Football in ACTion! By Nina Hjortlund

‘Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there’ Bo Jackson

We have set our goal, and we are almost halfway there already. We are not stopping until we get all the way! 

The 1st of July we launched our ‘Football in ACTion’ campaign. Our goal is to be able to take 400 teenagers through a full year of sexual health education taught using football drills.

We are using Tackle Africa’s amazing format that we did a pilot on last year over a 3 month period.

This year we are building and expanding on those experiences training 20 local coaches in the specific methodology and specialised drills utilised in the Tackle Africa programme.

We don’t just teach in between breaks in a football game. We use the specialised football drills as visual aids to exemplify consequences of good versus poor decision making, whilst creating a safe and welcoming environment to discuss and ask about sensitive subjects.

Sex, menstruation and Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) are not often spoken about in families in Tanzania. HIV/AIDS is now the biggest killer of Tanzanian adolescents between 15-24 years old. Young girls get coerced into sex in return for gifts or favours and this has resulted in high teen pregnancies. In Tanzania, a pregnant teenage girl can no longer continue her education.

STIs are not a subject that is widely spoken about and as a consequence most teenagers don’t know the symptoms or how to effectively prevent themselves from getting them.

Many teenagers have no knowledge about menstruation and what it means, and some girls get shocked the first time it happens to them. Oftentimes young girls miss out on school while having their period due to lack of hygienic washrooms and lack of affordable pads.

Football in ACTion changes the level of knowledge and encourages all participants to know their HIV status. Only once your status is known is it possible to seek counselling and treatment, and learn how to prevent passing it on to others.

Changing the lives of these young boys and girls begins with you! Our goal doesn’t come without a price tag. It costs only AUD $30 to take one teenager through this programme for a full year. Our goal is to raise enough money to take 400 children through this programme which amounts to AUD $12,000

With you, and other fantastic supporters, we are nearly halfway there. If you, your neighbour, your work colleagues, your nephew or aunty, your school class or local soccer club would like to help us reach our goal you can do so by supporting us here:

https://chuffed.org/project/football-in-action

Every time you sponsor three children you can choose to get a ticket in the draw of our two amazing prizes: 

A Juventus 2018/19 team signed t-shirt including Ronaldo and Dybala

A Juventus 2018/19 team signed t-shirt including Ronaldo and Dybala

A Manchester United t-shirt signed by Beckham

A Manchester United t-shirt signed by Beckham

Handing over the reins. By Claire Michelotti

The Cedar Foundation Tanzania will soon be bidding farewell to its Executive Director, Claire Michelotti, as she finishes her time with us. Read now and see what she has to say about the joys and challenges of heading up a non for profit in Tanzania.

Hello everyone!

I’m Claire and I have been working as Executive Director of Cedar Tanzania for just over a year and a half (since January 2018).  Prior to that I was the Operations and Funding Manager from when the organisation began in 2014.

What part of the job have you most enjoyed?

That’s easy – the people. It may sound cheesy but working with a team of inspiring, energised and enthusiastic people is infectious and is what has made this job so incredible for five years. The nature of our work as a development organisation can be hard, and there are days where progress does not happen as fast as one would wish.  Working with a team of passionate individuals who persevere in the face of adversity makes all the difference and has been awe inspiring. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the team, not just professionally but about life in general too.

What part of your job has most flummoxed you?

Kiswahili flummoxes me daily!  Although this doesn’t stop me from trying and subsequently sounding like an idiot on a regular basis! After five years of being here, I had high hopes of being close to fluent by this time, but embarrassingly I am nowhere near. Luckily people here are very understanding and appreciate it if you try. Plus my pigeon Swahili has conveniently broken the ice on a number of occasions so it’s not all bad.

What has been most challenging for you leading a non-profit in Tanzania?

One of hardest parts of the job I think is working out where it is appropriate for Cedar Tanzania to step in and help a person or a situation directly, and where we should step back and instead try to empower a community or an institution to step in.  Oxfam’s campaign based on the saying "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime’ is an approach that runs through Cedar Tanzania. This is the only way that we will reach our goal of helping people help themselves in a sustainable way. However, this approach takes time, and when you’re in a place where life can be brutal and unforgiving and where there is suffering, it can be very hard not to want to help directly. As such, although our overall approach to development is to build capacity, we sometimes do also step in and help directly if we deem it appropriate. The process of establishing this however can be difficult and painful, especially if the outcome is not to reach out directly.

What will you miss most about working at Cedar Tanzania?

Apart from missing the Cedar Tanzania team, I will of course miss the people from the communities we serve. I will never forget the elegance, strength, humour and hospitality of the community members I have met and known since being here, despite some of the heart wrenching challenges they face.

Weirdly enough, I will also miss the chaotic and unpredictable nature of the job – like when a law is introduced overnight and you have to put things in place quickly to comply as an organisation, or when we have to deal with crocodiles on the shores of the lake close to the health centre. Obviously, these things are also challenges, but they make the job exciting and different which I enjoy immensely. 

Can you write a brief introduction of the three managers that will be replacing you?  

Please meet the three formidable individuals who will be replacing me – Paulina, Vivian and Caroline. 

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Paulina will be Director of Health Programmes, leading on all aspects related to healthcare including the significant task of overseeing Kamanga Health Centre.

