Greetings from the U.S.! When our year as Tabora Project Coordinators ended on July 11, we parted ways to pursue new and exciting adventures! Eliza traveled to Nairobi and London to visit friends before returning to Troy, NY and Hailey went straight home to Plymouth, MA to visit friends and family before returning to Tanzania for another year as a Senior Project Coordinator. Now that we’re both settled at home we’ve had a chance to reflect on this past year and we’d like to give you all a brief recap of our last few weeks in Tabora. We are also excited to formally introduce the new team of PCs!
New Product Labels
We worked with a graphic designer in Dar es Salaam to design new sticker labels for our products. These labels feature a description of the Tabora business as well as the ingredients in each product. We are excited to give these labels a trial run over the next few months!
Personal Savings Plans
In 2Seeds we often use an analogy that portrays all of us, everyone in the network, on a bus heading towards Maisha Bora, or the Good Life. Maisha Bora is not a physical destination, but rather it is a higher quality of life. We used this image to frame our conversations with partners about goal setting and personal savings. Each group member shared their goals about how they want to improve their lives and we worked with them individually to develop savings plans, which will hopefully help them achieve those goals. We were humbled by this experience, as it gave us deeper insights into personal financial challenges as well as the aspirations that each group member has to create a better life for themselves and their families.
(Mama Mwaliko evaluates her monthly cash flow and set the goal of building a new house)
Mama Mwaliko, Mama Hasani, Mama Tabia and Mama Salome all want to build new houses while Mama Asha wants to expand her restaurant business in Tabora; Mama Agi wants to purchase a motorcycle that she can use to buy inputs for her business of selling clothes and Mama Kitojo has dreams of building a small structure where she plans to show soccer games that community members can pay to watch; and Mama Mudi plans to save money for her two oldest kids to complete secondary school.
(Mama Salome wants to save up for a tin roof for her house!)
After evaluating their individual cash flow and assessing how much money they need to meet the daily needs of their families, each group member committed to putting away a designated amount of their monthly profit into savings until they reach their goals. We are impressed with their level of dedication and we are confident that they will all achieve their goals!
(Mama Agi fills out her personal savings plan with the goal of purchasing a motorcycle)
A standing ovation is in order for Eliza for completing the Tabora Solar Drying Handbook, a comprehensive document that includes information about which fruits and vegetables are available in Tabora, the specific ins and outs of drying and storing, and the nutritional information for each food item. This will be a great resource for future teams and the group as they pursue individual and group solar drying activities in the future!
Business Curriculum Graduation
We are pleased to announce that, on June 22nd, all eight group members graduated from the 2Seeds Business Curriculum! We couldn’t be more proud of all of their hard work throughout the curriculum and the construction of the Tabora Business Plan. Concepts such as return on investment and cash flow are difficult to grasp, but the Tabora group members excelled at retaining the information they learned and applying it to their business. Congrats!
(After everyone received their diplomas!)
May and June Profits
In May, five partners earned 37,000 shillings in profits, a new record high! And in June six partners earned 28,000 shillings! Over the course of the year, the group has seen a profit increase of over 700%!!!
(Group members after receiving their May earnings!)
In June, the group’s Sales Coordinator, Mama Tabia, built relationships with new shops in Korogwe and we started cooking for them the very next day! We were so impressed with Mama Tabia’s ability to connect with shop keepers, spread information about the work we are doing, and ultimately find new markets for Tabor products. We can attribute the decrease in profits between May and June to the slight dip we saw in orders that were coming in, particularly from the shops in Dar es Salaam. During June and July many shops in the ex-pat areas are closed, including the ones where we sell our products. However, with these new shops in Korogwe, we are certain that profits will stay consistently high!
(Mama Tabia on her way to Korogwe with piki piki driver Alikoka to deliver products to the new shops she found!)
New Group Members!
This year the Tabora group expanded its membership as we welcomed Hali ya Hewa and Timi. Mama Mwaliko gave birth to Hali (left) in April and a month later Mama Kitojo had Timi (right)! Both partners eagerly jumped back into work after several weeks of helping their newborns adjust to their new environments. We like to think that Hali is going to take after her mom and be the next chairwoman of the Tabora group and we know that Timi’s first words will be “Wanawake wanaweza!” (yes, women can!).
And with that, we are concluding our term as Project Coordinators in Tabora and we want to sincerely thank you all for your support over the past year. There aren’t enough words to adequately express how much it has meant to us to have so many people–friends, family members, co-workers, coaches, and professors—actively following our social media pages, expressing a genuine interest in the progress of the business, and investing themselves in the work that the Tabora women are doing. At times the work was challenging, but overall the year was filled with many successes, playful moments with the kids, and the construction of strong relationships that will last a lifetime. We want to thank you for being with us through it all. We hope you will continue to support the 2Seeds Network and especially the Tabora Project, as the work is not over and the business will continue to grow and reach new heights. Stay tuned for future updates from next year’s team about solar drying, new products and new markets!!
And now, without further adieu, we’d like to introduce the new Tabora Project Coordinators! Siobhan McGowan, a recent graduate from George Washington University will be joining Emma Lane, a Providence College grad and together they will continue the work that Eliza, Hailey, Ashley, Jamie, Ros and Rachel have started! We have the most confidence in their abilities to infuse creativity into the project and to continue to make lasting change on this journey towards Maisha Bora. Welcome to Tabora, Siobhan and Emma and best of luck next year!
Amani na Upendo,
Eliza & Hailey