19th July 2015
Mentors play a key role in the ICS Entrepreneur programme, as providers of on-going support and guidance to the local entrepreneurs, both during the programme and after we have gone. One of our important tasks is to identify responsible mentors within the local community and to set up mentor relationships with the entrepreneurs.
Luckily for us in the village of Nyumbanitu we have come across many inspiring people who have had much success and are thriving in Tanzania’s growing dairy industry. Here are the stories of just two of those people.
Onesta Chaula lives close to the centre of the village of Nyumbanitu and is a well-respected and key member of the community. She has a small farm behind her house which is common in the village, but unlike many others she owns a cow which she uses as an extra source of income. She sells her milk as part of the local dairy group with other villagers to a processing company called ASAS for a fair price. When interviewed, she said one of the biggest challenges faced when establishing herself within the dairy industry was maintaining the health of her cow. The vaccinations and medication she needed were not locally available and she had to travel far to source them.
Onesta clearly has entrepreneurial spirit; her house is one of only eight in the community to have the infrastructure to use biogas, something she regards as one of her greatest achievements. In the future she hopes to set up her own business teaching people the art of clothes tailoring, something she is highly skilled in, as well as further expanding her farm and dairy activities by purchasing more land and cows.
Onesta’s personal qualities make her an ideal mentor – she has already helped many of her neighbours in the community get into the dairy industry. She is a successful and inspiring woman who hopes to share her knowledge and experience with the entrepreneurs providing them with the motivation, guidance and support needed to succeed.
While journeys like Onestas are a rarity she is not the only person within Nyumbanitu to propel herself into a more prosperous life through hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. Our second inspiring mentor is Cosmas Mfugale, who has gone from living in a mud hut to building his own large house which not only uses biogas like Onesta’s house, but also houses three cows which act as a reliable source of income for his family.
Cosmas’ journey to success has not been an easy one. He started out selling vegetables in the early 1990s but had to give this up when devastating floods in 1998 wiped out most of his crops. He didn’t give up after this setback however and carried on this time selling charcoal until this too became a challenge when he was diagnosed with a serious illness in 2002. While most people would have given up, at this point Cosmas battled on, he took up farming initially with goats, and when this didn’t prove a sustainable source of income, he switched to cows in 2007.
Cosmas has quite literally battled all the odds and overcome every obstacle within his path to become one of the most successful businessmen within Nyumbanitu and a pillar of village life. He can fully provide for his wonderful family and it is because of this resilience and dedication that we are thrilled to have him as one of our outstanding mentors.