This department was established in response to very similar issues as the PSS/LORETA department, such as problems brought on by the AIDS/HIV pandemic in Geita district, youth unemployment, youth employment in the mining industry and drop out rates in the schools in Geita district. The department is mainly concerned with the provision of education on sexual and reproductive health issues and rights including STIs, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies and family planning for in- and out-of-school youth. The department also takes precautionary measures against youth falling victim of sexual reproductive health issues, while also economically supporting the youths whom are victims of STIs and HIV/AIDS.
Comprehensive Care for OVC (Orphans & Most Vulnerable Children) Project
This project works with different clubs, focusing on improved youth participation, solution focused approaches to problems faced by youth and psychosocial support to youth from Geita district. We are working in 4 secondary schools in Geita district with clubs of 30 students which we call Firelight clubs, referring to the new fire and light in the lives of these youth. In these Firelight clubs we are mobilizing students and teachers in Kalangalala ward to promote awareness on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and STIs on a quarterly basis through the composition of dramas and songs and poems, written and directed by the students themselves. The staff of this department also produce and disseminate brochures on reproductive health and safety to the 4 project schools in Kalangalala ward. Another activity our staff has set up in the 4 project schools concerns conducting interschool dialogues/debates on reproductive health awareness and ways of reducing HIV/AIDs/STIs prevalence among youth in Geita district. We have also designed and displayed messages on signs outside the project schools and on t-shirts that were distributed among Firelight club members and our staff, which promote safe sexual behavior and discourage early pregnancies.
For the out-of-school youth we have also established youth groups. We are now working with 5 of these youth groups in Geita district. Our staff in this department is conducting reproductive health awareness campaigns to these youth clubs in several project wards (mining areas) to inform and educate them on the reproductive health complications caused by Mercury, which is commonly used in mining activities. Another activity in this project is concerned with empowering these youth clubs - which consist of vulnerable/victims of violence, STIs, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies and young people with albinism - by providing them with brick making machines, agricultural tools such as water pumping machines or start up capital in order to boost their economic standard of living.
The PSS department is mainly concerned with reducing children's/human right violence/abuse cases. This department is also called the LORETA department, which stands for lobbying, research, training and advocacy. This was NELICO's first department and started its activities in 2004. This department was established in response to the ravaging effects of HIV/AIDS in Geita district. The government appeal for support from NGOs followed the official announcement by the Tanzanian Government that Geita is the leading District for HIV Transmission in the Lake Victoria Regions of Tanzania and that the impact of HIV and AIDS has serious detrimental effects on the lives of women and children in Geita District. One of the results of this pandemic was that children - often from rural areas - became orphans and had to struggle for their survival. Many of these children were forced to come to the mining and fishing areas in search of food, shelter and income. There they often could not find work or other ways to sustain them selves, which led to them being idle. This caused them to engage in illegal activities such as robbing, prostitution and even killing as a way to sustain their livelihoods. In recent years this department has also been responding to a rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV), especially concerning children and youth.
Comprehensive Care & Support Project
In this project we are conducting empowerment training sessions to the already established child protection committees, as well as to teachers and children themselves in schools in Geita district. We, for example, mobilize duty bearers/right holders (teachers, members of school committees), students in schools from each project ward and ward education officers to formulate and adopt a more child friendly code of conduct and school regulations. This is to ensure that students have sufficient safety and rights when attending school. For the out-of-school youth we have also established children's councils that help build their capacities regarding their own rights, participation and representation in Geita District. In an effort to disseminate knowledge and promote child rights and protection, we have aired radio and TV spots on reducing violence against children in Geita district. We also provide legal advice, counseling and coaching as well as court representation to children and other community members who are in need because they are engaged in legal conflicts.
In this project we also engage in many activities in an effort to stop the effects of escalating violence against children and GBV. We disseminate information and communication materials, which include flyers, brochures and booklets on GBV. We also maintain a public telephone helpline in Geita district where people can report violence against children and GBV, in an effort to speed up the reporting so that timely action can be taken. Lastly, we conduct capacity building trainings to representatives from the police Gender and Children's Desk and prison police as well as representatives from the social welfare office, the community development office and magistrates from Geita district, in order to strengthen and speed up the networks and channels that are concerned with violence against children and GBV in Geita district.
The Book Project
The department is aimed at improving the culture of reading and writing books among children in the school clubs. We have set up clubs in 15 primary schools all over Geita district. The clubs consist of 30 students. The goals of these clubs include motivating the children and cultivating confidence and participation in the school system. For example, the participating club members conduct a book selection process in order to obtain the best titles that will interest and teach most to the other children. The department then goes on to print and duplicate copies of these titles to distribute them back to the other club members. Our staff in this department has also done a lot to sensitize schools to initiate and adopt class library systems, which incorporate library time in the school schedule for routine usage during lessons.
