Minchinhampton - Nkokoto link - September 2018
Elsewhere in this issue, you will find an informative and interesting article from Jo Smith about her visit to Masasi, Vumilia and Nkokoto. The Link is grateful to Jo for making contact with Stima, Nkokoto villagers and the primary school during her hectic travels in Tanzania and for bringing back news of happenings in the village.
I have been in contact with the Headteacher of Nkokoto Primary School, Mr. Michael Theodos (pictured below, in the striped shirt). He took over the headship of the school when Joyce retired in 2017. He is a relatively young man and had been at the school for several years before being appointed Headteacher. We were thrilled to learn that Nkokoto School is one of the highest achieving primary schools in the Urambo District. We were also very pleased to learn that four of our students, whom the Link has sponsored in the past, have passed their exams and have moved on from Vumilia Secondary School to High Schools to complete their A level exams. The Link did not hesitate when asked to pay their fees and accommodation costs.
During the last three months, the second phase of the micro-finance scheme has been launched and 24 villagers have been loaned money to develop their businesses or enterprises. (Of course, those who did not pay back the initial loans have not been given a second loan – but I guess they didn’t ask for it!!) We await with interest to hear how they have invested their money and how their lives are improved because of it.
The nurse’s house, which was almost completely destroyed by termites, has now been completely refurbished. It was completely inhabitable for the nurse who works in the clinic but now that the Link has financed the rebuild, it makes a very pleasant home.
We have talked before about the problem of teacher retention at Nkokoto School because of the poor housing. To improve the accommodation available, the Link is investing considerable financial resources into building two teachers’ houses on the school grounds – a semi-detached building with electricity, toilet facilities and plenty of space. Each house will be able to accommodate a senior teacher plus family or 2 or 3 young, newly qualified teachers sharing. The good news about this project also includes the fact that labour for the building is local – men from the village will be employed to assist the builders – and the bricks are already made and waiting to be used. This is a major project costing 63 million Tanzanian Shillings (approx. £20,000) that has taken some time to get started - and will encourage high quality teachers to come to Nkokoto - but the Link Committee insisted on ensuring that everything should be done professionally and correctly in consultation with the District Engineer. Completion will be in 12 weeks’ time.
I thank Alison and Lena for keeping tabs on each stage of the project and spending a lot of time in consultation with Stima.
Rod Harris, Chairman.