Lyasikika Secondary School, Machame East Ward, Kilimanjaro Region, Northern Tanzania – a long list to locate a place! But here is where many of the ABCD (UK) students with whom we started in 2013 are now registered (30 of the total of 110). And more every year as I begin to wind down the primary input (more of this later). Lyasika is a ward secondary school – government, not private where the current headteacher, Eliringia Msella has turned the school around from a failing to a successful enterprise.
Last year, with the help of the Rotary Club of Morden I was able to secure funding for the food programme for the whole school, not just the ABCD (UK) students. ABCD (UK), set up originally to help vulnerable children in the village to secure their school lunch programme as well as to pay their school fees has now been able to support the entire student body at secondary level with their food provisions. You will recall from a previous post (Social – Political Change in the Air) that at Lysikika as at many other schools, the students planted 10 acres of corn which they maintained and harvested as part of their extra-curricular duties. This will normally supply their entire food source for the following year – cooked corn flour paste (Ugali) is the staple dietary carb with kidney beans (planted between the rows of corn) supplying the protein. Other foods are added to supplement, such as rice and fruit, but only occasionally. The video shows students working together to store the husked corn.
While working with the students I found that the school toilets were in a dire state. My observation is backed up by many agencies, including UNICEF.
Many new schools and classrooms are built with no consideration for WASH facilities or if built, these rarely follow any standards.
With this in mind I have decided to help the children in more ways than just school lunches. Other studies have shown that good ‘WASH’ facilities at school have far-reaching benefits for the whole community. Students bring home their desire for hygiene, spreading cleanliness rather than bacteria! With the help of 2 Rotary Clubs in the UK including Morden and Callington, in Cornwall we will be able to at once introduce a hand-washing facility next to the existing toilets followed next year, hopefully with district grants from both clubs, 2 new toilet blocks for the boys and girls, the girls’ to include a personal hygiene towel dispensary. Ground work for this has been laid during this current visit with work to begin in February. The fist stage – for hand washing may look something like this below (inc. detail):
So, this visit has been both exciting and stimulating. A new project on the go and a new promise for the village. We should not forget, of course, our raison d’etre – to support vulnerable village children in their school food programmes. We have free school meals in the UK. There is no such thing in Tanzania. Our work continues in the primary schools as well but with reference to an earlier remark, I feel the need to begin winding down. If I continue to support children at year 1 and 2 in primary, I will be in my early 90’s as they enter secondary school. How long will I last? As long as possible, of course but maybe we need to start looking for someone on the ground here in Tanzania to take the reigns. We shall have to see. More soon.