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:

Before sitting down to dinner, guests enjoyed appetizers, sangria, and a new video produced by ETI highlighting our work towards women’s empowerment in Tanzania:

Dinner was outstanding and as people finished their dessert, we were thrilled for the opportunity to thank our honorary hosts, Dr. Jeff and Ali Carithers:

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

What to read this month

The range of experience and talent among our volunteers, supporters, and staff is remarkable. We have doctors and nurses who offer time and expertise, business men and women who share strategy and best practices, accountants who donate talent and number sense, CEOs who offer experience and leadership , educators who lend theory and know-how … and the list goes on. This month, we’re highlighting two staff members who have shared the work of Empower Tanzania through the written word and have both published books about development, international aid work, and a sense of justice. We are proud of all of our top-notch staff and volunteers and are pleased to celebrate the literary accomplishments of our Executive Director and Director of Communications & Development here!

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.

Continue reading

Health Programs Update: Tackling a Taboo

Empower Tanzania works to build safe environments for young women to flourish. This includes allowing them the access to resources they need to be successful. Due to a generous donation from the Des Moines-based group named Half the Sky, we have been able to expand our programs in meaningful, exciting, and synergetic ways!


In Tanzania, it is taboo to discuss menstruation, urinary tract health, and menstrual hygiene. When a girl begins puberty, she often don’t understand what is happening to her body and is unsure of how to handle it properly. Disposable menstrual pads are expensive and, because of the expense, household rags are commonly used instead. These rags are ineffective and often lead to leakage and embarrassment. Frequent school absences and high dropout rates among girls often follow. In hopes of remedying this problem, Empower Tanzania has partnered with Days for Girls, an organization working in 100 countries that provides training on the production of reusable menstrual pads. This is an effective and inexpensive alternative to the more commonly used rags, leaves, moss, or disposable pads. Continue reading

What can Empower Tanzania do with $1,000? A guest post from a supporter who believes in the power of one…

Sometimes, when we are moved to make a difference, we’re stopped by the idea that there is little we can do that will actually matter. We think, “Really? Who am I? What difference can my tiny contribution make?

Well, Empower Tanzania board member Sheri Krumm is blogging today with a great example of the power of one individual and how little acts of love can add up to something that does indeed matter…in a very big way!

Sheri's-Party-with-a-Purpose copy

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Integrated Farming class of 2014!!!

Empower Tanzania’s EPIC Integrated Farming Project doubled in size this week as the first annual new farmer training took place in Hedaru!  Twenty-one new farmers attended the three day seminar to learn how to prepare to receive their new dairy goats in July.  Topics covered included care and feeding of the goats, how to breed them and deliver the kids, and how to take care of the medical needs of the animals.  There was also extensive training in the specialized construction of the pens that allow the goats to live in a healthy environment, and allow the farmers to harvest the manure for composting. Continue reading

Iowa ~ Tanzania Summit Agenda


3rd Annual Iowa – Tanzania Summit

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Des Moines Marriott, Des Moines, Iowa
Salon D, 2nd floor


Greetings From the World Food Prize (will attend as his schedule permits)
Kenneth Quinn, President, WFP
1:00 – 1:30 – Registration and Poster Session
1:30 – 1:35 – Opening Song
Mr. Simon Estes
1:35 – 1:45 – Welcome
Phil Latessa, Executive Director, Empower Tanzania Inc.
1:45 – 1:55 – 5,000 Points of Light Honoree
Floyd Hammer, President & Kathy Hammer, Secretary/Treasurer
Outreach Inc.
1:55 – 2:00 – Speaker Introductions
Todd Byerly, Vice President, Empower Tanzania Inc.
2:00 – 2:30 – The Tanzanian Horticultural Assoc. Origin and Progress
Ms. Jacqueline Mkindi, Chief Executive, TZ Horticultural Assoc.
2:30 – 3:00 – Improving Women’s Health Program – A Model for Large Scale Public Health Education
Jeff Carithers, MD, FACS
3:00 – 3:30 – God’s Work, Our Hands
The Rev. Dr. Michael A. Last,  Western Iowa Synod
3:30 – 4:00 – Worldwide Malaria Campaign
Mr. Simon Estes
4:00 – 4:30 – Questions, Discussions and Announcements:  Audience Program Initiatives
* * * * * Adjourn for Networking Reception* * * * *

Your Speakers:

ImageFloyd and Kathy Hammer

Floyd and Kathy live on their farm at Union, Iowa.  They have 5 children and 7 grandchildren.  They retired from successful business careers and have transferred that business knowledge and experience to Outreach operations.  They work to provide safe water, food, medical care, education and opportunity to children and families at home and abroad.

Floyd and Kathy founded Outreach, inc., an Iowa not-for-profit 501c3 corporation in 2004, following a volunteer mission to Tanzania, East Africa.




