All posts by Shannon Skally

“Max”-imize your Gift by Giving on November 20th!

Max Madoro, Executive Director of Zinduka Development Initiatives Forum - Project Zawadi's community partner organization in Tanzania
Max Madoro, Executive Director of Zinduka Development Initiatives Forum – Project Zawadi’s community partner organization in Tanzania

As a Minnesota-based non-profit, some of our supporters may be surprised to NOT see Project Zawadi participating in this state’s big giving day today.  So why not?  Board member, Jim Hartmann, expressed things well when explaining why he chooses to donate directly to the charitable organization instead.

“Why I WILL NOT be contributing to my favorite causes through Give To The Max Day.  I got my annual email from Give To The Max Day, encouraging me to give on Nov. 13, or to avoid the rush by going to the GTTM site and giving now.

I encourage you all to give to the max – but if you really want to have the MAX effect – give directly to your favorite causes, While GTTM has helped generate enthusiasm, it isn’t exactly clear that a hefty piece of your donation does not go to your selection – it is retained by GTTM which is itself a non-profit.

Nothing wrong with supporting the Give to the Max organization if you want to – but if you want all of your donation to go to the non-profit of your choice – give it directly to them and skip the middle man!”

So what to do?

November 20th is Universal Children’s Day.  The spirit of this day naturally resonates with the mission and purpose of Project Zawadi.   We have adopted it as OUR day of giving and we hope that you will all join us!  Again there is a generous 25% match for all donations and pledges received by midnight on November 20th.

Project Zawadi is encouraging our donors to either directly mail checks to us, or if electronic gifts are preferred to migrate either to Dwolla (an e-check service similar to Paypal but charging only a $0.25 fee per transaction), or Network for Good (if you are international or prefer donating via credit card to utilize Network for Good which gives donors the choice of assuming those processing fees or passing them along to the recipient organization).  Both of those links are available on our website in the  bar on the righthand side at

All donations to the sponsorship or general fund are eligible for the match if you can do one of the following things:

  • Your mailed donation is postmarked by 11/20/2014 (just like when you mail your tax return) – or
  • You have a pending transaction via our on-line giving partner Dwolla (we can see pending gifts even if they don’t clear for a day or two) – or
  • Send an email to and let us know your gift is coming (deadline to receive the pledged gift is Dec. 31) – or
  • Post a pledge on our Facebook or Twitter page (it’s just like emailing us but better because you are spreading the word) – or
  • Or just give us a call at 866-589-6116 (we would love to hear from you)




The Chakula Challenge


In 2014, the Vocational Training Centre opened its doors to boarding students, providing a safe environment for students to pursue their studies. A kitchen, dining area, water collection system and food storage are urgently needed to provide clean, safe meals. Please consider a secondary gift towards the Chakula Challenge this year (Chakula means “food” in Swahili).

Project Description:  To address these needs at the VTC, Project Zawadi is underataking a special fundraising initiative dubbed the Chakula Challenge (chakula means food in Swahili).

The Chakula Challenge will fund the construction of an instructional kitchen, dining room, food storage rooms and rainwater collection and storage system.

  1. Instructional kitchen and food storage:  This will be used not only to prepare daily meals for the students, but will also create an opportunity to expand the VTC course offerings to include food preparation and cookery.
  2. Dining Hall:  In addition to providing a year-round location for taking meals, the dining hall will also be able to be used as a study hall and gathering space for students.
  3. Rainwater collection system:  The rainwater collection system will collect rainwater from the facilities roofs during the rainy season and store it in underground tanks for use the rest of the year, providing a reliable source of water on-site at the VTC.

Click here for full project details: Chakula Challenge 2014.

Question? Email Shannon Skally at

Chakula Challenge Completed!
Thank you to our Lead Donors!
“Kaete’s Kitchen” will begin construction shortly.
Platinum: Fred Binter, Sandra and Peter Williams
Gold: The Benroeck Family including matching funds from Microsoft, Mike and Paula Champion, Clayton and Janice Kooiker
Silver: Bruce and Jackie Erickson
Bronze: Roger and Maureen Osborne

Universal Children’s Day – November 20th

PZ Universal Children's DaySAVE THE DATE – THURSDAY, NOV. 20

After a phenomenal response last year (over $40,000 raised in one day!) Project Zawadi is again embracing Universal Children’s Day as our annual giving event day.

So mark your calendars for Thursday, November 20 and look for updates via mail, email and social media on how Project Zawadi will celebrate.  Plan your giving early as there will be matches available!

In the meantime, we’d love to connect with you electronically! Email to be added to the email list, like Project Zawadi on Facebook  or follow @ProjectZawadi  on Twitter.

Welcome to Innocent Mshana

Innocent Mshana and Zinduka VTC studentsProject Zawadi is pleased to welcome Innocent Mshana as the new Zinduka Vocational Training Centre director.  Over the past three years, Project Zawadi has cooperated with our community partner, Zinduka, to promote and support the development of a local, high-quality vocational training center in Nyamuswa.  The Zinduka VTC provides additional opportunities for training in the trades to both PZ-sponsored students and others in needlework, carpentry and computers.  A welding and metal fabrication program and English and entrepreneurship are poised to be added to the curriculum in the coming months and Innocent has been busy forging collaborations with regional resources to build and augment the Zinduka VTC programs.

Zinduka Visits the Tanzanian National Assembly

Zinduka Chair and Former Prime MinisterZinduka Chairwoman, Muse Mwisawa, spent last week participating in the Civil Societies’ Organizations National Exhibition at the National Assembly in Tanzania’s capitol city of Dodoma. 

Muse, pictured here with former prime minister Edward N. Lowassa, was representing the good works of Zinduka on a national stage. Hongera, sana (big congratulations) to Muse and the entire Zinduka organization.

Project Zawadi is truly fortunate in our collaboration with our amazing community partner!

Throwback Thursday – Dotto and Kurwa

From the vaults of PZ for Throwback Thursday #TBT.  Meet Dotto and Kurwa, twin brothers that began as sponsored students with Project Zawadi way back in 2002.  Today, Dotto and Kurwa are both pursuing a high-level architectural drafting vocational program at the same school in Dar es Salaam and well on the road to successful architectural careers.  Perhaps one day they’ll be the designers for some of Project Zawadi’s construction projects!

Dotto and Kurwa 2014
Dotto and Kurwa pursuing their architectural drafting program in 2014.
Kurwa in 2002
Dotto in 2002



Distribution Day – Not Just for Students!

Project Zawadi, Guardian Teacher, Counselor, Tanzania, Nyamuswa
Zinduka Counselor, Nerea, with Guardian Teacher, Mrs. Bituro, at Distribution Day 2014

Sponsored students aren’t the only ones to receive needed school materials in anticipation of the new Tanzanian school year.  Guardian Teachers also receive some teaching and learning materials like classroom editions of required textbooks, teacher’s guides, and chalk to enhance the learning environment in their classrooms.  Guardian Teachers and Counselors (along with student families) are key elements in the student academic support system in place for sponsored students.  Working together we all lend a hand in advancing sponsored students on their paths to self-reliance through education!