From a background in languages and divinity following a Divinity degree, I have spent some 10 years in secondary teaching, 5 years in management, and 3 years in administration as well as project management, latterly working as a community entrepreneur. Since completing Master of Business studies I have worked part time in a number of roles and now spends a good deal of time organising humanitarian and intercultural teams through the organisation I co-founded - The Friendship Force of Iringa., which advocates peace in the world through intercultural exchanges. .
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help with Computers/ Internet
I am trained pastor -teacher and former headmaster. I have almost single-handedly taken it upon myself to found a secondary school in my home village (while studying for an MBA in my spare time!). With Shangwe, Tracy (from Scotland), and the Community Village, we joined forces to get the school built and ensure its permanent survival, and so the Foundation was born. The Foundation based in Scotland now aims to raise money for several aspects of poverty relief in the village.
The work involves building a secondary school and drilling water well. We also have small loan scheme and jewellery making. There is football (soccer) and massage programs started last November by Scottish volunteers.
Swahili (Kiswahili): Fluent
We run volunteer visits to Mtitu every year. Volunteers stay in Mtitu, living with host families in the same conditions, and we undertake various projects as required at the time. If you are interested in a future visit, please contact us.
The village is located to the south-east of Iringa town, about 45km from the town centre and 540km away from the Dar es Salaam – Zambia highway. The road from Iringa is a rough track that even in the dry season takes 3 hours by bus to reach the village. In the rainy season the road is almost impassable. The village lies approximately 6,000 feet above sea level. At this altitude the village is relatively cool throughout the year.
The village population is 3,640 inhabitants in 380 households. 59% are female and 41% male. The average workforce is 21% of the total population. The remaining 79% of the populace have various physical impairments due to chronic health complications, old age and natural disabilities, keeping them from participating in the workforce.
Culturally, the population consists of almost all the same tribe (the Hehe), speaking the same language (Kihehe). There are other minor groups mostly hailing from the southern part of Tanzania. They include the Wanji (Makete), Kinga (Iringa), Bena (Iringa) and Ngoni (Ruvuma). From this cultural constitution, the population shares the same political and social system framework at community level.
The village community’s economy depends highly on peasant agriculture, characterized by the use of hand hoe for cultivation of a small piece of land (usually 3-4 acres). The major agricultural crops are cereals (maize and millets), pulses (green grams, beans and green peas), root crops (sweet and round potatoes) and horticultural crops (cabbages, tomatoes, carrots and green pepper). Each farm, owned by the whole household, is cultivated under an intercropping system whereby maize, beans and peas are grown together for optimal use of land. Annual crop yields per household range between 400kgs and 500kgs of maize, 60kgs beans and 80kgs of green peas. Small amounts of sweet and round potatoes, vegetables and millets are harvested to supplement the diet in the dry season.
Animal husbandry is practiced on a small scale. Only a few people own poultry, cattle, pigs and donkeys. Donkeys are used as draught animals and oxen are used for land ploughing and cart pulling for carrying luggage. The average household income per annum is equivalent to around £100 sterling.
Community life is highly affected by poverty. All the same the community lives in harmony, and is optimistic for a better future. Economic development is limited by many obstacles. Community health issues are overwhelmingly large. Waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery and skin infections are rampant, in addition to malaria. In the dry season the community depends only on one water-well for drinking water. In the rainy season the situation is worse because people drink water from ponds and other stagnant water bodies. The village has no health care clinic, forcing people to walk on average 8km to the nearest facility. A number of people, especially women and children, die en route to the clinic.
Children aged 5 and younger are the most adversely affected group. Mortality rates among children are very high. In addition, women and infants often die at the birth of the child.
Clean and safe water remains a dream. Community malnutrition rates are very high. Children aged 5 and below are the principal victims of malnutrition. The cause is the consumption of the same type of food, mainly carbohydrate with little very protein supplements. Only a few families have the ability to buy meat, milk or poultry products such as eggs. Those who locally breed poultry hardly consider it a necessity to feed the children with such protein rich foods. This is nothing but a product of illiteracy.
The HIV pandemic has not spared the community either. It is estimated that 33% of the Mtitu population have contracted HIV. This is consistent with the national average in Tanzania. Although there are some national resources (drug treatments) for medical treatment among the HIV+, homecare is difficult and poses a threat of new infections to the caregivers.
In short, poverty, illiteracy, lack of safe and clean water and lack of a health centre are just some of the problems that form a complex body of development obstacles to the community. Infectious disease prevention awareness coupled with a reliable supply of clean and safe water would be a big step towards saving this community."
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