Trophy Goats, Soccer, and WASH Education

_MG_0708This year’s Maji Safi Cup was our biggest soccer tournament to date, involving over a month of hard-fought matches between 14 teams – all hoping to win “the trophy goat”. During that period, a total of 1675 community members came out to watch and cheer, and over 800 youths attended the pre-match water, sanitation and hygiene lessons needed to be eligible to play. As Community Health Worker Jacob Nyangoye explains, “The goal of Maji Safi Cups is to provide health and sanitation education while improving talents among youth in the Shirati area. Maji Safi Cups bring us closer to the community by working with hundreds of young adults, while also building camaraderie among youths from different villages through realizing the importance of preventing disease.”_MG_0712

This Maji Safi Cup saw 14 teams sign up who were then split into four groups, with matches starting on October 29, 2014. Throughout the group play, we saw the players’ ability and confidence to talk about hygiene and sanitation grow along with the pressure of the looming elimination games. The lessons focused mainly on hand washing, sportsmanship, and the importance of personal hygiene in gaining the respect of fellow community members. The matches on Nov. 22nd identified our final group winners, thus setting up the single elimination semi-finals. The semi-finals, held on November 26th and November 29th, were both hard-fought matches that left Chapakazi FC and Tina’s Education Center to battle it out in the final. Chapakazi FC were the veterans who had won the 2013 Maji Safi Cup, whereas Tina’s was in the cup for the first time, but they had shown solid team tactics and cool composure over the ball._MG_0758

A Maji Safi Cup final is always a special event, because it is often the first time players get the chance to perform in front of hundreds of people in a party-like atmosphere with music in the background. Over one hundred youths came out for the pre-match personal hygiene lesson, and by the middle of the first half, over 300 spectators were at the field rooting for their teams. Chapakazi FC got ahead early with a breakaway goal within the first 2 minutes of kickoff. Although Tina’s was a bit shocked, they were able to right the ship and go into halftime only down 1-0. Tina’s missed a few chances in the first 15 minutes of the second half, and Chapakazi FC took advantage with a strike from outside the 18-yard box with only 10 minutes to go, sealing the deal by going ahead 2-0._MG_0726

Following the final whistle of the highly contested match, the whole crowd came together for the award celebration. The players from Tina’s Education Center were very graceful in defeat. One of them told the crowd, “It was a good match, because everyone played with respect, and no one got hurt.” All the finalists then received school supplies as their prize, and Chapakazi FC was awarded the coveted “trophy goat”. With people dancing around the field, and before everyone could finish washing their hands to eat bananas, the two-time champions had started running their trophy goat to town center.

Winning team with their "trophy goat"

Winning team with their “trophy goat”

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While enjoying the music and our bananas with big smiles on our faces, we too were thankful for an injury-free tournament and the power of sports in bringing awareness to crucial social problems in the world.

 

Miss Maji Safi

A year ago in November, Maji Safi Group (MSG) hosted the first ever Miss Maji Safi Day in Shirati, Tanzania. This day was imagined, created, and promoted by the young women and leaders of MSG’s Female Hygiene Program. It stands for female empowerment and allows young women to share the pride they take in being strong, confident, and independent individuals who value their bodies and intellect. The Female Hygiene Program started in August 2013 as a way to promote female health and hygiene, the importance of female education, and AFRIpads (reusable sanitary pads generously donated by Lunapads’ One4Her Program). This program started with 20 participants, who met weekly, and it has grown to reach 60 young women twice a week.

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Young women from 2013 Miss Maji Safi Event

 

This year on November 22nd, Maji Safi Group celebrated its second annual Miss Maji Safi Day. Together with the MSG Community Health Workers, 60 young women from Maji Safi’s Female Hygiene Program planned and participated in putting on the event. Over 650 members of the Shirati community attended to see dances and skits about female hygiene and health and sing Maji Safi songs that teach about disease prevention.

In addition to the runway activities, the “Miss Maji Safi” competition tested the program participants on their knowledge of the relationship between female health and hygiene and school attendance and allowed them to show their community the pride and self-confidence they have in being young women. This year, there was also a competition between the female Community Health Workers to win the title of “Miss Mabolozi 2014”. The young MSG women were thrilled with the success of the day. We congratulate Lucia Lucas on being “Miss Maji Safi 2014” and Diana Nguka on being “Miss Mabolozi 2014”!

We are so proud of all the young women in the Female Hygiene Program! They are all wonderful role models to their peers and a great example of strong, empowered, intelligent women in their community.

Maji Safi Group’s Educational Model Needed in Our Own Backyard

Emily BullOriginally from San Antonio, Texas, Emily Bull received a double BA in Psychology and Religious Studies from Austin College in Sherman, TX. She has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in International Social Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis. Emily has worked with Maji Safi Group for nearly two years as the US Director of Operations and Development and was recently appointed President of the organization. Emily has specialized skills in participatory development (international and domestic), strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation of programs, and international sustainable community development. Below, Emily writes about expanding the Maji Safi Group curriculum to the states. 

