Welcome!

January 30th, 2016 by admin

The Marquis Project

Linking Manitobans with the Developing World

(Incorporated in Brandon Manitoba October 16, 1979)


Welcome to the Marquis Project’s website.  Please take a look around and check out the tabs to learn more about the work of Marquis, what they can do for you, and how you can become involved.  Here are some highlights:

  • About Us: Marquis Project Mission Statement, Partners, and Board of Directors
  • Community Initiatives: Check out the projects we are working on.
  • Education: This section is a must if you are a student or a teacher.  Look for curriculum connections and learning resources.
  • Library: Check out the Marquis Newsletters and Articles of Interest
  • Get Involved: Find out how you can made a difference with Marquis
  • Donations & Membership: We now offer memberships, renewals and donations online via PayPal
  • Plus: find us on Facebook

Marquis Project Announces Global Citizenship Award Recipient & Annual Event featuring Beny Mwenda

January 30th, 2016 by admin

Good afternoon,

It is with great pleasure that I attach the following two press releases for The Marquis Project.

The first deals with our overseas partner the Tanzania Society for Agriculture Education and Extension (TSAEE) speakers tour featuring Project Officer Beny Mwenda who will engage in over 30 speaking events in Southwestern Manitoba including the keynote speaking event on February 20th at the Canadian Fair Trade network conference in Winnipeg. Beny will begin his speaking engagements at the Marquis Annual dinner on February 7th (the start of International Development Week) with a lecture on partnership projects between The Marquis Project, CARES, MCIC and TSAEE.

In addition to his presentation, Beny will also award the Marquis Project Global Citizenship award to local writer, consultant and one of the founding members of The Marquis Project David McConkey.

More details on both these announcements can be found in the attached press releases, and should you have any questions, or be interested in a follow up interview or attending the event, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Have a great day,

Naomi Leadbeater

President, The Marquis Project

Marquis Dinner w/ Beny Mwenda

January 14th, 2016 by admin

Marquis Annual Educational and Fund-Raising Dinner
Sunday, February 7, 2016; 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Park Community Centre
1428 Louise Avenue, Brandon

Doors Open at 5:00 pm – Cash Bar
Dinner 6:00 pm – Authentic East Indian Cuisine catered by Chilli Chutney
Presentation 6:45 pm Beny Mwenda

Beny will be visiting Brandon during International Development week in February, 2016. He is the Director of the Tanzania Society for Agricultural Education & Extension (TSAEE) and has partnered with Marquis for many years on rural development projects with women and youth in the Lake Zone of Tanzania.

Click For Full Details!

Manitoba Support Essential to Tanzanian Development

November 2nd, 2015 by admin

Article for Brandon Sun “Small World” Column, Monday, August 25th, 2014

Manitoba Support Essential to Tanzanian Development

By Zack Gross

This is my second article in a series based on my family trip to East Africa last month.  The title may seem like an exaggeration, but it truly isn’t.  Due to the support of organizations, families and individuals in our area, communities in northwestern Tanzania are much better off than they would have been otherwise.  And, due to cutbacks in funder support in recent years, many initiatives to improve Tanzanian lives have slowed.

Brandon and southwestern Manitoba first connected with people in the Mwanza and Lake Zone Districts of Tanzania when Beny Mwenda and his colleagues came to study at Assiniboine Community College about 15 years ago.  Those who have met Beny know that he is an engaging sort, so it was not long before he had gotten involved in the Marquis Project and St. Augustine’s Church, as well as “recruiting” interest at ACC, Manitoba Agriculture and other places to connect with his rural community development efforts in his home country.

As Humphrey Bogart said at the end of Casablanca, “This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship” and it has been.  Numerous projects have been funded from Manitoba and also from the Ontario-based Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) to supplement other funds found from European agencies.  Dinah Ceplis, a Minnedosa-area retired horticulturalist and adult educator who visits Tanzania regularly, says that thanks to Manitoba and Canadian efforts, life has changed for the better in this region.

The projects undertaken have included development and promotion of fuel-efficient stoves to ensure better health and safety in local homes as well as reducing the number of trees being cut down.  We had a chance to visit “Mama Shigela”, the legendary, award-winning innovator and producer of ceramic stoves.

Another effort has been HIV/AIDS education and prevention as well as caring for orphans of AIDS-affected families.  Organic vegetable production has been another initiative, leading to better nutrition and some revenue to gardening families.

Young Manitoba interns have made a huge impact on youth and development projects in the area.  Although the funding hasn’t been in place for a number of years to send more, people still talk about the Ashley Mushumanskis and the Megan Wiltons who spent months working with them more than a decade ago.  The Marquis Project’s Worldly Goods store for many years sold baskets made by women in different parts of the country, bringing in needed income and showing Manitobans one aspect of Tanzanian art and culture.

Recent funding has supported a new initiative and seemingly a new way of thinking for Beny Mwenda and his staff.  They have taken a more entrepreneurial tack and work with young people to identify “tangible goals” that they would like to attain through profits they make in setting up small business ventures.  Some people might choose as their goal the purchase of a new bicycle so that they can deliver produce more easily.  Others might want to refurbish their home or indeed build a new one.

We visited several very successful ventures of this sort in July.  The area itself, around Tanzania’s second city, Mwanza, and particularly in one community, Usagara, seems to be booming as new business comes in, related to resource extraction as well as the local fishery.  We were taken to a busy commercial spot, what we might think of here as a “strip mall” at an intersection of roads.

One young man, who seems to have the entrepreneurial knack has, with his wife and family, not only set up a thriving “convenience store” here, but also has built himself a house and developed rental units nearby for others seeking housing.  Just down from him, a local woman has set up a food store specializing in local products.  She also supplies food in a canteen at a local agricultural centre.  Finally, we stopped by a shop that specializes in carpentry and welding.  The young people working at this spot had attended our welcome a few days before and were happy to show us how they were using both their physical and entrepreneurial skills.

So, what’s the problem?  The fact is that this is only a beginning and there is still much more poverty and lack of opportunity to overcome.  In a meeting with the local District Commissioner, appointed by the Tanzanian President to oversee development in the region, we were told of the high unemployment rate that affects young men who – educated or not – have little that is productive to do.  While some communities that are near major roads are improving economically, more remote ones are suffering.

We were also told how organizations no longer supported by our Canadian government have been forced to cut their programs and therefore their support for work in the Lake Zone.  One young man said:  “We have many good ideas but no money to work with!”  My wife, as a nurse, visited a local clinic that seemed to need everything and have almost nothing to deal with malaria, accidents and other daily occurrences.  We were moved by the energy and ambition of the young people we met, but concerned about their chances to reach their goals.

As we left one meeting attended by several entrepreneurial groups, a young fellow came up to me and said “Thanks for what you’ve done!  Are you still with us?”  Of course, I said, I promise that we are.

Zack Gross was Executive Director of the Marquis Project for twenty-five years and now sits on its Board of Directors.  He and his family visited Tanzania in July of this year.

About Marquis

The Marquis Project is a non-profit, charitable non-governmental organization dedicated to making our world better. Established in 1979 by development activists in and around Brandon, Manitoba, it is sustained by the support and participation of individuals, families, congregations, schools and community organizations. What began as a small resource centre on world issues serving southwestern Manitoba is now a nationally recognized non-governmental organization.