Kamanga Health Centre welcomes Jamar!

Joyce holds her baby closely and her smile dazzles the camera. She has reason to be so joyous. Only four days after Kamanga Health Centre opened its doors to patients, Joyce rushed to KHC in an emergency, and delivered her healthy 3.5kg baby boy in the early hours of 29th of January 2018.

Joyce had her pre-natal checks at one of the main hospitals in Mwanza. It had been her plan to deliver her baby there too. But it seems little Jamar had other plans. Her labour pains started in the middle of the night. And like every pregnant woman in Kamanga, Joyce faced the possibility of delivering her baby at home or at a dispensary, that she felt had not been adequate enough even to give her prenatal check-ups.

As usual there were no ferries available at that hour to get her across Lake Victoria to Mwanza town and to the hospital that she had originally planned to deliver at. What could she do?

The options she considered were to either pay 50,000 TZ shillings, for some half a month’s worth of wages, to a fisherman to take her across the lake, or to pay a similar amount to a taxi driver to take her to Sengerema Hospital, an hour’s drive away from Kamanga. None of these were affordable options for her, and anyway her baby was coming any moment. But for four days, Joyce had heard of another option; Kamanga Health Centre!

She gathered her things and without waiting for her mother to accompany her, Joyce started walking the forty minute walk, to Kamanga Health Centre.

Laurence, one of KHC's resident medical technicians and nurses, received a very tired Joyce just before 1am. He led her to the brand new delivery room and after only an hour’s labour, Joyce held her healthy son Jamar in her arms.

It was stories of mothers losing their lives or the lives of their babies, en route to either Sengerema hospital or Mwanza town, that spurred Cedar Tanzania to build Kamanga Health Centre at the coast line of Lake Victoria, to try and ensure that such losses do not happen again.

To date Kamanga Health Centre has seen 14 safe deliveries. That’s fourteen mothers and fourteen babies that have been saved because of the presence of Kamanga Health Centre.

We thank all those that have funded this first phase of construction of Kamanga Health Centre. You have changed lives!

Meet Vivian Nordquist

Hello everyone, my name is Vivian Nordquist. I am from Germany and have a Master’s degree in International Cultural and Business Studies. I will stay in Mwanza for three years, due to my partner’s job placement. I love travelling and literature and I am looking forward to my time in Tanzania.

Vivian, what is your role at Cedar Tanzania?

I am volunteering as a projects and communications assistant and am also involved in funding applications and event planning.

What inspired you to volunteer with the Cedar Foundation? 

Upon arrival in Mwanza, I knew that I wanted to work for an organisation in the development sector. I was very lucky to have found the Cedar Foundation rather quickly as I really admire their approach. I am grateful that they gave me the opportunity to volunteer with them.

How long is your volunteer placement?

My volunteer placement is initially for three months. But if it is successfully extended then I hope to continue to support the Cedar team as much as possible, in any way they need assistance and also learn new things and expand my knowledge, especially in the areas of funding, project management and event planning.

What things have you found surprising?

I found it surprising how quickly I felt part of the team. I believe this is due to the very warm welcome the whole team gave me, their openness and the positive working atmosphere.

What things have you enjoyed? 

Firstly, I enjoy being part of such a wonderful team. And secondly, one of the most special things for me so far has been being part of the opening ceremony of the Kamanga Health Centre and seeing all the work and effort that the whole team contributed to its success. Seeing the progress that is being made and being able to contribute something to it, is very satisfying.

What things have challenged you so far?

Being a rather punctual person, it is quite challenging to realize that the clocks tick differently in Tanzania and to adapt to that. I hope I will get used to it at some point!

Would you recommend this volunteer scheme to others?

Yes absolutely! It is a great opportunity to be part of something meaningful and to support the wonderful work the Cedar Foundation is doing.

What would you say to anyone who said that they could not volunteer because they didn't have a skill to offer.

I believe everybody has something to offer and to contribute. The variety of Cedar’s projects offer a broad range of tasks, so everyone can be involved as long as they are interested, motivated and passionate about what they are doing.




Kamanga Health Centre receives an honoured guest

Ms.Ummy Mwalimu Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, honoured Kamanga Health Centre with a visit, on the 26th of January, one day after KHC opened its doors to patients. She was accompanied by Sengerema's Regional Commissioner Mr. V.K Mongella as well as top officials from Sengerema District Council. 

Mark O'Sullivan, the Director of Cedar Tanzania and Paulina Urassa, the Manager of Kamanga Health Centre, showed the Minister the beautiful brand new buildings and grounds.

"This is good,' said the Minister of Health, "It's really good!" she exclaimed again, as she saw the labour and delivery rooms of the Health Centre.

Mark O'Sullivan was able to share Cedar Tanzania's plans to develop the Health Centre into a hospital. The Minister reassured O'Sullivan that moving forward both Sengerema District Council and Cedar Tanzania would continue to follow the model of Public-Private Partnership, with both parties contributing equally to the phase 2 of any future construction.

We look forward to continuing our work together with Sengerema District Council and the Tanzanian Government in our Public-Private Partnership. There is a lot to still accomplish together in the Nyamatongo Ward but the future is looking bright!

Thank you!

“Thank you!” Simple words but once spoken can gladden the heart in an instant.

Before Cedar Tanzania took its Christmas break last year, its field officers and Project Manager decided to say those exact words to the Community Activists from Kamanga village’s SASA! project.

It was a cool December day when the 25 community Activists attended the meeting at the gardens of the Cedar office in Kamanga. The Cedar Team led a review of the CAs wonderful work of bringing awareness to the village, on issues of imbalances of power between men and women and how such imbalances can lead to the spreading of HIV/AIDS.

Apart from discussing what went well in 2017, the Cedar Team also heard the challenges that the CAs encountered, and together they explored solutions towards those challenges. It was encouraging to hear the goals that the CAs had for the upcoming year and the speech from the CAs Chairlady helped encourage and motivate the team towards doing even more community activities in 2018.

One such community event is planned for early February. The CAs, in collaboration with the Cedar field staff, will organise 16 days of activism in Kamanga village. They will facilitate discussions on the topic of power imbalances between men and women and they will also give drama performances, all with the aim of advocating the rights of women and girls and happier families.

With the discussions over it was time for the party! Music began to play and the food was brought out. The cedar team and the Community Activits were honoured by the village’s Chairlady who came especially to the meeting to hand out the gifts to the deserving CAs.

All of Cedar Tanzania’s Community Activists dedicate their time to spreading the word about the issues of women empowerment in Kamanga village. They strive to do this in non judgmental ways and are motivated to facilitate such discussions in a community where these issues are not normally openly discussed. They do an amazing job and we are so thankful for them!