Monday, April 26, 2010

Winter 2010 Update

Kibati Primary School
Our plans for the new primary school in the Kibati part of Lundamatwe Village are right on schedule. This project has been almost completely done by our on the ground worker Abbas Sanga. He and I (Elliot) planned and budgeted for the classroom, office, and bathroom and he has facilitated the project in my absence. To refresh your memory we are partnering with the local community to start a new primary school in Lundamatwe Village, approximately 4.5 miles from the main Lundamatwe Primary School. The new school is being built to deal with the growing influx of students and overcrowding at Lundamatwe Primary School and to allieviate the problem of some students haveing to walk almost two hours (8 miles) each way to school.
Little Angels Primary School
Ian paid a visit to Little Angels Orphanage and Primary School in Mityana, Uganda three weeks ago. Currently at the school there are 400 kids enrolled, 200 are orphans and 68 are living at the school. Sarah, the headmaster, ran out of space to house all the kids so she is renting a nearby room for $75/month for 40 girls to sleep. All 200 orphans all get porridge at breakfast and lunch and the 68 orphans who live there receive breakfast, lunch and dinner. During Ian's visit he helped to facilitate and donate money for several projects, including the foundation of a new classroom building, cleaning of the overfull bathroom hole, building a hand-washing station, and purchasing two small goats to be sold at a later date.
Secondary School Sponsorship
Project Kesho has continued to sponsor boys in Lundamatwe Village to attend Secondary School. We started our sponsorship program for boys because there is already a group called CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) from the United Kingdom which exclusively supports girls. We started supporting boys at the beginning of 2007 and currently support three different grade groups of about 75 students. This year we also started supporting 16 students from Little Angels Primary School to go to secordary School.
Relay Races at Little Angels
More Races
A crowded classroom at Little Angels
Little Angels is so overcrowded they have to hold some classes outside
A view outside the lower classrooms at Little Angels
Children waiting for lunch at Little Angels, the Kitchen is right around the corner
Another crowded classroom at Little Angels
Some of the new Secondary Students at Little Angels sponsored by Project Kesho
The foundation of the new classroom building at Little Angels
Digging the new bathroom hole at the Kibati Primary School in Tanzania
Villagers transporting brick for the Kibati School
More work on the Bathroom in Kibati
The empty land for the new Primary School in Kibati
Working on the foundation for the Kibati School
The finished classroom and office that is the start of Kibati Primary School
Some of the newest group of Secondary School students sponsored by Project Kesho
The finished kitchen at Ulonge Primary School
The Doctor (right) and the nurse at the Village Dispensary with the delivery kit donated by Project Kesho

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fall 2009 Update

Since the summer staff left in September, Elliot and Abbas have been very busy with projects, interviews, village meetings, and budget writing.

Primary School Update:

Since the summer the Standard 7 classroom at the Ulonge Primary School has been completed, and desks have been built to accommodate the new class of students that will start in January. Project Kesho is very excited about the completion of this classroom. When we first started working with the Ulonge community in 2007, there were only four completed classrooms at the primary school. Over the last two years, by partnering with the local community and other nonprofit groups, we were able to facilitate the construction of three classrooms and additional office space. Now, all the children in the Ulonge community are able to go to school in their own community as opposed to walking the four mile round trip to the Lundamatwe Primary School. Next spring, we will facilitate the construction of an additional classroom to house a Pre-Primary class. The Pre-Primary class is similar to kindergarten in America. It helps to get students ready for Primary school and also provides the students with a feeding program. Currently, the teachers of the Ulonge Primary School are conducting a Pre-Primary class during the school’s lunch hour and we are currently constructing a kitchen area. The kitchen area will make the feeding program possible and Project Kesho will be working to facilitate the proper classroom space in the spring of 2010 for the Pre-Primary classroom. Project Kesho has been working with the Kibati community over plans for a new Primary School. The Kibati community is located in a remote part of the Lundamatwe Village. Parts of the community are 5 miles one way from the Lundamatwe Primary School (the closest school). During this past summer, Kibati Community leaders approached us about their desire to have a Primary School in their community because of the great distance. Project Kesho was very excited about this development and were eager to partner with the community. Because of the community’s intense desire to have a school and assurances from the necessary government officials that a school here will be certified, we have decided to move ahead with the construction of a new school. During the fall and winter, we will be facilitating the construction of one classroom, an office space, and bathroom facilities for the school. We anticipate that these construction projects will be completed by the spring of 2010, and after that we will begin the task of getting the school certified by the Tanzanian government so that they will assign a head master and the proper number of teachers.

