The Most Critical Help Needed

The well being of communities in Okaseni village will be improved through the following kinds of support:

(i) Skill building for young men and women living in the village: Often, educated people relocate from the village to towns to live and work there. But when uneducated and unskilled people migrate to towns, they are unwelcome and end up doing unstable jobs, petty businesses, prostitution or crime.

Therefore, less skilled and uneducated people in the villages need to be empowered to manage their lives in the village skillfully and competently without thinking of migrating to towns. For example, young men and women can be taught how to start up and run micro projects together, such as building, carpentry, welding , vegetable gardening, environmental conservation, acting as local tour guides, to name but a few.

(ii) Access to technology as a tool connecting the community in the village to the outside world, increasing awareness and incentives for youths to live in the village: Setting up designated places in the village (“Village Communication Centers”) where people can access the internet will allow young people to be connected to the world, acquire new skills, and enhance their awareness of different spheres of life.

Also, a TV/video in the centers will not only benefit the community as educational media for subjects such as the fight against HIV/ AIDS, maternal health, and environmental conservation, it would also help create a place where villagers will use their free time positively instead of loitering around and drinking alcohol. In soccer season, young men walk long distances at night to find a place to watch live coverage. If the youth feel that they are not underprivileged in their social lives compared to their fellows in towns, this will act as an incentive to encourage them to stay in the village.

(iii) Access to clean water: It is not possible to provide tap water to every household as this needs a large investment, but creating more water tap points for people don’t have water sources in their vicinity will be very useful. This will decrease the potential for disease and reduce the time that women and children spend fetching water from taps far away. For areas within the village with shared water pipes but with occasional water shortages, support to build reserve tanks to store water will alleviate people’s suffering to a great extent.

(iv) Support to launch tree planting campaigns: Communities in Okaseni and the Moshi rural areas depend on the rains and snow on top of Mount Kilimanjaro as water sources. Communities in the area exacerbate the environmental threat to the mountain by cutting down trees without planting new ones. Establishing tree nurseries in primary schools to distribute free seedlings to villagers will be extremely useful.

Pupils in the primary schools can maintain the nurseries as part of their training in environmental conservation. There was previously such an experiment in the village, but it did not continue due to the need for support. In the experiment, Village and Ward leaders, as well as head teachers of primary schools in the Ward, agreed on the viability and usefulness of the project.

(v) Support for the community to develop alternative sources of income through tourism: Considering its accessibility to Moshi town, where tourists come to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and see the local wildlife, Okaseni could attract tourists by establishing a small “Museum of Chagga Heritage”. The Chagga people who live on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro have a rich culture that includes customs and beliefs, food, traditional houses, clothes, traditional dances and folklore, traditional leadership through Chiefs, etc. This kind of initiative, which would be the first if its kind in the region, would not only preserve the heritage of Okaseni and Chagga, but would also attract tourists and provide an alternative-income generating activity to the village.

(vi) Support for health and educational services: Considering that at the moment, Okaseni does not have a dispensary or health center, support towards the creation of a small dispensary close to the villagers would help to alleviate peoples’ suffering and save lives. A small house with about four rooms and toilets could serve this purpose. Normally, the government would provide and pay the personnel.

Another alternative that would help the Okaseni villagers is to improve the existing health services provided in the nearby villages where Okaseni residents go for treatment. The support can be in the form of equipment or medicines.

Support for educational services to the village can be in the form of equipment such as computers and books for the existing primary school, training of the teachers to be able to teach computer technology to the kids, renovation of buildings and toilets, and possibly, building more classrooms.

Please note that although the community in Okaseni is in dire need of better housing and toilets, roads, additional schools, access to water and power to houses, the suggestions above have taken into account the reality of costs involved in fulfilling peoples’ expectations.

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