Karibuni Year Three of the Tabora Project!

Welcome to the third year of the Tabora Project! We are Eliza and Hailey, the 2013-2014 Project Coordinators of the Tabora Project, and we’re excited to embark on this year-long journey with the 2Seeds Network (and we’re even more excited to share our experiences with friends, family and supporters!).

We’d like to take a second to introduce ourselves so you know a bit about who will be posting throughout the year:

Eliza Madden

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Eliza grew up in Troy, New York. She recently graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. She received a degree with honors in International Relations, focused on development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Eliza seized the opportunity to study urban development in Nairobi, Kenya in 2012. While immersed in Nairobi bustling culture, she worked with grassroots organizations focused on childhood development. This experience opened up her worldview and inspired her to expand her horizons seeking out the work that she intends to fulfill by working with 2Seeds Network. She is beyond excited to return to East Africa to work in Tabora. She hopes to enrich not only the lives of those around her, but also her own.

Hailey Chalhoub

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Hailey is from Plymouth, MA and she studied international development at Stonehill College. In the fall of 2012 she studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya where she was able to explore her interests in development and think critically about the intersections of public health, education, sustainability, women’s empowerment and economic development. She also picked up a bit of Swahili during her time abroad and she’s looking forward to using the language in Tanzania! In addition to her academic/career interests, Hailey loves traveling, learning about different cultures, hiking, and doing yoga and zumba. She can’t wait to work with Eliza and the Tabora community!

We also want to introduce the fourth class of Project Coordinators and the in-country staff. Eight teams of two will live and work in different project sites and engage with community partners to tackle issues related to food and income security. Under the guidance of Country Director Ana and Senior Project Coordinators Colleen and Marc, the PCs will partake in leadership and professional development to compliment our work in the project sites and to prepare us for future careers in development. You can read more about each PC and staff member on the 2Seeds website.

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As many of you may already know, we will be continuing the work of previous PCs and community partners to develop strategies that address the challenges of poor nutrition and enhance income security. In 2011-2012 the first team of PCs in Tabora, Ros and Rachael, kicked things off by working with the community to initiate a personal garden program as a mechanism for improving nutrition. Although this program did not continue into the following year, Jamie and Ashley kept the momentum high and organized a group of women who eventually decided to start a food processing business. Currently there are seven women who meet on a regular basis to cook potato chips and sell them in local markets. The goal of this initiative is to provide opportunities for the women to generate a stable income and support their families. Since the business was started just a few months ago, there is still so much room to grow and there are so many opportunities for expansion! This year we hope to brainstorm new ideas for food products and search for more (and bigger) markets. According to last year’s team, the energy of the group is extremely high and we are excited to collaborate and move forward together!

In addition, we hope to introduce new nutrition education programs based on feedback from the community. We want to look into healthier food products for the women to sell so that they can be agents of change in terms of spreading awareness about nutrition and healthy eating. Since we love working with kids we want to find ways to incorporate them into these activities and we welcome any suggestions you may have as the year goes on! We have both studied development in an academic environment and we’re ready to apply our experiences and knowledge in a practical setting. Although we anticipate numerous challenges over the course of this year, we plan to view every obstacle as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Since we arrived in Tanzania last Wednesday all eight PC teams have had a week-long orientation in the town of Korogwe, led by Ana, Colleen and Marc. We’ve have so much fun getting to know the other PCs and the 2Seeds in-country staff. During orientation we had sessions on topics such as leadership, budgeting, project management and communication and we also had Swahili lessons every day! We appreciate the amount of pre-departure preparation that 2Seeds has been facilitating for us over the past few months because it shows that they are committed to empowering us so that we can empower others at our project sites.

Orientation has come to an end and it’s time for all of us to begin a new year of work and relationship building. We leave for Tabora tomorrow afternoon and we are so eager to meet our community partners. During the year we hope to update this blog a couple times a month so that you can stay up-to-date with the developments of the Tabora Project. We welcome any and all feedback and, again, we are so excited to share this experience with you. We also want to give a huge shout out to the 200+ donors who supported our project by making a financial contribution this summer. With your encouragement and support we surpassed our goal and raised over $16,000! In order to have more flexibility with what we can do in Tabora, we may be looking to start another (much smaller) fundraising campaign, so stay tuned for details on how you can continue to support our work! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Amani (peace),

Eliza & Hailey

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