Njiro Water Project

Children and women of Njiro, along with Empower Tanzania’s accountant Flora, stand along a broken well.

Goal: Provide clean water to the 1,750 people of the village of Njiro, Tanzania

Estimated Cost of Project: $50K

The Problem: A borehole was funded and drilled by an Assemblies of God church 7 years ago and worked for less than a year before it broke. Currently, water is scarce in the village of Njiro and the following hardships are a result…

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Water Party 2017 Success!

On November 11th, 500 people  gathered in downtown Davenport for the 9th annual Water Party, an event that for the third year in a row has benefited Empower Tanzania water projects. It was an incredible night of music, wine, beer, an whiskey tasting, small bites by a favorite local chef, music, and friends. Partygoers bought raffle tickets, tried their hand on the wine pull, shopped for Tanzanian jewelry, and bid on silent auction items and art. Through their incredible generosity, Water Party 2018 raised over $58,000 for clean water in Tanzania!!! Our efforts will focus on the village of Njiro. We are so thankful to all who made the party happen, attended the event, and donated so generously!

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Women’s Empowerment Event is a Huge Success!

On a cool summer in August, over one hundred Empower Tanzania supporters  gathered at Vivian’s Diner & Drinks in Des Moines to celebrate the work we’ve done and to help launch us into an even better, more ambitious tomorrow. Board members, staff members, volunteers, founders, and friends all gathered to share stories, bid on silent auction items, drink sangria, and eat a fabulous dinner curated by Vivian’s staff. Not only were we given the privilege of the sharing  stories of the people we serve in Tanzania, but together we raised over $10,000 for our women’s empowerment projects in rural Tanzania!! We are so grateful to all who attended and all who donated. So often we spend our time looking ahead to what we’ve yet to do, but the Women’s Empowerment Event allowed us to pause and celebrate the work our teams in the states and in Tanzania has done so faithfully over the years. To view an alum of photos from the event, click HERE.

Our incredible volunteers made this night happen:

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Notes from the field…

Note: We often ask our volunteers and supporters who travel to Tanzania and observe the work we do to share a bit about their experience. This reflection comes from Frances Murray Taylor who traveled to Tanzania as part of a small cohort in March of 2017.

I observed the training sessions for the women of the Improving Women’s Health Program. It was uplifting to see the more than 30 women who came, some with young children, to attend the training sessions. As each woman was introduced to the group of us representing Empower Tanzania, she gave us a snapshot version of the progress made in her community. The areas mentioned included family planning, money management, improved health, and enabling programs in the schools. I was told that two years ago, about half of the women were involved in community organizations but today more than three quarters raised their hands when asked how many were ward councilors in their communities. Because of this effort, almost 700,000 people had attended the training sessions they conducted using the information that they had learned. Malaria has dropped, more babies are being vaccinated, and hand washing has become a priority. Continue reading

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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Party with a Purpose: A Brewery Birthday

When Empower Tanzania supporter Jake and his sister-in-law Emily  were discussing their June birthday plans, the two decided to throw a party at one of their favorite local breweries and invite friends to bring a donation to Empower Tanzania rather than a gift.

Last Saturday, fifty people showed up and did just that, raising nearly $2,000 for Empower Tanzania.


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“Voluntourism” and the Well


I just returned from a visit to Tanzania with the non-profit I helped found eight years ago. My purpose on this trip was to be on the ground while we dug a well in a Maasai area that has never before had safe water to drink. Anticipating that well drilling does not always go exactly as expected, I wanted to be there to help make decisions on the fly. It turned out to be a good idea—we hit salt water in the first borehole and had to quickly negotiate an entirely new plan. But the truth is, other than that brief flash of activity, I didn’t do much on my visit except hug babies, laugh and dance with mamas, and show three Americans what our work is all about. Continue reading

What does a volunteer do?

Did you ever wonder what an ETI volunteer does on a visit to Tanzania?  Here is a peek into some of the things we did on the last visit.  Who knows, maybe this could be you!

Our three volunteers on this visit were Dr. Jeff Carithers, who manages the Improving Women’s Health Program (IWHP), Carol Putz, who was on her 5th trip, and is also involved in many activities in the Lutheran Church companionship, and Jean Morgan, who is an RN, and was there visiting for the first time.  In addition, ETI volunteer Justin Rewerts led a trip with his co-worker George Dugan to do some work repairing wells, and meet with Rotary about a potential water project.  This is Justin’s second ETI trip, and George’s first.



Justin (left) and George (right) arrived a week before we did, and got right to work.

The whole gang: left to right, Eli Kisimbo, Phil Latessa, Jean Morgan, Sheri Krumm, Jeff Carithers, Elias Leasa, and Carol Putz

The whole gang: left to right, Eli Kisimbo, Phil Latessa, Jean Morgan, Sheri Krumm, Jeff Carithers, Elias Leasa, and Carol Putz


Dr. Jeff, Phil and Efrancia discuss the IWHP Training Workshop


Jean got to do a little hand’s on work at a local clinic


Ah, the Community Health Educators do love their Dr. Jeff!!


Jean was able to collect some supplies from the Mercy Medical Center in Clinton, Iowa, where she works. She brought them over and presented them at the Same Hospital to some VERY grateful nurses


Yes, we use this too!


Carol and Jean did some traveling around to learn more about this part of Tanzania.  The day included seeing this waterfall, which they drove up to after this pic was taken.


One thing our volunteers love about this trip is how much exposure they get to everyday life. We get WAY off the beaten path, sometimes, and it allows a glimpse into something the tourists just never see.  Reality.


Visiting a local market is always a favorite


Until you have been presented with a kanga, and are the object of all the singing and dancing, you simply cannot imagine how much fun it is!


Getting to know women in a totally different culture, like the Maasai, was a big part of Jean’s experience. This visit to the Pangaro Women’s Health Clinic included way more than just seeing a clinic. It was also about making new friends.


You haven’t traveled in Tanzania until you’ve been packed like sardines inside a Land Cruiser. We decided this one could have held at least 6 more people and a goat!


Carol was extremely helpful in our visits to Palliative Care sites and our discussions about how things were going, and what could be improved. She also participated in conversations re: gender based violence, where her background as a family counselor really made a difference.


Seriously? Would we even think of bringing volunteers to Tanzania without visiting a game park? I don’t think so!


Who doesn’t love a bibi (grandmother)? Apparently not Pendo…she adored hanging out with bibi Jean.


I think they had a good time!

If you are interested in getting involved, just contact Sheri Krumm at sheri@empowertz.org.

Penny Dickey

Penny Dickey has a relatively long and involved history with ETI, and has become someone we know we can depend on for insight and ideas when we are working on projects that deal with women’s health.

Penny Dickey in front of the newly opened Nadururu Clinic

First as a nurse, and currently as the COO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Penny has always had the health and well-being of women as a major theme in her life.  Her years of professional experience as well as her practical nature make her a valuable part of the team here at ETI.

A veteran of several trips to Tanzania to work on the Palliative Care Project and the Safe Motherhood Project, Penny has a great understanding of the situations we face as we try to find ways to improve the lives and health of women and their families.  She also has the added benefit of being a riot to travel with, and willing to dive headfirst into any adventure you throw her way!

THANK YOU to volunteer Penny Dickey.  We wouldn’t be as good without you!