The Reaching Children’s Potential Program (RCP) in Tanzania is staffed by many talented, dedicated individuals who lead community change through new technologies and lifestyle transformations. They also are essential to provide clean, comfortable, and safe lodging and nutritious meals for volunteers while they serve in Tanzania. Together, this exceptional team keeps the program running smoothly for families enrolled in the program and the volunteers supporting it. Read on to learn why this staff is so highly regarded.
Lead Cook Nesia Tengelakwi
Nesia, known by her traditional name, Mama Tony, prepares nutritious and tasty meals for volunteers at the RCP Center. She also cooks for the medical staff and pregnant mothers who stay at the guest house before and after delivery. She has been a member of Global Volunteers staff in Tanzania since 1992. Nesia and her extended family – including her son and daughter – reside in Pommern, also in the Iringa region, where she was born and raised. She lives in Ipalamwa when volunteers are on site.
Mama Tony says her favorite part of her job is cooking a delicious meal and watching people enjoy what she has prepared. About the RCP Program, Mama Tony says, “The program is very helpful to many people in the community. Some people are living in very hard conditions to the point of lacking food to eat, but the program provides meals to some families and in schools as well. Technologies like garden boxes and the handwashing stations have moved people to have better health conditions. The Ipalamwa General Clinic has saved the life of many people.” Mama Tony encourages volunteers to come to her community “in order to create awareness among community members about health and nutrition, which are challenging here.” She proudly says volunteers always enjoy “a lot of attractions like mountains, valleys, and good weather.” She adds that fresh and natural foods are always available. “It is amazing working with this program, because I can see the progress within a short period of time, and this encourages (me) to work hard.”
In her free time, Mama Tony loves growing flowers.
RCP Program Coordinator and Technology Manager Husna Waziri
Husna Waziri manages the logistics for all RCP technologies to be imported to Tanzania and distributed to RCP families. For example, she monitors the Customs clearing process of the fortified meals we receive from our partner, Rise Against Hunger (RAH), and their transportation to Ipalamwa; purchases the materials for hand-washing stations; and grows seedlings to be planted in EarthBoxes. She also prepares monthly reports on the use of these technologies in the program and estimates future needs.
Husna was born in Dar es Salaam and studied Community Development in Dodoma. Her father is a driver and her mother is a teacher. She has two older brothers and one older sister.
Husna says she loves doing all things related to RAH meals, for instance, preparing reports on their importation and distribution. “I say that’s my favorite part because it helps my brain to think big in arranging the report, numbers, and everything,” she says. “I also love the distribution of meals to the families and seeing how excited they are.” She also values being invited by RCP moms to join them in harvesting vegetables from their EarthBoxes.
In her free time, Husna loves to learn to cook new things, sing, and read. She says she enjoys living with the other RCP staff on the campus and spending time with them both during and after work hours.
RCP Rural Co-op Coordinator Debora Joshua
In February 2021, RCP Caregiver Debora Joshua transitioned to a new role of RCP Rural Co-op Coordinator. She now coordinates the work and training of the four rural women’s co-ops in the Ukwega Ward. Debora earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) in the Mwanza region.
Debora is enthusiastic about her work with Global Volunteers: “Volunteers can do so many things here, and I have seen how much they enjoy their service in the community.” She cites sharing childcare experiences with RCP moms and child development information with caregivers as well as presenting new information in workshops and reinforcing other lessons in home visits. “And they can experience many different things from the community, like culture, lifestyle, and how women raise their children. They can have a wonderful experience serving and learning,” she asserts.
Debora was born in the Njombe region of Tanzania and raised in the Iringa region. She belongs to the Kyusa tribe from the southern highlands of Tanzania. She’s single and doesn’t have any children, but she has four siblings that live in different parts of the country.
In her free time, Debora likes to knit socks and hats, visit her parents, and sing in her church choir.
