Ready, Set, GO!
Greetings, everyone, thanks for reading our latest news! We are finally through with the re-organization and have some announcements to share! We are sad to say good-bye to one of our partners, Thadei Msumanje. Thadei has decided to leave KiliTech to pursue his business and political career. Thadei was very instrumental in establishing the Majengo village vocation groups and we will always be grateful for his dedication and support. We wish you well, Thadei!! We have also moved our office and we are now located in the town of Arusha, which is a much larger city than Moshi, offering many more supplies and contacts. Most NGOs in the area operate out of Arusha so we are forming some great new relationships.
I am delighted to tell you that during my last trip (Oct 2017) I met with the Nature Conservancy where I learned a great deal about the Northern Tanzania Rangelands Initiative (NRTI). The NRTI is a collaborative effort comprised of multiple diverse organizations dedicated to permanently protect over 3 million hectares of savannah rangeland for the benefit of people and nature.
KiliTech is in the beginning stages of participating in this initiative and I am very proud of our foundation and the work we are doing! Working with Honey Guide, a locally based NGO dedicated to supporting communities and wildlife through long-term community partnerships, KiliTech and Honeyguide will map wildlife management areas (WMA) in the NRTI.
KiliTech has modern mapping and GIS technology and we have trained staff. By offering our talent to the NRTI and Honeyguide, we are able to expand and strengthen the impact in conserving the rangelands while also helping people. In addition to mapping the areas, KiliTech will identify water well locations and inventory which wells are working and which wells are broken. Water is very scarce and in great demand for both communities and wildlife. The communities that live in the Northern Rangelands are mostly Maasai, Hadzabe, and Akie tribes who live in extreme poverty in very harsh conditions having to share water and food resources with elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and other wildlife. Honeyguide teaches the communities about co-existence providing them with tools to deter wildlife. Balloons filled with chili powder, roman candles, bright torches and loud horns are the most common tools. Since Honeyguide started this campaign in 2007 conflicts continue to be reduced. KiliTech will also introduce our flagship program of vocation training in the villages working with the communities directly to determine what vocations can be the most helpful and sustainable creating jobs that will further reduce the pressure on wildlife and habit loss.
With our vocation groups in Majengo Village, where KiliTech first started, they are doing very well. The sewing group continues to expand and is contracting with area schools to provide student uniforms. Children are not allowed to go to school without a school uniform, yet parents are often too poor to purchase uniforms so KiliTech donates the materials and supplies for the sewing group, Nota Njema, to make the uniforms at a reduced cost. Through the sewing group we have created jobs and the children have uniforms, this has turned out to be a successful program! The challenges are getting the supplies to the village because you can't just give people money to purchase the materials, we have to purchase for them and deliver, but we are working it out! The Maua group have expanded their decorating and wedding services to surrounding wards and other villages and are doing quite well with the average attendance of three hundred people! They have purchased through their own profits additional catering supplies, dishes, and chairs. We continue to support their development and we have provided them with a one-hundred person tent as the weather is very hot for outdoor weddings, which then increases attendance and more money for them! The men's group, Mwadu, are also improving after KiliTech provided them with twenty-two bee hives. After a few pesky struggles with ants, all the hives are now producing and they are in the process of moving to a larger location that is also safer for the community. We continue to pay for teachers and trainers to keep all the programs current and job training up to date.
Recent challenges include the health center contract, which KiliTech was a big supporter of, it fell through in July when the government announced that the 2017-2018 government budget was not approved for the center. That being said, there are so many opportunities to do good things which we are evaluating so that we make sure we can benefit the most people with the funds that we have and have it sustainable! I'll keep you updated.
Last week I was made aware of over a hundred elephants dying of starvation because of the drought along the Tanzania-Kenya border but I only found out about it two days before my return to the USA last week. There are some discussions about buying a milling machine for maize and trucking in husks, maize, and grass into the area from other locations. I'm working with Pratik Patel, who works with African Wildlife Trust and Big Life, to possibly come up with a solution. Donations made to KiliTech for getting food to the elephants would be huge support if you are interested in helping!!
The longer I live in Tanzania the more involved I become with wildlife and anti-poaching efforts and learning the importance of wildlife management and the effects it has on local communities. Just like the rest of the world, Tanzania is losing valuable habitat for these magnificent animals because of population demands. Communities in Tanzania are largely pastoral and graze cattle, goats, and sheep across the savannah stripping the land bare of food especially during times of drought. While tourism companies benefit wildlife conservation it's still up to people like us to donate our time and money to help bring change to the world, and to be the change the world needs to survive.
Many of you have asked, "when will the next gala be?" It was one of the most successful first-time fundraisers that anyone has ever experienced! We plan on number two bigger and better next year so stay tuned! The good news is we have significantly decreased our administrative costs in 2017, and we have a decent operating budget which Tony and I cover. All your generous donations continue to support KiliTech projects and I assure you that our initiatives are audited and expenses are accounted for monthly.
In closing, I just want to say thanks for your friendship and support, and I hope that you have enjoyed the newsletter and that you are proud to support the Kilimanjaro Technology Foundation.
Wishing you all many blessings and a reminder to hug and kiss the ones you love, life is short and can change in a heartbeat.
Laurel & Tony