One of the first achievements within the Eselelei Community Development Program was the construction of a community centre, as a place from where activities can be deployed and a place for the community to meet and engage in workshops and entertainement activities.
The Community Centre, built to blend in with the environment.
Having the community centre in place it made sense to start with the need for education. With so many young (pre-primary school age) children in the community and the availability of the volunteers, a start was made with the daily running of a kindergarten.
Children and volunteers alike now benefit from learning English (and Maasai) by interaction and experience diversity in cultures first-hand. Songs are shared, games played, parents have some more time for their daily chores…
Adult Education / Workshops
In the afternoons and evenings, adults can use the centre. ARF is committed to organise regular work-shops and trainings aimed at providing possibilities for the community to improve their standards of living. Once a subject is identified ARF will contact a specialist with the request to perform a workshop or training on that subject and target groups in the community will be invited to the centre.
Our first workshop involved the construction of Bio-stoves from locally gathered material. Traditionally, the Maasai women cook using fire-food gathered in the bush, resting their cooking pots on stones.
Cheap and simple, it also allows for a lot of heat to escape and a big improvement in the efficiency of cooking can therefore be made using the right stove.
The knowledge to make such a stove from materials available locally was brought in by Mr. Meena, a teacher from Moshi, and for the afternoon he demonstrated and practiced making the stoves with the women from the community.
A trial will be started to demonstrate the amount of fire-wood that can be saved using this technology, making the project sell itself to the rest of the community.
Drip Irrigation System
Recently, a British volunteer assisted ARF with the setup and first trials of a small-scale irrigation technique using a local ‘drip irrigation system’ in Pangani, on the Tanzanian East-coast. With this experience a set-up has recently been made in Eselelei.
After a few weeks of trial enough data will have been gathered to perform a workshop in which we will demonstrate the principle of this system and how to use it to grow vegetables in semi arid conditions.
The garden itself will be available for the community and serve as an example for people to copy in their own settlements.
Driven by the need to operate small appliances like mobile phones and a lap-top, the volunteers invested in a setup for solar-generated electricity. This setup allowed ARF to study the real-life performance of such a setup in the Tanzanian environment and added the possibility for the community to charge their mobile phones where before they had to travel to the nearest town for this. Unfortunately, the set-up as operating here is too expensive to re-create in each settlement but new technologies like small, white LED’s (bright, small but very efficient light source) combined with dropping prices for small solar panels bring new possibilities.
As demonstrated by the very enthusiastic British inventor Graham of DIY Solar, with very little money and locally available materials, small torches can be built or little radios can be powered. The possibilities this brings to the settlements (studying at night, charging mobile phones, listening to the radio), made us decide to start a pilot using small-scale, low-cost solar solutions people can build themselves.