Clean Water:

Working with representatives of local communities, Elliot and Abbas have identified two new sites for borehole construction. In the past, we were concerned about the quality of the water that the boreholes we constructed were pumping up. While we are still concerned about this, further investigation into the issues surrounding clean water have lead us to question the cleanliness of how people are storing the water once the water is brought home. It is great if the water that is pumped to the surface is clean and safe to drink, but if that water is stored in an unsanitary container it negates the advantage of using a pump and borehole. Through our continued presence in these communities, we have learned that many people do not have a sanitary storage container for storing household water. Building off this newly acquired understanding of the water situation we have adjusted our approach towards clean water. We are now more concerned about treating drinking water and storing it in a clean container. To address this, we have partnered with a local Anglican priest who has been working to address these very same issues through an approach called Solar Disinfectant (SODIS). SODIS works by using sunlight to disinfect water in plastic bottles. It is recommended by the World Health Organization for the safe treatment of drinking water and the safe storage of water. It is remarkably easy to do as well—one simply has to fill up a bottle of water and let it sit in direct sunlight for 6 hours. The water is then cleaner than if you had boiled it ten times. We are implementing this at the schools, starting with the Ulonge School and then moving to the Lundamatwe School. We plan to provide every student with two bottles, one to use for drinking during the day while the other is in the sun purifying the water for the next day. This local priest has been conducting the training sessions at the schools. Once this takes off at the schools, we will be expanding training sessions to community groups throughout the Lundamatwe Village. We will also post illustrated instructions and demonstration areas near the previously constructed boreholes.

The following two pictures are of the completed Standard 7 classroom at the Ulonge Primary School.

This is a picture of the construction of the new kitchen facility at the Ulonge Primary School:

This is the new borehole in the Viwengi community of the Lundamatwe Village. This provides a year round access point to water for this community that saves the people a 2 mile round trip to collect water:

The following are two pictures of the SODIS training at the Ulonge Primary School:

Elliot helping to deliver water bottles of the students at the Ulonge Primary School to use to sanitize their drinking water with SODIS:

A picture of the Matungulu community of the Lundamatwe Village where the new borehole will be located:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer 2009

Summer 2009 Work Team:

Besides myself, our work team for this summer includes five people: Jessica Cagley is interning with Project Kesho this summer. Jessica is a grad student at the Evans School of Public Affairs. She is working on an evaluation of our previous work . She has been and will continue to spend a lot of time in the schools with the teachers and students. She has been organizing meetings with village leaders and community groups. She plans on conducting numerous teacher and student interviews as well as household interviews and focus-group type discussions this summer. The information she will gather will allow us to more accurately plan our future programs. Jessica's husband, Casey, was in Tanzania for about three weeks and just left. Casey works in the music industry and brought about 60 recorders (the flute-like instrument) with him. Casey taught the 5th grades at the Ulonge Primary School for a week and then the students were able to take them home with instructional books. Abbas Sanga has been working for Project Kesho all year and he will be working again this summer. His work has been invaluable for us and continues to be so. For this summer we hired a female translator, Deborah, to work with us. She will mainly be working with Jessica so that Jessica can conduct female only discussion groups. Having two translators also allows us to split up into groups and accomplish more in a day! Elliot will be joining us later as he is in Ethiopia on his honeymoon.

Summer Projects:

School Support:

The classroom for grade 7 at the Ulonge Primary School was started by the village government in May of this year. They only had a limited amount of money, so the classroom is about two-thirds complete. Project Kesho will facilitate the completion of this classroom over the next month or so.

