There are many primary and secondary schools in the villages that surround the new Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC). All of these schools lack enough of the government-issued textbooks needed so that each student can read their lessons, study, and do their homework. Right now they do their best sharing the available books—sometimes twenty or more sharing a single book for a subject. We think they deserve better. The LCRC was built with rooms specifically designed to store and distribute textbooks for the local schools; all we need now is the money to buy them.
Our strategy is to collaborate with the district education office to match government purchases of textbooks in district schools, especially in the Nyegina area. The goal is to maximize the concentration of books in a school to lift the school higher in multiple grades at the same time, hopefully leading to better learning outcomes. As schools have more books for students, teachers can shift from teacher-centered to student-centered learning, thereby improving test scores and graduation rates, especially from primary schools.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Soil pH: The soil pH of the area around us is more
acidic and needs to be neutralized or treated by different chemicals or
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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….
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!
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.
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.
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.”