Teen Pregnancy in Tanzania

Education Programs Director Yoeza Mbonea Mnzava has been involved in working on a solution to the on-going and critical issue of “early childhood pregnancy” in the Same District. Out of the five districts in the Kilimanjaro Region, Same (where Empower Tanzania is based) ranks first in childhood pregnancies for girls in primary and secondary schools based on data collected in 2017. Currently, government officials and local partners (like Empower Tanzania) are working together to seek solutions. One solution is to provide education to both parents and students.

Same District (pronounce sah-may) is highlighted in red. The Empower Tanzania office is based in Same and it is where we conduct most of our programming.

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From the Field: A Report from Chief Kiboko

We love sharing reports from our program managers, participants, and stakeholders in Tanzania. What follows is from Chief Kiboko (pictured below), a Maasai chief, longtime partner, and advocate for social good. We have worked closely with Chief Koboko over the years as we have established and implemented the Community-Hospital Alliance Program. Below is an exciting glimpse of his most recent report from the field:

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Ten Things to Know About CHAP (Part I)

Have you ever wondered how health programs in sub-Saharan Africa actually work? This blog post is part of a series that will take a closer look at our Community-Hospital Alliance Program (CHAP). In just over one year, CHAP has reached over 10,000 people in rural Tanzania and continues to be an integral response to the lack of access to healthcare in this impoverished nation.

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CHAP = Community-Hospital Alliance Program

A Community Health Worker in the new CHAP program learns to take a blood pressure.

A Community Health Worker in the new CHAP program learns to take a blood pressure.

At Empower Tanzania we believe that education changes everything. 

We also have a mission to serve the most vulnerable populations in Tanzania, the people in the extreme rural areas.  Nowhere do these two beliefs come together more than in our newest health program, CHAP.

The Community-Hospital Alliance Program, or CHAP, is a joint effort between Empower Tanzania and Global Health Administration Partners, a program of non-profit Global Health Ministries, that works to enhance administrative practices in medical facilities in Tanzania and elsewhere. Continue reading

The Impact of Improving Women’s Health

woman holding a baby suffering from Malaria.  Malaria is responsible for over 60,000 deaths in Tanzania per year, and is the leading cause of death in children under 5, and pregnant women.

A mother holds a baby suffering from Malaria. Malaria is responsible for over 60,000 deaths in Tanzania per year, and is the leading cause of death in children under 5.


When you donate your hard earned money to a non-profit like Empower Tanzania, you want to know if it made a difference.  Isn’t that what we all want?  To do something significant to improve our world?  Here is a program that is blowing even our minds with its effectiveness and impact! Continue reading

Why Do I Work on Water?

My name is Sheri, and I am known as Mama Maji (mama water) in the Kilimanjaro Region of NE Tanzania, because I have a passion for water projects.  I’m shameless in my requests to anyone who will listen, to help fund Empower Tanzania’s water projects. If I’ve never asked you for money, it’s only because I haven’t had a chance yet!

Finding funding to finance water projects is not easy.  Questions like ”who will take care of maintenance?” and “can’t you add more to it, like an agriculture project, to make it worth the investment?” are valid, and I do think about those questions a lot.  However, they completely miss the reason I do this work.

Safe water is a basic human need.

Two years ago, on my way home from visiting several project sites out in the bush in rural Tanzania, the group I was traveling with decided to stop at what appeared to be a random little village housing area.  We had just had a great day with a lot accomplished and much laughing and singing.  It was almost dark, and this stop wasn’t on the schedule.


I asked why we were stopping. They hesitated a little, and then said that a young girl had died, and we needed to visit the family. In Tanzania, it is hot, and bodies are not embalmed.  If you die on Monday, the visitation is Monday night and the funeral is Tuesday.  Most people die in their homes, and it is cultural for everyone to drop everything to go visit the family.  So we did.

The little girl was two, and she had died of diarrhea.  Somehow, she got hold of some un-boiled water, and was thirsty, so she took a drink.  That’s what 2-year olds do.  Her mother didn’t know how to treat it, so 24 hours later, she was sitting on the bed in the bedroom, wailing over the loss of her baby, surrounded by a village full of people who completely understood.  This is not uncommon.

I tried to imagine what my life would have been if my children had faced this kind of danger on a daily basis; if all our children in the U.S. faced this kind of daily danger. 


-Would it be a national emergency?
-Would it affect how much I allow myself to dream about my child’s future?
-Would I be able to love my child freely, knowing he could be snatched away at any moment?

