Happy Coincidences, Chicken Experiments, and of course, Soccer

The Tanzanian Development Workers held their annual nation-wide 5 day meeting this past week. Each year, the meetings are held in a different district. Luckily for me, this year, the meetings were held in Singida. Even luckier still, the visiting workers were staying in my hostel. Mary (I love that she is a woman since female empowerment is desperately needed) was particularly helpful. With 20 years of experience, she is currently working in inner Tanzania. She remarked that regions such as Singida – isolated by poor infrastructure – have been delayed in its exposure to developmental strategies. Self-initiative and planning skills are underdeveloped and unfortunately, the general attitude of the population is to wait for aid.

Critical and creative thinkers are needed.

OVCC’s youth soccer team brings together local youths and engages them in a collaborative productive environment. During practice, the youths learn about teamwork, strategy, and discipline. This is a safe place to interact where each player’s voice is respected.


Soccer field littered with sharp pricklies. Soccer ball holding up so far


here they come! Team warmup


shirts against the skins. Fancy footwork


applying teamwork and strategy


going for the last goal of the day

A surprise donation from a local physician has created a new opportunity for the soccer team. Using this donation, OVCC is able to execute a small “Chicken Project”. The youths will use the capital to buy and raise chickens. The chickens breed and the youths make a small profit. Part of the profit goes into loaning a set chickens to vulnerable children and their caretakers. The youths teach the vulnerable to successfully breed the chickens and get a return on their investment. A portion of the return goes into the “soccer team fund” where the team collectively decides how to spend or invest their money.

The benefits:
1. Youths learn how to plan, strategize and document their project progress
2. Youths have the incentive to invest in the well-being of the vulnerable.
3. Youths teach the vulnerable healthy living strategies. The income from the chicken project will allow the vulnerable to adopt these strategies
4. Youths become accountable to each other. Develop a transparent government for group decision making
5. Youths learn to self-organize. Regular meetings will emerge – creating the opportunity to successfully coordinate seminars for Aids Education, etc.

The “Chicken Project” will begin with only a handful of youths. It must start slowly to work out the kinks before a more ambitious project can emerge. The first youths will act as future mentors. Stay tuned for more updates!

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