Karibuni Onlus is an NGO (Non Government Organisation) that has been working for a number of years with one aim: to contribute practically to the development of small African communities by delivering health, education and community support projects.

Our work first commenced in 1997 in the village of Utende – situated on Mafia Island in Tanzania, and is located within the Mafia Island marine park overlooking the bay of Chole. A village of over 800 people at the time, we acknowledged the lack of adequate education and medical facilities to service the community. The nearest school to Utende was the primary school of Kiegeani, located 3 km away and was poorly equipped. From a medical stand point, all the village had was a single state dispensary with limited medicines and poor hygiene conditions. Furthermore, malnutrition, poverty and various diseases were all common in the population. Throughout this period we developed a relationship with the local community by learning their language and discussing their problems and needs.

In 1998 some of us became members of the Committee for the Development of the Primary School of Utende, thus the first project was born – the construction of the new school. “A School For Utende” was our first leaflet which was produced at home and distributed to friends and acquaintances in order to collect the first funds – this was largely successful and eventually led to the construction of the school.

In 1999 we noted poor attendances from a number of the children attending the school and began to investigate the reasons as to why. We discovered their families were too poor to provide expenses for school clothes, shoes, books etc. Therefore, our second project – the ‘WATOTO PROJECT’ was born (in Swahili language ‘watoto’ means ‘children’) a project of Scholastic Long-Distance Adoption Providing, by means of a nominative sponsorship – the necessities for the poorest children of Utende and their families.

Our projects began to evolve from a network of simple friends and acquaintances in 2002, as we decided to create the ‘MISAADA Trust Fund’, a local non-profit organisation which allows us to give legal support in Tanzania to the projects we had implemented anonymously in the past. MISAADA stands for ‘Mafia Island Sustainable Aid and Development Agency’ and is a Swahili word which means ‘helps’, a word commonly used in the local community.

In 2005 Karibuni Onlus was born and subsequently became a registered NGO through the Tanzanian government. We set out with an aim of collecting funds in Italy and Europe for the implementation of increasingly complex future projects in the fields of education and health.

To this day, MISAADA and Karibuni Onlus continue to utilise funding, logistics and administrative support to deliver our projects. Further, through the support of Lodges within the Utende village area, we continue to collaborate towards the integration of tourism and the social development of the local community.

Utende village has naturally expanded over the years with a far greater number of inhabitants than in 1997. With this there has been an increase in social, political and economic complexities – with greater need for: home electricity (lighting, powering electronics etc.);  new fresh water wells and an adequately equipped health unit, youths-to-work programmes and pre-school, primary and secondary school backing.

Karibuni is a small NGO looking to continue supporting the communities in and around Utende.  KARIBUNI in Swahili means ‘welcome’ and we welcome you to help us continue our work with your active contributions.