St John’s Church in Tanzania
The link between St John’s with the Diocese of Mara started in 1994 when Bishop Hilkiah asked if we could help with a Cathedral building project in Musoma. St John’s church was being reordered at the time and a 10% tithe was given to support the work in Musoma. Our support has also included providing the architectural drawings, structural drawings and annual trips providing building advice and hands on work.
Our vision is to see economic sustainability and development in Tanzania and to build effective links between St John’s and the Diocese of Mara, Tanzania
The 2500 seated Cathedral was completed in October 2000 — amazingly on time and only 10% over budget — quite an achievement! Over those six years well over 40 people had been to Tanzania to experience it for themselves, many finding this a life changing experience.
The Cathedral project wasn’t just about a building, it was about:
» Teaching new skills and techniques to Tanzanians – e.g. big building, foundations, laminating wood, slate flooring etc.
» Project management, financial management and cross-cultural relationships.
» Income generating products – e.g. they made their own tiles, and continue to sell them today to raise funds.
Our work has focused on the rural district of Nyankanga (a few miles outside of Musoma), which is a poor region with subsistence farming. The initial focus of work was on water supply, as the main source of water is the lake which is a 2 hour round trip on foot. The first well was dug in 2001 in Nyankanga and we now have a further 3 wells, as well as 20 water storage tanks for collecting rainwater. We have set up a farmers cooperative in order to gain local ownership and to encourage economic sustainability and rural development.
The projects are now developing well in the village of Nyankanga. There are a variety of projects including the training of farmers, high milk yield goats, improving water supply and sanitation, planting trees and crops, and also building a pastor’s house. We also sponsor the education of 63 children in the village and surrounding area, providing a long-term investment in the future for the people we have come to love.
We now fund both the pastor in the village as well as a “Link Person / Project Manager”, so that the projects can flourish on the ground. We continue to work hard at maintaining effective communications with the Diocese and its Development Department, as well as with the villagers themselves.
On the last visit we took a number of footballs to Nyankanga, and an area of land was cleared to create a football pitch. This has proven to be a great opportunity for working with the young people in the village, and at Easter over 200 people gathered for a football match and family fun day.
Development and Discipleship Programme
The Diocese of Mara run this jointly funded project (initially led by Mike Wisheart from CMS) which builds on the success of our work in the village of Nyankanga. It is now working with 6 parishes in the Diocese. In our recent evaluation trip we saw the impact of this on one village, where they are now using oxen and plough to improve their agricultural practices.
Update: Phase 2 of this project is now underway, under the local leadership of Rhobi Samwelly and George Otieno. This is an exciting development now that the British Missionary, Mike Wisheart from CMS has returned to the UK.