>Since our project secretary has left the keyboard unattended, the remaining parts of the team is taking over! Linda, Kristina and Rafael will from now on, with combined forces, try to keep up the great communication level of Leif.

In his absence, we started the day by meeting Mr Ramadhani Jawa, the Ward Executive Officer of Tanga Sisi Ward, being the contact between local communities and the City Directors on a district level across all areas; education, health, infrastructure, livestock etc. Mr Jawa used one of the HiLights for more than two weeks to put it to test.

– I would like to buy it myself, for my mom. She does not have electricity and uses kerosene for light, which is exponsive. My friends who saw it likes it very much, they want to know where to find it!

The discussion focused on how people in deciding positions could understand the need for the product to include it in a coming budgeting for the city municipalities and region. We also explored the presence of local NGOs and financial institutions like PRIDE TANZANIA, FINCA, BRAC, POVERTY AFRICA and SEDA; all providing ways for people to borrow small amounts of money to start businesses providing an income for the families. In Tanzania today, only 5% are eligible for loans at the regular banks!

Our amazing host Ruth Nesje at TICC helped us further in our search, by arranging a meeting with Michael Nyangusi. Mr Nyangusi founded a nursery school in Popatlal, is Swahili teacher and initiator to a local VICOBA group; the latter being reason for our interest.

VICOBA stands for Village Community Banks, a “saving and credit society”, creating small, local “banks” run by the group members. After saving money regularly for 3 months, you are eligible for a loan of 3*your savings. Since your fellow “bankers” are friends and neighbours, the risk of not getting the money back is limited. To our current understanding, this system seems to be a good way to get the local communities to work together to create an improved situation for the neighbourhood!

After a long day, we are looking forward to an early morning meeting with the head teacher of the local school. I’m excited to hear his opinion on HiLight and how it could simplify his daily life!

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October 2010
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