“Volunteers can do so many things here and I have seen how much they enjoy their service in the community. They can help reinforce new technology and knowledge presented in workshops. They can present new information themselves in workshops. They can have a wonderful experience serving and learning.”
– Debora Joshua, RCP Rural Co-op Coordinator
Chicken Coop Coordinator Julius Nyerere
Julius Nyerere is the RCP Chicken Coop Coordinator, ensuring that the chicks and chickens are fed and vaccinated, the eggs are collected, and the coops are kept clean. He also assists with the installation of hand-washing stations. Julius was a hand-washing expert at Ipalamwa Secondary School and taught his classmates about how to properly wash their hands with soap and water. He says that he “was inspired with how Global Volunteers was working, especially with how they care about other people’s health.” He says his favorite part of his job is seeing how his community benefits from what he is able to do for them.
“I always feel happy when I see volunteers,” Julius says, “because there is always something to learn from them. Their presence helps the community to be aware of many new things through training on health services, nutritional assistance, workshops, and all the technologies. As the program continues, we will keep being better,” he predicts, adding, “If possible, it will be better if the program expands to more places so that it can reach many people because I’m sure there are other people in other places who need the same services in Tanzania.”
Julius was born and raised in Manyara but moved to Ipalamwa when he was starting secondary school. He is the tenth of 12 children in his family. In his free time, Julius likes to listen to gospel music. He hopes to start learning to play piano.
RCP Driver Rashid Mpumu
Rashid Mpumu is one of the two staff drivers for Global Volunteers in Tanzania. He transports volunteers in the Global Volunteers van to and from the Iringa airport, and among the five villages where Global Volunteers works in the Ukwega Ward. Born and raised in the Morogoro region, Rashid has experience driving trucks and public buses.
Rashid says, “I love the way all the trips are well-organized around the village.” He smiles, “I feel so happy being part of the RCP Program because I contribute to helping my community and what makes me more excited is that us as staff are working in a friendly way and with cooperation.” Rashid says Tanzania volunteers see the best of his country because “people here are very kind and love guests,” so they feel comfortable during the service program. “Community members also enjoy what other people from outside their area teach them, so I’m sure they will have something to share with people when they are here and we can exchange ideas.”
Rashid is married and has eight children – four daughters and four sons. His oldest children have started their own lives independently, he says, and he still has the youngest ones at home. In his free time, Rashid likes to visit friends, listen to music, and watch soccer games. He says he has liked sports since he was very young.
RCP Driver Fadhili Laini
Fadhili Laini also drives Global Volunteers’ van to and from the airport in Iringa, and delivers volunteers to the five villages in the Ukwega Ward. After finishing secondary school in Pommern, Fadhili attended driving school in Iringa and gained years of experience working as a driver. He was born and raised in Ipalamwa, but later moved to Iringa.
Fadhili says he loves helping his home community as a Global Volunteers staff member. “I would like volunteers to stay here all the time, because we learn a lot about different lifestyles, because we exchange ideas. I also like how they care about other people and make people feel comfortable around them.” He greatly appreciates the school meals, education on reproductive health, and technologies that help improve people’s health provided by Global Volunteers. Fadhili says he expects his community to create “a brighter future for many generations” as the program continues. He smiles and says Ipalamwa is beautiful and has “many trees which provide good weather, mountains, natural foods, and the people are very kind and welcoming to guests. They will not regret staying here.”
Fadhili is married and he and his wife have three daughters. He loves to listen to music.
Maintenance Person Denis Mkemwa
Denis is responsible for all the maintenance on the RCP Campus in Ipalamwa. Denis was born and raised in Ipalamwa and earned a Level One certificate in Plumbing from VETA Iringa. Before joining Global Volunteers, Denis was a plumber with ASAS Iringa. Denis says his favorite part of his job is working with volunteers who help with labor projects. Denis says of Global Volunteers: “They bring changes and have been dedicated to help the lives of children, pregnant women, and families, and even teach us new technology and how to implement them. Their presence always brings happiness to our family. They teach us a lot of things and they also end up learning new things from the community.”