  • Non-sectarian serving children and families of all faiths
  • Registered International NGO
  • Four Star Charity Navigator rated
  • Conducts packaging events in Iowa, across America, and in Canada
  • Develops, repairs, and installs water systems
  • Builds and operates Children’s Centers
  • Conducts international medical missions
  • Constructed Gunda Secondary School
  • Developing 10-year agricultural sisal research program at their Shallom Farm with American and International Universities and Corporate Partners
  • Outreach has provided ingredients and packaged more than 233 million meals, distributed free of charge here at home, and overseas.
  • Outreach has developed two new meal formulations (Mac & Cheese/Beans & Rice) to match American tastes in cooperation with Iowa State University Food Sciences, AARP, and Feeding America.  These new meals meet USDA/RDA guidelines, and they really do taste good!
  • Visit www.outreachprogram.org to learn how you can get involved in attacking the hunger insecurity in America and overseas.


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Jacqueline Mkindi

Jacqueline Mkindi is a Development Manager, specialized in Business and Trade, and also an agri-preneur. She has risen from various positions in the Private Sector to the level of Executive Director/CEO in the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA), an apex body promoting and developing Tanzania horticulture with the major focus on flowers, fruits, vegetables, seeds, spices and herbs value chains across the country (Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar). Jacqueline has provided strong leadership in shaping and transforming the industry, which is now reckoned as the fastest growing agriculture sub-sector in Tanzania, attracting investments from both the locals and the Multinationals.

She has been very instrumental in creating and facilitating strong partnerships with the Government of Tanzania and Development Partners such as USAID, EU, BEST-AC, ITC, FINNISH GOVERNMENT, to mention but a few, through strategic advocacy and meaningful dialogue with partners with the aim of supporting the industry value chains and addressing critical challenges facing the industry. She has participated in a number of trade negotiations particularly on EAC, SADC, ECOWAS, EU and also on trade issues governing trade relationship between African countries and United States of America. By being on the advisory board of regional and international platforms, Jacqueline also supports the work of such instruments like International Agriculture Research Institution (IAGRI), German Marshall Fund of the United States Center of Excellence for Transformational Partnerships, not to forget national technical platforms advising the government on key issues around agriculture transformation agenda in the country.

In recognition of her role and involvement in the agriculture development of Tanzania, Jacqueline received ‘’A woman of determination” role modal Award, 2011, in supporting the SMEs in Tanzania during the Private Sector commemoration of the Tanzania 50th Years of independence, in Sept. 2011.  She was also nominated to join other Young African Leaders on the President’s Obama Young African Leaders Mentoring Program, 2012. Ms. Mkindi is a holder of a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI) and Bsc. Forestry and Nature Conservation from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro, Tanzania (Department of Forestry And Nature Conservation).



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Jeffrey Carithers, MD, FACS

Dr. Carithers is a retired facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is an active volunteer with Empower Tanzania.  For nearly 10 years during his medical career he was involved in a program to perform pro bono reconstructive surgery for victims of domestic violence who had suffered facial fractures, scarring and disfigurement from their abusers.  He has served on the Iowa Governor’s Healthcare Subcommittee on Domestic Violence and the Iowa Governor’s Task Force for Domestic Violence Prevention.  He received a Presidential Citation from the Iowa Medical Society for his work in this field.

Teaching and research have also been areas of focus for Dr. Carithers who served as Clinical Instructor at The Ohio State University and Assistant Clinical Professor in the University of Iowa Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.   He has published a number of scientific research papers in his field and lectured extensively.

He grew up in rural Iowa and received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University followed by a medical degree from the University of Iowa.  After a general surgery internship at Iowa Methodist Medical Center he did residency training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at The Ohio State University.  He then completed a fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery through the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery before moving to Des Moines to practice that specialty.

Now retired on a farm in Virginia with his wife, Ali, a retired interior design professor at Drake University, he enjoys blacksmithing, sculpture and growing wildflowers for seed harvest.  It is safe to say, however, that his passion is his work with Empower Tanzania.  He works closely with Empower Tanzania Executive Director Phil Latessa on programs for Maasai healthcare, public health education and gender-based violence prevention.  He and collaborator Gwantwa Mwakalundwa, MD have also produced 24 public health education videos with the assistance of Farma Mohamed and videographer Mark Burnham and Fatma for use by Empower Tanzania and other non-profit organizations.




Rev. Dr. Michael A. Last

Rev. Last is currently a Global Mission Traveler/Mission interpreter for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He was formerly Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod, ELCA.  He is an extensive traveler in Tanzania and Chili, and was the co-initiator of Hatua Kwa Hatua (Step by Step) with the Southern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT).  Hatua Kwa Hatua has evolved four primary  initiatives:  well drilling, education, medical and agriculture, impacting hundreds of thousands of individuals both in Tanzania and in Iowa.

Rev. Dr. Last has a B.A. from William Penn University, M. Div. from Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary and a D. Min. from The Graduate Theological Foundation.





