The Busega Walk 100 is underway. Busega Scotland trustees, Cenzo Main and John Carney, will each be walking 100 miles to raise funds for our work with children and families in Tanzania.
Cenzo has already completed Elgin to Hopeman via Lossiemouth and John the Letchworth Greenway. Both walks were 13 mile. Sterner tests are yet to come in the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness. Kiltwalks in Moray will complete the mileage.
Donations can be made at
Cenzo ia a native of the Moray village of Hopeman. His mum moved there from Sicily after the war. He became one of our trustees after retiring as a Youth Worker with Aberlour Child Care Trust.
Hopeman celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2005, having developed around the harbour and the fishing industry. Letchworth is a town in Hertfordshire and the world’s first garden city, dating back to the early 20th century. It boasts the first ever roundabout, built in 1909. The Greenway is a circular path that skirts the town.
The women’s group at Mayega has taken extra time to set-up because of the pandemic. Our Assistant Project Leader, Julieth Godwin, met group members a few days ago, as part of the joining process. Each member has background details collected and checked, as our Family Support Project is targeted at families most in need of support. Most women are running small (actually micro) businesses and the injection of business capital we are able provide offers the chance to grow family incomes.
Mayega is not a wealthy community. It was formed in the 1970’s when President Julius Nyerere launched his villagisation programme, moving remote populations into larger settlements (supported by welfare facilities such as schools and dispensaries). There are seven sub-villages in Mayega with scattered collections of houses. Although next to Lake Victoria, with the opportunity for fishing, the area is arid for most of the year. This limits the economic wellbeing of its 2,500 inhabitants.
The national Standard 7 school examinations are incredibly important. Progress onto secondary school is barred without a pass and that’s the end of education. This puts enormous pressure onto pupils and schools. League tables are as prominent in Tanzania as the UK. The schools in Simiyu Region respond to this situation by testing and testing and trying to get pupils comfortable with examination questions and conditions.
The regional mock results for Mayega Primary School were released last week and made very good reading. Mayega Children’s Centre have four pupils in S7 – one boy was fourth in his class and got an A grade, while the other three children were in the top 13 and received B’s (but were all within 5% of an A). There are 75 pupils in S7.
Results like this were unheard of at the Centre a few years ago, when failure was ever present. Much credit must go to Mwalimu Reni (the teacher at the Children’s Centre) and Patron Emmanuel (who is also a trained teacher). Both work part-time at the Primary School. Behind the scenes is Busega Scotland trustee Jenny Wallen, who collaborates with the Centre and School to help improve attainment and has worked at Mayega on two occasions.
We firmly believe that there is a learning culture established at Mayega Centre. The children believe they can succeed and there is help at hand to support them.
Unfortunately not! The very healthy looking mahindi crop is in Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire. Christine and John are visiting family. English maize is used for cattle feed. In Tanzania, the grain is ground and used as ugi (a thin breakfast porridge) or ugari (a thicker paste served as a main meal with meat, fish and vegetables). Mahindi, wali (rice) and cassava are staples in the diet.
There was good news at the beginning of July when the World Bank declared Tanzania a ‘lower middle-income nation’. This move up from the ‘least developed’ category has come five years ahead of a schedule set-out in the National Development Vision.
This does not mean that Tanzanians are rich by any stretch of the imagination. Gross National Income is at $1,080 per capita (in UK it is $42,370). As with everywhere, there are great income disparities. Agriculture provides livelihoods for about 55% of the population and about 75% of poorest Tanzanians subsist in that sector.
Although economic growth has slowed due to the pandemic, the middle income classification will help with international economic credibility in attracting inward investment. The increased wealth allows additional spending on health, education, water and infrastructure projects.
There is further information in a Forbes Africa article ‘Tanzania Is Ahead Of Schedule’.
Work on new women’s groups has been suspended for the last four months due to the Corona virus situation in Tanzania. With the government now encouraging a return to more normal business, and with Busega Scotland’s Covid Action Plan in place, Julieth Godwin, our Assistant Project Leader, has begun to assess women in Igombe town and Mayega village.
We have had two groups before in Igombe but Mayega is a new location for our family support work. The aim is to identify 30 women in each community, who have vulnerable family situations, and help with capital for their own Village Community Bank (VICOBA). The capital payment is about £700, made in three instalments, while Julieth checks that the funds are being well administered. The women can take loans to develop small businesses. The VICOBA capital grows from the interest paid. In effect, Busega Scotland kick starts mutual self-help.
Once the two new groups are in place, Busega Scotland will have supported 180 women across three different communities. In Mayega, the home of our Children’s Centre, we also have a water project and involvement in the primary school.
The photograph shows Julieth (on the left) meeting with Mayega Group Chairperson, Willemina Medadi, and the Village Executive Officer, Peter Irunda. The VEO is the government’s representative at village-level and will recommend women for assessment by Julieth.
