The Old Boma Hotel is not only a restored old building to attract tourism and trade to the area; Trade Aid also runs it as a training hotel. This means that local staff have the opportunity to learn valuable skills related to the hospitality industry. Our UK volunteers also teach English and Computer Skills to staff working at the hotel.
Through our microfinance, we are able to initiate and help local people operate environmental projects in Mikindani. We have already started a Tree Nursery and have been involved with environmental education lessons in Primary schools.
Trade Aid is supporting a beekeeping business in Mikindani by providing technical advice, encouragement and start up costs. The project has been running for three years now and two village men have become proficient at keeping bees in wooden top bar hives producing good crops of honey and enough surplus wax to turn into candles for sale to passing tourists.
We are also investigating the use of stingless bees for honey production, using a new type of hive that will make it easier to secure a crop of honey and ensure the bees are less prone to attack by predatory insects. It is hoped that the use of stingless bees will encourage the more timid members of the community to benefit from a natural resource that is currently under-utilised.
Trade Aid offers training and advice to a variety of local business men and women, enabling them to develop their own business plans, keep their own profit and loss accounts, and manage their money effectively. Trade Aid also provides inspiration for new ventures and trade opportunities and is able to use its contacts in Dar es Salaam and beyond to expand trade beyond the Mtwara District.
Originally a collection of huts, on a site where coral burning took place to produce lime (an occupation that is now banned), Trade Aid is developing the Mitengo Craft College. Although still very much in its early stages, we hope that when completed, it will enable local craftsmen to meet and share their skills as well as being a forum from which to sell their craftwork to local shoppers as well as tourists.
As part of this project, Trade Aid is building the infrastructure to support the college – an access road, water and electricity supplies and drainage. This is an enormous undertaking, but one that will have a hugely beneficial impact for the villagers.