Denis continues, “Apart from that, the program has also helped to provide employment for local people living around the RCP Center and also bring new people to the village who work Global Volunteers.”
Denis is married and he and his wife have four children. In his free time, he likes to “visit friends and tell stories with them.”
“They bring changes and have been dedicated to help the lives of children, pregnant women, and families, and even teach us new technology and how to implement them. Their presence always brings happiness to our family. They teach us a lot of things and they also end up learning new things from the community.”
– Denis Mkemwa, RCP Maintenance Person
Security Guard Josephat Nyenza
Josephat Nyenza is one of the three security guards at the RCP Center, responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the campus. He was born and raised in Ipalamwa, and is the youngest of five children in his family. He is married and has two little girls. The oldest is in kindergarten.
Josephat says he was inspired to apply for the position of security guard because he wanted to be “part of helping others in the community.” He says he enjoys working with his colleagues at the center and does not hesitate to help in other activities because he knows “I keep learning.” About working with Global Volunteers, he says, “The presence of volunteers gives us a great advantage because we get trainings from them, especially professionals, who always open our eyes.”
Josephat’s family is enrolled in the RCP Program. He says, “I’m also a parent, so I know how difficult it is to raise a child correctly and with good health. This program offers trainings which have been helpful to many people in our communities. Many children are becoming stronger and healthier than before. The school meal program has been helpful to improve our children’s cognition. The free services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic have opened the door to good health services for even the poorest people in the village. So the program needs to continue even in other places because it is very beneficial. I feel very well being part of this program because I’m also a part of helping my fellow community members towards the better future.”
In his free time, Josephat likes to stay at home with his children, whom he loves playing with. He beams, “I usually like to know what they love, what they need, and to observe which talents they have. I love my children so much.”
“I’m also a parent, so I know how difficult it is to raise a child correctly and with good health. This program offers trainings which have been helpful to many people in our communities. Many children are becoming stronger and healthier than before. The free services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic have opened the door to good health services for even the poorest people in the village.”
– Josephat Nyenza, Security Guard
Security Guard Lioned Chusi
Lioned is also a security guard at the RCP Center, in charge of the safety and security of the campus. Lioned was born and raised in Lulindi. He is the seventh of eight children in his family. He is married and he and his wife have a daughter. Lioned says his grandfather was a security guard a long time ago, and “being a security guard reminds me of him and makes me be a hard worker as he was.” He says his favorite part of his job is “keeping the place safe for everyone who is here and making people feel comfortable when coming to this area.” He continues, “I feel very good being part of this program because I’m working with peace of mind. This helps me to contribute very well to helping to provide good services of the program to the community members.”
Lioned encourages volunteers to come to his community: “We love guests and I always learn something new whenever they are here. The more they stay, the more they reach more people with the knowledge they have. Also, they will enjoy working with us because we always cooperate with them and they will not feel bored at any time when they are here. They should also know that racism is not part of us at all. We are all the same and we will make them feel comfortable all the time.” He adds, “The more service programs are conducted, the more our community is benefiting from it in terms of knowledge, nutrition, health, and employment for people. The program is generally a great fit for our area.”
In his free time, Lioned likes to listen to music, sing, and play with his daughter.
Security Guard Goim Mlengela
Goim, a security guard at the RCP Center, was born and raised in Lulindi, where his parents live. He says he enjoys “using the skills I have to make the whole RCP campus safe for everyone. He says he was inspired by Global Volunteers’ commitment to helping people in his community. He smiles, “I feel good working in this program because of people I have met here who are very friendly and always helpful. Also, I have been learning a lot about a variety of things like the garden boxes and hand-washing station installation. RCP is a great program.”
