Last May, two volunteers, Maria and Pat spent two weeks in Pemba monitoring projects on behalf of Pemba Support (PSI). They were warmly welcomed by communities throughout the island and Government officials and members of our sister organization, Pemba Support organization (PSO) did a wonderful job in organizing meetings and transport.
2016 has been the Charity’s busiest year to date so there were many places to visit and farmer groups to meet.
Cows: Bothar has generously funded two dairy cow projects for PSI. Makangale was started in 2014 with 15 cows and they are at the stage of passing on the heifer calves. Two have gone to new families and others are nearly ready. Vikunguni got 20 cows in 2014. This co-operative is really thriving as they have an excellent committee. The volunteers visited most of the cowsheds where they saw very healthy animals and plenty of food. This group have now started a banana plantation which is growing quickly using manure from the cows.
As a spinoff from this project PSI has donated 40 desks to the local school as four classrooms children had to sit on the floor up to now.
Goats: With some funding from the Irish Embassy in Dar es Salaam, PSI has undertaken a big goat project of 120 female and 10 male goats in Kiuyu Mbuyuni, a remote semi-arid area in the very North of the island. This was a huge undertaking for the communities there as there have never been goats in that area before. When the volunteers visited them, the people proudly showed off their newly built goat sheds and talked about their training. At the co-op meeting there was a lot of discussion about care for the animals etc. One woman, in her excitement was heard to say, ‘Will ye just stop talking and bring the goats’!
In 2015, PSI were the first NGO to bring a project to Fundo island, a small island 6km from Pemba which is home to 3,500 people. That year 18 goats were brought. The volunteers visited the project with manager Hija and were delighted with the progress made and new confidence in the people. They promised to add another 17 goats later this year.
Three new communities, Vikunguni, Mtambile and Bopwe, Wete have also requested goat projects. Members of each of these groups have special needs such as mental/ physical disabilities and HIV/AIDS and some of the children that will be supported are orphans. The volunteers met the communities and these should be up and running in 2016.
SMART Projects: This year PSI, in consultation with PSO and the IFAD supported Field Farm Schools, decided to fund 8 SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Timebased) projects among small subsistence level farmers in Pemba. These farmer groups had already been trained by FFS but lacked seed capital to begin an enterprise. The volunteers sat with each of these groups guided by Dept of Agriculture officials. The people themselves discussed their plans and their dreams. Four of the groups decided to invest in poultry projects, two are going to involve themselves in vegetable production, one will start a honey project and one group of special needs people will learn soapmaking.
Makundeni village for people with leprosy
PSI has been involved with the people in this village for many years. The May volunteers visited the village twice to witness the drilling of a 100metre deep well, part funded by the Irish Embassy in Dar and St Francis Leprosy Guild in London. This was a huge, expensive undertaking but to see the joy on the faces of the people to finally have a constant supply of running water for the first time made it all worthwhile. The volunteers also visited the land being cleared by the people where work is underway to develop a banana plantation using drip irrigation from the well.
The volunteers visited Vitongoji Vocational Training Centre where they had meetings with the Headmaster and met the 6 final year students who had been funded in 2015 and the 12 students who are being half funded in 2016. As getting a job is the most difficult challenge for these graduates discussions were held regarding the idea of a ‘Job Bridge’ project for 2017 supporting graduates in employment for six months.
Intense discussions were held between the head people in the Dept of Education and the volunteers regarding the possibility of shipping 120 computers to Pemba and how they could be best used in schools. Many issued had to be resolved but, thanks to the wonderful support of donors and helpers, the shipment set sail for Dar es Salaam on 1st July.
Contact was also made with the two teachers who are being part funded by the INTO to study for their degree with Open University and the 20 students being supported in Primary and Secondary school in Makangale.
A meeting was held with Yakoub, a poor student who has been saving for two years in order to begin his Diploma in Agriculture. Is was agreed to part fund his course.
Other small projects
Ibrahim, a young adult with cerebral palsy, who has no services, was visited and he was supplied with night Pampers for the next six months.
Dr Siti, the optometrist in the hospital was visited and the volunteers brought 200 pairs of recycled spectacles that Siti will regrind and reuse to meet the needs of the poorest people.
A meeting was held with the doctors in Wete hospital to discuss the medical needs of the leprosy patients in Makundeni.
The volunteers visited the site of the house being built by the community of Vikunguni for a destitute woman, Raya, which is being part funded by PSI.
Two meetings were held with PSO to find out the needs of Pemba and to encourage the members to become more involved and take leadership roles in managing PSI projects.
Dar es Salaam
After 12 hectic days in Pemba the volunteers returned to Dar es Salaam where they attended important, fact finding and planning meetings with the Irish Embassy, IFAD, GLRA and Heifer International. On 21st May they returned to Ireland, tired but happy with the work done and the warm welcome extended to them by everyone they met.