Date: 2019-03-11 Time started: 19.00
Place: Restaurant ‚Pavarotti‘ in Bammental
President Valenton Schnitzer’s address of welcome was followed by a minute’s silence for three members or central contact persons respectively, who have passed away in the year of 2018:
The conference wished two sick and missing members, Mr. Wolfgang Riegler and Mr. Günter Reiff, a speedy and complete recovery.
More than 15 members being present, the necessary quorum was reached to agree unanimously upon an increase of the annual membership fees on 45.- € for individual members and 60.- € for couples and families, effective in 2020.
There were no objections to the the report of last year’s membership conference report. It was declared correct unanimously (with one abstention).
The same applies for the annual report 2018, from which essential parts were read to the audience, being complemented by a later contribution by Mr. V. Schnitzer, and approved of unanimously (with one abstention).
The Treasurer's report 2018 was read and some topics in detail explained by the treasurer, whereafter it was approved of unanimously (with one abstention) without further objections. Mr, Florian Riegler, who will resign from his post of treasurer due to his increased workload, was prized for his outstanding performance and disbanded with a present. The treasurer was approved of unanimously (with one abstention).
Mr. Gregor Bless, who is available as the new treasurer, was elected with one abstention. Mr. Michael Rauch and Mr. Johann Adam were proposed for the post of cash auditors for the year 2019 and elected (with two abstentions).
The managing board, Mr. Valentin Schnitzer and Mrs. Agnes Riegler, were unanimously discharged (with two abstentions).
As the major topic of the evening, our president, Mr. Valentin Schnitzer, reported about his tour to Tanzania in November 2018.
The tour could confirm impressively our association’s and our president’s practical motto “assure survival and enable life perspectives (especially for the rural population)” as a small element for the African continent.
All hitherto supported projects in Tanzania deserve being kept running also in future, especially those just visited by Mr. Schnitzer. In the first place technically and practically by sending spare parts for watermills and other components of a functioning water power supply. Secondly by perpetuation of the dialogue with the local project managers as well as with the organisations and associations in Tanzania and Germany, which are crucial for the sustainability of the LfA project structures and the stability of the support network towards Tanzania.
Mr. Schnitzer showed and explained the points of his voyage by means of maps, a flyer (see appendix) and a powerpoint- präsentation:
A new project: Imiliwaha (ca. 1,000 km southwest of Dar-es-Salaam): The power-station of a Benedictine-monastery / sisters’-convent St. Gertrud (including kindergarden, school and hospital - ora et labora!) run by the sisters for more than 40 years, urgently needs overhauling and also some repair. This support can be provided locally by Brother Max, but financial ressources must be provided as well.
The power station could partly repaired and equipped by using local ressources and manpower (especially Brother Max’). Nevertheless there is a deficiency of ca. 10.000 € for further top-quality spare parts. The relevant repairs are scheduled for 2019. Sister Imakulata achieves excellent management-work in situ and takes care of new plantations of fruits and marketable agrarian and horticultural products, especially she takes care of the reafforestation and the protection of the catchment area. This foresight in times of blind and shortsightes destructive land-use is of unpayable value and deserves (to quote a worn-out catchphrase) sustainable support.
The national TANESCO electricity grid, being further expanded, now meanwhile reaching regions hitherto being supplied by local grids (like the ones supported by LfA). This has aroused more and more serious goal conflicts, particularly since the feeding-on of local grids under 100 kW into the national grid, a reasonable local income source, is still being refused or not yet completely settled. The Trend is moving definitively away from insular solutions towards more new local power units. This suggests not to launch new local Hydropower units in the immerdiate future, but to further support existing power units, especially when the users in the villages do wish so.: In the first place it’s because the national providers are unreliable and break down frequently, secondly because in the medium run the use a as a local income source for local providers might still be possible (as it is e.g. in Germany on the base of the Energy Feeding Act). Insofar the continuation of this flexible form of support in Mavanga seems adequate, in cooperation with the twinning-community of Düren, which has long since established a partnership in this region. Currently a hightening of the reservoir embankment and the purveyance of a spare turbine both are on the agenda, again assisted by Brother Max. Many of the power plants in the region Mavanga were still installed by the late Godfrey Ndeuwo and we are optimistically looking into the future to see these hydropower plants being maintained responsibly and meticulously by local briefed personnel.