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Simon Estes has performed in all of the worlds major Opera Houses such as; Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Chicago Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, La Scala in Milan, Paris Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Deutsche Opera in Berlin, Hamburg State Opera House, Munich, Vienna State Opera and others.  Mr. Estes has performed more than 100 roles of which he is most famous for are; The Flying Dutchman, King Phillip, Escamillo, Wotan, Porgy, Amfortas, Boris Godunov, Attila and Nabucco.  He has sung under the baton of the world’s most famous conductors.  Mr. Estes has sung for six Presidents of the United States including the current President Barack Obama. Mr. Estes has also sung for many kings, queens and notable leaders around the world including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Simon Estes is the only singer to have sung for both the 25th and 50th Anniversary Concerts of the United Nations, in which he sang Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in San Francisco and New York City, respectively.

Notable artists Mr. Estes has performed with are:  Grace Bumbry, Monserrat Caballe, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Brigit Nilsson, Jessye Norman, Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland, Shirley Verrett, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Whitney Houston, Danny Kaye, Barry Manilow, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn and others.

Dr. Estes has founded The Simon Estes Educational Foundation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, The Simon Estes Foundation in Iowa, The Simon Estes Scholarship Funds in both Wartburg College and Iowa State University, The Simon and Westella Estes Scholarship in Centerville, Iowa and The Simon Estes International Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland.


Mr. Estes’ first degree was a Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa.

In the summer of 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Siena College, NY,

In the spring of 1991 a Doctor of Music Degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and

In spring of 1994 an Honorary Doctorate from The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

In July, 1996, he received from the Governor of Iowa The Iowan Award, the State’s highest honor that has been given only thirteen times since its inception more than 40 years ago.

In the spring of 1997 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Iowa State University in Ames and in spring of 1998 from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

In 1999 The College of Medicine at University of Iowa designated Simon Estes as advocate of health and education for children and youth.



Today, as an employee of Empower Tanzania, I want to give a shout out to my boss, and our Executive Director, Phil Latessa.  Phil works tirelessly for far less pay than he is worth, out of passion for our mission. I think I speak for all of us when I say he leads us with a very experienced and graceful hand and we would follow him anywhere.  When I read this article, I couldn’t resist posting a little praise and recognition …he is the poster child for what John Maxwell is talking about when he describes a great leader!

Sheri Krumm
Development Coordinator and Chief Water Wench
Empower Tanzania, U.S.

Phil Latessa is our Executive Director of ETI

Phil Latessa is our Executive Director of ETI






JULY 10, 2013

“Followers are attracted to people who are better leaders than themselves.”1

This concept seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Leaders want to follow those who are better leaders than themselves.

According to John Maxwell in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, when a group first comes together, leaders tend to focus on what is natural for them – leading. Eventually, people change direction to follow the strongest leaders. From there, people naturally align with and follow leaders stronger than themselves.

“When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.”2

Each of us desires respect. And as leaders, each of us wants to be followed. Today, we are highlighting the top six ways that leaders gain others’ respect:

1. Natural Leadership Ability
“Some people are born with greater skills and ability to lead than others. All leaders are not created equal.”3

People with natural leadership ability draw others to them. However, relying strictly on talent can be a downfall for leaders. If you recognize your natural abilities and hone them daily, your organization and followership will benefit.

2. Respect for Others
“When leaders show respect for others-especially for people who have less power or a lower position than theirs–they gain respect from others.”4

People desire respect from those around them. If a follower is to be led, they will inherently choose to be led by someone who demonstrates mutual respect.

3. Courage
“A leader’s courage has great value: it gives followers hope.”5

In moments of difficulty, courage can set a leader apart. Courageous people will gain respect from followers because of their willingness to stand alone on their values, despite the criticism they may receive.

4. Success
“People respect others’ accomplishments. And it’s hard to argue with a good track record.”6

When we see a good track record, we tend to believe it can be done again. Often, this is a correct assumption. Followers respect leaders who have proved themselves in the past and want to be a part of that particular leader’s future.

5. Loyalty
“When leaders stick with the team until the job is done, remain loyal to the organization when the going gets rough, and look out for followers even when it hurts them, followers respect them and their actions.”6

Today’s culture is one of constant change and transition. It’s a “me” culture instead of a “we” culture. When team members commit to following a leader, they want to know that they are following someone who is in it for the long haul and for the benefit of the whole team. Loyalty to the organization creates followers’ loyalty to a leader.

6. Value Added to Others
“You can be sure that followers value leaders who add value to them. And their respect for them carries on long after the relationship has ended.”7

Leaders add value to an organization and to their followers by serving those around them. When followers benefit from being associated with a leader, they’ll want to advance alongside him or her. There is no doubt that people desire to win. What better way to win than with a leader you respect?

In evaluating these six ways to gain others’ respect, where do you see yourself? You can evaluate how much respect you have as a leader by first looking at who you attract and then seeing how people respond when you ask for a commitment or change.