Parents Organization for Children with Epilepsy in Tanzania POCET
Project: Poverty Alleviation in Children and Young People with Learning Disability
Parents Organization for Children with Epilepsy in Tanzania POCET – was founded in 1992 as a Non-Governmental Organization and has its headquarters at Muhimbili Medical Centre in Dar es Salaam.
Since incorporation POCET has been operating as a Drugs Bank, purchasing antiepileptic drugs at the best possible prices for its members. The association had been requesting the Government to provide free antiepileptic drugs to people with epilepsy, especially children. In 2005 the government finally agreed to provide free of charge, one commonly used antiepileptic drugs namely TEGRETOL or CARBAMAZEPIN. The Drug Bank has been the main source of income to the association, but eventually dried up. POCET is searching for new sources of income for the association. As a means of sourcing new revenue POCET has developed a project which has received funding from the IBE Promising Strategies Program.
POCET has required 25 acres of land at Kisemvule, in Mkuranga District in the Coast Region. POCET intends to utilize 15 acres of land to develop a cashew nut plantation (3 acres) and a vegetable farm (10 acres). The beneficiaries will be the teenagers aged between 13 20 years of age who have learning disability as a result of epilepsy. They will be engaged in vegetable farming and cashew nuts planting and harvesting. The farm work will engage children who have completed grade seven at school and will run for a period of two years to ensure that they acquire adequate farming techniques.
Problem to be Addressed by the Promising Strategy
The problem to be addressed is poverty elevation in teenagers with a learning disability aged between 13 and 20 years. The targeted population is the children aged between 13 20 years of age. The Promising Strategy will enable the young people to become self employed. A group of ten will be initially trained on the POCET farm, before they are allowed to work on their own supervision.
Ten children will form an organization of their own. POCET will have responsibility to obtain land from the village government to be located to the young people to carry out vegetable growing. POCET will assist the group to clear the land, manure, and will provide seeds and irrigation equipments. POCET will supervise the first sales proceeds and ensure that the fund is revolved into the second vegetable growing season.
The impact of the Promising Strategy will be poverty elevation in the group. The strategy will create reliable source of income to the group. They will be empowered to purchase the necessary antiepileptic drugs they need. They will be economically independent of their families.
Objectives of the Program
1. Poverty alleviation:
The young people will be taught farming methods of vegetables growing. They will undergo practical training with regard to terrace preparation, fertilisation techniques, seeds planting, and irrigation of vegetables, weeding, harvesting, packing and marketing the produce. Each cycle of production will take 3 months. After three months the vegetables are ready for sale and the process can begin again. The farming activities can be carried out three times a year.
2: Capacity building in educating the public about epilepsy:
The Promising Strategy Project will enable POCET to increase the cashew nut plantation farm. It takes 5 to 6 years for cashew nut plants to yield crops for sale. The sales proceeds after netting of expenses will be a reliable source of income yearly to POCET to finance education campaign to educate the community that epilepsy is treatable.
How the Program will continue to be funded beyond funding from IBE
Once the program has been launched it is anticipated to be self sustaining. The vegetable farming established on POCET farm will generate enough funds to sustain POCET activities and, at the same time, start similar projects for every ten youths trained.