The Maji Safi Group team in St. Louis is working hard to expand its outreach and provide awareness about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and our programs in Tanzania. Maria, our past MSW practicum student, connected us with North Greene Jr. and Sr. High School in Whitehall, IL, a rural community located in Greene County, about an hour and a half from St. Louis. Max, Maria and I were invited to present WASH education to the students.

Emily, Max, and Maria enjoying lunch at North Greene.

Emily, Max, and Maria enjoying lunch at North Greene.

Emily teaching 7th graders how to properly wash their hands.

Emily teaching 7th graders how to properly wash their hands.

Greene County is particularly in need of WASH education, because many of their students come from homes that have dirt floors, contaminated water pipes, and/or no running water. Therefore, they are not living in sanitary conditions, get sick from their water source, and often times do not have water for washing their clothes or bathing.

Maria explaining where Tanzania is and what Maji Safi Group does in Shirati.

Maria explaining where Tanzania is and what Maji Safi Group does in Shirati.

After spending four years of my young adult life working in rural communities in East Africa, parts of Asia, and Central America, I can honestly say that it is easy to overlook the rural issues in America. In developing countries, rural communities are the norm, and therefore, more outwardly prevalent. According to World Urbanization Prospects, 73.6% of Tanzanians live in a rural community as compared to 17.1% in the United States. Seeing how the conditions in Greene County are similar to those in Tanzania, such as contaminated water sources and lack or resources for maintaining personal hygiene, made our team realize that Maji Safi Group’s education and model are much needed and can be used in our own backyard.

Maria teaching a high school class about the proper times to wash your hands.

Maria teaching a high school class about the proper times to wash your hands.

 

On November 20th, we taught over 200 students, ages 12-18. The students learned about the importance of washing hands, how to properly boil and filter their water, and about the global issues community members face in Shirati. Since residents in Greene County were currently under Boil Order, meaning that water in their area must be boiled due to flooding and contaminated pipes, the education was extremely needed and received with enthusiasm.

Max demonstrating how germs spread with an 8th grade class.

Max demonstrating how germs spread with an 8th grade class.

 

 

I am happy to say that we have established a great partnership with North Greene Jr. and Sr. High School and will teach their students at least once a semester. We are also in conversation to start teaching the elementary school kids.

 

 


“I appreciate you three coming here so much! I thought it went great, and the students were very engaged, which is tough to do sometimes! The Jr. High was extremely thankful as well.” – Sarah Coultas, North Greene Health Teacher

Welcome to Maji Safi Group!

Maji Safi Group (MSG) is very excited to introduce the newest members of the MSG team.

Susan Waltisberg, Tanzania Program Manager

GHD_Christoph_01Susan is originally from Switzerland and worked as a Specialist in Business Organization for the last eight years at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Lucerne, Switzerland. Since July 2014, she has worked for INTERTEAM, a Swiss NGO, as a development worker. She joined the Maji Safi Group (MSG) team in September 2014. Susan will be supporting MSG with her knowledge in corporate development and administration until summer 2017.

 

Question: What interests you most about Maji Safi Group?

Susan’s answer: “To share knowledge. To learn from my colleagues and to support them in organizational tasks – to make it easier for them to concentrate on MSG’s core processes. I want to learn as much as possible about working and living in Tanzania.”


Raphael Kisasila Nsukuma, MS, Tanzania Accountant

Raphael Kisasila Nsukuma was born and raised at Lalago GHD_Christoph_02Village Maswa District in Simiyu Region. He received his Diploma in Accounting and Management from Cambridge University in 2002 and received his first degree in Accounting from St. August University of Tanzania in 2008. Currently, Raphael has completed his Master of Science in Accounting and Finance from Mzumbe University.Raphael worked with World Vision International as the Program Accountant from 2002-2005 with WASH Projects. He also worked with Africa Inland Church, Diocese of Shinyanga, from 2008- Sept 2014 as an accountant for Donor-funded Programs. In October 2014, Raphael joined Maji Safi Group  in Shirati, Tanzania, as the organization’s Head Accountant.

Question: What do you bring to Maji Safi Group?

 Raphael’s answer: “I expect to use my knowledge, experience and skills which will contribute positively to the growth of Maji Safi Group by ensuring that the accounting department is well organized, proper accounting systems are set, timely reporting is made, there is proper use of resources, and that budgeting and budgetary control are adhered to.”


Grace Goldstein, US Treasurer

IMG_0366Grace grew up outside of Washington, DC and did not stray far from home for college where she graduated with a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia. While at UVA, she studied abroad in Falmouth, Jamaica, and Copenhagen, Denmark. After graduating, Grace moved back to DC and worked for a national construction company for two years. She decided to go back to school and is currently in her last year at Washington University in St. Louis in the dual MBA and Master of Architecture Program. She is focusing on social entrepreneurship and related architectural design. She took advantage of the travel opportunities in graduate school and studied in Barcelona, Japan, and she just returned from her first experience with Maji Safi in Shirati, Tanzania, in August.

Question: What goals do you personally have for Maji Safi Group?

Grace’s Answer: “I think MSG has amazing potential to impact not only the current population in Shirati, but also to change future generations’ trajectory through current education and outreach efforts.”