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Vivian will be Director of Projects assuming responsibility for our broad portfolio of field projects.

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Finally, Caroline will preside over central office functions including finance, HR, communications and fundraising as Director of Central Operations. We are very fortunate to have these three inspiring women on board and I am excited about Cedar Tanzania’s future with them leading the way!

Why three?

Well, three is the magic number no?

Jokes aside, when I started working at Cedar Tanzania, we were just starting out. As is common in many start-ups, people’s roles were typically broad and covered a number of aspects – including mine. The size of the organisation meant I was able to work across multiple areas, from project work to fundraising, from finance to operational delivery. However, as the organisation has grown, the workload has equally grown and I think we have now reached a point where my role can easily be split between three clearly defined roles.

The other reason is because we had three very talented people whose strengths were in different areas and who complemented each other beautifully. It made sense to give all three more responsibility so they could work as a team and support each other.   

And what of Mark O’Sullivan? Is he still around?

Oh yes, he is definitely still around! As our intrepid founder and Country Director, he is key in ensuring that we continue to deliver our work with vigour and flair! I have no doubt that Mark and the three new directors will take Cedar Tanzania to new and exciting places!

What legacy do you think you will leave behind?

Wow that’s a hard one. Hopefully a tidy desk although I haven’t got there yet!

None of what will remain when I leave Cedar Tanzania has been as a result of just my work – it’s all been because of team-work so it’s not strictly ‘my’ legacy. However, I’ll admit I feel happy at the thought of leaving an organisation that is growing and thriving, much like the communities we work in. I suppose I also feel a certain sense of achievement when I think that now, there is a health centre providing key healthcare services to people in a place that badly needed one five years ago.   

What are your hopes for Cedar Tanzania?

Strategically, I hope that Cedar Tanzania and its projects will continue for decades to come, lead by Tanzanians with the full support of the Government of Tanzania.

My ambition hopes are that once The Cedar Foundation is well established in Tanzania, it will go on to achieve the same somewhere else. With Cedar Bulgaria shining bright as the very first ‘Cedar Foundation’, and now with Cedar Tanzania as the second, I see no reason why the organisation could not continue to grow globally.

From a more emotive perspective, I hope the spirit of Cedar Tanzania lives on throughout its future, whatever form this may take. ‘Changing Lives’ is not a motto that was chosen lightly. Cedar has certainly changed mine.

The adventures of Jackie and Neema

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Jackie is a Community Based Rehabilitation Field Officer. Together with Neema, the clinical officer, they travel from Kamanga Health Centre to the neighbouring villages of Kamanga on their trusted motor bikes. Watch the latest episode of their adventures!   

Watch Jackie and Neema as they do their rounds in the village of Kamanga as part of Cedar Tanzania's Community Based Rehabilitation program, to bring care to people with disabilities. Music: Ben sounds

Girl Power!

Cedar Tanzania’s volunteer Dylan Parkin has been hard at work these last few months, investigating potential educational and entrepreneurial projects that could be implemented in the village of Kamanga. This May has seen Dylan venture out on his very first pilot entrepreneurial project called “Nguvu ya Binti” (Girl Power)!  This has resulted in him putting into use, for the very first time, the Community Centre that Sengerema District Council, with whom we have a Public Private Partnership, kindly donated to Cedar Tanzania to support us in our community projects. In mid May Dylan together with Cedar Tanzania’s field officer Jackie held their first entrepreneurial meetings with seven young women between the ages of 18 -24 years old.

Dylan writes, “The aim of the project is to facilitate the setting up and running of a women-owned social enterprise that manufacture reusable cloth sanitary pads to help girls and women of Nyamatongo handle their periods safely, hygienically and inexpensively. The approach entails to train a group of girls on entrepreneurial skills, menstrual health and hygiene, and sewing classes to equip them with what is needed to be able to produce and sell the pads economically.

The pilot phase started on May 13th and is planned to be reviewed after 10 weeks. It is hoped however that the project will be able to continue until mid-September. The training has been divided into 3 parts: Training on entrepreneurship, sewing classes, education on menstrual hygiene. 

The first day of training was light, mostly just introductions. On the second day, we started with the topic of how to find and generate business ideas.  Although there are businesses which make and sell reusable cloth pads in Tanzania, we still do not know if this will be a viable business option in Kamanga. Therefore, if we later find that selling sanitary pads is not a viable option, then the girls will return to their knowledge of generating business ideas and find a new idea.  We felt it was important to do things this way so the girls could get first-hand experience of doing the research and of taking ownership of the business they are developing.

After the topic of generating business ideas, we started on the topic of analyzing the idea's potential.  Upon finishing this, the girls were sent into the village to do "market research."  Through this, they have found that the women of Kamanga are indeed interested in reusable cloth sanitary pads.

Now the only research which remains is the cost analysis.   We have recently covered the topic of costs and pricing. The girls will soon be going to shops in Mwanza to price the needed materials.  This means that within the next week we should know if we will continue with the reusable cloth pads business idea, or if we need to go back to the drawing board and find a new business idea.”

Cedar Tanzania is excited to find out how these amazing young women will fare and we wish them, Dylan and Jackie the best of luck.