In February, for the start of the school year, AKO board member Hans Siemer officially handed over the kindergarten and the new drinking water supply for the entire village to the Chokaa community and the Simanjiro district.
In a large, traditional ceremony, the handover contract was concluded with the district representative Si Waues Michael Taun. Hans Siemer was formally accepted into the Massai community and dressed accordingly. „We have far too little to give AKO an adequate thank-you gift, but we promise to keep these buildings in order and send our children there to the kindergarten and preschool,“ the community representative promised in his acceptance speech.
In a long speech, the district representative explained the importance of education using real-life examples of selling goods in markets, where the lack of reading skills meant that rural inhabitants were repeatedly being cheated.
„This facility, built by AKO to a well thought-out high quality standard, is the showcase for the entire district,“ said the government representative. We kindly ask AKO to continue to establish such urgently needed and exemplary kindergarten preschools in the district.”
Hans Siemer drew attention to the numerous helpers who made this project possible, as well as the donors Tanzania Hilfe Hohenholte , XXXLutz from Austria and many other smaller donors. He expressed his thanks for the support of the organisation Senior Experten Service, which provided the travel expenses to the helpers Erwin Remmele and Heinz Tigger for their multiple assignments in the course of this project. The two experts supported this project in an advisory capacity right from the start. Last but not least, he extended thanks to our friend Eliud Ma‘ ngana, without whose help on the ground this project would not have reached this very good conclusion.
Tanzania Help Hohenholte has in the meantime promised us the funds for the construction of a much needed teacher’s house. We will report as soon as it is ready.
Things are really taking off! Erwin Remmele is driving the build towards its completion. The water tap is up, and members of the community and of the Water Committee are always to be found there. All activities are closely coordinated in meetings, which leads to a greatly enhanced acceptance. A high acceptance rate and close community involvement means that the project belongs to the inhabitants from the very beginning, and not to an anonymous aid programme. This will later lead to care and maintenance being significantly improved.
The project is being driven forward by Erwin Remmele on behalf of the on-site Senior Experten Service (SES). The water tanks are lifted onto their foundation. The AKO lorry with its hoist crane, which made the voyage many years ago in an overseas shipping container from Taunstein to Tanzania, played its part loyally.
Since the start of August, Erwin Remmele has replaced Hans Siemer in Tanzania as the on-site project supervisor. He will be on site for the entirety of August and organise and carry out the works necessary for the water installation. The kindergarten, the kitchen and the toilets will receive water pumped from a borehole through a photovoltaic powered pump into elevated tanks. The teachers’ houses will have water on their doorstep and the toilets will be flushable. Waste water will be collected and biologically utilised. Furthermore, there will be a public water point from which the inhabitants of the surrounding area will be able to draw water. The families will be paid a contribution for the upkeep of the facilities. The management of the water station will be taken over by a Water User Association, which is manned by chosen representatives from the community.
We eagerly await the teacher.
The kindergarten is finished! Hans Siemer, Heinz Tigger and Ruben Wend were in Chokaa today to discuss the linking of the kindergarten and teacher accommodation to the water supply with the school administrators, the school board and the representatives of the executing construction company. It was agreed that the community, parents and school board would present a contract by the following week in which they would commit to the introduction of a charging system for the upkeep of the water supply. This was agreed to. With this in place, the building works will be able to begin in the next 14 days, and the kindergarten will be in operation just in time for the start of the new school year.
The roof has been tiled. The interior construction work can now begin!
The building of the kindergarten is coming on at a record pace; we are all amazed at the speed. The shell of the kindergarten, toilets and kitchen is almost complete.
Update 31.03.2017 Travel Report by Erwin Remmele
Erwin, please tell us a little bit about yourself, your membership and goals with AKO.
I have been active in AKO projects in Tanzania since 2005. Prior to that, I had been in the country 8 times, for 2 to 4 weeks at a time. Mostly it was regarding the planning and implementation of projects for drinking water or solar energy, but I also took part in the laboratory planning of a farm school.
