anchored in the Tanzanian community


The text below is integrally taken from the Annual Report 2018. The full report, including financial reporting and related notes can be downloaded.

Report of the board
2018 has been a good year for Happy Watoto in which the appointment of the new headmaster is the most striking. We are in a good financial position and once again management has kept a tight line on the budget. It should be noted that we prepare a highly detailed budget in close consultation with the team. Every year our treasurer Fred Arp is present for a full week locally. Both in April and in October the board visited Ngorika and Kikatiti.

Yet there are also concerns. The Tanzanian government does not make life easy. Not only for the ordinary Tanzanian who is confronted with more taxes, but also for the NGOs active in Tanzania. Strict compliance with laws and regulations means that we, too, must have our affairs in perfect order. This entails, among other things, significant paperwork. The country is emancipating and seems to no longer want to be seen as a developing country. The strong leader fights against corruption, strives for a well-functioning government and ultimately for more prosperity for his country. President Magufuli's policy also gives cause for concern.
Magufuli was elected President in 2015 following an election campaign aimed at combating massive corruption in Tanzania and better control of state spending. The President set to work energetically on these themes and honored his nickname `the bulldozer`. The international community also looked with confidence at attempts to create a reliable government and targeted investments in infrastructure. After all, these are two fundamental pillars of the development of a country. We greatly welcome the anti-corruption measures and the introduction of taxes (and above all the actual collection of taxes) despite the significant increase in our cost base - for example, we now pay VAT on all purchases. However, the short-term effect on small businesses in Tanzania is negative, because the taxes have to be raised. This seems to increase poverty, but hopefully this will be a temporary effect. We hope that Magufuli will succeed in structurally reducing corruption while maintaining the norms and values ​​that we know in our western culture, including freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Fortunately, we are independent and determine our own policy - albeit within the framework of the school inspection and with due observance of laws and regulations. This freedom allows us to educate and educate our children according to the norms and values ​​that suit us. However, this is not to be taken for granted. We need to be alert to this and are therefore explicitly looking for a dialogue with our people in Tanzania. We stand for a new generation of Tanzanians who are open and tolerant in life.

NGO Board
During the October visit to our project, we discussed the expansion of the local NGO board, which must consist of a majority of Tanzanian residents. Naturally, Joyce Sagala and Lorna Shuma remain on board. We have also found Grace Geffi and Ndombellah Sikwattah (as an advisory member) prepared to sit on the board. Grace is the director of Haradali Secondary School, an excellent high school near Ngorika. She brings a wealth of teaching experience and will in particular support our new principal, Dr Jonas Michael, in raising the quality of our school. A nice extra is that no fewer than seven children are leaving our school this year for Haradali.
Ndombellah is the enthusiastic project coordinator of Sibusiso, the project founded by Henk and Atty Hammer-Roos that focuses on mentally (and often physically) disabled children in Arusha and surroundings. Her drive and passion to bring out the best in children are impressive. We expect a lot from her input in the management of our homes in particular. One of the spearheads is to improve hygiene and thereby get a better grip on some nasty infectious diseases. Because of her Kenyan origin, she is not a board member but an advisory member, which means that the majority of the board consists of Tanzanians in accordance with the prescribed rules.
Marion Hasselaar is also willing to sit on this NGO board and continues to coach the management team in their sometimes difficult tasks. Being able to rely on local people with a proven track record and a shared passion for children gives us a very good feeling. And with this we take another step towards 'local leadership' and we explicitly strive to reduce our Western involvement in the long term.
The project
We have a team of 63 Tanzanian employees on location, led by a two-person management of Nolarip Ngungat and Mathew Karau.
Kikatiti (phase 1)
Kikatiti, our kindergarten and day-care centre for children aged 3-6, is still led by Martha Jonathan. Just like in previous years, 14 children enter the school every year. These children come from disadvantaged "families" from the area. With the intensive care of matrons / patrons (1 in 6 children) the children quickly feel at home. They receive Montessori pre-school education and are made familiar with the English language in a playful way. Extra attention goes to the kitchen. Due to the introduction of taxes on food, prices have risen, but luckily we manage to grow a lot of the necessary fruit and vegetables ourselves.
Healthy and more affordable food are the starting points. The preparation now takes place on large log fires, the traditional way of cooking. We have started a project to achieve a conversion to gas; less harmful to the environment and leading to a healthier working environment for the chefs. After a successful conversion in Kikatiti, we will make a similar step for the much larger Ngorika kitchen in 2019.
Personal hygiene is also a point of attention here. We currently see too many children with skin conditions and minor infections. In addition to refurbishing the toilet and shower rooms at Kikatiti (as part of a major renovation that we have been postponing for lack of funding), we will also have to break with local custom to improve hygiene. We need a more effective washing policy, daily clean underwear and own clothing. These are things that are by no means normal in Tanzania.
Ngorika (phase 2)
We provide primary education from Ngorika, where we also provide shelter for 7-12 year olds. The school is visited by the children we have cared for from an early age and village children. In 2018 we had a total of 269 students. Of these students, 97 live in Ngorika. The costs of the Ngorika house are fully sponsored by Förderverein Good Hope Center, our German partner.
At our Ngorika primary school, we have 172 local village children in addition to the resident children, with which we have created a healthy mix of backgrounds. The parents of the village children are expected to contribute to the costs of the school to the best of their ability. In 2018 the number of fully paying children was 119.
We are very pleased with the willingness of parents to send their children to our school and to make a serious financial contribution. The annual school fee is TSH 1,150,000 (c. € 430), which usually means a heavy burden for the parents. It shows that we are a high-quality school, but also that Tanzania is developing positively as a country with growing prosperity and the emergence of a middle class.
Dealing with unpaid school fees remains a difficult dilemma: we do not want to deny children access to good education, while on the other hand we do not want to give room for non-payment. The management team has limited discretionary authority here.
Our school scored well in the "national exams" in 2018: we finished 8th out of 67 schools within the district and 52nd out of 293 regionally. With Jonas' enthusiastic plans as a new school principal and a tightened homework policy (especially for the home children) led by the matrons and patrons, we expect results to continue to improve.
One of the points for attention for the coming year is an education policy for children with learning difficulties. Every year we have 1-2 children who are unable to keep up and who are also expected to go through the same program.
Secondary school (phase 3)
Even after Ngorika, we continue to work for the "home children" by directing them to external secondary boarding schools. Since 2016, compulsory education applies to all children in Tanzania up to and including O (ordinary) level (equivalent to four years of MAVO in The Netherlands). Only after their O-level can children move on to vocational education, or A (advanced) level that makes access to the university possible. This longer compulsory education has major financial consequences for us. Although the majority of our children are expected to receive vocational training and only a few are eligible for A-level, the children will remain financially dependent on us for at least two years longer. In 2018 we had 65 home children in Form I-IV (class 1 through 4) at 16 different schools and three "vocational centres”.