One of the most important activities this department has engaged in is providing schools that are implementing the book project program with writing and drawing materials (ream papers, pencils, drawing colors, Manila paper). These materials are used by the children to write their own stories, which they also illustrate with drawings. These stories focus on the children's experiences with GBV and other forms of violence. The stories are then gathered by the departmental staff and used in a competition with prizes for the best stories. This is done to motivate the children and give the department more insights into children's experiences topics surrounding violence or hardships they have faced in the past. The departmental staff also makes regular visits to the schools that are implementing this project to check up on its progress.
Child marriage is a severe human rights violation which exposes girls to considerable health-related and social risks. Girls in Tanzania and especially in the program area of Geita are at high risk due to complex socio-cultural reasons. The main reasons people engage in child marriage practices are poverty, lack of awareness in the communities and discrimination against girls. Young girls are often lacking access to information and counselling services in the area of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) as well as a lack of formal child protection structures at a community, ward and district level. Local civil society is not sufficiently prepared for the work that is needed to end child marriage and it is poorly interlinked.
Ending Child Marriage Project
This project is implemented in 3 wards of Geita district (Katoro, Ludete and Nyamigota). The department has set up clubs in these wards for young girls. These clubs have been established to ensure that girls who are exposed to the risk of child marriage are organized and strengthened so that they do not fall victim to the risks they face. We have also conducted capacity and awareness building activities where communities in Geita district have been sensitized to the issue of prevention of child marriage and to set in motion a transformational process with regard to the cultural norms surrounding child marriage. Another goal of this project is to ensure local child protection systems/Committees - to prevent and raise awareness on child marriage - have been established or strengthened in the project wards (Ward Children Protection Committees, Most Vulnerable Children Committees) in the district of Geita, as well as ensuring these committees actively take on their role in preventing and raising awareness on child rights violations.
This department seeks to solve the problem of the inadequate legal aid provision system in Geita Region by strengthening the capacities of the paralegals organizations/units in Geita Town Council, Geita district, Chato district, Nyang’hwale district, Mbogwe district and Bukombe district. Many people in these districts lack the capital to get legal services from professional law firms. But legal issues are common in these communities and often involve land disputes in mining areas, marital disputes and civil issues, like inheritance disputes and cases of GBV. NELICO's legal aid department offers free legal advice, training and counseling to members of the communities to help them deal with any legal issues they might experience. Members of these communities are also trained by NELICO staff to act as paralegals, which will make them able to deal with legal disputes in their own communities. The main objective of this project is to improve access to justice on inheritance rights and GBV issues among communities, particularly women of Geita Region by the end of 2020.
Legal Aid Project
In this project we try to promote access to legal aid for communities and in particular women and children. We mostly achieve this through capacity building and empowerment of paralegal units, so that they can provide good quality legal services. Another way we support paralegals in the communities is by conducting training sessions on the skills of good governance and financial management. We also try to improve collaboration and the institutional sustainability of paralegal organizations, local government authorities and other stakeholders in the legal services industry, to create a good, sustainable legal system in Geita region. Staff from the legal aid department has also engaged in training paralegals on entrepreneurial skills and fundraising in order to make them and their organizations more independent. This is also so they can provide food quality legal aid services, especially to poor communities, women and children in Geita region
The legal aid department organizes a mobile legal aid clinic on a quarterly basis in the project areas to reach people who are in need of legal support at a grass roots level, but who are also hard to reach because they live in remote areas. Our legal aid staff has also engaged radio stations and social media through informational spots in order to increase public awareness on legal rights and issues, with particular focus on inheritance rights and GBV issues.
In the Lake Zone Regions of Tanzania there has been a surge in artisanal and small-scale mining over the last decades. These activities are a new way of income generation for many living in the mining districts. Many children are employed in these activities mostly because their parents or guardians live in poverty and lack funds to send them to school or buy them school materials. These children often work in very harsh conditions, have to do physically or psychologically demanding work and are exposed to the dangers of mercury poisoning and the inhalation of dust, which can cause tuberculosis. They also lack prospects for the future as they often drop out of school to engage in these activities. The main objective of this department is to make sure all children working in these forms of child labor – focusing, but not exclusive to artisanal and small scale mining - are reintegrated into the school system, provided psychosocial support and school materials and to make sure children’s right are upheld. The department also aims to find solutions for parents or guardians to improve their poor economic status so that they are able to send their children to school.
