Providing business opportunties (2009)

My old school recently raised £850 and I received it 10 days ago. It was for the rehab centre so I had some meetings with the family heads and we decided that the best use of the money would be to give each of the 9 families a project to generate income.

I asked them to submit their ideas on paper and then either accepted or rejected them. I rejected two – one was a clothes business which was destined for failure for several reasons and the second proposal was to rent out the equipment used to make illicit homebrew.

One guy is just not able to run a small business so instad he is getting a new bed and some cooking utensils later in the week.

John with his ox driven plough which he will rent out during the rainy season. When I was with his family in Mpwapwa at the weekend he looked really proud when he was telling them that now he owned a plough.

Joina also wanted a plough. During the rains she can rent it out for around 5000tshs a day. A reasonable salary for someone who, say, works in a bar is around 20,000tshs a month. So it could be a money spinner.

Emily wanted a bike so her son can do a 4 hour round trip to a large dam to bring fish to sell in Buigiri.

Charles’s wife makes some money selling tomatoes and suchlike around the village and now she can get about much quicker and make more money.

Yusuph and his still boxed sewing machine.

Eliza wants to rent out her machine which’ll get her 5000tshs a month, just enough money to feed her family.

The boxes on the floor contain things like rice, beans, soap and sweets. This’ll be the stock Leah uses to kickstart the small shop she’ll run from her house with the help of her daughter.

Jared asked for large pots and cups and plates to rent out to weddings and other large gatherings.

The bag contains the clothes I got at yesterday’s auction. I’ll go again later in the week.

What 1000kg of maize looks like. The very dog-eared book contains my accounts.

The maize gets distributed using a formula I devised largely based on family size.

Not a single kernel goes to waste.


About Imo & Tom Feilding

I'm in my 30s and work for the University of Bristol, I regularly visit Buigiri Village slapbang in the centre of Tanzania in East Africa. It is a very poor semi-desert area. I spend much of my time and money helping individuals improve their situation and I write about it on here.
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