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Yearlong Voluntary Service in Tanzania

Supporting the NGO Moto Handicrafts

After graduating from school, I moved to Tanzania for one year. In Zanzibar, where I was stationed, I volunteered for the NGO Moto Handicrafts and stayed in a local guest family, where I learned the East African language Swahili.

Moto Handicrafts – community-based crafts production

Moto prevents villagers from woodcutting in Zanzibar’s endangered Jozani Forest by offering a more sustainable and fair source of income. The over 100 women and men of the Moto network uphold their ancient Swahili tradition by producing beautiful craftwork that is sold to tourists.

My responsibilites

Together with my co-volunteer, I was one the one hand involved in business-related projects such as increasing the sale of products and on the other hand in community projects, improving the situation of Moto’s cooperatives.  

Project 1

Clay ovens against respiratory diseases

Traditionally, the women of Zanzibar cook on three-stone fires. This technique, however, produces a lot of smoke which can cause grave respiratory diseases. Further, three-stone fires are inefficient, since a great proportion of the fire’s energy escapes unused through the gaps between the stones.


Therefore, Moto Handicrafts started a project, that enabled villagers to teach each other to build clay ovens. Clay ovens are both cheap and efficient, since they are built from affordable, local materials and save around 30% of firewood. With this simple solution we were able to spread the project across whole Zanzibar within few months.

Project 2

Solar energy

In cooperation with the Zanzibar Solar Energy Association (ZASEA) we installed a solar power system for Moto Handicrafts’ workshop and museum at Zanzibar’s rural area. The solar systems energy was then used to power a well pump which provided villagers with free fresh water at all times.  

Project 3

Ukili museum and cultural heritage tours

Besides supporting village communities and stopping illegal woodcutting, Moto Handicrafts upholds Zanzibar’s unique Ukili tradition. Ukili is an ancient technique of palm leaf plaiting which is mainly used for bags, prayer mats, food covers and other household applications.


In order to promote this culture, we build a Museum that is open to tourists, school classes and locals and takes visitors on a cultural heritage tour, where they learn and experience Ukili tradition themselves.

Project 5

Corporate video for DTP.ev

DTP.ev is a NGO that directs German and Tanzanian volunteers to sustainable projects in Tanzania, such as Moto Handicrafts. In order to attract more applicants and to better explain the concept of DTP, I was tasked to produce a corporate video, documenting the daily routine of three DTP volunteers.

Project 4

Sustainable composting toilet

In Zanzibar’s villages, where no water pluming exists, unhygienic sanitation can cause dangerous diseases. In order to experiment with new concepts, we built a dry composting toilet. Our prototype was both hygienic and sustainable at once since the excrements where composted and could be later used as agricultural fertilizer.  

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