Ruhita's Community News

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on World Vision operations

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Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

The Ruhita (pronounced roo-hee-tah) community is located in north-western Tanzania, about 90 km from Lake Victoria. Most of the land is dry, with short rains falling from September to December, and long rains from March to May.

92% of community members are subsistence farmers. Land is traditionally owned by the community government through communal law, with each household having 1 to 2 acres. However, land for cultivation is so scarce that productivity and income are low. Nearly 80% live on less than a dollar per day.

Homes are usually mud-walled, grass-thatched houses. Life is generally difficult for children, who often go to school without breakfast and face demanding chores after school like fetching water, collecting firewood, cooking food, tending livestock, and other farm work. Children who are no longer in school must work on the family farm or find work, usually in fishing, to earn income.
Child Protection
  • 372 women and men learned about child safety and protection issues, helping to change attitudes and behaviours to better protect girls and boys.
  • 2 youth groups were formed, giving children between 12 and 18 years old a place to meet, learn, share their opinions and practise skills they learned.
  • 1 planning activity was carried out with community partners, co-ordinating the work of local group and organisations to focus on helping children.
  • 3 potential community partners were identified, laying the foundation for future partnerships that will improve the lives of children.
  • 5 community partners from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors worked with World Vision over the past year, improving the lives of children.
  • 3 formal agreements were signed between community stakeholders, creating partnerships that will improve the well-being of more boys and girls.
  • 3 joint plans were drafted between community partners, which will help sustainably build a safer, more supportive community for children.
  • 17 new savings groups were formed, helping mothers and fathers work toward greater financial stability and meet their children's needs.
  • 391 women and men are active members of a local savings group, helping them to become more financially stable.
Water, Sanitation, Hygiene
  • 1 advocacy group worked to address issues related to water, hygiene and sanitation, helping to create a cleaner living environment for children.
* Results achieved from October 2018 to September 2019
Health Care
With the partnership of Canadian sponsors and the community, World Vision will work to:
  • Collaborate with the district health team to support health campaigns in immunization and malaria prevention.
  • Retrain community health workers to provide effective care, with a focus on child and maternal health.
  • Form nutrition groups to restore malnourished children to normal health and train families to prepare nutritious meals using locally available foods.
  • Train community members in disease prevention and management, as well as good sanitation and hygiene practices.
  • Establish ongoing health practices by holding community competitions, with awards for health, sanitation, and hygiene achievements

To ensure parents in Ruhita can provide for their families, World Vision will partner with the community to:
  • Train farming families in new, sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Support farmers with access to improved seeds and equipment.
  • Train families in food preservation techniques and post-harvest storage.
  • Educate farmers on improving soil fertility and environmental conservation to increase crop yields.
  • Organize farmers into associations in order to learn from one another, get better prices for their produce, and improve access to markets.
  • Establish community banking groups to build a culture of savings and give families access to loans for farming supplies and small business.

To combat the spread and stigma of HIV & AIDS, World Vision will partner with the community to:
  • Train peer educators to teach their classmates age-appropriate life skills to help them avoid contracting HIV.
  • Form anti-AIDS clubs to reach out-of-school youth and empower them with knowledge about HIV and AIDS issues.
  • Form community coalitions to care for and restore hope to orphans, vulnerable children, and people living with HIV and AIDS.
  • Train community counsellors and home visitors.
  • Support orphaned and vulnerable youth, as well as people living with HIV and AIDS, to initiate income-generating activities so they can lead self-supporting lives.
  • Increase the capacity of churches, faith-based organizations, and community groups to advocate for the rights of the community's vulnerable people.

Explore Ruhita

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

The needs in Ruhita

Health Care
The major health issue in the Ruhita community is the high prevalence of death by disease. Eight of every 100 babies die before their first birthday, and seven of every 100 children die before their fifth birthday. 10% of mothers die during childbirth.

Malaria is the predominant disease in the area, partly due to the prevalence of mosquito-breeding areas near the community. In addition, there is dangerously inadequate knowledge and understanding of acute respiratory infections, pneumonia, diarrhea management, and nutrition.

The majority of community members in Ruhita earn their living from traditional farming, growing mainly beans, potatoes, banana, cassava, peanuts, and occasionally coffee. However, families struggle to have enough to feed their own children, let alone surplus to sell for income. They have very little land to live on and cultivate, and what they have is rocky and supports few crop varieties. In addition, inefficient farming methods and steep slopes contribute to high soil degradation. Production is minimal and post-harvest losses are very high, due to a lack of storage facilities.

HIV prevalence in Ruhita is 12%. This has put extreme stress on existing health services and impoverished families who must support orphans and sick relatives. Also, the local economy has been weakened by the deaths of many productive community members from AIDS.

About 3,000 children have been orphaned and live in desperate situations. Most are unable to access health services or primary education. Although the government has initiatives to address HIV and AIDS, and church congregations have mobilized to reduce stigma and provide care for orphans and the chronically ill, the disease is still an enormous challenge.
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Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Ruhita,  is in Phase 2

PHASE 2: Evaluate and grow

We monitor progress and make adjustments to meet goals. More community members become involved, lead projects and gain ownership of their success.