There is a new school in a remote part of the village that is scheduled to start construction this fall. Students in this community and others nearby walk 3-5 miles each way to the Lundamatwe Primary School. So a school in this community will allow them to stay closer to home for their schooling, and help relieve the over-crowding problem at the Lundamatwe Primary School. We will be meeting with local community leaders over the summer and fall to see how we can help.

Clean Water:

The boreholes and pumps we installed last year are doing well, but the demand for the water often means there are long lines. So this fall we plan on installing several more in other parts of the village. This will relieve demand on the current pumps and create access to clean water in other communities of the village.

Evaluation and Needs Assessment:

Jessica's work picks up where our Community Needs Assessment (CNA) left off. In the summer and fall of 2007 we conducted a CNA to determine how best we could assist the village of Lundamatwe. Our findings from the CNA has guided our programs and projects for the past two years. Now Jessica will step in spend time this summer evaluating the progress of our work and see what impact it has had. The results from her work will help us plan future programs and determine how best we should spend our limited resources.

The above picture shows Jessica on the right standing next to Deborah. The other two women live in the Ulonge community of the village. Jessica and Deborah held a discussion group with these two women and three others who are part of a women's group that pooled their money to buy pigs as an income generating scheme. They are pictured in front of the p>ig pen for their pigs.

In this picture is myself in the middle with Casey and Deborah. We are sitting on the front step of Abba's parents house in the Lundamatwe Village.

Here is Abbas practicing driving the motorcycle. Where is your helmet?!

These two pictures show Casey and the 5th graders at Ulonge learning to play the recorder.

The above picture shows the unfinished grade 7 classroom at the Ulonge Primary School. Below are students at the same school.

The above picture is a view down one of the side streets in Iringa.

This is a picture of the stores in the Lundamatwe village by the side of the hard road. In the background is the Lundamatwe Primary School.

This is a picture of the market in Iringa. Because of the high altitude of Iringa (5,000 ft.) and nearby different altitudes (a two hour drive can take you to either 8,000 ft. or 2,000 ft.) the market has a wide variety of goods.

A road side stand on the way from Dar to Iringa.

This is Happy. She is the daughter of a neighbor of Abbas.

This is Ansley. The son of Abbas.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Little Angels Update

June 2009 Little Angels Trip:

Part of Project Kesho’s work involves supporting a privately run primary school and orphanage near Kampala, Uganda called Little Angels. There are 350 students in kindergarten through 7th grade that attend the school. Of the 350 students, 150 are orphans, and 70 of the orphans live at the school. On the first of June, Elliot, Abbas our Tanzanian friend and Project Kesho staff member, and I boarded a bus from Dar es Salaam bound for Kampala. The bus ride took us about 30 hours of nonstop riding. For the most part the roads have been improved, and we actually managed to get some sleep during the overnight part, unlike the last time we rode the bus.

Since so many of the students at Little Angels are orphans, only about half of the students are required to pay the modest school fee of $10 per three month term. However, most everyone in the village is quite poor and many of the students have trouble paying the modest school fee (there is no public school within walking distance). As a result, Little Angels has trouble meeting their monthly budget, let alone spending money to improve the physical structure of school buildings or to adequately feed and house the orphans who board. Our goals for the trip were to address both their immediate needs as well as their long-term needs.

Rainwater Collection System:

There are two types of water available at Little Angels. There is a slow moving stream located near by and there is also piped water available. Water from the stream has to be boiled, which requires the use of firewood or charcoal that has to be purchased. The water that is piped has to be purchased from the government. Often times when there is not enough money the orphans who are boarding are forced to either drink the dirty water from the stream or go without. Since this part of Uganda has abundant rainfall the leaders of the school asked for a system that would collect rainwater. This simply involves gutters on all the roofs with the runoff collected in large tanks. This way the water can be used immediately or stored for a later date. We also shared with the school leaders our knowledge of using solar radiation to treat water. This is done by putting unsanitary water into clear plastic water bottle and then leaving the bottles in direct sunlight for 6-8 hours. This will allow the school to have clean water even in the dry season.