At the end of 2018, 15 children moved on to secondary school. The largest group (7) went to Haradali Secondary School, the school led by our NGO director Grace Geffi.
We consciously strive for the highest attainable level within the limits of the individual capacities of the children. Our social work, led by Mary Kasale, follows them in their developments during this school period. This should include visits to the various schools where discussions are held with the children about their well-being. In addition, we organise return days around the major holidays. The home children  go back to the followers and Ngorika offers opportunities for the children to reunion together in their old familiar environment and exchange experiences.

By continuing to maintain a close relationship with high school children, we also receive good feedback about the quality of education and the living environment at the various schools. We have started a program to collect, record, organise and use this feedback in a more structured way to make better choices for the coming years. This is with the ambition to always get the best out of our children. 

Final guidance (phase 4)
At the end of 2018, seven students completed their secondary school. Among them are three university candidates who now first go to A-level. For the others, the wishes in terms of vocational training have been mapped. In the period between the courses we arranged a temporary job for the young people or let them go back to their families to help there.
Up to now, we have had to deal with incidental school leavers that we have directed towards paid work via the existing network. However, the number of workplaces that can be used is drying up within our network and we know that from 2020 we will have to deal with a continuous outflow of 12-14 adolescents. Next year we will have to make a policy for this and find financial resources.

In the kitchens of Kikatiti and Ngorika, fruits and vegetables from the Lerai garden are increasingly being used. This makes the children eat healthier and more varied. For 2018 we have succeeded in increasing the yield of the Lerai garden again. With professional gardeners and an irrigation system, multiple harvests can be taken off the land. In the long term, we even expect to have a surplus that can be sold on the local market. Lerai is now more or less cost neutral and has the potential to become profitable. In the context of the self-sufficiency of our project, this is certainly also a pillar.
We continue to strive for a larger local contributions. The school fees that are paid by the parents of village children are now a serious source of income. The support for the school is thus supported. Lerai also has some potential. In addition, we are working on further anchoring our project in the local community and we are receiving donations in kind (in 2018 that included mattresses and corn). We also rely on local companies for internship addresses and potential workplaces. This task will have to be further anchored within our organization in the coming years, given the continuous outflow of "school leavers" that we can expect from 2020.
In 2018 we were able to bind a number of large new sponsors to us or to extend their contract. Our financial position looks healthy for the coming period.
However, the increasing costs of staff and livelihood (19% in 2018 as a result of VAT levy) require a strict budgetary policy. For example, we have averted the requested wage increase of 18% for 2019 and asked the management team to come up with cost-saving proposals from which we can finance the promised 4% wage increase.
The increasing number of high school children also means a substantial additional expenditure item. This item will continue to grow in the coming years. For us, it is a principle that children entrusted to our care must be able to go through the entire process of becoming economically independent under our care. This means that we have a long-term obligation on our shoulders for our children. We do not want to run the risk that we will no longer be able to support children halfway through high school, which will cause them to drop out.

