Directors message in latest newsletter now online

Catch up on all ZAP's projects in our latest newsletter. There is  a lot of good news, and ZAP continues to help the people of Jambiani as much as possible, thanks to our wonderful supporters. This edition also includes an important message from the directors, which is reproduced below for convenience.

For the full newsletter, click here to go to the Newsletter page, then select Autumn 2012.

 

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

When Pat and Janie started ZAP, they gave themselves 10 years in which to try to improve the lot of the people of Jambiani with medical, educational and vocational help, and this milestone is rapidly approaching. The Directors are now looking at ways to ensure that, to use a popular phrase, we leave a ‘lasting legacy.’
 
Many of th projects we have set up over the years have now become self-sufficient and need the minimum input from us – notably the Jambiani Fundi Workshop and our lovely Sewing Ladies Co-operative.  But in other areas we are planning a ‘managed retreat’ over the next couple of years. 
 
African aid has always been a contentious subject, not least because prolonged reliance on long-term external funding can very easily encourage apathy and a diminished sense of personal responsibility. It is interesting to note that the new Minister for International Development, Justine Greening, has expressed her anxiety on this very subject, and with good reason in our opinion.
 
It has always been ZAP’s philosophy to equip as many people in the community as possible with the education and skills which will enable them to find gainful employment, shape useful careers and to start businesses of their own.  We buy them the fishing lines – not the fish.  Our efforts have been licensed and approved by the various authorities at every stage, and we receive fulsome praise at intervals by local MPs and leaders of the community.  Yet we increasingly feel that these official bodies sit back and shrug off their own responsibility because it is too easy to do so.  ‘ZAP will do that for us’ seems to be the general motto, and in the long-term this cannot be right.

Two examples illustrate this point: firstly, the infamous water pump; over the years ZAP has not only purchased a new village water pump, but through the good offices of our supporters we have repaired it on several occasions.  This pump should now be the responsibility of the government water authority, yet it is always breaking down through lack of regular maintenance and ZAP has often been asked to pay (a sizeable amount) for water lorries to relieve the suffering villagers.  Dreadful as their plight is, it could be argued that by responding to it in the short term we let the authorities off the hook.  A proper long-term plan for the provision of safe water to Jambiani MUST come from the government, or at least from big charities such as Water Aid.  Lobbying for this should be the prime object of the village committee – but at present we see no sign of this taking place.

The second example is the clinic generator.  During the frequent power cuts, Dr Hamza needs a generator to enable him to function properly.  ZAP provided one several years ago which eventually broke down, and a new one has recently been provided by a Swiss charity.  However, neither this charity nor the Ministry of Health has agreed thus far to buy any diesel.  No diesel – no generator - no prizes for guessing who has been asked for funds!  Naturally we have agreed to this, but at $100 US per month it is quite a commitment, and Pat has been in touch with the local Health officer in an effort to lob the ball back into his court.

Of course, there are numerous examples of people in Jambiani who have made the very best of the opportunities which ZAP has provided.  Among them Moh’d Simai, one of our original fundis, would gladden hearts in the Dragon’s Den with his entrepreneurial energy and enthusiasm.  Moh’d Pandu, currently at University doing a very difficult degree in Business and Marketing, is determined to use his education and skills in the service of his community and we have no doubt that this will make a big difference.  The Sewing Ladies Co-operative is a huge success and Khadija is more than capable of running it on her own.  As for Dr Hamza, he really is an example of taking up the ball and running with it – ZAP funds have played a huge part in making his clinic the envy of the whole area.  He is dedicated and diligent and we are very proud to have been able to help him make such significant strides in improving the health of the community.

So – to the ‘managed retreat’ referred to above; this will obviously need careful handling and you can be quite sure that we will not leave anyone or any project in the lurch.  By giving the community plenty of notice that ZAP’s involvement will substantially decrease at the end of 2014, we shall begin a weaning process during which we shall be reviewing which projects can now stand alone and which will need to be brought under the umbrella of larger organisations working in the area – for example the medical side of things may well be amalgamated with HIPZ (Health Improvement Project Zanzibar), based at nearby Makunduchi Hospital.

During the next two years, through the medium of these Newsletters and our website we shall keep you abreast of developments.  We would of course very much welcome any comments, suggestions or advice which our supporters can give us.  Without your support, none of the great improvements which we have been able to make in this desperately poor area of Africa could ever have taken place.  As ever we, and the community of Jambiani, are greatly in your debt. 

From the Directors of ZAP

Autumn 2012

 


ZANZIBAR ACTION PROJECT is a Registered Charity in the UK No. 1108030