I didn’t know this woman, or this child, but I held her hand and I cried.  I cried because of the ridiculousness of it all, and because I couldn’t imagine that I would be strong enough to do what these people do every day.

And then I committed, one more time, to keep working on finding clean water for these people, and teaching them to respond to waterborne disease when it strikes.  I do it, because that girl has a sister, and that sister doesn’t need to die.


Latrines!  How many of us get excited about them?

If you are one of the people attending the Safe Motherhood Clinics in the remote Maasai area of Nadururu in Tanzania, YOU get excited about a latrine, because there wasn’t one….and soon there will be.

The first Safe Motherhood Clinic at Nadururu

The first Safe Motherhood Clinic at Nadururu

Construction began last week, and is coming along beautifully, due to be completed soon.

The clinic latrines, under construction at Nadururu

The clinic latrines, under construction at Nadururu

The mud bricks are made by hand and fired locally, and the contribution of the local people is to bring water, which is no small job, considering that most water is miles away, and typically shared by the crocodiles or rock pythons, both capable of eating small goats!

What you are looking at here is probably one of the more expensive parts of the building.  Those simple metal roofs are stunningly expensive, as they all have to be imported, or at the very least trucked in from the city at $8 a gallon for diesel.

The next step will be to install the sinks, pipes etc.  Until a much larger water project is done out there, they will haul the water in buckets for clinic days and flush with a dipper of water.  It works quite well, as these will have “squatty potties”, which are floor basins that flush well on less than a quart of water.

When all of that is done, they will plaster and paint the building, and it will be beautiful!


Notice that the ladders and braces used for this project are made from local wood, cut down and put together by hand, some of it right here on the spot.  We are frequently reminded that until about 100 years ago, this was a stone-age culture and they made literally everything they had from the land around them.  They have not forgotten how to take advantage of their environment for many of their needs and are quite creative. Even the doors were likely made by a local carpenter in a nearby town.

At any one time in Tanzania, over 1/2 the population has intestinal parasites, so you can imagine the workout this latrine will get on clinic day. Thanks go out to all the donors who helped to make this building possible.  It will be very appreciated!

Keep the mothers and children healthy, and you change the whole community.

Keep the mothers and children healthy, and you change the whole community.


Pangaro Clinic Opens!

Pangaro Hoye!!  We aren’t certain of the exact translation, but it is clearly a rallying cry to the people of Pangaro, because we heard it a lot at the recent opening of their new Safe Motherhood Clinic!

The brand new Pangaro Clinic in the Mwanga District of Tanzania

This clinic has been under construction during 2012, modeled after the first Safe Motherhood Clinic at Nadururu in 2011.  These clinics are being put in extreme remote areas, populated primarily by Maasai people who have little access to health care.  There is an extremely high maternal mortality rate in these remote areas, because the women often get no prenatal care, and the 5-20 mile walk to the clinics or medical centers means most of them traditionally deliver babies in their homes with untrained midwives.

Having children is risky business for Maasai women.

ETI sought private funding for this clinic, and for $12,000, was able to build the building and supply it with basic equipment needed for a clinic day, as well as delivering babies.  Local women were trained as midwives, and an agreement was drawn up with the nearby medical center to come out and hold a clinic day once a month for prenatal and postnatal care.

Time for the tour, and EVERYONE wanted to go inside at once!

A group of girls dancing in to ask us to keep working out at Pangaro

Needless to say, the people of Pangaro were EXCITED to see the clinic open!  The day was full of dancing and singing and thanking the many people who came to help celebrate the success of the project.  There were District Government officials as well as local government officials, people representing the Pare Diocese, the nearby schools and medical center, Rotary Club, and of course, Empower Tanzania.

The unveiling of the cornerstone at the clinic was quite a deal!

There was a ribbon cutting for the actual clinic, but in addition, we were able to also dedicate a large tank and rainwater collection system, funded by Rotary Club of Des Moines and the Same Rotary Club.  As there is currently no working well in the area, this is their only close source of water, and vitally important to the project.

Rotary of Des Moines paid to put in a rainwater harvesting system, which is much needed for the clinic.

The delegation from ETI included Phil Latessa, Sheri Krumm, Susan Stocker and Dr. Jeff Carithers, who along with his wife Ali, was the major funder for this clinic.  At the end of the day, we were hot, tired, and completely happy!  It was truly a fabulous celebration of a fabulous project.

Jeff, Sheri and Phil, decked out in our Maasai robes

Susan with one of the officials from the Mwanga District Government

Phil and Jeff….yes, they’re happy!