Wow! It is already the middle of April and I have been so busy it has been hard to write the report from March. Starting with the most exciting news first….
Muslim Hands France will be sponsoring two of our projects! The organization will contribute $7,500 towards the TabLabs in schools and $13,500 for scaling up the FEEL street kid project. We will be scaling up to 20 boys in May, hiring a project manager, teacher and cook, and growing like MAD! With the $5,000 Shuttleworth Foundation matching grant we are fully funded to go.
The schools project is about to get underway as we have the funds and are now comparing sources for solar, tablets, and LEDs. We have a consultant in China, Stefan Raither, joining our team for sourcing. We are also considering what is available in the US or Dubai. Any great minds want to join the conversation?
We are still looking for one Catholic donor to sponsor the local Catholic school, the only private school we work with for $1000 to buy 10 Tablets. The school is by far one of the best in the city and the students would really be helpful in assisting kids at the other schools as a social service. This will be done alongside the Christian Social Service Committee and if it works, we will replicate it throughout the Catholic school system in at least Lake Zone.
Back at the farm, the boys continued the agricultural project and we have started planting local seeds. It was difficult to find organic seed here so we decided to plant the food we had which had come from a rural area in the farm. And it is growing! Remarkably well in fact. We will be adding the squash to teach 3 Sister Companion Cropping as soon as I can manage to get some seeds saved from one at the market. Farming is intensive.
We had a fantastic coconut harvest although we quickly learned the fruits are not very valuable wholesale despite the fact they have one year to grow. We are working to find ways if using every part of the coconut. We are never ones to waste anything here in Tanzania.
We have 2 new additions to the animal family with Oreo, the baby bunny, and Bonanza, the little kitten. Ducks are doing well with the exception of the giant monitor lizards who keeps stealing the eggs. The boys and I are working on designs for modular chicken coops using shipping crates. Although we have not seen it done elsewhere before, we think it could work nicely. Experimentation at its best. For technical advice and support, we have a new volunteer named Phil who is a missionary with the African Inland Church to help teach us Conservation Agriculture. This is mainly the same as permaculture but it is more focused on the compost and the natural soil cycle. I think it will work well for our rice crop to be planted in April. We are STILL looking for volunteer, knowledge, and skills sharing in permaculture and sustainable agriculture. We have a classroom full of kids and an idyllic place to practice.
At the end of March, our partner the African Woman Foundation, we assisted in the launch of the Women Centered Care Project in Magu, Tanzania. This project aims to improve maternal healthcare in small and remote villages through technology.
The project centers on three key issues:
1. Data Collection and dissemination to and FROM the communities through community groups SPECIFICALLY about maternal health challenges and solutions. Data has also been gathered from 13 local dispensaries in Magu District and 13 dispensaries in Busega District using the Magpi.com software tool. It has been fantastic to use technology to come to better understand the needs of the medical institutions. Without information on the needs we cannot rise to the occasion with solutions.
2. Solar powered TabLabs with Nurse Assistant Application for Android installed. We will be testing a new app named the Nurses Assistant. It is a smart app in that it allows for the choices people make to lead them to the next set of instructions. This app is specific to health care workers in working in maternal and reproductive health and can basically replace the entire maternal and birth registration for the country of Tanzania if rolled out effectively. We require 13 sponsors at $25 each for the solar power in the dispensaries.
None currently have a sustainable power supply and this is the first issue the medical staff would like to have addressed. Additionally it is required for the functionality of the Tablets. In these TabLab we will be using Samsung Note 8” for software testing. Later the software will be released on Google Play store.
3. Supplying dispensaries with what they need. This is critical, easy and cost effective strategy for instant impact. These dispensaries currently receive less than 5% of the stocks that they order and most do not even have working blood pressure cuffs. Imagine.
Here is a link to the press release: http://prlog.org/12304297
Here are photos of the event courtesy of Lulu, from the blog Lulu in Magu a volunteer for the African Woman Foundation:
The link to Lulu’s very interesting blog is http://luluinmagu.com/
March also blessed us officially with a new partnership with Afya Connect for Change, a local Tanzanian NGO. We will be working in faith based schools and medical facilities throughout the Lake Zone. Our first task is to improve the workflow for implementing their Hospital Management Information System, AfyaPro, in 21 district level healthcare facilities. The software, AfyaPro, is programmed in C# and we plan to have a team of intern developers hack it into a Swahili version for Android with a smart interface. This will allow both systems to work together allowing for a continuum of care like has never before been witnessed in Africa. I know it sounds dramatic, but in all seriousness it has the potential to create medical records where none previously existed and thanks to GPS technology map the location of people’s homes for better care from Community Health Workers.
I realize this is a long post. Congratulations if you made it to the end. Thanks for hanging in there. We have been growing quickly and there is much urgency in our work. We have found some problems and we are testing solutions. We appreciate and respect comments, feedback, and ideas. If you want to contribute and have no resources we have a number of virtual internships available.
Blessings to all.