Beds and Bedding:

The orphanage part of the school lacks enough beds and bedding. Currently the younger children sleep five to a bed and the older children sleep three to a bed. The school leaders requested the purchase of additional beds and bedding. We were able to purchase two additional bunk beds as well as four new mattresses and blankets and bed nets. This will reduce the number of children sleeping per bed as well as providing better mattresses and bedding.

Other Projects:

We purchased food to last a couple months. We hired a local carpenter to repair the roofs and walls of many of the classroom to prevent water from coming in during the rainy season. We purchased general medical supplies for the school to have on hand and we also took several sick children to the hospital and paid for their care. We also purchased a cow and a goat for the school. These animals can be sold at a later date and the money can be used to purchase several additional animals. In the future we hope the school can have many animals that can be used as a sustainable income generating system.

This picture shows the Little Angels School and the surrounding area.

In the above picture are some of the orphans who board at the school. Little Angels provides a safe and loving environment for these children to live in.

This picture shows the water tanks being unloaded from the truck. These tanks will be able to store a combined total of about 400 gallons.

The pictures above and below show children enjoying clean water that was sanitized by solar radiation.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Little Angels Update

Elliot, Abbas, and I rode the bus up to Uganda on the 1st of June. We arrived at the Little Angels Orphanage on the 3rd. For the past week or so we have been pricing out options for different projects and talking with the school staff about the best way to spend our money. We have come up with the following budget:

Rain Water Catchment System: We will install gutters and large tanks to collect and store rainwater. This will increase the amount of water the orphanage will have to use, and cut down on their water bill. Along with this project, we passed on our knowledge of how to use solar energy to sanitize water. $400

Beds and Bedding: The children who sleep at the orphanage are currently crammed 5 to a bed. We will be purchasing 2-4 more sets of bunk beds, mattresses, bednets and blankets for the children. $200-$400

Food: We will be purchasing food for the orphanage and school. The tuition fees that are charged are just enough to cover the cost of the teachers each month. Of the 350 students, 150 are orphans (65 sleep at the orphanage). Of the rest of the students, many come from poor families that are often not able to pay the full amount. As a result, most months the teachers only receive part of there salary and the orphans go hungry for days at a time. So we will be leaving behind enough to cover them for a month or so. $200

Animals: The orphanage currently has a cow, a goat and 20 or so chickens. The cow is pregnant and provides a little milk, the goat will be sold soon for money and the chickens provide maybe 5-8 eggs a day. We are going to buy another female cow and possibly some more goats and chickens. Both can be bought cheap when they are young and then sold for double the original price. One goal for the future is for the orphanage to have a steady revenue stream from raising animals to support their own food needs. $200-$300

Health Needs: There are ten orphans who are HIV positive. Uganda just started a free testing program, so soon the rest of the orphans will be getting tested soon. Elliot and I are trying to wade through the Health Care bureaucracy to see if there is an ARV program near the orphanage, as one student is quite sick and several more are on their way to being quite sick. We will also be resupplying their first aid kit. $100

We are about $300-$500 short. Since we are here now and the exchange rate in very favorable (it is 30% better than a year ago) Elliot and I would like to spend as much as we can now. If you feel so inclined a check can be sent to Project Kesho, PO Box 677, Bellevue, WA 98009-0677, or you can donate online. Thanks! Pictures and video will follow when I'm back in Dar next week.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring 2009 Project Update:

During the second half of 2008 Project Kesho focused work in several main areas: facilitating the installation of clean water sources in highly populated areas of the village, continuing our support for the village clinic and working with the primary schools and community members to increase classroom space at both the Lundamatwe and Ulonge schools.


During the fall of 2008, Project Kesho completed its goal to complete one classroom at each primary school before the new school year started in January 2009. At the Ulonge Primary School we constructed both a classroom and office space for the teachers. This is the third and final teacher's office needed at Ulonge. One classroom at the Lundamatwe Primary School was also constructed. It is a very large classroom so it can be used as a classroom as well as for community meetings and events. Both classrooms have been painted with age-appropriate educational material.

