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News and Events
» Mrs. Melina  Galibona New Link and Development Officer

MARA – the Mara region of Tanzania is located 2 degrees south of the equator in a vast area between Lake Victoria and the Serengeti National Park in the south. With a population of about 1.8 million, the people are largely dependent on subsistence farming and fishing, with few industrial complexes. Roads and infrastructure are poor. This is area is regarded as economically poor, but every link member from Leeds Diocese who visits comments on the rich culture and the joy shown by the people of Mara.

Who is the link? About 77 Tanzanian parishes have already linked with 90 parishes in Leeds. Some of these links are quite new, others date from 1988. Three schools, health dispensary and a nursery school in Mara are linked to schools and/or parishes in Leeds. This link constantly updates people in Leeds about the lives of Christians in Mara. People in each of the parishes in Mara can access vital news, help and advice from fellow Christians as they seek to develop their own communities. This link is vital to eliminate the distinction between a ‘developed’ and a ‘developing world’. .

Why the Link? Following the Lambeth Conference in 1988, the link between Leeds (by then Wakefield) and Mara started with the purpose of getting to know and pray for each other and, as Dioceses, to share the love of Jesus with fellow Christians in other parts of the world. Jesus sent us, his disciples, into the world to preach the gospel to every corner of the earth. This is the key focus of the link. .

What does the link do? The link brings together people from the Diocese of Mara and from Leeds in Yorkshire. The work is overseen by Oriel Kelly, Mara link officer in Leeds and Melina Galibona in Mara. Between them, they ensure that the link thrives, new parishes planted, and people know what is happening in both Dioceses. The work in Mara is led by Bishop Dr. George Okoth whose great personal commitment ensures that the link thrives.

What do you do? Mara Diocese, part of Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT), is known locally as a church which delivers its holistic mission in the Mara Region and delivers community and social services such as:-

CRISIS RESPONSE: during the drought in 1996, leading to widespread famine, the church in Mara was to take up the Christ’s challenge to ‘feed my people’. Aid was given directly to 327,600 people, residing in 102 villages. More recently assistance was given to support the neediest in Mara, including pastors

Health Care. ACT delivers care and education to people suffering from HIV and AIDS syndrome, major physical disabilities, malaria and other health problems, concentrating on those in greatest need and in rural villages, tackling the root cause of disease, malnutrition, poor sanitation and lack of health education.

Farming Project. Mara supports several farm development and training programmes to improve both quality of quality of crops and farmers lives. We do this through our agricultural project in Buhemba (BRAC). We help people in the village to get farms to cultivate but also, we have goat projects, we keep bees and produce honey.

Education. The link supports Issenye Secondary School, Bunda Girls Secondary School, ACT – Mara Pre & Primary English Medium School, Vocational Training College and we hope that this link will also support ACT – Shalom (the new Pre & Primary School in Bunda) as well as BCDTI (Buhemba Community Development Training Institute). Education at these schools/colleges is not free and some of the needy children’s education fees are paid by individuals and parish donations from Leeds schools. Countless children would not complete even the most basic education without this support, which ultimately enable them to find employment and improve their lives. Some links provide money to link village schools.

Apart from these church school/colleges links, about 25 churches of England schools in Leeds Diocese are linked with 15 state schools in Mara, serving over 15,000 pupils. This is a great achievement in our link.


BBC is an Anglican Bible College run by the Diocese of Mara with the aim of training pastors and lay people for the ministry within the Diocese of Mara and the Anglican Church of Tanzania. The Bible College is preparing pastors and equips them with evangelical theology in Africa which suits pastoral care and theology teachings aimed at dispelling false doctrine within the Diocese of Mara and Tanzania.


The college currently has 360 students. The graduates become Community Development Officers and work for municipalities, government entities, non profit organizations, or smaller scale as consultants in corporate settings.


Since 2014 young men have been learning carpentry skills alongside the Bible at BBMTC. This enable them to earn an income, as well as have good understanding on the gospel so they can return as leaders to their village boys brigade groups. The courses offered are carpentry, building construction, welding and metal fabrication and electrical installation, together with bible studies, English language and entrepreneurship studies. 44 students have graduated since the college’s establishment. Future plans include constructing a multipurpose workshop for the students to manufacture various building materials and products for the community thereby generating an income and making the college self sustainable.


ERI Project has a strategic and participatory approach that puts small – scale farmers in the centre of development processes. ERI strengthens farmers’ social and entrepreneurial capacities to make the transition from subsistence to market-oriented agriculture while safeguarding food security and sustainable management of natural resources. A total 64 farmer groups 1600 direct beneficiaries have been reached by this project in Bunda and Serengeti Districts of Mara Region.


The Rehema Project has two enterprises – Rehema Cafe (a comfortable Western – style Cafe’) and Rehema Craftsand is located next to John’s Cathedral in Musoma. The project is inspired Biblically by 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 14 ‘For Christ’s love compels us’ and has the ‘tagline’ of the ‘voice of the voiceless’. Rehema is a Swahili word which means ‘mercy’ and the project is aimed at helping disadvantaged women and children in Mara. Visitors from Leeds Diocese have supported the project by visiting the cafe’ and buying the crafts.


This is the house where we provide a temporary residence to the girls who flee FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and other forms of GBV (Gender Based Violence). We receive the girls through the police station or from concerned people in the community. They stay with us for a short period of time while doing reconciliation with either their parents/relatives. While the girls are with us we provide them with all their basic needs, like food, clothes, medication, shelter, taking them to school, buying those books, pens, uniforms and all other necessities. We also teach them different skills which help them to stand firm and protest against harmful traditions. As we are passing through difficult/challenging era the link parishes from Leeds have supported us and have done a lot to help the girls.


• Through the support of this project, waterborne diseases have been reduced extensively • More time available for women to spend on other work, whilst children spend more time in education. • Higher standing/profile of Mara Diocese with local and regional government.

How can you help?

The Diocese of Mara continues to look for sponsors for its work helping people. The links approach is to help people again independence and those skills which will allow them to become productive members of their local community. The real investment is to bring about changes, whilst sending a very powerful Christian messege to the people. The church in Mara is constantly planting new parishes throught the diocese to grow Christisnity. Mara needs your prayers and financial support. .

Melina k. Galibona
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