SIP’s mission is to elevate the quality of life of our brothers and sisters in Igoma through programs focused on healthcare, education and child sponsorship.

History

In 1998, a work team from Stouffville, Ontario, travelled to Igoma, Tanzania, to start construction of the village’s first medical clinic. Five years later, a second team returned to complete the clinic and stock it with medicine, medical equipment and more. A local board of directors for the new Urafiki Health Clinic was appointed and a doctor was hired. In September 2003, the clinic opened its doors to the people of Igoma.

During this time, Stouffville resident Peter Neufeld made a presentation to the Stouffville Town Council proposing that the town adopt Igoma as a partner community. The idea was that Stouffville would find ways to support and build connections with the village of Igoma. The council approved the project unanimously, and in September 2003, the Stouffville Igoma Partnership (SIP) was founded.

Through this unique grassroots partnership, Canadian volunteers have had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Igoma and learn about East Africa and its culture, customs, language and people. Volunteers from Igoma have also been sponsored to come to Canada to learn about life here and speak to students, clubs and likeminded organizations.

Since 2003, SIP has undertaken a number of projects in Igoma, all of which were paid for with money received through fundraising and donations. We achieved a key milestone in 2019 by completing a minor surgery operating theatre at the Urafiki Health Clinic that will be fully operational by the end of the year.

Governance

SIP is a registered charitable organization incorporated under the laws of Canada. It is governed by boards of directors in Canada and Tanzania, who work together to provide ongoing guidance and stewardship under a Memorandum of Understanding.

The Urafiki Health Clinic remains the cornerstone of SIP and the boards’ biggest decisions revolve around funding expansions that would enable the clinic to offer a wider range of health care services. All staffing and other major decisions are handled by the Urafiki Health Clinic Board of Directors and the SIP Tanzania Board of Directors. While it’s important for the SIP Canada Board of Directors to be informed of the changes and needs of the clinic, and to be able to direct the funds we send to specific areas of the clinic such as staff salaries, most of the decision-making resides with local community members who sit on the Tanzanian boards because of their specific skillsets and experience. This approach ensures that every aspect of the clinic’s operations is carefully managed.

“I travelled to Igoma in 2011 and saw first-hand the difference that SIP was making in the lives of people there. When SIP was looking for a secretary, I saw this as an opportunity to help its good work progress.”

SIP Canada Board of Directors

Justin Kerswill

Chair

Justin has been the Chair of SIP since 2015, having served on the board since 2007. With Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees, he’s also a teacher, Big Brothers volunteer and gifted musician.

Marcus Gordon

Vice Chair, Child Sponsorship Program Leader

Marcus joined the SIP board in 2010 and brings more than 15 years of experience as an advisor/analyst with the Ontario Public Service. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography/English/Historyand a post-graduate diploma in Public Administration

Jodi McGuirk

Treasurer

Jodie joined the SIP board in 2019 to serve as treasurer, having previously worked as a freelance accountant for clients in several different industries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and is a licensed real estate agent.

Judy Wideman

Secretary

Judy joined the SIP board in 2015 with a background as a health information manager and coding specialist.

Mark Leonituk

Director

Mark joined the SIP board in 2017. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Spanish and currently works for a Canadian healthcare technology company.

Peter Neufeld, Jr.

Director

Peter joined the SIP board in 2019. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and an MBA. Currently working as an HR executive at Maple Leaf Foods, Peter also brings experience as a former psychometrist at Willian Osler Health Center in Ontario.

Dane Pali

Director

Dane joined the SIP board in 2019. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Marketing, and currently works as a licensed realtor for RE/MAX in Uxbridge.

SIP Tanzania Board of Directors

Prisca Christopher Haule

SIP Tanzania Chair

Board member since 2016

Leonard Mboya

Treasurer

Board member since 2016

Anna Sungura

Secretary

Board member since 2016

Julius Kisandu

SIP representative

Board member since 2016

Moses Hosea

Children Sponsorship Program Director

Children Sponsorship Program Director since 2003

Wilson Mussa

Member at Large

Board member since 2016

“As SIP Tanzania board members, we’re in the unique position of being able to make an immediate and profound impact on the welfare of vulnerable people in our community. I truly believe we make a difference in the quality of people’s lives every single day.”
— Prisca C. Haule, SIP Tanzania Chair