MSABI Director Update from Tanzania

I am winding up another 2-month stay with MSABI in the field in Tanzania.  This has been a very rewarding trip and perhaps my most enjoyable to date.  I am very proud of the achievements of the Tanzanian MSABI team.  They have all come a long way over the last 4 years.  All 6 of our sub-projects are managed by young and competent Tanzanians.  I find myself largely redundant these days, as all of the planning, management and implementation is completed by our Tanzanian team.  It is a really nice position to be in!  These last few months I have floated between project teams learning about their current and future planned activities.  Admirably all teams have developed and mapped out work schedules to years end - with longer team objectives and goals set.   Occasionally I have been offering technical and managerial advice. There is still more work to be done and improvements to be made - it will never end.

We recently held our first MSABI water week - or as the sanitation team have informed should be labelled WASH week.  The entire field team traveled to Namawala - the birthplace of MSABI.  It was a great opportunity for all of the sub-projects to interact and better understand what everyone is doing in the field.  It also doubled as a way to re-engage with the Namawala community after first working there over 4 years ago.  The whole team working extremely hard clocking in long days starting fro 7am through  to 9pm each evening!  I was really impressed by the motivation and ownership from the whole team and the positive response from the Namawala community as the week progressed!!!

Team photo of the MSABI field team at the end of Namawala Water Week
Our Tanzanian team are complimented by an amazing group of foreign volunteers.  We have Lauren De'Mello-Guyett with us for then next 2 years.  Lauren holds a masters in public health and is a specialist in sanitation and hygiene.  She is being supported through the SHARE research program and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  The Australian Government have provided funding for Jesse Godwin and his partner Simone Dastoor to join with MSABI also on a 2-year placement.  Jesse is a water and wastewater engineer and will work with our quality assurance team to ensure our water points are implemented to the highest standards.  Simone is a water quality research specialist (with a masters in science) and will join our lab team and also drive some epidemiological research studies.  Lastly, we have Bobbie Baker from Ireland who is with us from the UK Engineers Without Borders team.  Bobbie is an engineer and is here for 6 months, with the objective of introducing tablet based monitoring and evaluation field reporting.  He is in the middle of transitioning all of our paper forms to tablet format.  This will save us time in the field and reduce double data entry errors.

Over the past 2 months we have also hosted 2 international and 2 Tanzanian interns.  Thanks to Alice, Tanmay, Martha and Gido for integrating very nicely into our existing activities.  Their efforts were appreciated by the entire team and we trust they had an enjoyable and insightful stay.  It certainly has been a busy 2 months for the MSABI team!!!

MSABI Program manager Dr Nik Holbro is back in Switzerland at present.  He is assisting with the writing of proposals and meeting with existing and potential donors.  Finding the funds to keep MSABI operating is our biggest challenge.  It consumes a large amount of time for myself and Nik.  We are still without a major project donor moving into 2013.  In this regard I would like to say a big thank-you to GHD and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute for their continued support as our Core donors.  We would also like to welcome the Australian English Family Foundation who have recently joined the MSABI team through the sponsorship of 9 new community water points!  We look forward to doing great work for them.

Nik has also been working on the development of our Visible Impact Platform.  We are super excited at the potential of this web based tool.  Basically, Visible Impact will link donors to projects in the field.  Live updates from the field will allow donors to "live" track their donation from start to finish.  All documentation (such as quality assurance forms, budgets, expenditures etc) will be able to be updated and shared through the platform.  Our aim is to improve transparency in the development sector!  We are currently testing an alpha version with a few donors and aim to officially launch this product by years end.

All the best,

Dale Young
MSABI Founding Director.