Future Fund Report #3

By Lila Wells, Unite Passion Project, 09/03/2021

The Unite Passion Project | Speaker Updates and Plans to Come

The Unite Passion Project recently welcomed two additional speakers into its series; Agape Ishabakaki and James Kitia. Ishabakaki is based in the Kagera region of Tanzania, whereas Kitia, while originally from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Agape Ishabakaki | Sustainable Agriculture and Economic Engagement

CLICK HERE to watch Agape’s contribution to this speaker series

Agape Ishabakaki is a graduate of the University of Dar es Saalam, where he earned his BA in Economics. In 2019, after volunteering with his university post-graduation, He joined EDI Global Tz as a qualitative researcher and data processor for the company’s IDNSIGHT Project in conjunction with the African Poultry Multiplication Initiative (APMI). This program to encourage and systematically address the growth and sustainability of the poultry market sector was carried out in 10 regions of Tanzania, offering innovative solutions to issues facing local farmers.

Outside of his work with EDI Global Tz, Agape enjoys farming and studying agriculture more broadly. In Tanzania, agriculture is a leading sector for employment encompassing over 80% of the country’s population. In his local village of Bugorola (in the Missenyi ward), Agape created a group called MAENDELEO KWANZA to encourage sustainable farming and development while motivating local youth to enter the workforce.

James Kitia | Soccer and the Challenge of Effective Impact

CLICK HERE to watch James’ contribution to this speaker series

James Kitia is a soccer coach, soccer agent, entrepreneur, activist, and proud dad of two teenagers. He is originally from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, but resides in Chicago, Illinois where he is an active member in the Tanzanian Diaspora community and corresponding Tanzanian Community Association.

In 2008, James founded the Mkombozi Cup in Tanzania, an event which brings together over 300+ young players from across Kilimanjaro to develop their athletic talents, connect with other likeminded youths, and create opportunities for their futures and those of their communities through an annual soccer competition. After moving overseas, James continued his passion for soccer in Chicago through his involvement in youth soccer programs and as the Founder and Director of Soccer Operations for Edgewater Castle FC.

An Update from Our Scholars and Plans to Come

The team at Nankanga: (Left to right) Unite Environmental Scientist Clara Wilson Ngowi, Unite Scholar Isaac Moses Mwimanzi, Unite Program Director Anty Marche, UFP Outpost Director Baraka Sadam Saul, Unite Logistics Manager and Driver Gaudence Moshi, Unite Doctor Raymond Mgeni, Unite Scholar Ephraim Thomas, Unite Scholar Enock Sambala, Unite Scholars (twins) Zaituni and Zainabu Ally, and Unite Scholar Khadija Mkopi. Click HERE to see a one-minute video of the Unite Scholars and team’s first day at UFP Outpost Nankanga.

Earlier this summer, a number of our Unite Scholars (leaders of our Unite Clubs) completed an internship at the Unite Food Program (UFP). UFP is designed to empower small-scale farmers with a means of storage and a secure market for their crops at fair market prices as well as to provide organic, healthy, tasty, and affordable staple food options to all Tanzanian people.

The Unite Scholars are gearing up to begin the Unite Club curricula towards the start of the fall (which includes watching and discussing videos from speakers like James Kitia and Agape Ishabakaki). Yet much like my university friends and I, the scholars took their time between academic years in stride by interning with a project I’m sure Agape Ishabakaki in particular would enjoy: UFP.

The scholars interned at the UFP Outpost in the Nankanga Village in the Lake Rukwa District of southwestern Tanzania. In this extremely remote area, there are no paved roads and there is no running water or electricity. Nearly everyone survives as subsistence farmers or fishermen (on nearby Lake Rukwa). In these villages countless children are not able to attend school due to extreme poverty and their family’s inability to pay for such basic items as uniforms and school supplies. Many of them can be seen in the photos and video links in this article just hanging around the UFP Outpost, which provides the only maize and rice milling machines in more than five surrounding villages.

During our Unite Scholars’ time in Nankanga, they assisted the UFP Outpost staff with milling rice and maize and providing customer care; they attended agro-business training lessons led by a local missionary-turned-large-scale-farmer; they planted banana trees on our new UFP land; they served the local community, cruised on Lake Rukwa, and much more. Below please find a few highlights from this extraordinary and historic week for our Unite Scholars and teammates.

Click HERE to see a one-minute video of the Unite Scholars processing rice at the UFP Nankanga Outpost.

Throughout this most recent harvest season, our UFP Nankanga Outpost has been receiving between 80 and 140 customers each day. Women walk for miles, some with their rice and maize carried by donkeys and others hauling their crops on their backs, to have their harvests processed. To meet this demand, UFP Outpost manager Baraka Saul has hired four full-time employees to operate the machines. Our Scholars provided much needed extra hands during this very busy season.

Teak tree farming in Tanzania. Teak wood is harvested after 20 years and sells on the local and international markets for high prices.

The Unite Scholars spent a day with Ted Rabenold (an American missionary who has lived in Tanzania for more than 30 years) at his “Shamba Darasa” Agricultural Training Center in the Lake Rukwa district learning about teak tree farming, fish farming, planting and tending to papaya, avocado, lemon, and lime trees, and more. Ted and his wife Kim regularly host skilled teachers at their working farm who come to train local small-scale farmers in both the theoretical and practical aspects of horticulture, orchard management, environmental awareness and preservation, erosion control, animal husbandry, fish farming, beekeeping, innovative and sustainable resource utilization, and more.

Click HERE for a one-minute video of the scholars preparing the land for the banana trees.

The team learned how to plant and protect young banana trees that they transported to Nankanga from the Iringa District of Tanzania. (The trees were a gift from the mother of Ephraim, one of our Unite Scholars, taken from her small banana shamba in Iringa.) Our scholars dug holes, prepared soil by adding charcoal and layers of manure and compost, planted the trees, covered the holes, and constructed natural thorn fences around each tree to provide protection from goats, cows, and local wildlife.

“For me, I have learned an amazing lesson that ‘everything starts from zero’.”

~Unite Scholar Isaac Moses Mwimanzi (above left)