This picture shows the newly completed classroom at the Lundamatwe Primary School. The addition of this classroom has reduced class sizes and provides an additional community meeting space for villagers.

Lundamatwe Primary School students sit in their newly built classroom at desks also furnished by Project Kesho project funds. After this picture was taken, the classroom was also painted with educational murals to enhance student learning.


During the fall and winter of 2008 several changes took place at the village clinic. The doctor for the previous year and a half left the area and went back to medical school. A new doctor replaced him in September but was not paid by the District for his first two months of work. The Kilolo District discontinued its regular medical supply updates that were common during the previous summer. This resulted in the clinic having little more than basic medical supplies during the fall and winter of 2008, and as result the care the village residents received diminished. An under-trained village nurse completed the day-to-day operations due to the doctor’s absence. In November the village endured a large storm that caused part of one side of the clinic roof to collapse. No one was hurt, but the gas-powered refrigerator was ruined, along with the vaccinations inside. The District has not replaced the refrigerator as of March 2009. So the regular vaccinations of children in the Lundamatwe village and the surrounding villages have been discontinued.

Project Kesho has continued to help the clinic through these tough times by giving doctor requested medical supplies on several occasions and by holding village meetings to promote the services offered by the dispensary and the importance of health care in promoting a healthy society. Previously, the residents of the village underutilized the health services of the clinic. During these village meetings, several myths surrounding the clinic were addressed. Villagers were concerned that there were only a few medicines at the clinic and that the doctor was not present on a regular basis. Both of these items were untrue and the villagers left the meetings with a greater understanding of the services available and the doctors availability at the clinic.

This picture depicts the medical clinic near the Lundamatwe Primary School after extensive storms caused major roof and supplies damage. The roof has been repaired, but damage to supplies included a loss of vaccines and operable refrigerator.


This year Project Kesho facilitated the construction of 5 water projects located in highly populated areas of the village. All five of these projects are short depth wells, three of them have pumps and two are simply bucket drawn wells. All three boreholes with pumps are located near the primary schools, which are the most densely populated areas of the community. One of the other boreholes has been placed near the village dispensary to provide it with a clean and accessible source of water while the other borehole is situated near two roads in a densely populated part of the village, called Lusaula, which is about 2 miles from the center of the village.

The above borehole and attached pump is located near the Lundamatwe Primary School. It provides a second source of clean water for the highly populated region of the village.

The above borehole and pump is located near the Ulonge Primary School. Villagers used to walk over a mile each way to get needed water.

Planned Projects Summer/Fall 2009:

Ulonge Classroom: $6,000 This will be the seventh classroom at the Ulonge Primary School. Constructing this classroom will allow students in the Ulonge community to remain in their home school for education rather than walking the four mile round trip to the Lundamatwe Primary School.

Lundamatwe Classroom: $6,000 The current enrollment at the Lundamatwe Primary School is over a thousand students. This large number of students requires that some grades share a classroom (each receiving instruction for only half a day), while other classrooms have seventy or eighty students in them. The classroom that was built last fall has helped relieved some of the overcrowding and another one built this fall will go even further.

Clean Water Projects: $2,500 The five boreholes that were built last year are currently providing clean water in three populated areas of the Lundamatwe Village. These boreholes are still the only sources of clean water in these communities. Project Kesho has identified five more potential sites that have a surrounding community that is without clean water. Besides installing more boreholes, Project Kesho will be working with community leaders to establish a village-wide Water User Association (WUA). The WUA will provide community members with a voice in how their water is managed and will work within the existing Tanzanian Government’s Rufiji River Basin Management Association.

Clinic Support: $1,000 Project Kesho’s support of the village clinic will continue to be multi-faceted. One method of providing support will be continued provisions for medical supplies. The majority of the money spent last year was on medicine that was used to treat students at the schools who were suffering from various skin and eye infections that are prevalent in the village. This year Project Kesho will be expanding our health outreach to address the needs of those not attending the schools. Project Kesho will also continue advocating for the health needs of these communities through our contacts in the Kilolo District Government.

