Related Project-Hope Seed Initiative
The Hope Seed Initiative operates independently from the Diocese of Meru as a registered NGO in Tanzania. HSI has its own office and bank account and operates under the rules of the Tanzanian government for NGOs. Donations made to HSI are sent by the Greater Milwaukee Synod directly to the HSI bank accounts at least two times each calendar year.
Hope Seed Initiative
In 2008 Marcy Mariki started a business venture simply called the "Goat Project." The goal of the business was to gift dairy goats to widows and orphans who had no other means of making a living.
Today there are 35 goat groups spread out throughout the Diocese of Meru. Donations are used to purchase the goats and the recipients learn how to take care of them with help from Marcy's team. In 2020 an NGO (Non-Government Organization) was formed to better facilitate the transferring of money between the United States and Tanzania, and to allow for better accountability. Donations are wire transferred to the Hope Seed Initiative twice yearly. Each goat costs $150 which includes one month's feed for the goat. Also included in the fee are Marcy's expenses to find and deliver the goat and her interviews of needy recipients. Marcy regularly visits each group to check on the care of the goats, the need for medical care for the goat, and to go over the group's accounting procedures.
Recognizing that the need for assistance went further than having a goat, Marcy began organizing groups within parishes that she called "Hope Seed." These groups, made up mainly of women, began businesses to earn money to support themselves. They found a project that they could turn into a business that would eventually become a support system for the group. For example: given a small loan from Marcy (that has to be repaid in an agreed upon time frame), they would buy a few chickens. Those chickens laid eggs that could be sold. The money from the sale of eggs would buy supplies to produce sellable product, let's say jewelry. Upon the sale of jewelry their business model would allow for part of the money to be given to the business members, the rest set aside to buy more supplies. And the business continues, perhaps branching out to other products, but maybe content to continue in the original path.
The success of this business model has made Marcy think harder and being the business woman that she is, she decided to include children in her plans. She has started to organize small groups of children for after school gatherings to help with homework, or just provide a place for the children to meet outside of school. Parents or guardians pay a small fee to have their children in the group. That small amount of money allows Marcy to provide more opportunities for the children, maybe even helping with buying school uniforms or shoes.
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Recent Goat Distributions
Photos from a recent (Jan. 2023) Hope Seed Initiative goat distribution at the Mkombozi group in the Western District of the Diocese of Meru. They gave 27 female goats and 2 bucks. The group has 45 members with 27 receiving goats.
The other members will receive pass-on goats (1st born donated to fellow members) at a later date. They also started a youth group, giving them 500,000 tshillings ($214 USD) to get started.