Friday, February 17, 2012

Update on the Economic Security Project

We are starting to plan some fantastic events for 2012 to raise more money for the micro finance project in Tanzania that will help young uneducated people, most of whom are women, start small businesses. I am happy to report that we raised $9,510 in 2011 so after the federal government contributes their share, that is $38,040 raised directly and indirectly through our projects.  Thank you to everyone who contributed!!

I just received a report from Tanzania through Plan Canada that speaks to the kind of work that was done in Year 1. A total of 94 Village Savings and Loan Associations were established in three different communities in Tanzania. This was slightly below target for the reasons mentioned below, but still an amazing accomplishment. Having seen the associations in action, it means that there are many more entrepreneurs in Africa starting self sustaining businesses so they can feed their families and send their children to school.  It is one more important step in lifting them from the cycle of poverty they have found themselves in.

The Africans face tremendous challenges that we don't even think about and I thought it would be interesting to reprint the exact quote from the report.

"In some communities, participation was slow at the beginning of the program as communities were busy working in their fields. The farming season was a constraint as farmers migrate to farms for harvest making it difficult to get groups/people on time to Village Savings and Loan (VSL) meetings during week days. In the dry season, participation rates were much more positive. A period of heavy rains also made some of the program areas inaccessible for Plan and Partner staff. The rainy season caused road blocks and delays in activities. This situation persisted in Ifakara and Mwanza from March to May 2011. For example, areas in Ifakara were flooded, making it difficult for VSL groups to meet regularly as well as field visits. Due these factors, project implementation was delayed in both Quarter 1 and 2 of Year 1."

In spite of the challenges, work is progressing and we are continuing our efforts to do our bit.  Stay tuned for updates on upcoming events and, of course, I would be happy to make presentations on the work we are doing.  A portion of the proceeds from our book, "Kilimanjaro and Beyond" also goes to the project.

One final point I would like to mention again is that we have partnered with the Atma Foundation in Oregon.  As mentioned in a previous post, they have already sent school supplies to the classroom we collectively helped to fund and they will continue to do so. I am grateful to Alysha Atma and her dedicated team for the work they are doing. 
  

3 comments:

  1. Thanks William! Much more to be done!

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