21 October 2011. Tim Clarke, European Ambassador to Tanzania, and the Dodoma Regional Commissioner cut the ribbon and unveiled the plaque to officially open the Chololo Ecovillage Project. Other VIPs included Member of Parliament David Malole, the Regional Administrative Officer, the District Commissioner, the Municipal Director, The Mayor of Dodoma, the Village Chairman, and around 1000 residents of Chololo village.
Ambassador Tim Clarke acknowledged that this was an emotional moment for him, and spoke passionately to the village community about the project:
It is the realisation of a personal dream. A dream to release rural people in Africa from poverty. A dream to allow rural people to live in dignity. A dream for rural communities to have access to clean water, to secure food supplies, to heath, to education, to a safe and secure environment, to lasting prosperity. A dream that the knowledge and capacity of rural farmers can be tapped and harnessed to bring true and lasting sustainable development.
I have talked with the six partners of this special project. I have rarely witnessed such passion and motivation, such commitment. They want long term sustainable change. They want to change peoples lives for the better. They want to see a vibrant community that can adapt to changing environment. I know they will deliver. I know they can make the community of Chololo a household name: a pioneer for adapting to climate change, a world leader in participatory rural development.
The changes you make to your own community will be read about across the world. Chololo will be quoted in world conferences on climate change, a symbol on how modern technology combined with community empowerment can bring lasting prosperity. Your activities will be reported from Dodoma to Addis Ababa, Mumbai, to Beijing and even hopefully in a few weeks time in Cop 17 in Durban.
I personally and my institution the EU is proud to be associated with this project. It will inspire, it will innovate, it will show across Tanzania and the African continent how even rural communities that have known terrible hardships can with modern technology, good advice, true solidarity and partnership, change peoples lives for the better.
I salute the Dodoma Institute of Rural Development and all their partners who put this project together. I salute the Chololo community for having the courage to grasp this new initiative, a journey into the unknown.
In a pilot project such as this there will inevitably be some ideas that will not work. This is a natural part of the development process. But I know you will succeed.
We in the EU will support this project from beginning to end. We will share your challenges, successes and failures. But I know today is an historic day for your community and the Gogo people . You will never turn back. In this special 50 anniversary of independence we have planted a seed of hope and prosperity.
I wish and my colleagues wish you every success.