In which project are you currently active?
My current project is in Kambi ya Chokaa on the Massai Steppe. There, we have plans to build a kindergarten for 60 children and a water station for several thousand people.
Please give us a little bit of information about the place, how long you stayed and who you travelled with.
I stayed in Kibosho for around 2 weeks. I travelled there with Hans Siemer, but made the journey home alone, as Hans Siemer could only stay for one week on this occasion.
In what state of affairs did you find the project on-site? Was this in keeping with your expectations following your last trip?
The project on site was almost as expected following my departure in April 2016. The planning at that time was technically far enough along that the building works could have already been started. Unresolved property ownership status had however hitherto delayed the start of the project.
What were you able to carry out and with whom, also on-site?
In the meantime, the official planning permission for the kindergarten had been presented to the Kambi ya Chokaa Primary School, however not the assurance that teaching staff would be paid. We received this on a visit with Hans Siemer to the Education Director responsible for the district. This finally meant a green light for the start of the project.
Unfortunately the land issues regarding the drinking water project site are still unresolved. We did however receive assurance from the District Director that he would personally ensure a satisfying result for all involved.
Are you satisfied with your results? Where do you see potential for improvement and what could be changed, also in the preparation stage?
Given that it was only after a tenacious, unsatisfactory correspondence since April 2016 that a partially successful building of the kindergarten could be achieved, I am very satisfied with the result. We achieved:
• a written commitment regarding personal contributions of the Massai.
• ground breaking occurred on-site for the kindergarten, kitchen and toilets.
• a commitment from the government promising the meeting of costs for one kindergarten teacher, with plans for another in 2018.
• conclusion of negotiations with the local contractor and the signing of the contract, just a few hours before my departure.
• confirmation of an immediate start of building work. For this purpose, there were already photos made available in the interim.
Authorisations of this kind could maybe be sped up, when an on-site discussion takes place at an early stage, which would however mean a journey to the site. Written information can fail, as in our case, when the authorities were speaking of another well, as ours had not yet been registered there.
What further need for action do you see prudent, also outside the scope of your project?
Our official status regarding our activities in the area could maybe be clarified by either party. We travel here with a tourist visa for $50, as a business visa would cost $250. In the past, this has often led to problems.
What further activities do you have planned?
I’ve already drawn up a plan for the connection of the school and the kindergarten to one of the nearby wells and carried out discussions with companies. I am awaiting offers shortly.
Moreover, I’d like to put our first project, a currently broken drinking water facility in Kilimamswaki, back into operation.
How can AKO support you?
I am wholeheartedly satisfied with the support I receive from AKO.
What pleasant experiences can you tell us about from your travels?
It’s hard to think of an answer, as I didn’t have any time for leisure on this occasion. Maybe on my next trip!
Thank you very much!
Political changes in the country have led to difficult conditions in the Kambi ya Chokaa Community and have delayed the start of the project. Our chairman, Hans Siemer, and our project leader, Erwin Remmele, flew out at the start of March especially for this reason, and carried out negotiations with the top authorities, the District Executive Officer, and the local families. We are now supported by our friend Eliud Mang’ana, who lives and works there, and who studied in Germany and opened many doors and explained our background. Thanks to his support, the building of the kindergarten with water provision for the children will begin in the coming weeks.
Beginning of 2016
Since the beginning of 2016, we have been building a well with a photovoltaic powered pump in Kambi Ya Chokaa, on the Massai Steppe. The deep drilling has already taken place to a depth of 60m on 28.01.2016; Under construction: groundwater wells with a pumping capacity of 15,000l/day in the Massai-Steppe for around 10,000 Massai and their livestock. This replaces hand-operated wells at 1,500l/day. This was made available due to a donation of around €35,000; the Erbacher-Stiftung of Kleinheubach and XXXLutz via REDCHAIRity were part donors who will finance the building of a kindergarten.