Our Approach to Projects

Tanzania Development Support has been steadfast in helping local organizations in Nyegina accomplish their goals since our founding by Jeanine and Kurt Thurmaier in 2008. We believe that our approach of establishing personal relationships in the Nyegina community with face-to-face interaction and close collaboration with community-based partners are necessary for sustained human development and the promotion of education for Tanzanian girls and boys.

Latest Project Updates

The Great Awareness on 4H Clubs

The Great Awareness on 4H Clubs

During our recent trip to Tanzania, we had the chance to meet with a few of the 4H Career Pathways clubs in the villages of Mkirira and Nyegina. The students were excited to share what they had learned and show off some of the skills that they had developed into money making ventures. Rather than providing you with the updates, we want to let one of the students tell you all about the successes and challenges that they are facing in the clubs. The following is a written report that was prepared by one of the club officers at Nyegina Secondary School.

Nyegina Secondary 4H Club officers welcome TDS Vice President, Edith Njuguna and Executive Director, Jason Michnick to their club meeting.

The Great Awareness on 4H Clubs

4H club in Nyegina Secondary School branch was started in 2017 under the supervision of Sir. Magita and Sir. Moses Deogratius, with 73 members from different classes (Form I,II,III, IV). The aim of this club was to provide more education to its members (students) on proper health, awareness, physical activities, entrepreneurship, and how to prepare the new society after graduating.

With the aid of 4H, we learned how to design a business plan, financial literacy, costing the market, customer care, and how to keep track of profits and losses. This package intended to familiarize members with business skills and positive attitude. 4H Business skills and entrepreneurship has enabled our members in opportunity of initiative taking, ownership of a development commitment, to see things through personal focus and a strong sense of independence, strong sense of ownership. Also to believe that reward comes with our own effort and that one can make things happen with a strong action orientation and belief in self-determination. I believe that in the near future, we shall liberate our community from extreme poverty!

Through the knowledge of 4H club, the club members got more experience on various issues and started to teach or to educate other students on the issue of health care, making proper decisions, behaving well in the community, but also the issue of conserving and preserving environment, especially in our school.

On the issue of environment conservation, the 4H club created and introduced the slogan, “How to make our school green.” This slogan is mainly aimed to inspire the issue of environmental conservation through planting trees, such as fruit trees and other kinds of trees, but also insisted on the issue of planting flowers with the aim of making the environment beautiful. Not only that, but also 4H club influenced the school administration on the issue of planting trees and conserving environment.

4H Career Pathways clubs have adopted the motto of “Learning by doing. Earning while learning.”

How 4H Helped its Members

The 4H club helped its members to know and to understand their carries (interest) their talent. For example, some of the graduated students were not aware about their carries and their talent, but due to the knowledge they got from 4H, it helped them to choose what to do and where to go after finishing the ordinary level education. For instance, Severa Michael who was not aware about her carries, but after 4H lesson she got the opportunity to join Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) as one of the game reserve. Not only that, but also Agnes Magesa who joined to take the diploma of agriculture at Kilosa in Morogoro region.

Apart from that, the 4H members always think on the practice and words (theory and practice), because the 4H club gives us different lessons in practice, such as candle making, soap making, ornament, and design the used plastic bottles for drip irrigation in order to keep plants in favorable condition of getting enough water, but also the recycle plastic bottles helped to avoid spoilage of environment. Hence, conserve it.

The 4H club helped its members on the preparation care and maintence of the garden to ensure sufficient yield, but also helped by encouraging us by providing seeds of vegetables that were used in the garden.

Club participants are learning the basics of making jewelry. Sakina is a member of the LCRC Steering Committee that visited the club with us and had a bracelet made for her by the students.

On the Issue of Basic Health Training

Health being on the care elements in 4H, it has been given great focus in our activities. Doctor Sara helped us on different health issues such as reproductive health and sanitation, but also the issue of basic health management skills where members of the club were trained to protect their bodies from diseases such as STI’s, STD’s, and HIV/AIDS.

Challenges Facing Us

  • Lack of financial support: the club fails to rule some of the activities because of a shortage of money. For instance, the money to buy pesticide spray and water pipe for irrigation of the garden.
  • Tightening of school time table: this led some 4H members to fail on running different activities, such as gardening and planting trees.
  • Soil pH: The soil pH of the area around us is more acidic and needs to be neutralized or treated by different chemicals or fertilizer.

