Minchinhampton - Nkokoto Link - June 2019

For those supporters not able to attend the AGM on April 26th, this is a synopsis of the Chairman’s report. Since the last AGM, the Link has had a challenging year.

Our focus during 2018/19 as always has been mainly on education: Secondary School Student Sponsorship: The school year started in January, with 49 new students from Nkokoto. The Link gave bikes to all 49 stu- dents from Nkokoto. We sponsor 8 new students a year (32 in total). Each year all sponsored children receive new uniforms, books, stationary, a book bag and shoes. When students complete Form 4 at Secondary school, they take the Certificate of Secondary Education Examination. Selected students may attend Advanced Level - Forms 5 and 6. The Link has sponsored 2 new students for the last 2 years (4 in total) by paying tuition fees, board and lodgings. Costs vary from school to school, depending on where the school is.

We received a request to support 3 students who have passed the exam this year and we are waiting to see which school they are allocated to.During 2018/19 the Link has also financed equipment for the primary school, for pupils and teachers - computer, printer, photocopier – as well as furniture for the staff room.The Link supports new 6 students a year (12 in total) at Urambo Folk Development College (FDC); tuition fees, board and lodgings are Tsh310,000 (£103) each year. Graduates are given a tool kit so that they can find a job in their chosen trade. The Link decided to support all FDC students by providing equipment for the computing classroom; we also received a request to pay for driving lessons for those students on the mechanics course, which the Link has happily agreed to do.

There are three new houses in Nkokoto built for the teachers but are unfinished. The Link has not yet agreed to complete these houses and we wait to receive costings. Then we will decide whether to undertake to make that important investment. We need to see how relationships develop with the Nkokoto Council and our expectation is that the village should agree to undertake repairs to existing projects that we have funded such as the water harvesting tank, medical officer's house and by training local tradesfolk 'fundi' (workmen) to maintain the boreholes. The microfinance scheme is continuing by financing itself.

Uhuru is the neighbouring village to Nkokoto and was once called Nkokoto 2. The village is desperately in need of support and we are considering supporting the Clinic there at a cost of £7,250. This is a big investment so we needed to check up on two very important questions - about competitive bids for the project and when the building is complete, will the government provide staff and equipment? This we are assured will be the case.

My sincere thanks to everyone who supports the Minchinhampton Nkokoto Link in any way, including the committee who work so hard. Without this considerable interest and support we would not be able to do the work we do in Nkokoto.

My very special and sincere thanks to Anne Brookes and Lena Homer, both who have given many years to the Link. Anne has held the positions of secretary and before that chairman for many (20?) years and Lena has been treasurer for at least ten years. Thank you so very much. Alison Kennedy is taking over as treasurer and Ali and I will share the secretary’s work until a new secretary is appointed. (Any volunteers out there?!)

Rod Harris April 2019