Along with other partner NGOs, The Happy Africa Foundation contributes to the funds needed to cover the costs of providing the children with porridge each morning.
Project located in Jambiani, Zanzibar
Project focused on Health and Nutrition
In Zanzibar, nursery school attendance is compulsory for a child to be accepted into primary school. However, all of the local nursery schools are community-run and do not receive any funding from the Department of Education. All financial support comes from the children’s families, The Happy Africa Foundation and other Non-Governmental Organisations.
The children pay monthly school fees of 1000 Tanzanian Shillings (TSH). They also carry sticks to school every morning, which are used as firewood for cooking a big dish of porridge that day.
Long Term Impact: We would like to add to the feeding program and supply the schools with seasonal, locally grown fruit and vegetables to supplement the children’s daily nutritional intake. This could be anything from small sweet bananas to half a mango or even avocados. Although supplying fruit would actually be higher in cost than the porridge, by purchasing the fruit from local farms we would be generating income for the village economy, encouraging people to farm their own sustainable food stuffs and adding much needed nutrition to the children’s diet. An even more sustainable long-term goal is for the schools to tend to their own vegetable and fruit gardens in a community garden, allowing them to harvest their own fresh organic fruits and vegetables, reducing the cost of the nutritional program to only supplementing shortfalls and occasionally porridge as well as the cost of seedlings and maintaining the garden.
Jambiani is a rural village on the East Coast of Zanzibar Island. Around 6000 people live here with a recent increase of births in the past four years. The road is the centre of activity and stretches about 3 miles, north to south. All along the road you will encounter small children, ducks, cows, goats, chickens and more small children.
The unemployment rate in Jambiani is extremely high. Most people live at subsistence level in large, extended families. The economic activities in the village include fishing from small boats, subsistence farming in limestone plots, seaweed farming and tourism. Most employment is seasonal and the socio-economic situation in the village can be described as depressed.
Education is regarded as the key factor that will help the next generation to better their prospects and at the same time assist the older generation who are unable to further their socio-economic development. To this end, any person who shows academic ability is helped by their extended family to further their studies. The local government school has an enrollment of almost 1300 students from Standard 1 (7 years old) to Form 4 (17 years old). Due to the fact that the language of instruction is English, many students fail the government exams and have to drop out of school. On average, less than 20% of the students pass their government exams. Those that continue past Form 4 must travel to Stone Town to continue their schooling and many families cannot afford the travel and meal expenses. In 2012 over 100 students in Jambiani sat their Standard 7 exams and less than 2% passed. The remaining students, who are aged 13-15 years, will leave school with no leaving certificate and having to work to support their families for little or no pay. Job opportunities are very limited.
Seaweed farmers, who are predominantly women, earn 10-20 cents per dried kilo of seaweed, which gives them an annual income of between $12 and $60 (USD) per year. If they have small children, they pay $6 per year for nursery care. The women work six to eight hours in the seaweed plantations and usually cannot sell their seaweed for three months per year due to a world-wide glut on the market. However, they must still continue to plant, harvest and dry the seaweed as they do not know when sales will start to come in again.
Fishermen rarely venture outside the reef and therefore catch only small reef fish, octopus and squid, which they sell at the local market to those who can afford it. What they don’t sell they use to feed their own families.
Subsistence farming provides cassava, coconuts, papayas, limes and spinach for the families’ consumption. Most other food items must be bought with what little money the family can scrape together. This difficult lifestyle affects families’ diets and health negatively.
There has only been limited development of natural and human resources in Zanzibar, which has lagged behind that of the mainland. Zanzibar – known internationally as the Spice Island – has a rich cultural heritage and is set within a physical environment of considerable natural beauty. Zanzibar’s island setting provides a wonderful contrast to the mainland, which is known for its wildlife parks. There has been a significant amount of investment from Europe and South Africa in hotel development, but unfortunately without sufficient complementary development in the indigenous tourism sector.
Rural communities – especially young people – are increasingly excluded from the benefits of tourism. Rural youth drawn by the ‘glamour’ of tourism realistically have very little chance of benefiting formally and are forsaking education for casual, menial labour in hotels. Work tends to be casual and seasonal, leading to a further increase in the numbers of disaffected young people. Although concern has been expressed and the problem acknowledged little action has been taken to improve the educational and employment opportunities for rural people. It is the hope of The Happy Africa Foundation that we will be able to play a part in educating and assisting the people of Jambiani village.
Volunteers are now getting involved in serving the porridge before lessons begin giving them a bit more understanding on why we do this program.
We are always in need of more funding. Setting up and maintaining the vegetable and fruit garden for the schools requires larger initial funding, but it will reduce the monthly funding requirements thereafter, and provide a more sustainable long-term solution to the nutrition and health program.
We are providing porridge to three schools.