Lufingo Ward Graduation Ceremony 2018

                                Photo taken by Africa Bridge Board Member Gary Grossman. 

The Lufingo graduation ceremony was held on June 12th in the center of the Ward at Kalalo village. There were 338 people in attendance including, but not limited to: children, guardians, teachers, government officials, co-op members, Ward Steering Committee members, Ward Development Committee, Empowerment Workers, Most Vulnerable Children Committee (MVCC), Africa Bridge Board Members and Staff.


Julius Chalya District Commissioner of Rungwe Distraction said, “Africa Bridge has been doing a good job to support our communities …. especially for the families living in vulnerability, those families must use what they get from Africa Bridge to improve their life situation and also to support their children”.  Africa Bridge staff are looking toward the future of the Ward as well. Independent contractor and co-op coordinator Noel stated, “I really liked the event, it was very nice, and what makes me feel happy is the readiness of the community leaders and community members to proceed to take over the project”.


Now that Africa Bridge’s tenure with Lufingo has been completed, it is time for the Ward to look forward at ways of sustaining our program within the community. The management of Africa Bridge’s project will now be under the supervision of the District Leader, Ward and village leadership in cooperation with MVCC’s in each village. Africa Bridge has helped bring hope and support to the people of Lufingo, encouraging brighter futures ahead. We are looking forward to seeing the Ward’s progress as they face challenges with new skills, systems, and opportunities to support the most vulnerable children.


We want to extend our deepest gratitude to Vibrant Village Foundation, Segal Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, and Abbott Fund for sponsoring Lufingo Ward, as well as other key stakeholders who helped support our mission. We thank you!

Urgent International Need

Help Now

As the year ends, Africa Bridge is busier than ever. We have just begun a new investment in Kambasegela Ward, comprised of three villages and located in the rural southern highlands of Tanzania. As always, our goal in these three villages is to empower people through our five-year sustainable development model that pairs short-term startup capital with extensive training to enable villagers to achieve long-term economic success. Africa Bridge knows this model works, as it has been implemented in 34 villages prior to Kambasegela, and has changed lives of more than 7,000 vulnerable children and their families. There are 1,500 vulnerable children in Kambasegela Ward, living in households subsisting on less than one dollar per day. Kambasegela is the poorest ward we have worked with and the children need your help.

Africa Bridge partnered with the Busokelo District Council to conduct an on-the-ground survey of the ward. Our objective was to learn about the current community, identify the greatest needs and opportunities with our programs. The findings during this process were beyond heartbreaking. The ward has a total of five schools and on average, each child walks six miles to school every day. More boys were observed attending schools than girls, and in each school, the children sat on dirt floors, had limited access to text books, and experienced little to no teacher presence. As you can imagine, these villages have some of the lowest rates of literacy anywhere in the world. With low literacy rates, 99 percent of the Kambasegela population relies on subsistence farming to earn income.

To change their future, the people of Kambasegela desperately need sustainable agricultural opportunities that can grow, leading to more food and more income. Africa Bridge understands this vital need, and has committed to providing cows in 2018.

By establishing a dairy co-op, we can help alleviate poverty, improve health, and create economic sustainability. This is accomplished by providing a pregnant cow to households with the most vulnerable children. Africa Bridge will provide extensive agricultural trainings and small business discipline, creating new opportunities and life-long impacts. By donating to the co-op, you are helping provide the most vulnerable children with access to milk to build strong bones, households with new farming techniques that also become desirable job skills, and care-takers with new income streams. Your gift will also help these vulnerable families with increased access to education and health care. Africa Bridge needs to raise $50,000 to obtain these cows for Kambasegela Ward.

Before this year ends, make an impactful contribution. Here are some specific ways your tax-deductible donation can help us reach more vulnerable families with the promise of a prosperous future:

  • For $1000, you can buy a cow and a bull for the dairy co-op to give more families access to nutritious milk, rich fertilizer from manure, and new income opportunities.
  • For $500, you can buy a cow for the dairy co-op providing more families with access to nutritious milk, rich fertilizer from manure, and new income opportunities.
  • For $250, you can supply 5 vulnerable kids with school uniforms, workbooks and shoes, supporting their education for a year.
  • For $100, you can provide 25 vulnerable kids with more time to play by sending them to quarterly Children’s Club meetings for a year
  • For $50, you can provide veterinary care to help keep livestock cooperatives healthy and productive.
Please donate to Africa Bridge today. Your contribution will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of vulnerable children, their guardians, and entire communities. We have hard work ahead, but with your generosity, we can build a brighter future for these villages.

