Tanzania Project, 2013-2014


Jeremy Taylor, Faculty, History - Mvomero is a village located in the northern section of the Morogoro district, in central Tanzania. Because Mvomero is a rural, farming community its elderly citizens do not have access to the national social security system, adequate health care, nor political power. The village elderly, however, have not stood by idly. Instead, they have formed a group to work collectively to meet its members' social and economic needs. The elderly group collectively farms two acres of land, donated by the village, and produce handicrafts for the local market. All proceeds from these activities are used to benefit individual members in need of financial assistance. Despite their efforts, the group does not have the financial resources to meet all of tis member's needs. For the 2013-14 Tanzania McMaster Initiative, I propose to do the following projects: 1) Quality of Life Survey: I would like to conduct quality of life interviews with the members of the Mvomero elderly group. This survey would provide baseline data to determine the group's social, economic, and health needs. 2) Micro-Lending: I would like to design and implement a micro-lending project for the elderly group. The group would use these funds to increase their capacity to produce handicrafts for the market. Ideally, some of these goods would be sold to the Defiance College Art Box.


Katherine Griffes, Health and Physical Education and Exercise Science - Involvement in this trip will allow me to assist students in achieving several of the McMaster School's foundational goals. Specifically, multiple student research projects involve development of physical or kinesiological skills (first aid/CPR, sports in schools). As this is aligned with my educational background, I would be able to assist in study development and execution. Assisting the Fellow in developing his research on quality of life in the elderly members of the community could provide valuable information for my future line of research in the area. Awareness of current issues could provide information on what aspect of life can be improved by physical activity in young children. My interests in Tanzania are focused on improvement of the quality of life of community members through the implementation of sport and physical activity. Rather than just collecting data on the current status of the community, I plan to provide resources and information to community members in an effort to leave the community in a better condition than it was found, thereby increasing and strengthening relationships between Defiance College and the communities we will be researching.


Dava Donaldson, Sophomore, International and Global Studies with a Concentration in Peace and Conflict Resolution - The project that I am proposing deals with micro-lending in Tanzania, specifically dealing with SACCOS and VICOBA. Both SACCOS and VICOBA are community banks set up by the local citizens to assist one another in financing personal business and sustaining their families. This is essential for the community because without this system of micro-financing, many community members would not be able to survive economically. This project would help to devise a system to increase capital and therefore, better sustain the businesses and lives of the members receiving loans from the two previously mentioned organizations. In addition, it would also assist in budgeting the money received from members' shares and interest so that agency can effectively save money for needs such as office space, transportation, and equipment. It is also possible that this project could provide training in further marketing and entrepreneur skills, if that is a need of the community. This project is important because it can empower community members through the success of one another while also raising the standard of living. It provides the opportunity for people to participate in the international economy. In the simplest and purest form, this project has the potential to help those who are marginalized reach their dreams and aspirations. They can do this through the ability to support themselves by earning a fair wage.

Katelyn Haydett, Sophomore, Molecular Biology/Pre-vet - The elders in the Mvomero District in Southeast Tanzania have asked for assistance monitoring and controlling blood pressure in their community. By providing them with not only the medical equipment necessary and the information, the public will be able to benefit from this advancement. The understanding of what blood pressure is and why it is so critical to one's health, along with the skills they learn, will be passed down to the village members so the community-based efforts can overcome the factors that impede the progress of human-suffering in the medical field in Tanzania. The assistance and translation skills of Dada Lilian, the Defiance College Ambassador for Tanzania, will be critical in helping members of the elderly group gain understanding as they learn these important skills. After implementing this project in the village, residents will be encouraged to keep medical records, including vital signs, blood pressure, and overall health. The next step involves this group reaching out to their family and friends, sharing the knowledge and resources that have been provided so as a whole the village of Mvomero can exchange, create, and disseminate knowledge about successful models of active citizenship with the assistance from the Defiance College McMasters School for Advancing Humanity.

Jordan Heiliger, Senior, English/Communication Arts - This project focuses on the quality of life in Tanzanian communities such as Mvomero and Arusha. By completing an non-invasive assessment on the quality of life in these communities, this project will give future scholars an idea of how to ensure that their projects will be sustainable while also benefiting the quality of life of Tanzanians by producing projects that they want and/or need for their communities to thrive in a positive way. When a project has a positive impact on the community as a whole, the community members will not only benefit, but be more willing to work with the McMaster School in the future.

Alicia Kalik, Junior, Sport Management - An expressed community need in the community of Mvomero is the teachings of netball and table tennis for it is a part of the national curriculum in schools. This has been addressed by the district counselor and teachers in the schools. I will bring the knowledge of the game to the community to enhance sports amongst the teachers, students, and community members. I will also teach First Aid and CPR in the community to enhance emergency needs. Ultimately, this project will develop stronger understandings of netball, table tennis, First Aid, and CPR, which will advance the community of Mvomero.

Emily Wallace, Junior, Integrated Social Studies - In Tanzania the passing rate of the Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) is low. In order for students to receive an adequate secondary or university education, high scores must be achieved. My project will help to give educators lesson plan options to leave lasting impressions upon the students when resources cannot be gained. I will also work to improve schooling in districts which already have some helpful sources, but could use further instruction. Lastly, I will be able to see firsthand what the Tanzanian educators believe is needed personally to raise test scores. Studies of the Tanzanian curriculum will inform me as to what students are expected to know nationwide and to see which aspects of said curriculum are missing and need filled. From these actions other projects can be created to have an overall positive influence on the passing rate for those who take the PSLE after Standard Seven and their lives as adults to follow.