Ngoma district mayor offices are lit with a host of trophies, which bespeak of the district commitment to quality service delivery with much focus on; participation of of masses in management of their affairs, improvement of citizens’ welfare, promoting self reliance and building infrastructures as a development backbone.
Located in Eastern Province, Ngoma district occupies 867.74 km2 and is one of the six districts making up the province.
The 4th Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV 4) of 2013-2014 shows that Ngoma district has over 389,630 people composing 81, 000 households. Among the residents 202,557 are female whereas 187,073 are male.
The district has 14 sectors namely Kibungo, Remera, Rukira, Murama, Kazo, Mutenderi, Rurenge, Gashanda, Karembo, Zaza, Mugesera, Sake, Jarama and Rukumberi, 64 cells and 473 villages.
According to Aphrodis Nambaje, the district mayor, good governance where citizens are involved in decision making has been a major springboard in attaining all achievements that the district is now enjoying.
Good governance and Justice
Nambaje says that the district has been emerging the best due to its outstanding performance in involving citizens and promoting participatory governance.
The district officials organize outreach meetings to collect citizens’ views and create awareness about their rights, address their complaints and get involved in solving some outstanding conflicts. “We have a friendly practice where we sit under the tree dubbed “ Igiti cy’ Ibisubizo” loosely translated ‘under the tree for answers’ together with residents. We call this social therapy approach as we listen to people’s issues and advise them on how to solve them and live in harmony,” Nambaje explains.
The district mobilizes citizens about government policies and new laws to ensure that no one is left behind in the development process.
The Mayor says that citizens do freely participate in elections. A total of 98.9 per cent of Ngoma residents participated in the last referendum vote.
Community mediators have been trained and have thus played a big role in uniting reconciling families.
The district partners with other development stakeholders like churches, NGOs among others to contribute to the development of people.
The economy of the district is based on agriculture. Under the government program of land consolidation, at least 72,080 hectares of the district arable land are now consolidated whereas 450 hectares are irrigated in addition to 500 hectares of marshlands under rehabilitation.
Banana is the most grown crop on 23,000 hectares, maize on 21,000 hectares, cassava on 4,000 hectares, 2480 hectares of rice and beans 40,000 hectares. The district is also embarking on soya beans growing.
“Production of all crops is good thanks to the fertile soils and a friendly climate; the livelihoods of our people depend on subsistence farming but we also do cash crop farming—we grow coffee, pineapples and others,” Nambaje explains.
District officials have been sensitizing farmers to join cooperatives to build capacities, share knowledge and experiences, increase crop productivity, access finance and markets.
On average 5.3 metric tons of maize are harvested per hectare per season, 1.2 metric tons of maize, while one tree of coffee produces at least 1.7 kilograms.
The use of improved seeds, and fertilizers has significantly increased productivity.
In livestock, the district has a total of 38,391cows, 6,928 of which were distributed under Girinka programme.
People from the district also practice fishing in three main lakes harvesting between 16,000 and 20,000 metric tons per year.
The district residents also rear small domestic animals.
Rearing cows under sheds (zero grazing program) contributed to a growth in milk productivity, organic fertilizers as well as environment protection. As a result, at least 447 households do use biogas.
Also, the district encourages vulnerable families who regularly get direct support under VUP to buy small domestic animals.
Besides, the district so far has 14 mining sites extracting various minerals.
Health and Social welfare
The district has a health centre in each sector; 12 health centres and 12 health posts and one referral hospital.
Currently, at least 82% of the population in the district have already subscribed to health insurance schemes including Mutuelle de Santé and RSSB.
The district also has a nursing and midwifery school. However, Nambaje says that the number of nurses is still low.
Only malaria is a common disease in some parts of the district especially the ones on lake shores and Akagera marshland.
Rapid sms system is used to quickly disseminate information for any strange health based problem.
To ensure hygiene, the district works together with community hygiene clubs as well as schools to conduct hygiene campaigns calling everyone to be the agent of hygiene promotion.
The district has strengthened various initiatives including kitchen gardens, Inkongoro ku Mwana to fight against malnutrition. Also, through parents’ forum, participants are trained on the preparation of balanced diet.
Over 83 percent of Ngoma residents have access to clean water closer to them in rural areas. There are efforts to renovate water pipes to strengthen water distribution and improve water reservoirs for Ngoma town which were constructed to serve 2000 people decades ago but currently serving over 30,000 people.
For electricity, the current access stands at 32 per cent. Residents also use off-grid energy such as biogas, and solar energy. A total of 447 households use biogas.
The level of use of ICT in the district has improved with all sector offices having access to internet connection which promotes E-filing system.
Different roads have been constructed in the district to facilitate mobility, trade and safe movement.
The roads have a total length of 262,588 km of feeder roads; 1.8 km of paved roads surrounded with public lights and targeting to construct 25km of feeder roads each year as they keep rehabilitating tarmac roads.
The district is in the final stage of building a new hotel.
More buildings to promote business (centers and markets); sports (Stadium) have been constructed in the district.
The district has constructed Rukumberi IDP model village composed of 50 houses.
In trade and industry, the district has 167 cooperatives, 7 financial institutions (Bk, Ecobank, FINA, Bank, BPR, UOB, and CSS), 14 Umurenge SACCOs and one Umwarimu SACCO, KIDAFACO Milk collection center, and 12 processing units.
The District has 79 primary schools, 54 secondary schools and four universities (Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) East, Nursing and midwifery school, Open University of Tanzania and University of Kibungo (UNIK) former UNITAK.
The rate of dropout stands at 5.7 in primary and 3.2 in secondary schools.
There are two Early Childhood Development Centres (EDCs) and some other pre-primary schools.
The way forward
The district target is to consolidate its achievements and investing more efforts in completing projects that are ongoing such as construction of infrastructures, among others.
“The district is working hard to have zero school dropout rates as well as keeping on delivering good services to citizens and boosting ICT in schools,” promises Nambaje.