Now Mr. Schnitzer gave details on two additional topics, closely related to the aforementioned:
The struggle for local rights and franchise must be observed further. The initial situation has slightly improved in favour of the local operators, due to the government authority activities, which are supposed to balance the different interests in the regions. The quest for stable compromises in this development question vital for the whole nation could in the long term perceptibly promote the overall situation for hydropower plants in rural and mountainous regions, especially in favour of environmental protection.
The reliability of the local grids in the first place (e.g. for a steady electricity supply of craft workshops, cell phones, TV and radio sets and electrical installations in hospitals, schools and living quartes) represent an important base for argumentation in the respective negotiations with the tendency, provided local operators being accredited, TANECO taking less care in the next years technically and financially of decentralised power stations in favour of the construction and maintenance of a wide-meshed, but nationwide electricity grid.
Connected with the issue stated above and already mentioned along with the keyword environmental protection, is the continually decreasing amount of usable water for the daily supply of the population as well as the propulsion of local hydropower stations. The overal population of pivotal centres like e.g. Mavanga has increased from 1,600 before the year 2000 to more than 10,000 today, because a working electricity supply effectuates a very strong knock-on effect on the rureal population. In addition, water treatment procedures e.g. filters and chlorination, become more and more necessary. Afforestation and strictly supervised environmental protection must form an indispensable companion to the ongoing modernisation and development in the rural areas, where LfA is active. We must point out positively that in the meantime young craftspeople, as graduates from Mbinga Technical College, are entrusted with maintanance- and repair tasks.
Our association’s president’s itinerary was completed with the following stations:
In Kindimba there is a working civil society cooperation with japanese partner organizations for decades already. They provided a new turbine from Indonesia. Simultaneously a credit of 100,000 € from the legacy of a Swiss development investor could promote the electrification of the town and region essentially. In this area the representation of the REA, the regional development institution of Tanzania, facilitates exemplarily the connection of the rural hinterland villages. This showed clearly when the power supply in several districts was cut due to a stroke of lightning. The necessary repairs were done rapidly, again by Brother Max!, and gave back power to the private users early enough for Christmas; also the mills and machines ran again. One most interesting additional aspect was not left unmentioned by Mr. Schnitzer:
Maybe the exemplary payment history of the village communities might counteract an ‘accepted complacency’ or the widespread corruption and create a ‘grassroots pressure’ against it. In any case in the course of the lightning-stroke one of the villages promptly transferred money and the necessary spare parts were delivered rapidly and unbeaucratically to the remote areas.
The payback of small loans by the women’s group in Litembo specializing in the plantation of marketable horticultural products (esp. fruits and vegetables), stock breeding (esp. chicken and pigs) and, in the field of crafts, in sewing, proves equally positive. In the meantime in a second ‘credit circle’ more microcredits, recently conceived under local control, are being given to young people, who use them mostly for business start-ups. The water- and power supply in Litembo e.g. for the local hospital, is working without trouble.
Mr. Schnitzer explained the water supply for the community of Mavanga as a potential future project. The are indeed two long supply pipelines fed by springs, being by far insufficient for the supply for the rapidly growing community. (This village is situated relatively remote from traffic routes and energy supply lines.) This situation would lend itself to a cooperation with the official German development cooperation, but there is no official BMZ-mandate to GIZ so far.
Apart from that there is more than enough reasonable work in construction, repair, enlargement and modernization of existing installations in the familiar locations. The solid dedication of the local partners and the participatory population offers - especially after the decease of Godfrey Ndeuwo - a more than substantial, future-oriented and promimsing foundation.
So ended Mr. Schnitzer’s speech and was followed by long-standing applause.
The meeting ended with words of gratitude and farewell after 90 Minutes.
Günther Koegst Mannheim, 15.04.2019