An international impact: Student helps Tanzanian women earn an income

Written by Gillian Smith
 | Wednesday, 20 August 2014 16:24

A Duxbury resident-turned Switzerland student is working on a project to improve living conditions in Tanzania.

Cole Hass, who lived in Duxbury until 2008 and now lives in Switzerland, traveled to Tanzania on a school trip when he was a freshman in high school. The Inter- Community School in Zurich, Switzerland, was the first international school in Zurich and currently educates 850 student from ages three to 18 from 55 different nationalities. When students reach grade nine, they can travel to Tanzania, where they learn about student service and personal development through community service.

Hass was selected to go on the trip two years ago and spent part of his trip helping to improve classrooms at an education center. When he re- turned to school and entered grade 10, he decided to combine his experience in Tanzania with the required grade 10 “personal project.” His goal was to focus on marine science or conservation and through his research the idea for a hatchery was born.

Hass got in touch with Island Creek Oysters, which has a shellfish hatchery program in Zanzibar. Hass worked together with Island Creek Oysters and Hauke Kite Powell, a Duxbury resident and member of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, to create blueprints and designs for the shellfish hatchery. The plan is to incubate cockies, which is a type of clam, so that they can be farmed and will provide a source of protein and income for local villagers in Zanzibar. If the hatchery is successful, it other hatcheries to be developed.

While in Tanzania, Hass saw firsthand how women in Africa’s coastal villages do not have many opportunities to earn an income and therefore cannot afford to buy boats for offshore fishing, which is why having a hatchery would provide the perfect opportunity for them to farm and make an income. Hass recognized that the woman needed assistance getting the hatcheries up and running and turned to Kite-Powell for assistance. Kite-Powell was able to get the State University of Zanzibar on board with the project and they have offered to host the hatchery on their campus 

Hass said his ideal plan would be to make the hatcheries as low-cost as possible and having the campus host the hatchery would be less expensive than constructing an entirely new building. The total cost for the hatchery is about $50,000 

As of this summer, Hass has raised all of the money that is required to build the hatchery and plans are in place to have it completed this winter 

Hass said he hopes to study business and marine studies and will be applying to US universities and colleges next year.