Madale Eco Compound

The new Art in Tanzania Eco Compound is located in Madale, northwest from the center of Dar es Salaam, west of Wazo Hill. The drive from the airport takes approximately 1 hour.

Art in Tanzania’s eco-compound is rising to Wazo Hill, Madale.

Art in Tanzania’s eco-compound is rising next to Wazo Hill, Madale.

The compound is a pilot project for ecological building and living. The aim is to share knowledge and experiences with the local communities.

Volounteers’ accommodation premises have been made out from bamboo.

Volounteers’ accommodation premises have been made from bamboo.

Materials as mud, bamboo, stones and recycled plastic bottles have been used in the building of the compound. All toilets are dry toilets and the water used for “showers” is recycled for the garden. There are not actual showers on the compound, washing is done from washbasins with portable water. Solar power panels are used for room light and for chargers, the compound also has electricity mainly for the computers in the office.

Dry toilet saves a lot of flushing water. The outcome is good for plants.

Dry toilet saves a lot of flushing water. The outcome is good for plants.

Currently there is no organised waste disposal in the area. Organic waste is being composted, plastic bottles are recycled and combustible waste burnt.

The Eco Compund is a work in progress. All ideas and practical solutions from interns and volunteers are much appreciated. You are welcome to participate and share your knowledge.

The first Montessori kindergarten in a Tanzanian government school

The kindergarten in Korongoni primary school in Moshi has improved a lot during the last year. I interviewed the main kindergarten teacher Clara, in the beginning of August 2014.

Clara is a qualified primary school teacher for children in standard three to seven and for children with special needs. However, due to the shortage of teachers in Korongoni primary school she was asked to take over the teaching in the kindergarten in 2010.

The first years were tough. Clara was the only teacher for two groups of more than 30 children, aged four to six years. She had almost no teaching materials; only a piece of chalk and one book for each subject. The desks were too big for the children and there were a lot of holes in the classroom floor.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after

The kindergarten building before and after

Clara was kept very busy throughout the whole day. She was teaching, preparing and serving porridge and washing the dishes before the next group of children arrived. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time between the two groups which meant no break for the teacher. The sizes of the classes were too big for one teacher to handle and Clara felt that she had to play too many different roles. In addition to the teacher’s role she was sometimes acting like a police and sometimes like a grandma. Repeatedly she felt overwhelmed during and after work and experienced headaches. At the time she was not looking forward to her work days.

In 2013 Marissa, an Art in Tanzania volunteer came to the kindergarten. Marissa and Clara became good friends and Clara started to tell Marissa her dreams on how to improve the kindergarten. Together they created a plan, and Clara and representatives from Art in Tanzania researched prices for the budget. Back in the UK, Marissa with the help of GAGA-UK, raised funds which made making all of the improvements possible. In July 2013, Korongoni primary was able to open the first Montessori government kindergarten in Tanzania. Now the building has been renovated, proper desks, chairs and teaching materials purchased and another teacher, Mary, has been hired.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after 2

The class room before and after

Clara is now extremely happy and says that her dream came true. Nowadays she likes going to work and is very happy that Mary is there to help. Clara also tells that the teachers from standard 1 are very pleased with the children coming from her kindergarten as they already know the basics of reading, writing and counting. The reputation of the kindergarten has spread and many parents want a place for their kids there. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take everyone as then the group sizes would grow too big. At the moment the morning class has 32 children and the afternoon class 35.

Clara says that this kind of improvement is not too expensive and that others could do it too. Her wish for the future is that more people would understand how important it is to educate children when they are very young. Clara would especially want to continue emphasising the teaching of the basics (reading, writing and counting) after kindergarten, in classes 1 and 2.

Volunteers are wanted and needed for teaching English in both the kindergarten and the primary classes in Korongoni. Clara suggests that the volunteers could use different methods (games and play) in teaching and she is convinced that the kids will benefit from the volunteers’ teaching.

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Clara, Marissa and Mary

Text by Hanna-Mari Pulli

Experiences and thoughts about volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin have been volunteering in Moshi in June and July 2014. We wanted to know which projects girls have been participating and what kind volunteer work they have been doing in their projects. We also asked the girls about their expectations on volunteer work as well as about their experiences in Tanzania.

Millie from Britain spent 4 weeks in Moshi. She worked in two different projects during her stay. In the mornings she worked at Chemi Chemi Nursery School helping and teaching the children. In the afternoons she worked at Neema’s Nursery School and Daycare’s project teaching English for teenagers and young adults.

