Bishop Mwita with members of the Wakefield Diocese Tanzania Link Committee
Bishop Mwita with members of the Tanzania Link Committee of the Diocese of Wakefield
Bishops Stephen Platten (Wakefield) and Mwita Akiri (Tarime) at Wakefield Diocesan Synod, 10 March, 2012
L to R - Bishop Mwita, Bishop Stephen (Wakefield) and Rev Stephen Kelly of Woolley, Sunday 11 March 2012_1
St Peter's Woolley (signboard)
Sunday Service at St Peter's Woolley, Diocese of Wakefield, UK.
St Peter's, Woolley, Diocese of Wakefield. Bishop Mwita preached at Woolley on Sunday, March 11, 2012
Bishop Mwita with members of the Wakefield Diocese Tanzania Link Committee
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Bishop Mwita Akiri of the Diocese of Tarime visited the companion Diocese of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England in March 2012. On March 9, Bishop Mwita met with the Tanzania Link Committee which oversees the link between Wakefield and the three dioceses in Tanzania: Mara, Tarime and Rorya. The meeting took place at the residence of Bishop Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract in the Diocese of Wakefield.

This was an important meeting ahead of Mwita’s meeting with the representatives of all the parishes that have links with parishes in the Diocese of Tarime.  Several issues concerning the two Dioceses were discussed. These included ways of strengthening the parish links, possibilities of new links, and sharing of resources. The newly appointed Tanzania Link Officer, Rev. Dr. Stephen Spencer was present at the meeting.

Bishop Stephen Platten of Wakefield and his wife Rosslie hosted a dinner for Bishop Mwita at his residence – the Bishop’s Lodge at Woodthorpe Lane. This was an enjoyable evening that gave Mwita a chance to interact with some of members of the senior staff of the Diocese.

The next day, Saturday 10th March, Mwita had the honour to attend the Synod meeting of the Diocese at St Peters Church Centre. Mwita had the priviledge to address the Synod on the importance of the partnership in mission that exists between Tarime and Wakefield. In the evening, again, Bishop Stephen and Rosslie hosted another dinner at his residence. This occasion was attended by several key people in the Diocese who are connected with the Tarime-Wakefield link in one way or another.

On Sunday 11th March, Bishop Stephen kindly accompanied Bishop Mwita to St Peter’s Woolley. Both Mwita and Stephen were hosted by Rev. Stephen Kelly, the Vicar of Woolley. Mwita preached and later had a working lunch with the representatives of the Wakefield parishes linked with Tarime parishes. Mrs Edwina Offori, the Link Officer for Wakefield-Tarime Link facilitated this meeting.  Tineke Bentley, the Wakefield Coordinator of Water for Life Project being implemented in Tanzania was present too. Detailed discussions were held on the ways to strengthen the friendship between Tarime and Wakefield and the ongoing projects.

This important meeting concluded Bishop Mwita’s visit to the Diocese of Wakefield.

Ridley Hall entrance signboard
Ridley College photo taken on last day of Lent term
Andrew Norman, Principal of Ridley (middle) with international sabbatical guests Stelian Stofana (Romania) and Mwita Akiri (Tanzania)
Bishop Mwita with Dr Ian Shaw (Director of Scholarship Programme, Langham Partnership UK & Ireland). Langham and Ridley co-funded Mwita's UK visit.
The front of Ridley College, Cambridge University
Some of the buildings at Ridley Hall, Cambridge
Bishop Mwita with Canon Andy Lines, CEO & Mission Director, Crosslinks UK.
Signboard, School of Divinity, Edinburgh University
Bishop Mwita with John & Della Rea during the Edinburgh visit. John is a member of the Overseas Committee, Scottish Episcopal Church.
Ridley Hall entrance signboard
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Immediately after the Canterbury conference (23-31 January) as reported long ago on this website, Bishop Mwita Akiri of the Anglican Diocese of Tarime, Tanzania, spent the rest of his time in the UK (1 February to 31 March) at Ridley Hall, Cambridge University as a post-doctoral scholar.