In the past few years we have had a positive balance per year (excluding donations to provisions), which has enabled us to build up a reserve to minimize this risk. It is a fact that this reserve will evaporate in 2022 if we do not find any new financing. The pressure on the Dutch fund-raising board therefore remains undiminished. In the meantime, we are responsible for around 350 children who we provide structural education and care.
The current financial reserves give us room to meet our obligations up to and including phase 3 in the coming years. However, we are still faced with the increasing task of implementing phase 4 and deploying additional manpower. In this regard, it is nice to report our recent collaboration with the Pamoja Nguvu Foundation (meaning strong together), founded by our former chairman Matti Emondts. Pamoja Nguvu offers targeted financial support through micro-credits to help young (single) women with an idea to become independent small businesses. In addition, Pamoja Nguvu wants to help successful school-leavers of Happy Watoto start their own business. In its start-up phase, Pamoja Nguvu operates under our ANBI structure and uses the infrastructure that we have available in Tanzania. Pamoja Nguvu conducts its own board entirely independently of Happy Watoto policy and is responsible for its own fundraising. We hope that some of our outgoing children can make a flying start through this collaboration.

However, our ambitions for phase 4 go further. After an education program of an average of 15 years that we have given the children, we also see it as our duty to ensure that these children find paid work and become self-reliant. When we face a continuous outflow of 12-14 school-leavers from 2020, phase 4 will become too big a task for our current two social workers. In addition to a network of local contacts, it also requires intensive coaching to train these young adults in the right direction. We are therefore looking for financial means to appoint an additional social worker who has experience working with adolescents and has good contacts within the community. This will quickly cost € 10,000-15,000 on an annual basis, which is again an attack on our already growing budget. However, we are convinced that we can increase the chance of success of our children in this crucial final phase with the right person.

Our project is in a mature phase. The team knows its responsibilities and acts within the budgetary space that we offer. The children we care for are developing well and, with a few exceptions, go through the entire program without any significant problems. We have set some clear goals for the coming year:
  • With increasing education costs, we have to raise extra money so as not to undermine our reserves. Although this does not appear to be an acute necessity, it often takes a lot of time to bring in large amounts. In addition, we are faced with a number of large investments that are being postponed for the time being. We also asked the management team to come up with cost-saving measures.
  • Converting our Ngorika kitchen to gas to improve the food quality and working environment of the chefs.
  • Improving hygiene, especially for the youngest children. A renovation of the wet rooms in Kikatiti is part of this. At the same time, we have to catch up on the personal medical file of every child. A process that we started in 2018 and of which we aim to complete it in the spring of 2019.
  • We have asked for initiatives for our "slow learners", starting with additional adapted education outside of regular school hours.
  • We want to further optimise secondary school choices. This is possible because we now have several years of experience with the various schools and the offer of new (better) schools such as Haradali School.
  • Further development of phase 4, in which a mentor has an important role to play.
With an active, local NGO board and therefore the involvement of enthusiastic and strong local professionals, we expect Happy Watoto to further professionalise itself. Our project is also increasingly becoming self-sustaining. I express the hope that in the long term we will no longer talk about "our" project, but about Happy Watoto as a proud local organization that knows how to stand on it’s own and remains of decisive importance for the future of hundreds of children.
The primary task of the Dutch board is to ensure sufficient financial resources. And this task will remain on our shoulders for a while. The ultimate goal is a sustainable project without Western involvement and financial support. Time will tell if that will work.

Closing remarks
Without the support of our sponsors, friendly foundations and a large number of highly motivated Tanzanian and Dutch volunteers, Happy Watoto would not be able to offer 350 children future prospects.
We want to thank everyone for their contributions in the past year. And ask to continue supporting us in the years ahead, because despite the optimism, there is really a lot of work to be done before we can take our hands off the project.

A sante sane, or thank you very much.
on behalf of the entire board of Happy Watoto
Paul Nielen, chairman
4 April 2019

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