Chair of KUFL, Kit and husband James visit Uyogo

In October 2019 – fortunately just before the Covid pandemic – Chair of KUFL Kit Lawry and her husband James Kennedy visited Uyogo to meet our local partners there and see how projects we have supported in Uyogo over the years are doing. It was a memorable visit, not least because of the total electricity power cut as we arrived in Uyogo so introductions were all done in the dark!

Over three days we visited most of the projects KUFL has supported over the years, and some potential ones for the future. These included the Uyogo dispensary (for which KUFL has subsequently provided a clean water supply), the three primary schools in Uyogo Ward: Uyogo, Kasela and Igembensabo.

KUFL has supported / is supporting all of these at different times, helping to finish off classroom buildings and constructing teachers’ houses. We saw the Beekeeping Cooperative’s workshop room with their carpentry tools and their hives made of wood (far better for trees than using bark hives which kill off the trees), and their honey processing room next door. Uyogo was connected to the national electricity grid in 2018 which enables the Beekeepers to make full use of the carpentry tools and, with a sewing machine also given by KUFL, to make their own beekeeping overalls and hoods. The Beekeeping Cooperative runs as an income generating community group.

Kit meeting with the Uyogo Beekeeping cooperative, in the building they had renovated to hold carpentry machines donated by KUFL to make their own top bar bee hives. (Uyogo had fairly recently been connected to the national electricity grid and the machines worked well.)

We saw several water projects that KUFL has supported: the water borehole which KUFL provided with the help of WaterAid some 14 years ago, valued locally for giving good quality drinking water; several rainwater harvesting tanks attached to the gutters of the primary school and other public buildings to capture and store water; two concrete tunnels under an earthen road embankment that keep routes for flood water open during the rainy season so the road from Uyogo to Urambo, the nearest town, doesn’t collapse and become unpassable.

We also had a meeting with the senior Government representative, the District Commissioner, (since replaced a couple of times by others in this post) to continue the openness and cooperation with local government authorities which KUFL has always strived to maintain. And most importantly, we renewed our relationships with Lucky Mgeni our liaison person with the Uyogo community, the Village Committee who had kindly organised our accommodation in the house of the Uyogo Primary School Headteacher, and all the food involved during our stay, and with Uyogo villagers.

KUFL sponsored Dr Joyce to upgrade her medical skills from village nurse, over five years of studying in Dar es Salaam, to become a hospital doctor, working in nearby Urambo hospital for several years before her recent transfer to Mbeya in southern Tanzania in 2022. Lucky is KUFL’s channel of communication with Uyogo residents. He consults with them, listens to their concerns and priorities, and then relays their wishes to KUFL to inform our activities and support. Lucky also provides KUFL with photos and videos to verify progress with projects via WhatsApp.

Igembensabo is a sub-village in Uyogo Ward, where parents are currently working on building a new classroom. KUFL will support with expensive items towards the end, for example, corrugated iron sheets for the roof; bars and insect netting for windows.

Kit meeting up again with Agnes who as a secondary school student visited Kenilworth in 2015, invited by Kenilworth School, facilitated by KUFL. Nowadays Agnes is a qualified teacher, last heard of working in Umiki Secondary School in Uyogo, though she may have moved on to another posting by now.
Cllr James Kennedy, representing the Kenilworth Town Council, presenting a picture by Karen Pittaway to Mr Owden Mwakanema, Chairman of Uyogo Village Committee, at an Uyogo public meeting.
Kit meeting the Headteacher (in white) and senior staff of Kasela Primary School. Kasela is another sub-village in Uyogo Ward. Following this meeting, KUFL supported Kasela Primary School parents to finish off two classrooms they had started building on their own initiative but didn’t have enough to do the finishing touches (roof sheets, plastering, window netting and bars.) Both of these new primary classrooms are now well used.
Jumanne James in the white shirt, who visited Kenilworth in 2015 as a Form 4 secondary school student, standing next to his parents with his six siblings. Jumanne’s parents are peanut farmers, and entertained us with Cocacola one afternoon, under a tree in front of their house. Jumanne has gone on to complete his education, graduate from university and is now working as a lecturer himself. He has helped his parents build a better house, but one of his siblings has died since this photo was taken.
A local lady presenting Kit with material at the Public Meeting
Meeting Lucky Mgeni’s wife, Anande, in their home. Anande is a primary school teacher in Urambo.
With Margaret Simons, in charge of women and girls’ affairs for Uyogo Ward. She has played a large part in designing and starting up a new project in 2022, to make reusable sanitary pads for schoolgirls, so they don’t have to miss school when they get their period each month.
Owden Mwakanema and Margaret Simons inside the as-yet-unfinished maternity building. The villagers did their part in constructing this building five years ago, with support from KUFL in finishing off the building and in providing midwifery equipment for it. It now awaits the government of Tanzania’s contribution to complete, furnish and staff the maternity centre in Uyogo.