Insight on Business: An Interview with Phil Latessa

Executive Director Phil Latessa was featured on Insight on Business. Listen HERE.

“If you have never heard of Tanzania it’s not much of a surprise to us. Tasmania yes. Tanzania, not so much. That is about to change. Meet Phil Latessa the Executive Director of a non-profit called Empower Tanzania. Here you will learn more about this very poor nation in east Africa, what this organization does with and for the people, how Phil works with village leaders, tribal leaders and government officials to assist with medical care, education and economic development. Why Tanzania? We asked and got an answer and think you should know more.”

Behind the Scenes with ETI

Empower Tanzania has long been employing technology to deliver vital health information to those living in rural Tanzania. This month, staff and volunteers are hard at work on five new videos to be released next month in Same District and Kagera Region. The reach of these videos is wide — each will serve 630,000 people by using 141 trained Community Health Educators who will present each video 12 times per month! Here are a few behind-the-scenes highlights of our most recent video shoot:

THE WRITER: ETI Program Director Dr. Jeff Carithers wrote the scripts for five new videos being created in a new partnership with World Vision Tanzania to provide public health education focusing on pregnant women and children under two-years-old in northern Tanzania. Scripts are translated into Swahili and delivered by our actors.

THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Mark Burnham, videographer for Unity Point Health, shot the videos. We are grateful to Unity Point and Iowa Methodist Medical Center for allowing Empower Tanzania to use Mark and his studio for filming!

Mark Burnham films as the actors run through the scene prompted with a script shown on an iPad, which serves as telepromptor.

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Help us welcome our newest staff members!

We’ve got BIG news! Empower Tanzania is welcoming two new American staff members this spring! Joining our Executive Director, Phil Latessa, our Development Coordinator, Sheri Krumm, and our team of wonderful volunteers, we’re excited to announce that we have two new stateside staff members on board! Becky Lopez is joining us as an accountant and Leslie Klipsch will fill the role of Director of Communication and Development.

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Time in Tanzania, Phil Latessa for The Huffington Post

Time in Tanzania

Unless you look at your watch, time is subjective. It passes quickly when you are playing baseball with your friends and very slowly when you are in Psych class and the professor is droning on. But, of course, we are compelled to look at our watches and that makes time objective and digital. It divides our day into discrete units into which we feel compelled to insert some sort of productive activity. Even our leisure time tends to get allocated to something useful like running errands or raking leaves. Continue reading

2014 Iowa~Tanzania Summit Agenda

Are you getting excited about the upcoming 2014 Iowa~Tanzania Summit on October 14?

It’s going to be a fabulous afternoon, focused on giving lots of people opportunities to find out what others are doing in Tanzania, share some of their own story, and get to know each other.  Please consider joining us!

Click here for the detailed agenda and to register!
(the event is free, but for security purposes, you must register in advance)

2014 Iowa ~ Tanzania Summit


Empower Tanzania is excited to announce that on October 14, we will be hosting the 4th Annual Iowa ~ Tanzania Summit in conjunction with the 2014 World Food Prize! This is a wonderful opportunity for those working in Tanzanian Development to meet, greet and exchange ideas. Seating is limited, and while the event is free, we do require advanced registration for security purposes.

For more information, click here.

To register for the Iowa ~ Tanzania Summit, click here.

Meeting with Tanzania’s President and Cabinet

On October 20, 2009, ETI President Phil Latessa met with the Honorable, Peter Mizengo Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania.  The meeting was facilitated by ETI’s good friend, Hon. Ann Kilango Malecela, Member of Parliament for the Same East District. Conversation centered on ETI’s plans for proposals related to healthcare, education and development–especially agriculture.  Mr. Pinda pledged his assistance and support.


Hedaru Water Project Nears Completion

In February, 2010, ETI Board Member and Project Manager Sheri Krumm visited the village of Hedaru to celebrate the completion of the next to last step in a three year water project.  The project is a collaboration between the ETI, the Hedaru Village Water Committee, Rotary International, and St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Ames, Iowa.  It includes a catchment system high in the mountains at the source of the spring that evenly divides the water between mountain farmers, and the villagers below, as well as construction of a 20,000 gallon storage tank.  Most recently, the villagers installed 7 km of pipe to connect the whole system together, and today, water is flowing to 20,000 people in Hedaru who have not had adequate water in over 10 years!

The next and final step in this $125,000 project will be the repair and extension of the village distribution system, including the construction of twenty-two distribution points.  This step is sponsored by a Rotary Humanitarian Grant between the Ames Rotary Club and the Same Rotary Club in Tanzania.

This project is an excellent example of the collaborative nature of the work ETI does.  The success of the project was due to the strong leadership of Mr. Clement Ngoka and the Hedaru Village Water Committee, but would not have been possible without the help of many different organization and individuals.  Ownership and control of the system will be officially be given to the Village of Hedaru in August of 2010.


Hedaru Water Project Dedicated

In August, 2010 the Water Project in Hedaru was officially dedicated and handed over to the Village of Hedaru.

In a celebration attended by representatives of Empower Tanzania, Inc, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania – Pare Dioces, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church of Ames, Iowa, Rotary Club of Same, and the Same District Government, as well as MANY people from the village of Hedaru, the 4-year water project was finally given to the people of Hedaru.

In a two-day schedule of events, visiting dignitaries, as well as all of the participating partners and the national news media visited the site of the storage tank, many of the 22 distribution points, and finally the main village distribution point. There were many speeches and GREAT celebrations for finally having abundant and clean water throughout the village.

Congratulation to the many hundreds of people who made this project possible! It was a great success, and model of a strong partnership, and an effectively implimented project that ETI hopes to replicate again and again.