Greatest Challenge

The greatest challenge the village faces

An increase in poverty among villagers is the greatest challenge which Okaseni faces. The deterioration of the economic situation in the village and Moshi has been caused in part by the fall in the price of coffee in the international market and increases in production costs. This increase is a result of removal of subsidies by the government of Tanzania as one of the conditions to receive aid from the IMF/ World Bank.

Communities in Moshi and Okaseni have not been able to find an alternative economic activity to their dependence in coffee. This has led to high unemployment among the youth, specifically those who do not qualify to go to secondary school or high secondary schools or those who do qualify but whose parents can’t afford the costs of further study. Alternative economic activities in the village, for example, alternative cash crops, have not been explored, including

** processing the ripe bananas into juice for export

** transporting fruits such as avocadoes, which are massively produced in the village and region, to other markets besides just the neighboring regions within the country.

Due to poverty, people cannot pay for water pipes to their homes, which makes them vulnerable to disease. The ability of communities to build better houses and toilets is also limited, making the villagers susceptible to diseases. Kids from families with electricity at home can study and do their homework at night and progress in their education, but many villagers don’t have electricity at home.

To make some income, people have resorted to cutting down trees that have grown in the area for ages, hence continuing to jeopardize the environmental situation of the village, the region and the country. This has compounded an existing problem – the melting of the snow on Mount Kilimanjaro at an alarming rate due to global warming.

Also associated with poverty is the scourge of HIV / AIDS as many poor women engage in unsafe relationships through prostitution or for the need to make a livelihood through support from men. Normally, the government will support communities to build roads, hospitals and health centers, but it is easier to get support if local communities are already mobilized with resources and then ask for support. Doing this, however, is difficult in a situation where people are necessarily more concerned with eking out a living day to day.

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