Community Organization: $3,000 Project Kesho is currently working with residents of the Lundamatwe Village as they organize themselves around several projects. The residents of the village are organizing to address the needs of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in their village. OVC's facing many additional hardships, including limited educational success, and are vulnerable to becoming malnourished and sick. A network of residents will help to first identify the OVC's in their communities and then work to address their needs. Secondly, the residents are forming a Water User Association (WUA) to manage the water resource in their communities--this includes the newly dug boreholes. This WUA will work under a national Tanzanian Government framework for managing water.

Stay tuned for a funding update and ways you can help!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Project Update

The following is an Update from Elliot:
Since my return to Tanzania in October many changes have been happening in the villages and many projects are being completed. The classroom and office at Ulonge Primary School are finished, painted, and ready for windows. The Ulonge borehole near the school is also finished and will provide this part of the village with a clean water source throughout the year. In fact, there is so much water in the Ulonge borehole that when we were pumping out the water to line bricks on the inside of the hole we pumped for two hours straight and still there was over 2 feet of water left in the bottom. We are currently building a borehole in a part of the village called Lusaula, although this project will be a little different because we will not be putting in a pump, only a well to be used with buckets. There is not enough water in Lusaula to support a pump because it is very hilly there. If we were to put a borehole in the lower elevations of Lusaula there would be a lot of water but it would not be clean as this is were many cattle are taken throughout the year to graze and drink. Near the Lundamatwe Primary School, where there are many shops and houses, we are going to construct another borehole as the first one near the school is overused. The classroom construction project at the Lundamatwe Primary School is also coming along well and is ready for a roof. The timeline for the completion of this project is before Christmas so it will be ready for the new school term in January. Work at the farm, which we have named Chogi Farm after a nearby hill, is also proceeding well. Some friends of mine from America came to volunteer and did some work both at the Ulonge borehole and at the farm. At the farm, they helped to complete the fencing and they helped to strengthen and support the roof with longer nails. They also started building the walls around the bathroom. We are hoping to have animals soon at the farm but still need to complete a few things. We did start trying to grow a small amount of broccoli plants, about 150 plants, and they were growing well until mice came and ate all of them. So, we will devise a new way of growing, probably bringing the plants inside every night (they plants are grown in buckets). One sad note in the village is the clinic. Currently the doctor is not coming because the District is not paying him. There is one village worker at the clinic who has minimal training to give shots and dispense some medicine but her skills of diagnosing problems is very limited. Now that it is the rainy season malaria cases are on the rise in the village. The clinic says they get between 20 and 30 cases a week now and medical supplies are dwindling. The District has not re-supplied the clinic for several months. When Project Kesho donated a few supplies last week, the clinic said they have not been re-supplied from the District since before Project Kesho donated supplies at the end of October. The clinic also experienced some structural damage during a recent storm that blew off part of the roof and left a gaping hole, which allowed a lot of water to get inside. The rain not only ruined the drop ceiling but also partially damaged the propane-powered refrigerator. While it still works, the dials have broken and some of the medicine and vaccinations were ruined. It has been several weeks now and the rains are still coming and the District has not yet fixed the problem, but hopefully they will soon. More news to come, Elliot Below is a picture of the new classroom and teacher office space at the Ulonge Primary School. The classroom is painted and ready for the new Standard 6 students in January! This is a picture of the new borehole in the Ulonge Community. The Ulonge School is in the background of the picture. This borehole is the only clean water in this part of the community: This is a picture of the new Lundamatwe classroom. A roof will be put on this coming week, and then it will be painted and completed before the opening of the new school year in January. A second classroom will be built in the Spring of 2009. Once completed, these two new classrooms will go a long way towards alleviating the overcrowding at the Lundamatwe School. This picture shows additional work done to the borehole near the Lundamatwe School. Bricks were added around the top of the borehole to keep water from washing into the top of the borehole. Water collects in this area during the rainy season and we don't want it to wash into the borehole and contaminate the water that is already down in the hole.