Water, trees and coffee

Oct 15th, 2007 | By | Category: Updates

One of our key goals for our trip to Okaseni was to fund three separate projects in the village. These projects were to

  1. upgrade the village’s water distribution system, which was in disrepair
  2. establish a seedling nursery at the primary school for the Gravellia tree, which can be sold for lumber or firewood and provide income for the villagers
  3. establish another seedling nursery at the Village Office for coffee trees, which are an important cash crop in Tanzania.

The water system consists of 24 tap points throughout the village, about half of which were working. Because fetching water is considered women’s work, the broken taps only created more work for the women who are already struggling to support their families. We spent approximately $ 4000 CDN on pipes, fittings, other assorted hardware, cement, etc., for repairing the water points and numerous leaks in the supply lines. We felt that this project was essential as it would immediately benefit the villagers by making their lives easier day to day.

The tree nursery at the school is a long-term project. The school children will grow the seeds, and then the seedlings will be given to the villagers to plant on their land. The tree grows quickly and is compatible with the shade-tolerant coffee plants. We spent approximately $ 1500 CDN on seeds, polyethelene sheets and baggies, and gardening equipment such as wheelbarrows, hoes, etc. We felt this project was worthwhile as it will provide income for the villagers and improve the forest environment on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The coffee nursery at the Village Office is also long term. Coffee used to be the main cash crop in Tanzania and was the occupation of the men, but the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have left the industry currently unprofitable. However, we felt this project should be funded as the industry will likely be revived eventually and coffee trees take several years to become productive. We spent approximately $1500 CDN on coffee seeds, the polyethelene materials, fencing, and gardening equipment.

We were thrilled to get these projects going and believe that they help to fulfill the mission of the AVP: to help the village of Okaseni become self-sufficient.

Cheers,

Sheena

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