TROPHIES and other awards are what welcome you as you enter Ngoma district Mayor’s office for any service from there.
Most of the awards are of good governance, sports promotion and development which the district has enhanced to ensure the people live better lives and look towards a better future.
Located in Eastern Province, Ngoma with 867.74 km2 with 1700m of altitude is one of six districts making up the province.
The 4th population and housing census of 2012 shows that Ngoma district has over 336,918 people but officials say the number has gone up to 240,000 people composing over 80, 000 households.
The district has 14 sectors namely Kibungo, Remera, Rukira, Murama, Kazo, Mutenderi, Rurenge, Gashanda , Karembo, Zaza, Mugesera, Sake, Jarama and Rukumberi and 64 cells.
Good governance, Justice at the forefront
Nothing can be achieved if leaders do not uphold the culture of promoting good governance and justice among the people they serve, according to Aphrodis Nambaje, the Ngoma district mayor.
In an interview last week Nambaje said good governance, listening to the people through various approaches such as community outreach and other ways of meetings, caring a lot for them have been the key elements to help the district excel even better compared to many other districts.
The district, he said has been among top three best district in the past three successive fiscal years and officials believe all this was thanks to efforts of promoting good governance and justice.
He said that they do community outreach once in a week to meet people, listen to their problems and seek solutions for them.
The district also invites people and discuss together under the tree in what was dubbed “Igiti cy’ibisubizo” loosely translated as the tree of answers. This, officials say, has helped them solve over 500 problems related to land wrangles, domestic conflicts among others.
“We try to promote good governance and we go closer to our citizens to listen to their problems and help solve them as we also consider their involvement on how we can improve our service delivery,” said the mayor.
“We have a friendly practice where we sit under the tree together with residents, we call this social therapy approach as we listen to people’s issues and advise them how to solve them and live in harmony,” he added.
Nambaje took us through all the sectors and explained how the district has managed to work on every area to boost the social economic development of people living in the district and the way forward to ensure a better future for them.
Agriculture and livestock
The district has fertile soils with varying levels of hills and valleys, a
temperate climate, a moderate dry and rainy season which all help people be productive.
According to Nambaje, in total the district applies agriculture on 72,000 hectares of land divided into two categories namely subsistence and cash crop farming.
Banana is the most grown crop on 23,000 hectares, Maize is grown on 21,000 hectares, and cassava on 4,000 hectares, 2480 hectares of rice, beans 40,000 hectares as they are also planted in some banana plantations as the district is also embarking in Soya beans farming.
“The production from all crops is better given that our soil is fertile and we have a friendly climate, the life of our people depends on subsistence farming but we also do cash crop farming, we grow coffee, pineapples and others,” he said.
The district also ventures into mining and so far counts over 14 mining sites exploiting various minerals which the mayor says supports district development.
He said that the district also extracts limestone from a quarry which is used to make paints and it also helps generating income for the district.
Per crop, the district has a big production as 26 metric tons are harvested per hectare per season, 5 metric tons of maize are harvested per hectare. 1.2 metric tons of maize are harvested per hectare while one tree of coffee produces at least between 1.5 and 2 kilograms.
In livestock, the district has over 36,000 cows with part of it having been offered during Gir’inka programme.
People from the district also practice fishing in three main lakes and the produce is between 16,000 and 20,000 metric tons per year.
The district also has hundreds of small domestic animals reared by people and help in boosting their lives by fighting malnutrition.
Irrigation is practiced on over 300 hectares only despite more lakes in the district. Officials believe more irrigation should be employed.
Ngoma district has got many schools ranging from pre-primary, primary, secondary and university.
According to the district officials, there are two Early Childhood Development Centres (EDCs) and some other pre-primary schools.
There are 79 primary schools and in order to ensure that all the students who leave primary have access to secondary education, the district has 54 secondary schools and four universities.
The universities are, Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) East, Nursing and midwifery school, Open University of Tanzania and University of Kibungo (UNIK) former UNITAK.
“We also have adult education to help those who could not have chance to acquire education when they were still young. We work with partners such as Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), prisons, The Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda (ADEPR) and over 5000 people have been awarded with certificate in adult literacy while some other 5000 are pursuing their studies,” the mayor said.
Water and sanitation
Over 80percent of Ngoma residents have access to clean water closer to them in rural areas and lives have improved. Officials say that water inefficiency in the town is still a problem.
Water reservoirs for Ngoma town were constructed to serve 2000 people decades ago but currently it serves over 30,000 people.
“The principle is to take water nearer to the people in a range of 500metres but we are yet to be there. We are putting in more efforts to ensure we make it happen in the near future” Nambaje said
The district has also advanced in promoting better health and it has almost a health centre in each sector as it currently counts 12 health centre and six health posts in other sectors.
The district also has a district hospital and a nursing and midwifery school, both contributing to deliver quality health services in the district.
Officials said that the plan is having more health facilities in the near future to ensure that nobody fails to get quality health services.
Over the years, officials said that the coverage of community health insurance better known as mituelle de santé has been covered almost 100percent and this has helped them get access to health service hence, improving lives. The district has one hospital which is well equipped.
In electricity, officials said that the current rollout stands at 24 percent though they admit it is a national issue as many district are still behind.
Officials also said that they are encouraging off grid energy such as the use of biogas, and solar energy. Over 300 people use biogas.
The district has two hotels which are operation and two others which are about to be completed.
What is the way forward?
The district mayor said the district still has a long way to go as far as achieving sustainable development is concerned adding that in whatever way, they need to be the best they can be.
“We still have a long way to go, achieving sustainable development requires us to put in more efforts. We still need tarmac and feeder roads, we need more infrastructure such as complex building for business and more schools built in floors to save land,” he said
The district targets to construct 25km of feeder roads each year and put more efforts for tarmac roads.
“We need full access to water and electricity, we still need more health facilities, we only have one hospital and we need it more equipped as we are looking for the second one, to meet the needs of the people,” he added.
He said that the district moves towards increasing irrigation area in agriculture, boost tourism based on human activities, growing more pineapple and other trees which can attract more viewers among others.
“We also need a stadium for football and other games because what we have is old and outdated, we need a taxi park and one for big trucks from Tanzania as sometimes they are stranded, we need to boost more ICT in schools and elsewhere,” he said
Officials say that they have worked hard to meet this fiscal year’s performance contracts and their achievements are almost hundred percent.