Child Labor Project
The child labor project is now in phase 2 of its implementation, which commenced in 2015 and will be running until 2019. The Project is implemented by PLAN INTERNATIONAL, NELICO and CODERT (Community Development and Relief Trust) as partners, receiving funds from Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD). In this phase we are targeting 17 mining wards of Geita district (Bukoli, Katoro, Nyarugusu, Mtakuja, Butobela, Nyamigota, Kaseme, Lwamgasa and Nyakagomba), Nyang’hwale district (Mwingiro and Nyabulanda) and Chato district (Buseresere, Nyarutembo, Makurugusi, Iparamasa, Bwanga and Buziku), where we do work in a total of 94 villages. Each of the partners has their own activities to implement in the different wards. NELICO is conducting several activities, one of which is concerned with raising awareness in communities about the detrimental effects of child labor through open air meetings. NELICO also works on the establishment of children’s councils which consist of both in- and out-of-school youth and are used to raise awareness to children working in mining sites, as well as to inform NELICO when children from their area are engaging in mining activities. We also provide these children with materials for school, to make it easier for them to get back into the school system. Another activity NELICO is concerned with is organizing sports competitions in primary schools which are aimed at empowering both boys and girls so that they are able to stand up against forms of child labor and related forms of violence. The last activity that NELICO is implementing within this project concerns the training of Community Resource Persons (CRPs). These trainings are mainly conducted to continue building their capacities on the provision of psychosocial support, the identification of child laborers and to support the children’s council and make sure they meet on a regular basis.
This department was established to improve the quality of the primary education. At this moment the public primary education is not able to fulfill all the needs of the children to get proper education. There are too many children in one school, for example we support a school with only 6 classrooms and 6000 children. The teachers are not trained or capable to deal with that many children. Beside the lack of classrooms and teachers, the facilities are not up to the standard. There are not enough desks, chairs, books and water tanks and school latrines are sometimes even nonexistent. The government does not have the capacity to improve the situation at this moment. For improvement, the support of other organizations is a necessity.
We have established four objectives to improve the quality of primary education. We started to support 10 schools; if the interventions are successful the government can learn from it and apply the interventions to other schools.
The teachers have to adapt to small classrooms and many children, we educate them how to teach reading, writing and mathematics in their circumstances. But the teachers also face different issues in their schools, so the trainings are adapted to the context. This is achieved through the participation of the teachers who are trained. The government does not have the funds to do these essential trainings, this is why the support of external organizations is a necessity.
Improved child participatory
Every school must have a children’s council to guarantee their wellbeing and to ensure that their needs are at least noted. Not every school has a council or a good working council, NELICO supports the establishment or improvement of these councils to develop the children’s participation. Beside the councils, NELICO establishes school clubs for the children to participate in extra curriculum activities such as environmental conservation, children’s rights and responsibilities, sports and games and reading clubs. The clubs are not only created to empower the youth, but also to make the participants ambassadors of their club’s subject. They can spread their knowledge to their peers, especially on environmental conservation and children’s rights and responsibilities. The clubs are complementary to other projects of NELICO to empower the youth, like the book project.
Improved child protection
The children need a safe environment to be able to learn, this is why we established a protection system in and out of school. First we organized a children’s protection team consisting of the health department, police, teachers and children’s representatives. We also created a reporting mechanism in the community and schools for the children to protect their rights and wellbeing.
Improved learning environment through community infrastructure
NELICO supports the tools needed for a sustaining school. Beside trained teachers, participatory methodologies and protection, materials are needed. Materials like desks, chairs, water tanks, books and writing materials are provided. The community is also encouraged to participate to achieve our goals, we engage them to jointly renovate the school latrines and libraries.
The albino department main concerns are dispelling the deadly myths about people with albinism and upholding their social welfare. The killings of people with albinism are based on the claim that their body parts can be used as ingredients in rituals and potions, which will bring prosperity to the user. The body parts are not only retrieved through killings, the graves of people with albinism are also exhumed. Beside the interest in body parts, the people with albinism are seen as worthless, not integral part of society and bringers of bad luck. This causes this group of people to live in a constant state of fear to be abducted, mutilated or killed.
We conduct public meetings to raise awareness and discus the issues with the community members. They can tell about their own views on people with albinism, but they are also educated about the truth behind the deadly myths and the protection of the people with albinism. To reach more people, this is also done through radio spots and TV sessions.
We train the local government, elderly people, traditional healers, people with albinism and religious leaders on how a person can be born with albinism, the types of threats people with albinism have to deal with and how to report them. This is done to create ambassadors who can assist in spreading the project’s message to a larger community to finally dispel the deadly myths and uphold the social welfare of people with albinism.
We identify and establish groups of people with albinism to provide them with life skills, economic empowerment and legal training. This gives them self-esteem to stand up for themselves and become independent. An important skill they learn is entrepreneurship.