ANNUAL REPORT 2023
The last months have been exciting, challenging, and very encouraging. As Nancy and I look back it seems hard to believe that we first went to Tanzania in 2009, fourteen years ago. We had no idea what doors God would open. It has been a great joy to partner both with the wonderful people of Tanzania and the generous people of Canada who are so encouraging and supportive. In June 2022, Ken and Nancy Morrison, and Dr. Ken Stones and his wife Diana Wegner traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to meet with the staff at Dalhousie University and to introduce ourselves to the Chalice Foundation. These meetings went well as outlined in this report however there was one specific unexpected bonus.
Said Msabaha, Chief Operating Officer, Tanzania
In Halifax, we were introduced to Said Msabaha. Said is a native Tanzanian, educated in Canada, and worked at Dalhousie University for many years. He is familiar with many aspects of international aid. Said was leaving Dalhousie and returning to Tanzania to develop the family farm.
PCF’s projects had reached the point where it was essential to find a qualified representative on the ground in Tanzania to assist in all aspects of project development and supervision. Said turned out to be the ideal person. He is a native Tanzanian, who speaks Swahili, understands the Tanzanian culture, is educated and employed in Canada, and understands the university and business culture in Canada. His farming knowledge and international aid focus are invaluable. Above all, he is a great guy to work with.
In October 2022 Said was engaged as the Chief Operating Officer of PCF, Tanzania. We have already seen the difference in the various projects.
Board of Directors, Provision Charitable Foundation, Canada
Said Msabaha and Greg Keizer have agreed to join the Board of Directors of Provision Charitable Foundation, Canada, effective June 30, 2023. Garth Drummond has advised that a combination of family, business, and other responsibilities have made it impossible for him to continue as a director at this time. We thank Garth for his energetic enthusiasm in the early years of the work in Tanzania. He and I had fun trips to Tanzania and he will be missed, especially by our African friends.
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT 2023
Official registration in Tanzania
PCF is registering as an NGO to do projects directly in Tanzania rather than continuing to have to work indirectly through Tanzanian partners. This registration will allow greater control over our various projects. Ken Morrison, Said Masabaha, and Greg Keizer will also be board members of PCF Tanzania as that registration completes. Dr. Deogratius Kilasara, Head of Dental Services at Muhimbili National Hospital and President of Tanzanian Dental Association, has also agreed to join the Board of PCF Tanzania. Dr. Kilasara brings his expertise in oral and dental health which will be invaluable.
Beekeeping and Bee Products Processing Center
No, Ken is not climbing Kilimanjaro!
Provision began to support individuals and a women’s cooperative at Taweta in 2011 and has now trained or assisted beekeepers at five locations in the Kilombero River valley. We have realized that beekeeping requires a very significant amount of training and assistance to establish long term beekeepers. So, the plan is to begin a not-for-profit business (after completing the Tanzanian registration noted earlier) that will offer:
1. A processing center to provide a market for honey products from the producers, and subsistence farmers.
2. Provide training on maintaining and harvesting honey products to local producers.
3. Develop cooperative groups to produce honey, etc;
4. After a good supply of good quality honey is produced, then look at developing the national and international market.
We are presently preparing a full business plan and are very fortunate to have a volunteer for the summer traveling to Tanzania to explore all aspects of this business. Josh Tweed who graduated this year from the Sauder School of Business, UBC is using his training to develop a full business plan for this project. Another very exciting part of this plan is that as the processing center operates profitably the earnings will be used to fund other community projects.
There is much more detail on the website as mentioned earlier and we are very thankful to Trevor and Dixie Jones and the Jones Family Foundation for agreeing to match the first $75,000.00 donated. We are hoping to have the processing center open for product and training by September 2024 so we would greatly appreciate your help.
Farm Project, St Francis, and Dalhousie
Thanks again to the Jones Family Foundation, we have been able to build secure fencing around five acres of land at St. Francis University in Ifakara. This land includes six retail outlets and storage for needed farm equipment. The fencing not only provides security for the student residence built by PCF but also provides an ideal location to begin teaching modern farming techniques to the subsistence farmers in the Kilombero River valley. The Kilombero river valley is an ideal location to teach farming. There is year-round water available with very fertile delta soil. We are presently working with the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University to develop a four-year partnership program to develop the partnership with Dalhousie, PCF, and St. Francis University.
Employment program for people with Epilepsy
The employment of people with epilepsy is the first project started by PCF. Since 2009, up to ten people (presently three women and five men) with epilepsy have been employed to work in the gardening program at Kasita School. The purpose of the program was to demonstrate that people with epilepsy can become productive members of family and society. In Tanzania, as in many other parts of the world, there is great shame associated with epilepsy, for both the individual and the family. Hence, the example of these individuals has had a major impact on changing people’s perceptions.
These individuals have been wonderful examples. Their lives have changed very significantly both financially and socially. This group has worked diligently for the years of the program, and most have been there for over ten years. However, the work is hard physical labor. The effects of both aging and epilepsy (anti-seizure medication supply is inconsistent) have taken a toll and we need to consider alternatives to the heavy work.
Endowment, Estate of Dr. Louise Jilek-Aall
Dr. Louise Jilek-Aall was the original inspiration for the Provision Charitable Foundation with her lifelong dedication to people with epilepsy in Tanzania. She was well known as Mama Doctor in Tanzania and was honored by the Tanzanian medical community in 2009 for her dedication. (See Provision Charitable Foundation for more details of her history).
PCF has received a gift of $150,000 from her estate to be used in the work in Tanzania. The gift had no specific instructions attached. However, with Dr. Louise’s commitment to epilepsy, PCF intends to invest the gift, using the income and capital where needed, to forward the cause of people with epilepsy in Tanzania.
Oral Health Project
This project has been ongoing, since 2016, under the dedicated leadership of Kelly Antosh and Ken Stones and with the support of Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Dentistry (and the School of Dental Hygiene). We are also greatly appreciative of the ongoing support of Colgate-Palmolive with supplies, translations, and printing costs.
In my opinion, of all our projects, oral health may turn out to have the most positive impact on the people of Tanzania. Poor oral health and resulting health problems (apart from the pain from tooth decay) are becoming rampant. There are no medical resources available once the decay and general health problems occur. The World Health Organization and other similar organizations are realizing that the only practical solution is to teach oral health, treating the problem before it occurs.
Our concept of training community health workers to teach oral health is also seen as a very practical, cost-effective approach. PCF currently has four oral health workers in the field, teaching at various locations, such as schools and maternity clinics as moms bring in their babies. We are planning to hire four more workers to expand our ability to contact and educate.
The first four Community Dental Workers completed training in 2019. In 2022, a team of three Canadian Dental Hygienists trained ten more. The training is a 4.5-day training program that involves field experience. The Colgate-Palmolive “Bright Smiles, Bright Future” representative was on hand in 2022 and was impressed with how the Community Dental Workers are able to reach both adults and children with oral health education. This project is self-sustaining to date from the cash flow from the student residence. However, as we add more oral health community workers, additional funds will be required.