News HOT from Tanzania
This month we bring you reports direct from Tanzania written by people on the spot

Here I am, handing over some cash to Jitegeme blacksmiths’ group outside Bukoba. They are receiving a bonus because we ordered the tools before our visit, and they were done on time and of good quality. This group and also another, Itawha, are out of town in the fields of bananas and coffee, and we had to the four wheel drive reach them on some very rough roads.

When TFSR Cymru has visited before, this group has not had a proper shelter overhead for protection in the rainy season, nor an adequate blower for their forge. It is good to see improvements in these areas after we have helped provide the group with tools, and by selling their products (forks and trowels) in our Fair Trade programme in Wales. This is why they were very happy to see us!

Jon Stedman, trustee and my first visit to Tanzania

Supporting Rural Clusters in Lake Zone

Paul conducting an ice breaker with artisans from Kiabakari

I am Paul Mashimba, an independent or rather freelance project adviser for TFSR Cymru’s brand new project in Tanzania.

I wish to say a few words to express my feelings begotten from the field work while participating in the Artisans participatory baseline survey, initiated by TFSR Cymru for Kiabakari and Namagondo villages. First of all I count myself lucky to be involved in TFSR Cymru’s initial study to establish benchmark information for later determining any anticipated changes. I am lucky to be involved in this exercise, as I have never before had the opportunity to study artisans, or as we call them fundis, working in rural areas.

To my surprise through sharing with the fundis, I found that this is an imperative economic opportunity which has very little support from elsewhere, except from Tools For Self Reliance and its collaborator SIDO. It is an opportunity that may create changes at an individual, household and at community level in terms of sustaining the horizon of higher incomes, but yet not considered by many others for support.

What I have observed is that many projects come and go without leaving their footprints, but the TFSR Cymru project ”Supporting Village Clusters” will no doubt leave footprints that will last for ever. Supporting rural clusters will “set its feet in Kiabakari and Namagondo villages.

Frida Mwungulu, manager for Mara region,
gathering information from welders in Kiabakari


Damian Changa (left) is the SIDO manager for Mwanza, talking with Wahunzi Malegea blacksmiths group.

They have 26 members so it was suggested that they split into two groups – they are still discussing this.




We are very much thankful to TFSR Cymru for starting this new Project in supporting the villages of Kiabakari (Butiama district) and Namagondo (Ukerewe district).

The Artisan Support Program is one of the major services performed by SIDO Mwanza Regional Office. The program includes a wide range of Artisans’ groups:-  Blacksmiths, Tinsmiths, Metal Fabricators, Tailors, Masonry, Carpentry, Bicycle Repairs, and Cobblers.

In this service SIDO Mwanza Regional Office has been collaborating for more than 16 years with Tools For Self Reliance (TFSR) Cymru of Crickhowell in Wales.

The overall objective is to stimulate economic development by providing opportunities for employment and poverty reduction through enabling the existing and potential rural artisan especially youths to acquire skills in technology, entrepreneurship and in business management aimed at increasing their productive capacities. We prioritise groups in rural areas in order to stimulate employment for women, youth and the disabled.”                  Damian John M. Chang’a, Regional Manager, SIDO – MWANZA


Jikombe (Save Yourself) Tailors Group  in Tanga

This was the last group we visited in Tanga. They were special because the entire group of women were deaf.

Celina Mlemba on the right was very capable of lip reading what Dickson had to ask her, and she passed on the questions to the others by signing.

They have only just put in a request for sewing machines from Wales, so the volunteers back home will be refurbishing these soon, to go into our next container, leaving in April.

The beneficiaries . . .

Just two of the many beneficiaries of the groups who receive sewing machines and tools from us.

These children live in Mlesa village, high in the mountains of the Amani National Park . Here the weather was rather like it is in Wales – cool and damp.

There is one tailors group and one carpentry group in the village, both waiting for their tool kits.




A  BIG Thank you to all those who responded to our last appeal towards the  funding of the new “Clusters” project.   It’s not to late to help fund this project which lasts for two years.

You can send a cheque to our workshop  or make a donation on our website

KWA HERI from Tanzania