Given the recent passage of the Tax Bill, it makes sense to maximize your charitable contributions this year because it helps reduce your income in 2017 when tax rates are higher. Plus, you might not end up itemizing next year since the standard deduction is nearly doubling Source: Washington Post.

Donations can be addressed to Africa Bridge PO Box 115, Marylhurst, Oregon 97036 or made online at our website

Asante Sana,

Deborah Saunders

Africa Bridge Receives Recognition in Tanzania

It was National Education Week in early April in the Mbeya Region of Tanzania where Africa Bridge operates.

Africa Bridge was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation for its work in the region.  The certificate was presented by the Mbeya’s Regional Commissioner Abbas Kandoro and accepted by Medard Mwebesa, the Africa Bridge Most Vulnerable Children Committees (MVCC) Coordinator.  In attendance at the event were a number of stakeholders from all over the Mbeya Region.  The Rungwe District in particular was represented by Africa Bridge and the Rungwe Small Tea Growers’ Association.

Medard Mwebesa, Africa Bridge

The certificate recognized Africa Bridge for its contributions and support towards regional efforts to offer education to its citizens.  The award acknowledged the work Africa Bridge has done to remove barriers to education for vulnerable children.

Families are often challenged to meet the requirements for school attendance – uniforms, shoes, books, and other supplies.  Africa Bridge’s MVC Committees identify village children who are at risk of being unable to attend school and supply them with the needed items; in 2013 this equaled 700 children in 12 villages receiving uniforms.  An estimated 3,000 children have been the recipients of uniforms since 2006.

In Tanzania, the local community has the responsibility to maintain schools.  Limited financial resources in villages means that many classrooms are in poor condition – leaking roofs, dirt floors with pock mocks, and no glass in the windows.  School desks that are meant to fit two or three students often have to accommodate four or more, making study difficult.  Africa Bridge recently facilitated the construction and delivery of hundreds of desks to ease this kind of overcrowding in local schools where the agency works.

Delivery of desks


New desks ready for use

Africa Bridge is gratified by this recognition of the hard work of its Tanzanian staff, their collaborative partners, and co-op participants.

International Day of the African Child 2013

kidsSunday, June 16th is the Day of the African Child. This day draws attention to the issues facing African children and this year’s theme is “Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices Affecting Children: Our Collective Responsibility.”

Historically, June 16th, 1976 marked a sad day. Thousands of students had taken to the streets of Soweto, South Africa to protest their inferior education system and the fact that they were not being taught in their own language. Tragically, over a hundred children were shot and killed plus countless others were injured during the protest. Then in 1991, the Organization of African Unity began holding an annual celebration in honor of those killed and commemoration of the courage shown by the protesters.

In Tanzania, this year’s African Child Festival will be held at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam. The event is organized by the African Child Trust and expected to draw over 500 children from all over, including some orphanages. The all day festival is sure to be a fun with entertainment including comedy, dance and African dress shows, sing alongs and other exciting activities. Additionally, the children will have a chance to visit other kids in treatment for cancer, at the Muhimbili National Hospital. Unfortunately, many of these little patients have no one to care for them. “This festival aims at encouraging them and to also remind them that they are part of our society” according to Ailinda Sawe the Chairperson for African Child Trust (IPP Media).

kids_Katusyo Primary School2 (2)What an important day to reflect upon the challenges facing the children in Africa. Here at Africa Bridge we are fortunate and humbled to be able to do our part to make a difference in some of their lives. And, we also feel extremely grateful to get to interact with so many amazing and special children in our work, that certainly calls for a celebration!






Lufingo Leaders Envision a Sustainable Future

Coming together to make a difference

We’ve started our work in the Lufingo ward, located in the Rungwe district of the Mbeya Region in SW Tanzania.

Our Tanzanian field crew invited representatives from all seven villages of Lufingo to a 3-day meeting. More than 100 men, women, and children came together to decide how they want to shape the direction of their community. During this retreat, Africa Bridge led the village leaders in our Future Search process – this is our proven method of consensus decision-making.

Wisdom from the mouths of babes

This process always starts with a meeting with the children. In this safe, supportive environment, children have the opportunity to share their experiences, hopes, and dreams. They speak from the heart and have an intuitive understanding of what their communities need to thrive.

