The Luhimba Project
by Paul Temple

LUHIMBA is a remote village in rural southern Tanzania, East Africa. It currently has a population of approx 3,500 villagers who live in scattered clusters of dwellings. Their houses are of two main types - mud huts with grass roofs, or constructions of home-produced bricks with corrugated sheet roofing.
There is no mains electricity or piped water to the village.

The only electricity is provided by generators and solar panels on a few of the houses and community buildings . Otherwise lighting is by oil lamps.

The villagers fetch water from pumps.

Life expectancy in the village is about 50 years, men living longer.

There are no vehicles apart from some bicycles and there is only one small shop which sells basics, such as soap.

The villagers earn their living from the land.

In 1984 a project was started by the late Michael Carey of Wrington, near Bristol, on behalf of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. It was set up to improve the standard of living and quality of life of the villagers in a sustainable way. Luhimba had been selected by the Britain Tanzania Society on the basis of the quality of the local leadership and the fact that Luhimba was in the fertile Ruvuma region which was just being opened up to the rest of Tanzania by the Songea - Dar es Salaam road.

Michael and his late wife Angela visited the village to ascertain what were the perceived needs and to find out how we could help them to get what they wanted and not what we thought that they ought to have. In those days Luhimba was very deprived and there was extreme poverty.

Unprotected surface water was freely drunk with consequent high rates of water borne disease particularly amongst children.

Subsequent help concentrated on Education, Health, Clean Water, Agriculture and Engineering.

Following an initial grant of £12,000 things started to improve slowly with the help of other fund raising. From those early days the approach has been that we ask the villagers what they want and work with them to prioritise their needs. Not once have we imposed western Ideas on them. In this way every aspect of the project is within their own culture and understanding.

In 1993 Comic Relief agreed to support the project over a five year period, ending on 5 April 1998. During this time the project moved forward in leaps and bounds. Since then the project has relied on the donations and generous sponsorship of individuals and organisations spread over a wide area of the UK.

Michael Carey passed away in December 2008, leaving a legacy which has touched the lives of so many people in this remote corner of Africa and will continue to do so for generations to come.

The Luhimba Project, which became a registered charity in 2002, is currently run by a small group of volunteers in North Somerset, led by former headteacher Paul Temple in partnership with Dr Strato Paul Mosha who lives in Dar es Salaam and oversees each aspect of the project.
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Where is Luhimba ?


                                          The Project's achievements 1984 to the present

                                              Installing 25 hand water wells and a ring well

Refurbishing the old village primary school

                                                     Building 2 more primary schools
Building a new secondary school
Forming links with UK schools
Providing solar power for the secondary school
Sponsoring students to go on to further and higher education
Setting up a student gap year scheme

                          Building a village dispensary and recently adding a 20-bed ward to it
Training the village doctor to cure trachoma, a sight-threatening disease
Providing hand-operated tricycles for the disabled
Providing solar powered hearing aids and other medical aids

                                                             Building a new village office
Setting up a small business loan scheme
Providing training for the agricultural officer

                                                             Building a care home

                 Setting up an animal project to provide, pigs, goats, cows and poultry for families
Installing a major irrigation scheme for the farming community.
All the above have only been possible because of the generosity of
                                      our loyal supporters, friends, sponsors and donors