The Kiltwalk is a programme of fundraising walks that normally occur in various locations across Scotland. Unfortunately, Covid has had an effect and the last walk of the year has become ‘virtual’. Here is a message from the organisers:
‘On the weekend of the 11th – 13th September, the Edinburgh Kiltwalk is going Virtual! You can take on any Kiltwalk Inspired challenge you wish – go for a walk, a cycle, jump on a trampoline, or even a family scavenger hunt! Raise funds for your chosen charity and everything you raise will receive a 50% top up from The Hunter Foundation.’
The fundraising can go on anywhere, making it open to everybody.
Along with all other charities, Covid-19 is presenting Busega Scotland with unprecedented challenges; from keeping children safe in Tanzania, to raising enough funds to meet our commitments. The Kiltwalk is an excellent opportunity to help, have exercise and some fun.
You can register through
As part of your registration, you should nominate Busega Scotland as your chosen charity and, if you wish, be included on our Team page.
We really hope you can take part and support our work.
- Registration for the Kiltwalk costs; £12.80 for adults and £6.80 for children (aged 5-15 years)
- If you’d just like to support Busega Scotland’s Kiltwalk team, it is possible to donate at
- If you live in Moray we may be able to organise a group walk, Covid restrictions permitting
- For more information contact John Carney through firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07936383800
Please pass on this information to anyone you think maybe interested in joining the Virtual Kiltwalk.
This article tells the story of the Mayega Water and Sanitation Project. And it is a very good story!
In 2017, the Mayega Water Group was formed to plan improvements to water and sanitation in the village of Mayega. There was plenty of scope, as villagers were carrying water in buckets from Lake Victoria. Busega Scotland chairs the water group and it has many local stakeholders.
The project has just completed Phase 3, involving a Rotary International Global Grant of $39,000US and local Tanzanian funding of $20,000US. Busega Scotland made a more modest contribution of $750US!
However, we have played a pivotal role in planning all three phases of the project, working closely with the Tanzanian government and Rotary Clubs in Elgin and Igoma, Tanzania. So, what has been achieved:
- A mains water supply for the village
- 18 water distribution points (including the primary school, dispensary and our Children’s Centre)
- A kitchen at the Children’s Centre
- 7 demonstration family toilets
- Toilets for the primary school
- Sanitation training in the village and primary school
Having a water supply at the Children’s Centre has allowed Busega Scotland to install flush toilets, showers and wash hand basins, and develop the vegetable garden.
We are now beginning to think about Phase 4 and thank all participants for their commitment to the project.
Water Distribution Points
DPs are the cornerstone of bringing water to the people in rural Tanzania.
The Tanzanian government has set a standard of one DP per forty households and these to be built to a nationally approved design. Mayega is composed of seven sub-villages, with just over five-hundred families.
The water project has installed two DPs for each sub-village, at a ratio of one DP for thirty-five families. This has made a tremendous difference by providing clean water plus avoiding the dangerous and insanitary practice of collecting water from Lake Victoria or temporary water sources. Two people have been killed at Mayega in the last year from crocodile and hippo attacks – a fisherman and a woman working in her garden close to the lake.
Makeshift family toilets are a common feature in Mayega village. People do their best but the facilities are not dignified or sanitary.
The Tanzanian government is promoting a particular design of village toilet and this has been adopted by the Mayega Water Project. We do not have the capacity to support every family, so decided to construct one demonstration toilet in each sub-village (seven in total), with training for villagers to learn the construction techniques. The toilets were built at households that are particularly poor and were selected in consultation with the sub-village chairmen.
The intention is for other families to start constructing toilets bit by bit as funds allow – this is common for construction in Tanzania. We are hopeful. When the mains water supply was established in Mayega, a number of villagers approached the District Council for connections to be made to their own houses. As everywhere, people want improvements in their lives.
Primary School Toilets
Imagine a primary school with 950 pupils and dry toilets. That was the predicament of Mayega Primary School. The school has plenty of other issues to grapple with but no proper toilets in the 21st century!
Rotary and Busega District Council came together with Busega Scotland and the Rural Water and Sanitation Authority, Tanzania to do something about it. Phase 3 of the Mayega Water Project has seen toilets built from a Rotary Global Grant and from Tanzanian government funding, added in recognition of the external financing. There are now two serviced toilet blocks for girls and two for boys.
Special mention must be given to the community effort in Phase 3. Villagers from Mayega have done a great deal of the non-skilled manual tasks on a voluntary basis, the government engineers have supported the project over and above their normal duties and Igoma Rotary has driven the project forward. Phase 3 has been completed in less than two months. The final word goes to the head teacher of Mayega Primary School (who is also the co-ordinator of the Mayega Water Project):
‘Mayega has now chosen to be the regional representative model, where other schools come to learn. It is the first school in Simiyu region to have the standard toilets infrastructure. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for school toilets, village toilets and water DPs. Frankly speaking, the entire Busega community and Simiyu government leaders have been visiting Mayega and appreciating our work.’