Introducting Benedicto our founder

Our Founding Story

Benedicto Hosea, Tanzania Development Trust’s (TDT) local representative for Kigoma Rural, has direct experience with many of the problems faced by villagers in Tanzania. Born in 1986 into a family of poor farmers with seven children, he often had to make do with one meal a day. In spite of this most of the family survived, although only two members of his generation are still in Zeze, the village where he was born and still lives.

After primary school, he went to Mbondo State Secondary School near Kasulu. At first, he was able to travel there on his bicycle, but this had to be sold to pay school fees, which were only dropped for state schools in Tanzania in 2016. His walk was 26km to and from school each day, which left little time for playing football and homework.

After achieving high grades in his Form IV exams, Benedicto was assigned by the government to Njombe secondary school in the Southern Highlands. But after arriving at Njombe he was excluded from the school because his family didn’t have enough savings to pay his school fees up-front. Far from home, he found himself working for the Kibena Tea Company for two years to scrape together enough money to continue his education.

Now with enough money to choose, he opted for a private secondary school at Mtwango, also near Njombe, whose higher quality education led to him being offered a place to study environmental planning and management at the Institute of Rural Development and Planning in Dodoma. This was a good choice, even if not entirely his, and has provided a solid, practical foundation for all of his subsequent work.

Returning to Zeze immediately after university, his first attempt to set up an NGO to help his fellow villagers (the Rural Sustainable Development Organisation) failed because he had no money to pay for the national registration fee and countless bus journeys to Dar es Salaam. His second attempt was more successful, setting up the community-based organization Mboni ya Vijana (MvG) in 2014.

With the help of some school friends and a fellow university student, they began training local farmers in ways to improve their crop yields through the use of improved seeds, compost-making etc. To fund the work, Benedicto took a job with Help Age International in the Kigoma refugee camps from 2013-16, ploughing back two-thirds of his wages into MvG. The village council was able to give him some land on which to build the training centre but no money, so additional skills in brick-making were quickly acquired.

Share the Post:

Continue reading