Over the past 26 years TFSR Cymru has sent more than 500 kits of tools (35,000 refurbished tools) to blacksmiths, carpenters, tailors and other artisan groups throughout Africa. We have become quite successful at collecting hand tools from across Wales; they now arrive at our workshop in Crickhowell faster than we can refurbish them. In Tanzania there is no shortage of labour; so we have now shipped 4 containers full of carefully selected but un-refurbished tools to our partners in Mwanza.
We have undertaken to provide all the equipment needed to clean and sharpen these tools, and to fund all the costs of setting up, training the workers and running the workshop for six years – £75,000. We have drawn up the project after consulting with our partners in Mwanza, the Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO). Tools will be distributed using present criteria, with groups paying around £25 per kit, with priority given to disabled, women’s and the more remote rural groups.
We believe this is a step in the right direction for the self-reliance of artisans in Tanzania. Several blacksmiths groups are already making some of the tools, which are added to our kits before distribution in Lake Zone. The new workshop will also enable broken tools to be repaired and new tools to be finished in Mwanza – the centre of Lake Zone on the shores of Lake Victoria. The project will enable a far greater number of tool kits to reach isolated artisan groups in rural Tanzania than we could manage to send from our Crickhowell workshop.
We sent off the first container in February 2005 – full of boxes of selected un-refurbished tools as well as completed tool kits. It finally arrived in Mwanza in May ’05. Machinery has been installed and refurbishing is now under way. Soon SIDO will employ 5 staff to carry out the work and five times the number of tool kits will be available to artisans in the regions around Lake Victoria.
The project has given us the time to refurbish tools for other regions of Tanzania – so we still need to collect tools.