She says that she finds volunteer work very helpful, especially when one is able to teach the things one knows to others as well. “Volunteer work gives learning experiences to both sides and I think that volunteers can get as much of it as the people they are helping”, she says.

Even thought she felt that she couldn’t do as much as she would’ve liked to do to help people, she says that it is important to feel that one can make a difference at least to some. And she really did. Millie told us that the best experience for her was when the girls who she tough English to, invited her to their homes. That made her feel she had done something right and that her work was really worth something to others.

Two Swedish girls, Melissa and Selin, were volunteering in Moshi for 2 weeks. Melissa was volunteering at the same Chemi Chemi Nursery School as Millie did. Selin volunteered at Sango Women Group & Nursery School where she was working with young widows. She tough them basics of business management, counting and financing. She also told them what kind of things they should consider and what they should do if they wanted to start their own business. She studies business management in Sweden which made the teaching easier for her.

We asked also Selin and Melissa about their expectations and they told us that they didn’t really know beforehand what to expect. They knew about the economical problems but still the reality was bit of a shock to them. Even thought there seemed to be lack of many things, they were impressed about the caring and sharing atmosphere people have and how happy people are with so little resources. It is something totally different than in the western world. “It is amazing how much love for example the children have for each other”, they say.

Melissa and Selin both think that volunteering is definitely worth experiencing. It is something one should do in order to truly experience a new culture because it brings you closer to the culture and people than any tourist trip ever would. They say that volunteering shouldn’t be thought as a vacation because you need to have general interest in helping in order to volunteer with full commitment. They also think that teaching as a volunteer work is an important way of helping others. “Education is the key and the most important way of helping. Also donations are needed but they become so much more valuable with the help in making a proper plan on how to use the money given”, girls underline.

Girls were interviewed and the article was written by two volunteers who have been working in Moshi May-July 2014.

“This is our nursery because this is our society” – Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare

Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare at Kiwodea – Saba Saba Moshi – Tanzania started with seven children on 6th of January 2014. Now there are 35 of 3-6 year old children coming to the nursery and daycare. Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare  is located in Moshi. Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare is a private school and the teaching is mainly in English.

Neema Marko, a teacher and the founder of the nursery school, has before been teaching at Khuba Nursery for seven years. It is her longtime dream to help children’s education as someone helped her once. Neema comes from a poor family and as a child she was selling mangos and onions to get by. Her uncle’s friend from Germany decided to sponsor her and so finishing school became possible for Neema. Now she wants to return the favor by helping children who come from difficult life situations to study. Now, along the work in Khuba nursery, Neema started a new nursery school in January 2014 with a help of volunteer from Finland. Neema will finish working in Khuba nursery in December 2014 when her contract there finishes. She has started teaching adult English class for people with no English or writing skills before. Also in this volunteers can help.

Volunteer in Nursery School

Ever since Neema has worked with volunteers in her new project and she has many very good experiences of the co-operation and this is also why she wanted to work with Art In Tanzania as well. Volunteers in Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare teach English, drawing and math. They are also playing with the children.

Volunteer in Nursery School

At the moment there is also a local girl working as a volunteer. She hasn’t been able to get to the collage so for her working is a good working experience even when she is not paid the teacher salary. Neema needs someone there to help her with teaching, cooking and being with children. Also for the days when Neema is not going to be there, the school has to run.

Neema wants to invite many people to come and help the children and there are many ways of helping. Teaching is the most important thing but also sponsoring the nursery is important because the school is reliant on donations. The school lacks of many things, and books, pencils and also the food for the children are needed. Neema is renting the building and also the rents of two rooms, desks, mattresses and water come quite high and the help is needed. “Teaching is the most important help for the children. But I want to tell about the problems we have. It is not to ask for money or force people to donate but so that people know.”, Neema highlights.

Neema's Nursery School and Daycare

Helping children with education and starting a nursery school has been Neema’s longtime dream that has come true. Now the challenge is to keep the dream alive and the school running. When asked what are her future hopes and plans Neema tells that she would like to go and get a diploma for teaching. She dreams of moving to a new building and to expand to having also a primary and a secondary school as a boarding school. Of the shorter term dreams she would like to collect enough money to get dala dala -car to pick the children to school every day. Some of the children live far away and it is hard to get them to come to school. Many stay at home because the parents don’t have the money to pay the transportation to the school.

