Here it is. The proposed MEL House.

The MEL House is an extension of the existing MEL Program at KARUCO (Karagwe College of Agriculture in Tanzania) and is intended as housing and a hub for those who are starting new businesses through the Micro-Enterprise Loan (MEL) Program (described below). KARUCO Administrators, Dr. Emmanuel Ngambeki and Mme. Sophia Kanyamwenge, along with all other faculty and staff presented case after case of individuals needing a hub, a business incubator and a place to live while their businesses get off the ground in Karagwe. The need is great.

Take Jesca Domician for example. She lives away from her husband and family so she can co-manage the Pig Production business that she and Anold Dedace started with a loan from the MEL Program under the guidance of their mentor, Edwine Tagamaisho (pictured below). Jesca has nowhere to live and must depend upon people in the community to allow her to live with them while she does her best to earn money for repayment of her loan, maintenance of the business and importantly, income for her family back home.

Jesca Domician. Anold Dedace (left), Edwine (mid) and Jesca with Pig Production. Jesca and Anold.

TOP: Dr. Emmanual Ngambeki, Principal, Mme. Sophia Kanyamwenge, Assistant. Recipients at KARUCO.

LOWER: The first MEL Recipients share a laugh. (L-R): Anold Dedace, James Makungu, Abdalah Seleman Issa, Jumanne Kessy, Jesca Domician, Mr. Jones, Merchade Mazimba.

Jesca’s story is not unusual. Nearly every MEL Recipient had a story of having nowhere to live following graduation. These individuals are not invisible to KARUCO personnel who in response, proposed to ETI, construction of a MEL House. We are pleased to report that a private donor perceived the problem, took it to heart and responded with a generous donation to ETI that covers 50% of construction of the MEL House. We have begun.

The MEL House will be located on the KARUCO Campus near the marker commemorating the life of Mel Breed. In good entrepreneurial form, ideas for expansion emerged already. The Idea List includes off-campus married housing; supervised hostels, innovative child-care enterprises and remote business options to mention a few. The story is unfolding.

The MEL Program

The purpose of the MEL Program is to provide funds to support (MEL) Micro-Enterprise Loans that enable KARUCO graduates to set up and operate small-scale businesses that contribute to the community and help them become self-reliant and prosperous. The MEL Committee at KARUCO designed an application process to ensure that all business proposals address the following:

KARUCO College of Agriculture then selects MEL Recipients (“Beneficiaries”) and provides a mentor to get things going. All funding grants must be approved by the Educate Tanzania, Inc. Board of Directors and meet the standards of the foreign grant-making process. To date, nine businesses have been started: Agrovet, Brickmaking, Cattle Fattening, I.T., Grain Supply, Pig Production, Pineapple Production, Rice Supply and Sunflower Oil. Of course, there are many challenges with start-up businesses, but with each new challenge, comes new solutions. ETI remains very encouraged by the impact of the MEL Program.

Micro-Enterprise Loan (MEL) funds are granted to help jumpstart new entrepreneurial businesses in Karagwe. To date, 9 businesses have been started through the MEL Program and all are repaying their loans. Amidst all the positives, an unforeseen problem emerged. MEL Recipients had nowhere to live. MEL Beneficiaries have funds to start up their businesses but then have no place to live while they are working in Karagwe. In response to this problem, KARUCO proposed a solution. The solution is the MEL House.

Mel Breed

The late Mel Breed loved the people of Karagwe. He visited Tanzania multiple times and supported many projects – schools, businesses, hospitals and families – with moral and financial support. He worked with Educate Tanzania, Inc (ETI) for years, supporting our model of collaboration, intentionality and accountability, joining in on projects and supporting entrepreneurialism at every turn. He was a friend to Karagwe and one of the closest friends of ETI. Mel was a director on the ETI Board for several years before he passed in 2021. Since that time, ETI has named the Micro-Enterprise Loan the “MEL Program”, to honor the late Mel Breed and his living legacy in Karagwe and beyond.

View the Photo Collection

KARUCO Administrators, faculty and mentors take a tour of the MEL Projects on KARUCO Farm Plots.

Peter (Mentor) and James Mukungu (MEL Recipient) share highlights and challenges of Cattle Fattening.

Afra (Mentor to the MEL Program, Administrator at KARUCO) shows the beautiful pineapple plot.

Peter, Anold & Jesca (MEL Recipients), Professor, Edwine and Prof Jan talk Pig Production

MEL Program Agrovet and the One Stop I.T. services fill a community need 

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