PAMOJA - GEMEINSAM - Verein für int. Zusammenarbeit
PAMOJA - TOGETHER - Association for Intl. Cooperation

Travel Report 2013

Due to inadequate communication with Piuma, Pamoja decided to pay a visit to the self-help group in Bulongwa, Tanzania, to get an idea of the specific circumstances on the spot. Consequently, Wolfgang Rausch, Chairman of Pamoja travelled to Tanzania from 29 July – 16 August 2013.

 

The visit revealed that the group had reduced its activities remarkably and the current board had failed to meet their obligations to a large extent. The members of the board seem to be increasingly engaged in other political or non-governmental organisations or have to provide for themselves so that they are unable to meet their obligations with Piuma. Moreover, it was observed that the medical services of the Pamoja project offered by the Consolata Hospital Ikonda were made use of less often than possible.

Furthermore, there seems to be little trust in the board, and the group is splintering into a small number of small groups.

On Monday, 5 August 2013, a General Meeting of Piuma took place, in which 25 members out of more than 150 participated. On the agenda were the topics communication among the group members, communication with Pamoja and their supporters, the medical care by the Consolata Hospital in Ikonda as well as the accounting records, which were last submitted for the accounting year of 2010. A number of inquiries – both by telephone and in writing – had remained unanswered. However, we consider positive the fact that the documents were available and archived on the spot. In the meantime, all documents have been forwarded to Rayben Sanga, Public Accountant of Piuma, and to Gottfried Mernyi, treasurer of Pamoja, for examination.

Despite this regrettable development, Piuma is still considered to be among the most efficient organisations in the fight against HIV/Aids. Information on HIV/Aids is still provided by active members of the self-help groups, and the fact that HIV positive people are doing the same work as non-infected ones is breaking this taboo.

On Tuesday, 8 August 2013, a General Meeting of Piuma took place, in which the topics accountancy, medical supply, human rights, group dynamics, communication as well as economic projects were dealt with.

 

Accountancy: As usual, any transfer from Piuma’s trust account has to be booked correctly and submitted. The records of the years 2011 and 2012 have been submitted and are being checked. There will be no money transfer by Pamoja before the accounts are balanced positively.

 

Medical supply: Medical supply is guaranteed by Consolata Hospital in Ikonda. Treatment has been extended to all kinds of therapies, including operations. Transfer to the hospital has to be financed by the self-help group and will be refunded in case of correct bookkeeping. It remains to be seen whether the group will be able to manage transfers more effectively.

 

Human rights: Due to human rights violations in the Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital against HIV positive people, we consider the possibility of lawsuits against those responsible. As some of the group members are convinced that the persons responsible should be held to account, we are examining ways to do so.

 

Group Dynamics: The self-help group Piuma  seems to work badly as a large group. That is why we have pointed out that small groups (such as local communities) should also be involved in decisions. This has not been the case so far.

 

Communication: The communication within the group has been insufficient recently. The fact that almost each group member owns a mobile phone has not made a difference. We have pointed out that communication among the group members will help eliminate misunderstandings. Communication with Pamoja normally happens via internet as telephone calls are much too costly. At the moment Piuma has not got access to the internet. Mobile internet – provided by the group – might be a solution. The current costs, which are affordable, should also be paid by Piuma. Communication on the spot, however, seems to work well.

 

Economic projects: For years some of the small groups within Piuma have been carrying out agricultural projects very successfully (SILC – Saving and Internal Lending Communities). There are currently discussions whether those agricultural projects should be supported.

 

Piuma would like to support additional small groups in their work. Co-operation with Piuma is based on mutual support. As the self-help group has recently shown very little initiative and as it is not possible for us to intervene in fundamental mechanisms of self-administration, we need to thoroughly reconsider our support, in case Piuma again fails to establish communication. At the moment, a termination of our co-operation with Piuma cannot be excluded, either.

 

Wolfgang Rausch,
Chairman Pamoja-Together

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