The Nyanya Business Skills Training, Mwanza

When the Founder of TNP met with the Regional Director of CARE International for Rwanda, she said, “Surely there is a way we can help more grandmothers in Tanzania who are raising their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. Might you recommend someone to assist us?”

The UNICEF Director saw the success of our crafts training to grandmothers outside of Dar Es Salaam in Kawe Village and introduced us to The Tanzania Home Economics Association (THEA), who worked with communities in the far northern section of Tanzania. Asia Kapende, its director, had been educated in North Carolina at A & T State University and loved the idea of training older women.

The largest city in northern Tanzania is Mwanza. Its landscape is enchanting, almost like a moon scape where tall clusters of rocks form abstract sculptures across the flattened lands. Located on Lake Victoria, Mwanza is a small city, and grandmothers live in crowded one-room shelters clustered around the tall rock formations.

From 2010-2011, four grandmothers chosen by THEA, completed a year-long training in small business skills. Like the grandmothers who had been trained in this curriculum in Nairobi, the Mwanza grandmothers learned simple bookkeeping and how to track their inventories. Like their sisters in Kenya, they used these simple tools that helped them to see the flow of supplies and better profits. Some made soap powder, another opened a tea stand where she sold hot tea and African versions of doughnuts.

In every case, the grandmothers reported that after their training, they were earning more income and that for the first time they could buy all of the school supplies their grandchildren needed and provide better food.

Beatrice Anyango, a TNP grandmother from Nairobi who had been trained in the same program, came to visit the Tanzanian grandmothers in the summer of 2010. She met with each woman in her home and encouraged them.

“You will see great success,” Beatrice told them. “Work hard. Your families will be stronger because of you. This is what has happened to me. It can happen to you, too.”

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