CHRISTMAS GREETINGS AND THANK YOU
Christmas Greetings and thanks to all our friends from Provision Charitable Foundation
Nancy and I are so appreciative of your support of Provision Charitable Foundation’s work in Tanzania. It’s hard to believe it has been more than 13 years since we first went to Tanzania. Your engagement, both spiritual, emotional, and financial, has been critical in making significant quality life changes for so many. Without you, this could never have happened.
Covid restricted much of our travel plans, but the oral health team did go this past September, and trips are planned for 2023. Despite this, much has happened even during Covid, and we want to provide an update for your encouragement.
I have struggled to know what names to disclose in this report as there are many people who have contributed in very significant ways over the years, so I decided to go on a first-name-only basis for those who have traveled to Tanzania and taken on specific projects. I apologize to any I have missed.
Thanks to Trevor and Dixie (and the Jones Family Foundation) for the residence and the farm project; Greg and Jonelle for the school at Luhombero; Kelly and Dave for the oral health project; Ken S. and Les E for the dental teams; Bill for irrigation and farming; Paul for engineering expertise; Shawna at Dalhousie for her tireless work making connections, and to all of you who have been faithfully giving over the years. Thank you all very much.
Chief Operating Officer Said Msabaha
We have known for several years that, as our projects have grown, we need a “person on the ground” who could grow with the work and bring a cultural understanding to our projects - and in October we hired Said Msabaha as chief operating officer.
Said was born in Tanzania and came to Canada in 2000 where he attained his BA (International Development Studies and Political Science) at St Mary’s University in Halifax. He went on to get his MA (Professional Communication, Intercultural, and International Communication) at Royal Roads University in Victoria in 2007. For the next 17 years, Said was the Associate Director of Community Engagement and Diversity Programs at Dalhousie University, with 11 of those years spent at the Office of Community Partnerships and Global Health (formerly the Global Health Office). Earlier this year Said returned to Tanzania to develop the family farm. We are so fortunate to have Said to work on our projects. He is incredibly qualified as his Canadian experience along with his cultural foundation is invaluable.
New Land Rover
Provision also needed our own vehicle to support the growing number of projects. Provision received a grant from a European charity for $ 37,000 US (50% of the cost of a Land Rover). Donations covered the balance.
The vehicle is essential for the oral health project, to move staff and supplies throughout the area as the program grows. As the farming and beekeeping projects develop, we will need the ability to monitor and assist with the practical application of the training given, bringing supplies, transporting honey, etc.
The vehicle cleared customs and arrived in November 2022.
Epilepsy employment project
Since 2011 Provision has employed people with epilepsy in gardening and related activities at Kasita school to prove to society that people with epilepsy, properly treated, can be reliable, productive members of the family and society. The changes in the individual lives over the 10-plus years have been quite amazing.
We are looking to be able to use this history to educate the public, (the Swahili word for a person with epilepsy is “maskini” which means useless) as in every culture epilepsy is a disease that is very misunderstood and causes fear.
The inspiration for all the work in Tanzania came from the pioneering work on epilepsy of Dr Louise Jilek Aall who passed away in January 2022. Provision will receive an endowment grant from her estate in 2023 and these funds will be dedicated to improving the quality of life of those suffering from the effects of epilepsy in Tanzania.
The residence has been open for three years and is now at full capacity and generating cash flow for both the university and the oral health program. The residence provides safe, clean housing for 364 students. The original intention was that the residents would be entirely women but in order to fill the residence there are some men in residence. As the number of women students at the university increases the rooms will be prioritized for them first.
The agreement is that the university keeps half of the net cash flow each year as compensation for providing the land; Provision uses its half to support the oral health project.
For the 2022/23 academic year the residence is forecasted to provide approximately $20,000 CAN to support the oral health project
Dalhousie university regenerative farming project
Provision is working with Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture to develop a 3-4 year agricultural and beekeeping project in the Kilombero River valley
The training center, demonstration farm, and honey processing center will be headquartered at Ifakara, and Provision, through the generous contribution of the Jones Family Foundation, has fenced and built the necessary infrastructure over 8 acres.
Dalhousie agriculture sent a 4-person team to Tanzania In October 2022 and is working on plans for a project to begin training the subsistence farmers in all aspects of farming and small business development.
