Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre – MSTC


The Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre (MSTC) is a joint venture between a Tanzanian organisation, Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO), and Tools for Solidarity.

Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre opened in 2006 to help with the development of the tailoring sector among the poorest sections of both rural and urban areas of the Lake Region of Tanzania.

Below you can watch a video about MSCT Project made by BBC back in 2006.

Which support is offered by MSTC?

SIDO-MSTC aims to assist the development of artisan tailoring groups among the poorest sections of both rural and urban areas of the Lake Victoria Zone of Tanzania through the provision of sewing machines and training. Centres also offer intensive training on mechanics to learn how to fix sewing machines in different districts.

For the period of 2020 and 2021, we’re planning to provide and sell more than 500 sewing machines, including 12 knitting machines.

How does MSTC operate?

In the different districts, local artisans are contacted by the local authority. Their needs are then assessed to make sure that they get the right kind of support and the right type of machine.

The centre is self-financing within the country which allows the project to develop in response to the needs of the tailoring sector. Apart from training tailors receive a support kit that includes a sewing machine and support with materials.

“I work with SIDO-Mwanza from the start of the project. Knowing the industry I am able to compare this project to many others. And so far we managed to increase our collaboration and networking with the community and all other sectors. Personally I can see our success and achievements.”

Co-ordinator, Magu
Tailoring training at SIDO Offices, 2019

Why do we refurbish sewing machines overseas?

The main approach of the project is that sewing machines are refurbished in Tanzania by two trained local mechanics. There are several advantages to it:

  1. Skills are transferred to the country where sewing machines are used;
  2. It facilitates the integration of maintenance, operational and design skill training;
  3. It offers the possibility to develop other services from the centre, such as technical training and local treadle production.

“I received a training from SIDO-MSTC on a maintenance and repair of sewing machines. And it’s definitely helped me. Now I’m capable to undertake all necessary maintenance to any kind of a sewing machine. Because of it I have many customers from different places of Magu District and it helps me to live fully.”

Fundi at Nyamikoma

Made in Tanzania treadles

One of the achievements of the Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre is the development of a local treadles production. Before that, it was impossible to find treadles in Tanzania therefore they were imported and expensive.

With the input of the Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre, a group of artisans created a new treadle design. Annually they produce hundreds of treadles in the region.

Made in Tanzania treadles, 2019


“I bought 2 machines from SIDO-MSTC which made dramatic changes for my business. Later on I even managed to employ two people to help me with my work.”

Tailor in Runzewe-Bukombe

“I’m the Chairman of the small producers resource centre, which is operating under the Public Private sector Partnership policy. The MSTC-SIDO project made many changes in the lives of most tailors in Sengerema. Aside from that the project also enable our locals to gain entrepreneurship skills. As the result of it our members are doing much better and have more successful business than others.”

Coordinator, Sengerema

“Although I have been a tailor for quite some time I didn’t know how to sew suits. However when I got the training on dress designing from SIDO-MSTC I was able to start on my suits dream. Today I have a lot of people reaching out to me so that I sew suits for them. It is really impressing and helps me to improve my income.”

Female tailor (35 years-old) Kwimba District

We will update this page accordingly to the new information we get from both parties. As for now, we are happy to see the growth of our projects in Africa, especially when we receive feedback from artisans who participated in the training courses.