Strategies of Our Club

  • Provision of education to its members in order to help the in school life and after school life with their society
  • To make large project and pastoralism which will reflect the effort of the members so as to be taken as example in the school (application of classroom theory)
  • Providing the privilege to members after graduating the ordinary education
  • To help young people develop self-respect and self-confidence in themselves and hope for the future
  • To implement positive change through active learning, caring for interacting with environment

Our Core Values

  • Love and Compassion
  • Hard Work and Persistence
  • Knowledge and Understanding

Project Summaries

NIU MPA student Kayla King developed a PPT show for the farewell dinner in Musoma. It has a quick summary of the work of each student group on the TDS projects underway. The link is to the file on Google Drive.

TZ18 Projects Summaries PPT

I don’t know if this link will work, but Kayla also took a video of my microscopes presentations to the secondary schools. She rotated the phone camera so you may need to tilt your device 90 degrees to view the files.

Video A: Microscopes Video A

Video B: Microscopes Video B


Farewells and Reunions

Pooja and Candy get a farewell pic with very friendly Afrilux staff.


Travel Day to Mwanza: after a delayed start and a very slow driver (1 hr longer than normal), we missed our tour of Bugango Hospital. So we spent a leisurely late afternoon and evening at the Tilapia Restaurant in Mwanza, famed for their fish dishes. The highlight, if one can call it that, was when a golden eagle swooped across the table and snatched the fish on Fr. Kazeri’s plate! Buzzed right past Thurmaier’s left ear and it happened in 2 seconds or less! It was quite the excitement. It kept coming back for more! The staff is apparently used to this and waved arms and then burned incense sticks on the railing to the lake, which helped for a while but not entirely.

A bonus was spending time with Mary Okeyo, former NIU Swahili teacher who obtained her MS. In Education from NIU in 2016. The best reunion was that one of her former students, Sierra Turner, is on the study abroad this year, and they were able to catch up after some long hugs!

Happy reunion of Sierra Turner and her NIU Swahili teacher, Mary Okeyo (MSED ’16) who is back in Mwanza with her family.

Also able to spend time with Mw. Boniface Luzangi, former headmaster of Nyegina Secondary, who is defending his master’s thesis today (21st June) about counseling and advising are better interventions for students who are struggling with mental health problems than the standard practice of treating them as discipline problems and using punishments.

Final Project Day of 2018 Trip

SWM President Peres and Secretary Anna pitch their new water filters for sale at the TZ18 farewell dinner (19Jun2018), with Frank Patrick (UMABU) translating.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018: This was the final project day for the 2018 TZ study abroad. Most students were in Nyegina for the meeting with the officers of UMABU, and then the presentation of the microscopes to the various secondary schools that had laboratories (but lack equipment). We provided at least 2 microscopes each to secondary schools in Tarime, Butiama, Nyakatende, Mugango, Etaro, Mkirira, and Nyegina.

Then the afternoon was spent finishing presentations for the farewell dinner, with about 25 invited guests, including partners that the students had been working with in their projects and others who have been supporting the projects and the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center. Each student group made presentations, and the Safe Water Mugango Project included a sales pitch by the president and secretary of SWM (Peres and Anna). That was a big hit. They were very confident and clear about why each person in the audience should buy a filter. Also in the audience was the District Executive Director for Musoma Municipal Council, Flora Olongo. She was excited to see the women open their own business and promised to get them a booth in the Nane Nane Day exhibition, and another. Peres and Anna (and the NIU Students!) were very excited about this important marketing opportunity. It was a very good ending to the Musoma leg of the 2018 program.

Sunday was R&R

Sunday was an R&R day for the group. We have been going nonstop since landing in Nairobi. The day was relaxed and blessed with beautiful weather (75, mostly sunny skies, nice breeze, low humidity).

I spent the day supervising 2 technicians who came from Mwanza to repair the 6 microscopes damaged in transit to Musoma. The first 4 were quickly fixed, but the last 2 need more work. They are confident they can finish repairing them Monday morning.

Ended the day at Tembo Beach Hotel restaurant with discussion of final days in Musoma. Bonus was that Raymond Kisarula, the owner, was there and heard my voice. He came over to say hello. Raymond was instrumental in getting the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center finished, including the beautiful comfy chairs for reading newspapers (NOT the standard Musoma chair model that EVERYONE uses). He also got the computer labs building constructed in record time. I urged him to get out to Nyegina to see the kids coming into the library everyday to read books and study, especially the 4-6 year olds! Maybe on Tuesday….

