So often I have been asked “How is Tanzania progressing?” and just as often the comment is made “ It is one of the most rewarding and inspiring projects I have ever contributed to”.
In 2008 our RI President DK Lee set the theme – “ Make Dreams Real”. As District Governor in Rotary District 9930 my dream was to secure funding for approx 30 bio-gas digesters to be installed on the small farms (1-2 cows) in the village of Mwika (actually a grouping of 7 small villages) on the foothills of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. At an elevation of 1800m and a population of approx. 42,000 locals Mwika is one of the poorest regions within Tanzania. They are wonderful, willing and polite people, but forgotten by the “powers to be”.
With the help of so many people from MFAT, (NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) Stuart Batty from Rotary New Zealand World Community Service, and from the many Rotary clubs and individuals who have given so freely. The Lutheran parish of Heikendorf in Germany has also been an important partner along with the Mwika Rotary Club and fellow farmers in the village.
- installed 36 digesters
- printed 1,000 farming booklets
- delivered 190 milk cans (our milk tankers)
- installed a 600 ltr per hr processing plant.
Yes, all is “up and running” but not without challenges.
January 2015 saw confirmation to PDG Merv Huxford (D9910) of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Rotary Global Grant funding of NZ$701,000.00. The project has now become very much a "Rotary NZ" project. In achieving the latest funding stream it allows us to now secure in excess of 150 Friesian heifers (sourced either out of Kenya or South Africa), installation of another 100 biogas digesters, farm advisory personal training and some factory update & training.
This phase two is already under action with a Food Technologist ( Rotarian Rod Finch 9970) planning his arrival May 2015 to fine tune factory operations. There is a waiting list of farmers wanting either cows or digesters but there will also be a part "social responsibility" to assist some of the "cow ladies" who may not in their own right be able to fund their share of the animal or digester.
As I talked last year - we do now have a million dollar project in making the lives better in a community not so lucky as us.
I will always find a good home for dollar contributions from clubs or individuals.