THE first anticipated advantage of the two Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) funded classrooms at the new Igekemaja secondary school is students’ depopulation from the one and only available Kitumba Secondary School in Kisesa Ward, Magu District of Mwanza region.
The current number of children at Kitumba Secondary School is over 2,700, with Kisesa Ward residents urging the government to fasten Igekemaja registration and put it in use next month.
The residents themselves are currently finalising the construction of more four classrooms through ‘Force account’ approach, assuring their completion this March.
“We must make hurry as Kitumba is overcrowded indeed, with about 1,000 students being of the first year alone,” said Kisesa Ward Councillor, Mr Marco Kabadi.
He was speaking during the recent tour of the Minister of State in the President’s Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance, Ms Jenista Mhagama to inspect TASAF projects in the region.
Despite the high population, most children do also experience the long walk, about seven kilometres to Kitumba Secondary School, said Mr Kabadi. Igekemaja secondary school project costs over 70.3m/-. It is to be composed of class and staff rooms as well as six latrine pits.
The project was proposed by Kisesa residents last year and it is 90 per cent sponsored by TASAF. At-least 1,000 students are expected to be shifted to Igekemaja, whose six classrooms capacity is between 50 and 55 students, each.
However, the residents called on continuous government support as the school is in need of more social services, mostly water and electricity power as well as hostels.
The Minister assured the government’ efforts to expand Igekemaja infrastructures, including the construction of more four classrooms.
She directed the TASAF to make it using the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) funds, which are to be released in July and therefore put a total of 10 classrooms in Igekemaja premises within this year.
The government is also set to go for installation of the laboratory at the new school, affirmed the Minister, adding that:
“In general, the government exerts much effort to improve the education sector as we may all remember that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has ordered full Loan Board sponsorship to TASAF beneficiaries with best academic performance.”
Form Four leavers also have an opportunity to join youth skill development programmes through the Prime Minister’s Office, she said.
During her three-day tour in Mwanza, the minister also visited the TASAF funded school infrastructures at Nyamagana Secondary School in Butimba Ward of Nyamagana District and Nyamimina Primary School in Buchosa Council of Sengerema District.
TASAF projects at Nyamagana secondary school are composed of the dining hall with capacity of 160 students, three classrooms with a staff room in between, six latrine pits, administration block as well as the hostel with capacity of 120 people.
However, Minister Mhagama challenged the narrowness of the dining hall, urging TASAF to make the largest one with the ability to accommodate all students at a time.
At Nyamimina School, the Minister was also informed of the high population, with about 1,400 pupils being sharing the only available six classrooms in the premises. TASAF is finalising two classes with an office in between at Nyamimina School, in a bid to fill the gap.
The Minister also paid the tour at various health projects, including the newly constructed health centre in Ilemela District and a- two- in one staff house at Ihayabuyaga dispensary, in Magu District.
In Buchosha, Ms Mhagama inspected the over 724m/- worth Lushamba Health Centre project in Bulyaheke Ward, whose construction is at the final stage.
The project is composed of among others, the Out Patient Department (OPD), mother and child as well as the laboratory buildings. There are also surgery and staff residency buildings.
Bulyaheke residents commended the efforts, but also requested inpatient building in the premise, to help them avoid almost a-10 kilometers travel in search of (patients) admission services.
“We are also in need of the ambulance boat to serve our fellows in Islands of Lake Victoria. There are about eight islands that are part of my administration area with no reliable transport, especially at night,” said Bulyaheke Ward Councillor, Mr Ngere Nyuki.
The Minister responded that the concerns would be taken into consideration, to make sure that all Tanzanians have access to quality social services. She at the same time expressed her satisfaction over the projects’ progress and ordered the finishing by the end of next month, as per plan, for immediate use of the facilities.
She told the residents that the government has been setting aside more funds for new 10 TASAF projects in each district of Mwanza.
The funds are set to be released in April, with upcoming projects being in especially health, education, water, road infrastructures as well as economic generation activities to TASAF beneficiaries’ groups.
She directed the TASAF operators to shower the beneficiaries with entrepreneurship-related training, so as to help them engage in productive investments to fight poverty.
Mwanza residents had also a time for more views airing, presenting especially the challenges they face in common, including presence of ineligible beneficiaries in TASAF programmes.
According to them, the move has been engineered by dishonest local government leaders who list their relatives, leaving the actual needy behind.
Ms Mhagama ordered not only the removal of disqualified beneficiaries, but also the names of those who have passed away, to give room for the actual needy.
Those with no reading and writing skills also voiced up, requesting manual cash transfer as they are unable to go for digital systems, mostly bank and mobile phone money transactions.
The Minister agreed with them, calling up on an immediate TASAF response to overcome such a challenge.
“Set them free to choose the means they prefer to have their money,” she stressed.