What we accomplished

Oct 15th, 2007 | By | Category: Updates

Dale and I both consider our first visit to Okaseni Village in Tanzania a success. Although we faced some challenges and difficulties, not the least being jet lag and fatigue, we accomplished everything we set out to do – and more.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to the Africa Village Project Association fund. You’ll be happy to know that every penny of your donation was put to good use in the village. Dale and I funded the trip ourselves, and no donated money was used for our travel expenses or operating costs.

With your donations, we funded three specific projects in Okaseni:

  1. upgrading the village’s water distribution system
  2. establishing a seedling nursery for the Gravellia tree at the primary school
  3. establishing another seedling nursery at the Village Office for coffee trees.

In total, we spend approximately $7,000 CDN on these projects. We focused on projects that would bring immediate benefits (the water system) and long-term benefits, especially creating income (the trees and coffee plants).

We also made invaluable contacts, including various government officials who provided useful information about the economy and the challenges facing the villagers. We discovered that many worthy programs already exist, but that need funding to make a substantial effect.

For example, we found out that Okaseni and its neighbouring villages do have a credit union. Its total deposits are 14 million Tanzanian (T) shillings, approximately $11,000 US, a modest sum for the population. As well, to borrow from the credit union, villagers must become members by purchasing shares at 5,000 T shillings, a sum well beyond the reach of most villagers.

So, as you can see, we have much to do and intend to focus on upgrading infrastructure, improving health, and increasing income opportunities. Future projects we are considering are

  • running power to the primary school and the Village Office
  • liaising with Red Cross Canada to provide malaria nets
  • developing a micro-credit program to lend funds to the village women who would like to start small businesses.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with Okaseni to help the village become self-sustaining with an acceptable standard of living. Please join us. Click on “How you can help” on the website.

Asante! (That’s Swahili for “thank you”!)

Cheers,

Sheena

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