Goim encourages people to spend a week or two volunteering in his community: “Volunteers are a great resource in helping us learn new things. They are from a different part of the world, so we get to learn how other people are living in the world, but they can also learn from us. Volunteers are helping us with many things. The more they come to stay, the more people are helped in the community in terms of employment and other services. But all in all, we love guests. Guests are a blessing. People here are very kind and welcoming and I’m sure they will not regret their decision to come to our community.”
Goim says that the most important part of the RCP Program is the availability of health care services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic: “So many health challenges have been minimized with the presence of the clinic. Also, other services that are provided by the program like trainings and technologies have been very helpful to the lives of many. The program should continue to exist so that many people can be helped.”
In his free time, Goim likes to listen to gospel sermons on the radio.
Housekeeper Berifa Makongwa
Berifa is the staff housekeeper at the RCP Center in Ipalamwa. She ensures the center, which includes the clinic and guest rooms, are kept clean. Berifa was born and raised in Ipalamwa, and is the fourth of six children in her family. She and her husband live in Ipalamwa with their son and a daughter, who both attend primary school.
Berifa says that she loves to see the entire RCP Center clean and safe. She says that she has learned a great deal in her position with Global Volunteers, and has become more concerned about cleanliness in her own home. She says she loves that her job has taught her a variety of new things. For instance, working with volunteers on the ground has helped her improve her English. She says she loves how Global Volunteers operates and how the staff works together: “We are all living in peace and in high cooperation. Working together makes everything successful to continue helping the community,” she contends.
Berifa encourages volunteers to enjoy the mountains, trees, and fresh fruits in her community as they serve others. The RCP Program is especially helpful, she says, to women and children. “Mothers and children are the most affected group in many communities, but with the presence of this program and services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic, they will be empowered.”
Berifa spends her free time helping her children with their school lessons as well as teaching them how to help at home – such as sweeping or fetching water. She also loves to play with her kids.
School Cook Jali Kifyasi
Jali Kifyasi prepares the RAH fortified meals for the students at Ukwega Primary School. She arrives at school each day at 5:00 a.m. to start cooking the meals for the students to eat before classes begin. She ensures there is enough water, salt, and oil to prepare the meals. Jali says, “My favorite part of my job is when I see that the children are so happy when they receive meals, and also that they want to get the meals for a second time in the afternoon because they love them so much.”
Jali was born in Ukwega village and attended Ukwega Primary School as a child. She and her husband have three children. They farm in Ukwega and sometimes transport extra crops to be sold in Iringa.
In her free time, Jali likes to sing gospel songs with her family.
School Cook Zakina Nyaulingo
Zakina Nyaulingo prepares the RAH fortified meals at Makungu Primary School. Taking great pride in her responsibility, she says, “I must make sure that all the students get two meals every day, each day of the week.”
Zakina was born in Ipalamwa, and is the third of five children. She graduated from Makungu Primary School in 2014. She now lives with her parents in Makungu where her mother is a farmer and her father is a businessman.
Zakina smiles when asked what her favorite part of her job is: “Serving the meals to students, especially the second meal of the day that they receive in the afternoon. At that time, I can spend more time with the students telling stories and playing with them because they have more time in the afternoon. My passion is to work with children.”
In her free time, Zakina likes to tell stories with her family, fetch water, and go to the farm.
Zakina prepares Rise Against Hunger meals for hundreds of students each day. Zakina loves spending time with the children in her community while distributing meals to them. School Cook Irene Festo Mtengela
Irene Mtengela prepares the RAH meals for the students at Fikano Primary School in Ipalamwa, the school she attended until completion in 2008. She then attended Ukwega Secondary School until 2013. Irene is a single mom to her four-year-old daughter. She and her six siblings live with her parents, both of whom are farmers in Ipalamwa.
Irene says that she is inspired by the impact that she sees the RAH meals have on her community, especially the children. She beams, “When I distribute the RAH meals, I love to see the children’s happy faces. I know this program is making a difference in many aspects, especially education, health, nutrition, and lifestyles.”
In her free time, Irene likes to sing with her friends in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania choir.
You may also like: