book holding.
Education and training is important, but people need income to survive in Tanzania. Coffee, avocado and macadamia have good markets. Avocado and macadamia are also important nutritional sources. In addition, coffee and macadamia nuts can be stored. According to Solomons idea and wish, Friends of Mgeta has bought a plot of land where he has planted avocado so that he can create his own income to substitute his earnings from the foundation. In this way, he can support his family without the support of Norwegian donators. The young leaders have received loans from Mgeta’s Friends to buy plots where they have also planted avocado. On a larger scale, we have the farmers and schools in 11 chosen villages as areas for forest gardens organized as cooperatives (see the map belowe). When the farmers and workers have received good, safe incomes, the goal is that the surplus can become support for further community projects.
If these projects continue to develop, in a few years there will be 1000 smallholders producing 1000 tons of avocado and 200 tons of coffee and macadamia nuts. We need to develop the value chains from production to sale and will happily help with this. However, it is still an important contribution to support the gift of a goat. The goat gives vulnerable youth the possibility to develop their own strength to be independent and be able to cooperate with and receive support from other young goat farmers. Therefore, we will continue to give goats as a loan to orphans and vulnerable youth. The first female kid from the goat is given back to a new youth.
Friends of Mgeta do not receive support from businesses, organizations, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) or any other state offices. If you are interessed in contributing, you can donate to a specific project or establish a monthly payment from your bank account and send this to Mgetas venner, Måltrostveien 18, NO-1430 Aas (Friends of Mgeta), IBAN: NO3412546224838, BIC-code: CULTNOK1 in Cultura Sparebank, Postboks 6800, St. Olavs plass, NO-0130 OsloBank. We are also grateful for tips on other funding sources.
We wish all a peaceful end of the Christmas season and a good new year!