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  • Writer's pictureLaurel Werner

A Sobering Report on East Kahe Schools

Greetings and jambo to all! Over the past several weeks we have been diligently working on collecting data on the food situation at the nine government public schools in the East Kahe ward. KiliTech is focused the east half of Kahe Ward with a population of about 15,000 people living across six main villages. By focusing on this area we are able to collect data so that we can better understand what life is like for people living in poverty and maximize our ability to help. In East Kahe, there are eight primary government schools, covering ages 7 - 13 over a period of seven years, and one secondary school, covering ages 14 - 17 over four years. We met with all the head teachers and have confirmed enrollment of 3,077 students in these nine schools in 2017. This report focuses on the food situation across these nine schools for these students.

We decided on this project because this year Tanzania was hit by a severe drought and even under normal conditions people struggle to meet basic food requirements and 2017 will prove to be even worse. My sister, Glenda, asked me over the Christmas holidays during a family get together, what the nutrition and food situation was like at the schools in the villages where KiliTech works. Because she is dedicated to nutrition and wants to help KiliTech with her passion, USANA Foundation, I promised her I would find out the situation. Originally, I thought, "Hey, Glenda, we can supplement their diet with fruits and vegetables and really improve the kids nutrition!" I had no idea that the schools don't even have the basic staples of maize and beans. Well, I had an inkling because last year when we were assessing the schools for improvements KiliTech is making by bringing water, power, kitchens, and toilets, one school, when asked what they needed most, they said, "food."

Written by Ezra Wangu and Nashon Chacha February 22, 2017

This study was conducted in East Kahe Ward (EKW). The purpose of this survey was to assess the nutrition in schools in order to improve nutrition. What we found is most alarming as not only is the nutrition not healthy but the availability of food is only reaching about 35% of the students, meaning teachers must send students home early as there is no food at the schools.

According to government rules the parents of every student in EKW is obliged to contribute the following for their meals at school:

  1. Twenty-four (24) kilograms of maize per child per year paid in two installments January and July.

  2. Four (4) kilograms of beans per child per year

  3. 7,300TSH per child per to cover salary for cook, salt cooking oil, and onion/tomato/green paper/carrot

The maize and beans are used as the basic food where they cook stiff porridge (ugali) and beans or Husked maize mixed with beans traditionally known as Kande. So every student contributes maize and beans plus money to facilitate the food preparation process. Taking the government guidelines for each student and the current price per kg of maize and beans we are able to calculate the food requirements. We then analyzed school records kept by the head teachers at each school for how much was contributed in 2016. With this information we were able to construct the 2017 Food Budget and calculate the deficiencies.

"We have found through analyzing 2016 school records that only about 35% of the required food and monies were actually paid by the parents. This forces the schools to close early because there is no food at the schools." Ezra Wangu, KiliTech

One of the head teachers said to Ezra, "Measures have been taken in order to force parents [to pay] including confiscating some properties such as goats and hens but the method has been ineffective. It is unfortunate that Government contributes nothing for food, it is just propagated that they pay but in reality, not even a single coin is directed for food in the government budget, instead the burden is left for the parents to bear." You can Read Nashon's and Ezra's complete report here.

We know that KiliTech cannot solve world hunger (or world peace) but we are doing what we can to alleviate poverty in the East Kahe ward by bringing technology, education, and health care, and now we are adding "food" to our mission, but I'm not sure what our approach will be to this particular situation. Perhaps we can apply for USAID and other grants (IF ANYONE CAN VOLUNTEER TO HELP US WITH THIS PLEASE CONTACT ME!), and we can offer relief through KiliTech donations, but the sad part is no matter how much we are able to provide in relief for this year, it will be a problem again next year, and so on, until poverty is greatly reduced in these communities. As much as I would like to say we will "eliminate poverty," I know this is not possible, but we are helping to reduce it one school, one family, one village at a time, and we are also fueling hope and providing opportunities where before few existed.

In 2016, KiliTech provided over $100,000 in aid to the East Kahe ward and we have created jobs and provided vocation training to over 100 men and women in sewing, decorating, catering and beekeeping. We are bringing water, power, toilets, and kitchens to all nine schools and adding new community buildings. We have provided them with their one and only village truck so they can deliver supplies. We have also built a maize mill and recently purchased 20 bee hives and equipment so twenty men can collect and sell honey and by-products such as candles made from beeswax (and help save the bees!). We are also looking for a store location at a busy intersection on the nearest highway where the men and women can sell their products and advertise their services. Through our efforts, we have brought tremendous relief to some and as we gain experience and knowledge we will continue to reach others, as we are "teaching them how to fish!"

In 2017 we are building the health center, anticipated to cost $200,000, in partnership with the government, that will serve the Kahe ward along with four other wards providing health care services to 55,000 people. KiliTech has promised to fund 1/2 the cost and the government the other half. We are also working with Project Cure to purchase $25,000 in hospital equipment for the center. Currently, the Kahe Ward only has a dispensary staffed by the equivalent of a midwife, nurse, and small ill-equipped drug store! Pregnant women, women with sick babies, children, elderly, anyone in need has to walk several kilometers to the dispensary for primitive treatment, or they can walk to the highway and get a ride, often on a motorcycle, to the nearest hospital over 30 km away. Building the health center will relieve a lot of pain and suffering and save lives!

I have been working in Kilimanjaro now for over a year and the Kahe people are so appreciative of the work we are doing. They cannot believe it is true! It is their love and their many blessings that is my own reward. My friends tease me that I have found my purpose in life (A Purpose Driven Life is a great book to read, by the way), but I'll save my personal stories for another blog. We will continue to be there for the people, to do what we can, and show them that their lives matter, that people do care, and together we can improve their lives and those of future generations.

Laurel Werner, KiliTech

Feb 22, 2017

Soko school old kitchen

Old kitchen at Soko School New kitchen at Soko School

Soko school new kitchen

Primary school children Teaching the children human rights

Teaching children's human rights

News article reporting on KiliTech and the health center

Article published 26 September in The Citizen, KiliTech building the health center

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