These are big dreams for her but not impossible. “Me and you. When we share the dreams can come true.”, Neema says. Neema says that even with her name, the nursery school is not hers but community’s. Even if something happens to Neema, the nursery school needs to go on. “This is our nursery because this is our society.”

This text was written by two volunteers who have been working in Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare at Kiwodea in May-June 2014.

Morning of English, numbers and games in the Winning Star’s Nursery School

By Hanna-Mari Pulli

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Volunteers Amy and Helen teaching numbers

This week we visited the Winning Stars Nursery School in Kunduchi. 17 children, from three to seven years old, attend the school. The teacher Glory has worked in the school for two years and says that the volunteers help her a lot! The volunteers come mainly to teach math, English and drawing. The school is free of charge for everyone.The day starts at 9am. Some of the kids come from the orphanage located next to the school and some get dropped off by their parents. This time the children started with math; they were learning numbers and simple calculations, first together and then individually. The volunteers sat down with the kids and helped them when needed.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

After finishing their assignments it was time for a play break! The children were playing outside and a couple of them found their inner photographers and took photos with our cameras very enthusiastically. Football, pushing car tires and climbing were also very popular. Before going back inside and continuing to study, a group photo was taken. The kids were very eager to be in the photo and we also promised to send the photos to Glory.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Winning Star’s Nursery School students with the teacher Glory and volunteers Amy and Helen

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

After the break the children were taught different forms of transportation with pictures; car, bus, airplane, boat and so on. All of the kids came individually in the front of the class to say all of them out loud, and later drew the shapes and wrote the correct names in their booklets. However, soon the kids were getting tired and hungry. The porridge was late. After some 20 minutes of waiting, it finally arrived and the kids settled back to their seats. Glory scooped everyone an individual cup of hot porridge and the children started to eat carefully. When they were finished with their food, it was already past midday and time for the kids to go home.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Mawenzi Regional Hospital, Tanzania – supporting many with few resources

By Saara Kanula

Mawenzi Regional Hospital is a busy hospital which attends to over 300 outpatients daily and has around 300 beds in its wards but the number of patients can easily rise to almost 500. In the paediatric ward, sometimes up to four kids sleep in one bed.

Art in Tanzania is organizing donations for Mawenzi hospital in order to support its staff to continue their work supporting the people of the Kilimanjaro region in northern Tanzania.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Building of the new theatre started at 2010.

In Mawenzi you will find all of the usual medical facilities including: paediatric, physiotherapy, gynaecological and prenatal, a HIV-unit, tuberculosis clinic, X-ray unit and laboratory. Besides the in-patients, more than 300 out-patients come to the hospital each day. 

Art in Tanzania has been co-operating with Mawenzi Regional Hospital for several years. They have great opportunities for medical students to undertake internships and they are constantly looking for volunteers to share their professional skills with the hospital staff.

The staff in the hospital do their very best but have few resources and outdated equipment. As a public hospital Mawenzi offers medical care to the majority of the population in the Kilimanjaro region, especially those who can’t afford private healthcare. Lack of basic equipment puts patients at risk and makes it difficult for the doctors to do their work.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Dr. Nkini

Mawenzi Regional Hospital is located in Moshi and serves a population of around 1.7 million. It was established prior to 1920 as a small military dispensary for German soldiers. In 1956 it became a hospital and has been growing ever since. Mawenzi hospital is funded by the government but since KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a big university hospital) was opened in the 1970’s support and funds have been scarce.

Many of the hospital’s buildings are inadequate for modern medicine. There is a great need for renovation of old facilities and construction of new ones. The hospital is making efforts to find private investors to co-operate with and improve the quality of its facilities. Its management team has great plans for the future but it is desperately in need of support.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Building of the new Maternity clinic was suspended in 2009 because the government couldn’t fund the construction anymore.

Slow progress

Inside the hospital compound you can see lots of small buildings surrounded by flourishing gardens. Most of the buildings are over 90 years old and in need of renovation. The wards are quite modest inside.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Most of the buildings inside the hospital compound are from the 1920’s and in need of renovation.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Doctors office in the eye clinic is quite modest with only few basic equipment.

After walking pass different wards and through small paths you see a brand new white building which Dr Nkini (my host) points out to me. It is the new theatre building. Inside the building there are three theatres that have wash and sluice rooms, as well as facilities for the surgical staff. You can easily picture the building full of nurses and doctors, and patients waiting for surgery. However, at this point there are only empty rooms. The hospital has been waiting a long time for government funds for new surgical equipment.