 Matt James, MBA, Board Member

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I have attempted to orient my career in a way that allows me to both generate value to the organizations I work with as well as to generate value to the communities in which I work. To this end, my career has encompassed financing of affordable housing, community development, education and renewable energy. As my career progresses, I hope to contribute new ideas and solutions to the problems that affect our society nationally and globally by creating and supporting sustainable businesses. I have a Master’s Degree in International Business and Bachelor’s in International Studies with a focus on international development.

Question: How is working with Maji Safi Group?

Matt’s answer: “I’ve had such a wonderful experience working with the team at Maji Safi. They remind me of the importance of action. In solving problems related to hygiene and clean water, Maji Safi is able to create tangible results in Shirati today, and their work will lead to a better tomorrow for the people it reaches. It can be daunting to tackle an issue as difficult as clean water, and many experts spend their days thinking about what to do – Maji Safi is doing it!”


Marissa Jaross, MPH, Board Member

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With a background in public health and evaluation, Marissa is excited to bring her enthusiasm for social justice, responsible development, and WASH to Maji Safi Group.  In addition to her Master of Public Health from George Washington University, Marissa holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While at CU Boulder, she completed a study abroad program in the Balkans, studying civil society in a post-conflict region. During her time at George Washington University, she focused on Global Health Communication, allowing her to focus on healthy behavior change and organizational communication. For her master’s thesis, Marissa completed a communications evaluation and strategic plan for El Porvenir, a Colorado-based nonprofit operating water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Nicaragua. Currently, Marissa works at JVA Consulting as a Research and Evaluation Associate with social change organizations.

Marissa is a longtime volunteer food server with Bridge House in Boulder and sits on the International Affairs Committee for the annual Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Question: What interests you most about Maji Safi Group?

Marissa’s answer: “You’re doing it right! CHW model, full integration of Tanzanian staff, and an openness to new ideas!”


 Margaret Fredrickson, MPA, Board Member

Originally from Oklahoma City, Margaret received her B.A. IMG_0309in Anthropology from Scripps College and an MPA, with a concentration on Humanitarian Relief, from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. While in college, she studied abroad in Brazil and Japan and later on worked in China and Ethiopia before settling down in New York City. Margaret is passionate about the transformative effect of philanthropy on individuals and has worked as a major gift fundraiser since 2006. She enjoys making an impact in her current role as a Major and Legacy Giving Officer for World Learning and lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with her husband and 3-year-old daughter.

Question: As a board member, what do you hope to contribute to Maji Safi Group?

Margaret’s answer: “My hope as a board member for MSG is not only to help improve the lives of the children and families in Shirati, but to work as a team on creating an operational and working model that can be replicated in other communities. Our goal is to eventually leave Shirati in the capable hands of locals and move on to other places where the MSG model is needed.”


Shelly Liposky, MBA, MS, Board Member

FullSizeRenderShelly has 20 years of experience in Financial Services and Public and Private Education. She is a Director at Barclays PLC with global responsibility across the Corporate and Investment Bank and Wealth and Investment Management. She has extensive experience with business management, including financial and strategic planning, governance and controls, communications, and human capital management. Prior to her career in Financial Services, Shelly held leadership positions in public education where she led diverse schools in a high poverty area outside of Washington, DC, taught students with disabilities, and coached varsity sports. During her career in education, she achieved remarkable results by implementing and teaching the reading methodology now used by Read Write America, and she expanded the program across the school system of 130k students, increasing student performance and reducing costs.

Shelly earned a B.S. in Special Education from Penn State University, an M.S. in Education Management from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She sings in a contemporary choir and enjoys sports and music.

Question: Why is Maji Safi Group’s mission important to you?  

Shelly’s answer: “Preventative healthcare is fundamental. I have a passion for education and much of what precludes learning is tied to unmet primary needs (food, shelter, clothing), and I would add clean water.”


Michelle Dunajcik, Maji Safi Group Fellow

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Michelle, a St. Louis native, headed to the Deep South and received her Bachelor of Social Work from The University of Alabama in 2013. While at Alabama, Michelle decided to take a semester off and volunteer abroad with an orphan care ministry located just outside of Kampala, Uganda, for a little over seven months. It was during this time abroad that she realized her two passions for international travel and working for social change could intersect within a work environment if she was equipped with the right skills and knowledge. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis with a concentration in International Social and Economic Development. Along with Uganda, she has experience traveling and working overseas in Chile, Britain, New Zealand, and Japan, and she is looking forward to adding Tanzania to that list next year. Michelle is excited to join the Maji Safi team and begin working as the Social Work practicum student in the spring and summer of 2015.

Question: How did you get involved with Maji Safi Group?

Michelle’s Answer: “As I began my Social Work practicum search, a professor at Wash U told me about Maji Safi Group and lauded it as an organization with an incredible practicum opportunity for any student interested in social and economic development. After learning more about Maji Safi through their website and by talking to previous practicum students, I was hooked and began the application process. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with MSG both in St. Louis and in Tanzania this coming spring and summer.”