Children are also able to share what keeps them awake at night. Sadly, most children in Tanzania are forced to worry about their family going hungry, how to get an education, about poverty, and even more tragically, they have to worry about violence.

Our two note takers, one is recording in Swahili and the other in English

At one point, a child named Abasi* stood up and said, “I understand that this is a good meeting, but will things really happen?”

Abasi asks this insightful question with good reason. He wants to make sure that the efforts will worth it. Africa Bridge works to ensure the community will realize meaningful and sustainable changes. We guide the community to build self-sufficient economies that they control.

Children like Abasi understand there is a lot at stake for their communities, families, and future. They know  everyone in their villages must work together to create lasting change. Africa Bridge talks to the children first because, like Abasi, they speak authentically about their communities’ true concerns and needs.

Making permanent change in Lufingo

After our meeting with the children, the Africa Bridge team met with the men and women leaders. Together, these incredible individuals made plans for their villages, all driven by the children’s ideas and agendas. The topics they developed strategies around include:

  • Caring for the Lufingo children (1 out of every 5 children in Tanzania have lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS)
  • Investing in agriculture to grow food and make money
  • Training people so that they can sustain themselves and their families.

These Lufingo leaders have begun to work on a plan for change that will create lasting transformation for their communities. With your support, this change will happen.

Please support Abasi and his community
Inspired? Join us today. A contribution to Africa Bridge is an investment in the future of Lufingo and communities like it. Click here to learn more.

*Name changed to protect this child.

The entire group of stakeholders was completing a joint brainstorming activity which had started the prior day. This involved assembling a large number of ideas for short-term and long-term projects in their ward.


Tanzanian Youth Discuss Children’s Welfare

Find out what youth think about social welfare of children in Tanzania. Here’s an interesting article about young people from all over Tanzania voicing positive ideas on how the government can better work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. What a great way to get children actively involved in creating a better future for Tanzania! I bet there were  many future leaders of Tanzania in attendance. The workshops were organized by the Children Dignity Forum, who are helping children make their voices heard.

Read the full article here:

Ensuring Peer-Education Support

Each year Africa Bridge dedicates funds to training another generation of peer educators. These educators can then serve as leaders and positive role models within their communities. Africa Bridge conducts a peer-education training for students from primary and secondary schools to learn about reproductive health and life skills. These kids then educate their fellow students with help of their teachers, as well as pledging to act as positive examples. To ensure peer educators are supported, Africa Bridge staff also trains teachers (from primary and secondary schools) as well as village and ward officials.

Recently the time came again for such a training. Africa Bridge Program Manager Martha Mmbando, assisted by facilitators, conducted a training at Mapambano Primary School in Mpombo Ward. The training lasted five days and focused on providing 31 participants with the skills to support student peer-educators, guidance and counseling skills for HIV/AIDS testing, life skills and reproductive health knowledge.

As a result of everyone’s hard work, teachers and officials gained valuable skills that they can now utilize as they continue to support and teach students and villagers.


Oliver’s Stories IV: “Dio” to Primary School

When we met 13 year-old Aluna, she was finishing her last two weeks of Primary School. On paper, Aluna is an unlikely candidate to go to secondary school. To go on to secondary school she would need to take a series of exams and to pay a much higher tuition than for Primary School.

Aluna and her three sisters lost both her parents to AIDS at a very young age, and it would outstrip the resources of most families to provide that  many children with any more than a basic education– especially in a family with only one caregiver, and one income.

See, after her parents died, Aluna’s grandmother Bibi took Aluna and her three sisters in as her own. This was a huge undertaking. Of the limited income Bibi had, she would now have to divide it by five. Of the limited food she had, she would now have to divide it by five.

The idea of paying for each one of these girls to go to primary school, let alone secondary school, should have been unthinkable. But because Aluna and her sisters were identified as ‘most vulnerable’ by their village’s Most Vulnerable Children’s Committee, they had received a large number of avocado plants from the village’s avocado co-op.  Now, Aluna’s future is hers for the taking.

At one point during our visit, we had a quiet but still extraordinary conversation. We asked her if she had taken the tests for secondary school, to which she responded “dio”. Yes. We asked her if she had passed her tests for secondary school, to which she responded “dio”. Yes. We asked her if she was going to go to secondary school, to which she responded “dio”. Yes.

Africa Bridge changes people’s lives.

By Oliver Muggli