His scholarship was co-funded by Langham Partnership International (UK and Ireland) and Ridley Hall, an Anglican College at the University of Cambridge. Mwita used this opportunity to start writing a book on the indigenous agency in the growth of the Anglican Church in central Tanzania, 1876-1933. He made use of a specialist mission library at the Henry Martin Centre within the University.

Mwita was also able to travel to parts of the UK, mostly at weekends to meet with partners such as the Diocese of Wakefield, the Scottish Episcopal Church and Crosslinks – an Anglican mission society in the UK, as well as introducing his Diocese to potential partners. He also paid a visit to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop Mwita with clergy and catechists who received the mosquito nets
Clergy and Catechists after receiving mosquito nets donated by Christians in the Diocese of Wellington, New Zealand
Clergy and Catechists after receiving mosquito nets donated by Christians in the Diocese of Wellington, New Zealand
Clergy and Catechists after receiving mosquito nets donated by Christians in the Diocese of Wellington, New Zealand.
Bishop Mwita with clergy and catechists who received the mosquito nets
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On January 5, 2012, Bishop Mwita Akiri gave more mosquito nets to the clergy and catechists for their children. Many of the clergy and catechists in this new and young diocese earn very little stipend or nothing at all and struggle to buy medicine when their children suffer from malaria attacks, which can occur frequently. Sleeping under treated mosquito nets goes a long way to reducing malaria among the children and adults as well. As it is often said, 'prevention is better then cure.'

The funds for the mosquito nets were donated by individual Christians in various churches in the Diocese of Wellington, New Zealand. The Diocese of Tarime owes them a great deal. Archdeacon Bernard Faull who is both the Registrar and the Administrator of Wellington coordinated the appeal shortly after Bishop Mwita's visit to New Zealand in July and August 2011.

This is the third time that the Bishop has given the mosquito nets to the priests and catechists since May 2011, and concludes the first phase of project. The second phase will now target low-income mothers with babies and young children. One treated mosquito net (bed net) costs between $4-5.

Mrs Jane Nyageswa instructor, with the students.
Some of the students at the sewing class started by the Mothers Union
Students - focused!
The temporary classroom is located in this house in Tarime town.
Mrs Jane Nyageswa instructor, with the students.
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On January 16, 2012, the Mothers Union - our women's organization - started a sewing class in Tarime town for young girls. The project is part of the Diocesan plan, namely, empowerment of women and girls. This is achieved by providing them with skills and thereby creating opportunities for employment. Sixteen unemployed girls who have completed seven years of primary education but could not proceed to secondary school are enrolled. They will learn and practice the sewing skills that will help them to earn income. The project also has a social dimension in that it delays early marriages for young  ex-school girls so common in the wider district. The girls pay a concession fee of $15 a month. The course lasts for six months.  

Three immediate challenges are facing the sewing class that have to be addressed quickly. First, the shortage of sewing machines. At the moment the class has 10 only sewing machines for 16 girls! These were donated to the Diocese by the Christians from Canada who visited and participated in mission in July 2011. A basic sewing machine costs $100. Bishop Mwita appeals to all people of goodwill to support this initiative that has a huge potential to give many young girls a better future.  Secondly, there is a need for a larger classroom to accommodate more students. Finally, a hostel is needed for the girls from the rural areas. More girls from the villages applied to join the class but could not do so because they could not afford accommodation in Tarime town. "This is one of the major challenges that the Diocese has to address", says Bishop Mwita. When asked how the diocese would address the matter, the Bishop replied, "we will have to raise funds to build and furnish a hostel with beds and other essential facilities and services such as electricity and water. However, to make this a sustainable project, the Diocese will have to charge a reasonable but affordable fee to cover some overhead, maintenance and service costs."

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