Archive for September, 2014

postheadericon October 15th: Global Handwashing Day

We will celebrate the Global Handwashing Day here in Shirati. What about you?

More information about the worldwide programs here: http://globalhandwashing.org/ghw-day

 

postheadericon Let’s talk about work

Today is a special day: we probably have now the fastest Internet in Shirati. As I was most of the time unable to communicate like I was used to be, it’s a really special thing now, to check emails, send attachments etc. without problems and without spending minutes of waiting for responding. I am already looking forward to talk via Skype with friends!

It’s time to let you know, what I am doing up here in Mara. My recent pictures may have given you the impression of holidays and fun. But there’s a lot of work to do and I am very busy already. During my stay here in Shirati I am supporting the non profit-organization Maji Safi Group with knowledege in Business Organization. Means to transfer my know-how in creating processes, implementing monitoring/evaluation tools, accounting etc. to my colleagues, the local employees of Maji Safi. So that they are able to write reports, prepare budgets, write job descriptions, create financial reports etc. on their own. These measures shall help the organization to grow on a solid basis.

Maji Safi Group
Maji Safi Group has two components that work hand in hand. Maji Safi Group (USA) was founded in early 2013. It is an incorporated nonprofit in the State of Colorado and received 501(c)(3) status in January 2014. Maji Safi Group (Tanzania) was founded in 2014 and is a nonprofit LLC, registered in the United Republic of Tanzania.
Maji Safi Group’s mission is to promote health and disease prevention in underserved and impoverished areas through holistic community empowerment and by working predominantly with local women and youth.

In the community of Shirati, Tanzania, water is taken directly from unprotected sources which are contaminated with human, animal, and industrial waste. As a result, 99% of all drinking water is contaminated with dangerous levels of pathogens associated with diarrhea. This causes high levels of disease and a community-wide vulnerability to the outbreak of highly infectious pathogens such as cholera. According to Dr. Chirangi, Chief Medical Officer at the Shirati KMT Hospital, 50% of illness in the district comes from water-related (ex. schistosomiasis) and waterborne (ex. cholera or dysentery) diseases. To magnify this problem, over 50% of Shirati’s population is under the age of eighteen, with 25% of them being under the age of five.  As a consequence, Shirati’s lack of clean water is likely to be exacerbated in the near future by rapid population growth.

Despite these grim statistics, waterborne and water-related illnesses can be prevented through education and awareness of disease transmission routes. To alleviate these problems, Maji Safi works to empower members of the community to educate each other about disease prevention, water, sanitation, and hygiene. We see education as the most sustainable way to eliminate waterborne and water-related diseases because it can be internalized by the community and can be passed down to future generations.

The community health workers (CHWs)
Also known as Mabalozi wa Maji, CHWs are Maji Safi’s trained full-time employed Water and Sanitation Hygiene facilitators. CHWs are an integral piece of Maji Safi’s education model because it uses local residents to teach their own community about proper hygiene and sanitation.

Maji Safi believes that women’s empowerment is the way forward in the development of Africa; therefore, 75% of Maji Safi’s full-time CHWs are women, and 90% of the CHWs have children. Quality employment, social security, and health insurance are important to the health of their families and give them the security to continue to send their children to school.

CHWs have become respected hygiene, sanitation, and health promotion ambassadors for their communities. The CHWs work with residents in five main areas of the community: households, hospitals, schools, community outreach, and extracurricular activities for children. Each area engages a wide spectrum of stakeholders (parents, teachers, healthcare providers, government leaders, youths, etc.) in the community to spread information about disease prevention.

 

Maji Safi Group Tanzania

Maji Safi Group Tanzania

The picture and the description of Maji Safi is from its Homepage and FB.

 

 

postheadericon Shirati

Shirati is the name of a group of villages on the shores of Lake Victoria, in northwestern Tanzania, approx. 25 km south of the Kenyan border in the district of Rorya, Mara region. The pictures shows an overview taken from a hill nearby. Enjoy the impressions of my new hometown!

 

postheadericon Nyumbani

OK – let’s try. Internet is still bad, but it should work… Here are some pictures of my still empty home. I will share the progresses in furnishing. At the moment, I sleep in the guest bed, which was already in the house. My mattress is bigger, and a fundi will have to make me a nice bed around it. Or so. Opposite of my bedroom, I will have a wardrobe/guestroom. At the moment just storage place… The furniture in the living room need a redone and in the dining room there’s just the fridge. In the kitchen, there’s the stove missing, but I am working on solving that problem.

Soon I will show you pictures of Shirati.

 

 

postheadericon Celebrating Birthday

A few days ago, I’ve celebrated my first Birthday in Shirati. We have had barbecue and beer. For the barbecue, we slaughtered a duck in the garden. So it is a bit different, to see the animal die, before you eat it. But it was delicious!

My time here started so well, there’s so much to learn – I am happy to be here!

 

postheadericon Finally at home in Shirati

Now I am finally in Shirati, my hometown for the next three years. About a week ago, I arrived and I already started my work. Due to difficulties with the access to the Internet, you’ve had to wait for this message – I am sorry for that! I hope, I will be able to show you a lot of pictures soon. But this is rural Africa and things are working when they do…

The people from Maji Safi gave me such a warm and friendly welcome, that it was more like homecoming. On the arrival, all my colleagues were on place, introduced themselves and sang for me. In the meantime, I am already quite busy in getting an overview as well as being involved in the recruiting process for two new staff members.

My house is big and empty. I am really happy to already have a fridge – there’s a market on Mondays and all the other days it is rather difficult to get fresh vegetables or fruits. From Mwanza I brought the first things for my household, because not many things are to buy here. So I will have to meet a fundi to do me a table with four chairs, a bed, a wardrobe, a bookshell… and I need a stove. Actually, I can cook but I sure will miss an oven. And I would like to have someone helping me with the household, most of all with the laundry.

Funny thing: I do have tubs in my house, but there’s no running water. Water has to be brought by bycicle to each house. The deliverer is a really nice man. But I guess he feels a bit uncomfortable to walk through my bedroom into the bathroom for the filling.

Everybody seems to already know me and the neighbours always ask me, where I’m going, when I will be back, what I have done during the day and so on. There are so many things I have to get used to!

But Shirati is such a beautiful place, all green and brown/red, no traffic noise, wonderful sunrises and sunsets, the lake in walking distance and a mountain I climbed on on my first evening. And had a stunning view – I can see as far as to Kenia and Uganda! I have to show that as soon as possible…