Medical students and postgraduate students
Provision supported 21 medical students through to graduation as medical doctors with a combination of grants and loans. These graduate doctors are all now practicing medicine in Tanzania. A few have struggled to find full-time positions as the government and private employers only hire a limited number each year.
The loans to the students were to be repaid to the university to fund additional medical students, however, due to financial stresses at the university, the loans were assigned to the Tanzanian government and then advanced needed cash to the university based on the loan security provided by the graduate doctor loans. The graduates now repay the loans directly to the government.
Provision has continued our support of the medical system by sponsoring 4 young doctors in specialist programs.
Dr. Emanuel Ngadaya has completed specialist training in obstetrics
Dr. Eveline Shikahanga is in the final year of specialist trading in orthopedics and traumatology (we are particularly proud of Eveline as she is the only woman accepted into a class of 40)
Dr. Dan Bhwana is completing a specialization in Public Health with a focus on epilepsy issues
Dr. Bernard Nyange is in the first year of specialization in Internal Medicine
All medical training has been in Tanzania
It has become obvious through reports from the UN and various medical articles that it is impossible to solve dental problems in the developing world through training more dentists. The only practical solution is to prevent dental problems from occurring, rather than treating the symptoms after the decay, etc. has occurred.
Provision has taken the approach that we should concentrate on teaching oral health so that the problems can be prevented. Using the cash flow from the student residence we have hired and trained 4 oral health community workers who have been meeting with new mothers at local maternity clinics to teach oral health. Provision has partnered with Dalhousie University on both the prevention work and the dental clinic work to make a long-term difference.
The first oral health team went in 2017 to begin to train the community health workers and the community on oral health and the work has been developing since that time.
An oral health team from Canada traveled to Tanzania in September 2022 to review progress, teach more community health workers about the critical importance of oral health and lay the groundwork for an expansion of the program. The team included 2 individuals from Kenya, who were desperate to learn about oral health. They traveled by bus from Kenya to Tanzania by bus to attend the training, a long and arduous journey taking several days. This was the first time they crossed a border.
Subject to financing being available, it is our intention to hire 4 more oral health community workers in 2023 to further expand the work.
The third dental team sponsored by Provision will be going to Ifakara in September 2023. The team will be composed of approximately 6 dentists and 24 support staff. The team will provide restorative dental services, fillings, etc., professional development teaching to local dental practitioners, and further training to the community dental workers. This work is being done in association with Dalhousie University School of Dentistry.
These dedicated individuals all pay their own travel costs and give up employment income, and professional income, some even closing their own dental clinics to volunteer to work under challenging conditions to provide relief from pain to as many individuals as possible.
Provision is also working in the Kilombero River valley (like the Fraser valley) in Tanzania and at the far end of the valley is a very poor village, Luhombero. Over the past 10 years, we have helped with irrigation, drilled a well, assisted with farming, started beekeeping and taught oral health. Now with the help of Dalhousie University, we are beginning to teach regenerative farming throughout the whole valley.
Provision has also built a school at Luhombero - the first phase, 3 classrooms, opened in January 2022 and the second phase, an additional 3 classrooms will open in January 2023. The construction costs are fully funded.
Bridge over Luhombero River
The people also need a footbridge over the local river, (crocodiles and hippos). The people have to cross to get to the farmlands etc and the people who live on the “farm” have to cross to get to health services etc.
We have a team of engineers from Engineering Ministries International (like Doctors Without Borders) who traveled to Luhombero to develop a plan. A Canadian engineering firm is contributing its services and doing the design work.
We have developed a relationship with Chalice Canada, a very large Catholic charity, which has recently sent a team to Luhombero and identified 150 very poor children who need sponsorship. Chalice works by having the sponsored children’s families organized into family groups and then the Chalice team offers a number of educational programs: life skills, budgeting, small business, oral health, etc. along with the requirement that the child must attend school.
Provision is committed to raising the support for 100 of these children at $42 per month per child or $504 per year. (Chalice requires a minimum number of sponsored children to cover the costs of sending in workers etc). You can explore the Chalice website to see the wonderful work they do. (Find the Chalice work site at the village of Neema, Tanzania).
As of December 21st we have raised support for 85 of the children which give us hope we can get to the 100
We are very excited about all these opportunities and look forward to 2023. Once again, thank you all for your support over the years. It’s so much appreciated.