Woman reads a magazine in the reading lounge at the M.Nyerere Library at Nyegina

Checking in the donated microscopes

The students each brought a 2nd checked bag filled with 2-5 microscopes for donation to area high schools with laboratories but no equipment. With 33 microscopes, we should be able to give 2-3 to several schools. The rough handling by the airlines resulted in about 5-6 needing some level of repair. We have found someone who can repair them (we hope). We will be inviting headmasters to the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center to receive their scopes next week. Many thanks to the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb, volunteers at DeKalb High school who retrofitted them, and to the students for lugging them in airports, buses, and hotels!

Pictures of the presentation will be next week.

Kurt Thurmaier (aka Baba Anna) inspects a microscope brought by students as a 2nd checked bag.

Microfinance Groups Find the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center

Thursday was dedicated to learning about microfinance in Mara Region. We visited Tutejenge and FINCA offices in the morning, learning about how they lend money to borrowing groups and individuals (for FINCA). We also were able to sit in the beginning of a borrowing group’s weekly meeting with Tutejenge.

In the afternoon we met with borrowers at the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center. About 45 borrowing groups from UMABU villages and members were represented and it was a fascinating experience. At the end of the session, the borrowers were invited into the library stacks area where they found the collection of books about business. As you can see from the picture, they were very interested in what was available to help them learn how to improve their businesses. They were eager to see what was there, and we invited them to please tell Moses, the librarian, what books they wanted to see added to the collection. TDS will do its best to meet those requests.

Nyerere LCRC librarian Moses Deogratius shows the UMABU borrowing group members the business collection.

Unexpected Benefits of NGO Visits (by Kayla King, MPA Student)

As we have travelled around to the different NGOs throughout the Musoma region, many of us wondered the information’s worth, and why we weren’t spending more time with the Ngyena school children, developing our personal programs, and working hands-on. But as we’ve met the NGOs, I have seen students create parnterships with parallel NGOs, brainstorm new ideas to create sustainable programs, and understand the innerworkings of nonprofit organizations in Tanzania.

While visiting Global Resources Alliance, Taran Black, a 4H Career Pathway member, asked owner Madaraka whether he would consider a partnership. The partnership would offer surrounding 4H clubs the space and materials to create a tree nursery. Then the students would sell the trees to turn a profit for GRA. The students would gain important reforestation, entrepreneurial, and volunteerism skills, while Global Resources Alliance earns a profit and spreads awareness of their programs. Another student, Zach Kalk, a social entrepreneurship student working with Safe Water Mugango, built a relationship with PCI Global to partner and sell the water filters made by the seven women running the program. Zalk hopes to work with PCI to provide schools with a clean water supply while teaching the women of Safe Water business sustainability.

These stories are just a few of the ways the visits to Tanzania’s NGOs have provided brainstorming, networking, and relationship building to the NIU students. With this knowledge, we apply our theories into practice to work towards providing sustainable education to children throughout the region.

Projects, projects, projects…

Wednesday was a project day for everyone. We have multiple projects underway that involve the NIU students as teachers and advisors.

Two students are teaching primary and secondary teachers how to use XLS for grade books, WORD for writing exams, and internet for finding supplementary materials for classrooms.

Four students are working with an UMABU staff member to enhance the Career Pathways program that uses 4H materials for hands-on learning with primary and secondary school clubs.

Three students were working with the Safe Water Mugango project to help the women owners update their business and marketing plan.

One student is working with the librarian at the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center.

Another student is working with science teachers from various schools to develop a STEM enhancement to secondary school curricula.

Another student is documenting project engagements and assisting with logistics.

The chatter around the dinner table suggests that everyone was excited to be engaged in their projects and eager to help their local partners.

More to come…

Career Pathways Participant Quote

Career Pathways Participant Quote

We recently received a quote from a participant in the Career Pathways program. Here’s what Anna Masatu, a form three student (junior) at Mkirira Secondary School had to say about the program.

“The hands-on activities we’re learning in the career pathways after-school program are a fun way to learn science. In fact, my grades in science have improved since I joined the program. It’s been interesting to learn about the different career options in agriculture, and my family and I have enjoyed the vegetables that my classmates and I are growing in the school garden.”

TDS and Education Systems Center at NIU will be hosting a fundraising event to support our joint Career Pathways program on November 19, 2017 in Chicago. Learn more and buy tickets at