En route to Mtwara...February 6 2013
This Saturday we're heading back to Mtwara to catch up with our Tanzanian team and see how the projects they're working on are coming along.
We will be bringing you daily updates as to what we are doing, where we will be and how the projects are getting on... but first we have to drive the distance from Dar es salaam to Mtwara! It's going to be a bumpy Sunday!
Although from this map the distance doesn't look that far from Dar to Mikindani... we will let you know next week!!!
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Sunday 10th February
Tim, Clare and ‘a couple of Paul’s’ started their travels to Mikindani by driving from Dar es Salaam to Mikindani – what an adventure!
Reaching Mikindani as it always is was brilliant! The staff welcomed us, ‘Karibu, Karibu Sana.’ Now this is where the excitement kicked in! We all just couldn’t wait to wake up on Monday morning in Mikindani!
Today we set off to our Schools Improvement Projects. First stop, Imekuwa Primary. It was great to see the EdUKaid’s Pre-primary class in full swing. The children were singing and dancing – the noise was just incredible. Every child had a partner who they sang (in English) too and put actions to the words. There were smiles, laughter and learning just radiating from the classroom! Some very fond memories were made here…
Next stop…onto Mgao Primary! EdUKaid have set up two pre-primary classes here as Mgao is located in an extremely rural location- it’s the last stop on the dust track! Because of this reason, EdUKaid wanted to make sure teachers weren’t overstretched and children had a class big enough to attend, meaning they wouldn’t have to travel 5km plus to get to another school. Here, the children ages 3 to 6 years were reading the entire alphabet, A- Z loudly and confidently.
Off to Namgogoli we go! The Fundi team, masons and carpenters started working at Namgogoli at the end of August 2012. When I returned in November I honestly couldn’t believe how much work they had managed to do on both the interior and exterior of the building. At that point, the community were digging a huge hole for the latrines! The latrines will be finished in the next couple of weeks. Namgogoli will then have the required amount of latrines to students, according to government regulations. What a success, it looks incredible!
In the afternoon, we went to Mwenge Primary School. Refurbishment work here started at the beginning of December and once again, you just wouldn’t believe how much the Fundi team of carpenters, masons and painters have achieved – and this has been through the rainy season too! Both the interior and exterior of the classrooms are now complete and it’s full speed ahead on building a Pre-primary classroom. This will be EdUKaid’s fifth Pre-primary class and we are really excited about it!!
Today was a big day! We had a lot on the agenda, and as always the team stepped straight up to the game. First off we were working on EdUKaid’s New Vocational Training Project. This enables young adults the opportunity to return to education and develop their skills in an area of their own interest. Currently we have students enrolled onto a range of courses from Accountancy to Carpentry. Jaylani, EdUKaid’s Project Coordinator informed me that all the students have been successfully enrolled and have been attending, and enjoying their classes since January. We are really looking forward to hearing feedback from the students through the first of three updates we will be carrying out throughout the year.
In the afternoon we had a meeting with Maisha who oversees EdUKaid’s Pre-primary classes and is also the teacher at Singino Pre-primary, a very inspirational teacher. Maisha brought us up-to-date with the progression of the classes, and after visiting Imekuwa and Mgao on Monday, she confirmed what we saw. The children are happy and attending regularly. Children aged 4-6 years in Tanzania tend to find it extremely difficult to maintain their attendance as there is the need of constant parental support to get them the distance to the classroom. This appears not to be a problem with the EdUKaid pre-primaries as the community and parents are very much involved – supporting the provision of porridge to ensure the children can have a meal in the mornings.
Shortly after meeting with Maisha, we had a full staff meeting. This was definitely one of the highlights of the last trip to Mikindani for me! Mr Fidelis, EdUKaid’s Tanzanian Chair of Trustee’s facilitated the meeting and kindly translated where we struggled with Swahili (which was a lot)!!! A fantastic afternoon!
This morning we went to visit Lwelu Primary School. This school is located in an extremely rural location; you can almost say it’s in the middle of the jungle. On the drive to Lwelu, everywhere you look is a picture. We visited this school in August to carry out an audit of work needed. It was highlighted that the considerable amount of rain over the years has had a very damaging effect on the buildings. You can see from the pictures just what a child has to climb to get to their classroom!
Whilst we had a volunteer draughtsman with us, Paul Siller, it seemed the right idea to re-visit the schools and Ally, our Tanzanian Project Manager who looks after the Schools Improvement Projects so they can put their heads together and come up with some drainage solutions. So as they were cracking on with the plans we were wondering where Mr Tim had gone…
… We found him in a standard 1 class joining in with the class introduction!
We had planned to have a Tanzanian Trustee’s meeting in the afternoon, and so we did. These regular meetings ensure that both the UK and Tanzania teams keep up-to-date with EdUKaid activities in both countries; along with being an opportunity to share ideas and progress surrounding current projects. Our Tanzanian board of Trustees are doing a great job in showcasing EdUKaid’s work at schools with local communities and educational officers.
Jaylani and Mohamed who work in the office as Project Coordinator and Support had organised a community meeting to be held during the visit from the UK. In this meeting we hoped to hear from the community and see what they want moving forward… it’s so important to regularly speak to local people and get their take on EdUKaid’s work – it’s extremely important to us!
Community Meeting 14/02 Tim with the village Chief
The turn-out of this meeting was fantastic – Jaylani, Ally, Mr Fidelis and the Chief of Mikindani village kindly facilitated the meeting. We heard some incredible, very much grassroots initiatives that the community have come up with to support vulnerable children in the village – this is in addition to EdUKaid’s support.
It took some time to sink in throughout the duration of the evening as to how well the community and trustee meetings had gone. I feel surrounded by motivation and inspiration in this village!
It was our last full day in Mikindani … so we spent some time in the office with Jaylani, Project Coordinator and Mohamed catching up with EdUKaid’s Child Sponsorship Scheme. We were able to collect over 20 updates from sponsored children and their teachers that the team have been working on- these will soon be reaching our UK donors.
I managed to squeeze in a quick trip up to Singino Primary School, which isn’t that much of a walk from the EdUKaid office. Mr Fidelis, our Tanzanian Chair of Trustee’s is Head Teacher at this school and it really is such a success story! I collected some pass rates from Mr Fidelis for the pass year to allow us to assess the impact and motivations that EdUKaid’s Schools Improvement Project has supported in the refurbishment and resource provisions here. I should have been ready for it by now, but oh no…I was blown away!
The average pass rates at standard 7 (last year of Primary education) in Tanzania is around the 50% mark. At Singino Primary, we’re looking nearer 80-90%... I say no more!
What a trip! Now just for the drive back to Dar es Salaam…surely we can’t have any other shock/that’s unbelievable/blown away moments…
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