Theatre two 2

The hospital has been waiting a long time for government funds for new surgical equipment.

Before the old theatre was closed in 2010 there were seven to twelve operations being performed daily—mainly C-sections, laparotomies and hernia repairs. Now the hospital send patients elsewhere, even for minor surgery. The Hospital’s administrators worry about loosing its specialists to the other hospitals because they are not using their surgical skills.  By the end of July the new theatre building should be finished and the hospital is working to obtain new surgical equipment little by little.

 Behind the new theatre there is another building under construction. Dr Nkini explains that it is to be the new maternity clinic. Building started in 2004 but was suspended in 2009 because the government couldn’t fund both the theatre and maternity clinic construction at the same time.  Now it is uncertain when the building will be completed.

Dr Nkini also took me to the dental clinic. It has just been renovated and the practice is about to be shifted from the old department. The clinic is busy, attending 30 to 60 patients per day and has three specialists to take care of them. More up-to-date equipment is needed as they only have few basic equipment.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

The old theatre was closed at the end of 2010 by the Ministry of Health because it didn’t conclude the standards anymore.

Donations from Finland and the UK

At the moment Art in Tanzania is collecting donations in Finland destined to  different locations  within Tanzania. If you can donate medical equipment it will be very much appreciated.  Please contact Sari Vilen for a list of equipment that the hospital needs.

Also other kinds of donations are needed such as eyeglasses, school supplies, second hand computers, tools, sport equipment etc. Contact: sari@artintanzania.org.

Art in Tanzania is also planning to collect donations in the UK and other countries. If you are in the UK and want to make a donation, please contact Andy McKeegan – andy@artintanzania.org

Interview with Mark Okello from Youth Initiatives Tanzania

Written by Saara Kanula (Finland) (Originally published on May 6, 2014)

Youth initiatives Tanzania (YITA) is one of the most vibrant and committed youth organizations addressing the challenges facing young people in slums around Dar es Salaam. YITA’s mission is to facilitate socio-economic empowerment of young people in informal urban settlements through supporting up and coming entrepreneurs and youth who are getting involved in politics and decision-making.

YITA is funding itself by producing handmade sandals. They have collaborated with Art in Tanzania’s Fair Trade project which have their sandals on sale at the Fair Trade shop in Dar es Salaam. YITA was founded in 2009 and Mark Okello is one of the founding members. I had a chance to speak with him and was very impressed with his work.

Fair Trade Tanzania

Mark Okello is one of the founding members of YITA.

How did the idea of YITA originate?

I developed a passion for working with young people in 2007 when Idecided to join Tanzania Youth Coalition (TYC), there I worked as a volunteer up to 2009 beforeI teamed up with some of my friends to form Youth Initiatives Tanzania. My main idea was that, while TYC and other organizations are doing so much in policy analysis and advocacy, there is still a group of young people left out who do not necessarily need the policy analysis for them to see a change. They are more in need of practical training that has a direct impact on their daily income. This is what prompted me to start working withYITA to see this become a reality.

What kind of challenges do you face in your work in YITA?

One of the biggest challenges I face working with YITA is that I am a typical volunteer, meaning I don’t have any financial benefit from this. Another challenge is the fact that I feel that there is a very big need for more organizations like YITA in Tanzania – unfortunately we cannot solve all the problems by ourselves. The mentality of young people is also challenge, when they see me as a solution to their problems and not a facilitator to the solution of their problems.

Sandals are made from old car tires.

What has been the most impressive moment in your work in YITA?     

I am happy to see young people develop and make positive steps after my engagement with them. I have received calls from various young people thanking me for touching their lives in a special way through YITA.

YITA is funding itself by producing handmade sandals. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of making them?

We make our sandals from old car tires, leather, Kitenge (a locally produced clothing material) and Masai cloth. We have trained 11 young people from a slum we have been focussing on called Manzese to make the sandals. The main aim is to create employment for young people who are living in the slums around Dar es Salaam and it also acts as a fundraising activity for YITA.

How do you see the future of youth living in slums?

There is much to be done by our government to uplift the youth living in slums – the future does not look very bright. Unless like-minded organizations join hands and minds to figure out how to help with the challenges that are faced, there is not much to be expected from young people living in slums.

How do you see YITA’s future?

Youth Initiatives Tanzania has a good future ahead. We are working towards establishing sound financial stability and the capacity to undertake the activities that we have planned.

More information about YITA: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Youth-Initiatives-Tanzania-YITA/232389036811338?fref=ts