The Economic Consequences of Climate Change in Tanzania

Romaisa Hussain – Art in Tanzania Internship

Keywords: sustainability, climate change, environment, economic growth

Climate change has emerged as a potentially existential threat all across the globe that poses a serious risk to the survival of mankind and sustainable development. Over the last few decades, the world has witnessed changes in weather patterns as a result of global warming and human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Based on a numerous lines of evidence, it is now more certain than ever that climate change is a threat multiplier that can amplify the effects of existing dangers. These threats include human security, scarcity of natural resources, environmental degradation, and poor economic growth.

The United Nations General Assembly set up the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 which serve as a blueprint for a sustainable future to be achieved by 2030. The 13th Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations talks about Climate Action. The goal discusses the critical impact of climate change and encourages developing countries to move towards low-carbon emission in the environment. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is a separate organisation working within the UN that deals with climate change and other environmental issues. The UN aims to adapt to low carbon development especially in the vulnerable regions that contribute towards climate action and sustainable natural resource management through collective action. Most of the states in the world are affected by climate change with East Africa being one of the most affected regions.

Tanzania is suffering the brunt of the consequences of climate change in East Africa. The agricultural-based economy of Tanzania has become vulnerable to the extreme climatic conditions. The majority of the population is located in the rural areas which heavily relies on agriculture and farming that is threatened by rising temperatures, droughts, and extreme rainfalls. The country is home to the world’s largest river system, the River Tanzanian. Despite immense water resources, Tanzania struggles with a shortage of water both spatially and temporally, which is worsened by the climate on its nine main river basins. In the recent years, there has been a severe decline in the water level in Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, and Lake Jipe, as well as a decrease in the water level of about 7 kilometers in Lake Rukwa during the last fifty years. These are connected with climate change and are endangering towards socio-economic activities. The effect also puts the country’s hydropower system at risk. Furthermore, diseases such as diarrhea and malaria remain one of the prime causes of casualties in the country especially in the urban settlements consisting of poor infrastructure prone to flooding and increased temperatures. 

Tanzania’s economy relies on its natural and environmental resources where a good number of people depend on fisheries for their income which are at risk from rising sea waters and freshwater temperatures. Tourism is another aspect that has the potential to boost the economy of Tanzania as the country has a tropical climate and is home to wildlife, forests, beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes, and minerals. The attractions are found in abundance in national and marine parks, historical and cultural sites, and recreational sites. Currently, tourism generates 17.5 per cent of GDP and 25 per cent of export revenues, making it an important economic sector. Due the unpredictability of climate it is endangering the ecosystem services on which tourism relies. For example, the Serengeti National Park has been famous tourism spot for the wildlife migration for decades, contributing significantly to Tanzania’s economy and serves as a key source of employment. There is a growing fear that the climate has shifted dramatically, potentially affecting wildlife tourism. 

Threats to the sustainability of the natural resources and environmental degradation remain an issue in Tanzania such as the untimely harvesting and usage of natural resources, unsupervised cultivation process, and trespassing on water sources. Collectively, these can seriously affect the sustainable development goals of a country. Due to the unsustainable consumption of resources, there can be problems in the production of sources that may affect livelihoods. In addition to that, they can lead to the deficiency of food which could eventually lead to poverty. An increase in the population and high reliance on agriculture becomes rather burdensome on the environment and its natural resources which contribute negatively to climate change and water-deficient regions. 

One of the leading contributing factors to the environmental degradation is the unsustainable management of land and watershed. Many challenges are still needed to be tackled to reduce this issue including unexpected growth of human settlements, wildlife hunting, illegal farming and livestock, uncontrollable bushfires, weak inter-sectoral association, and stakeholder linkages. This may lead towards the social and economic development of the country as well as reduce poverty. The Tanzanian Government has marked the water-oriented issues as a major factor that has affected the environment. This has led to the implementation of national policies and necessary plans and strategies needed to tackle it. The visibility of climatic changes in Tanzania is increased by 60% which are seen in the form of a decrease in water sources, land degradation and the reduction in agricultural land. The Government also tends to focus on carbon emission with the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, the saving of wildlife to abolish the hunting system as a means of income, reducing vehicle usage and improving urban planning in the country to promote urbanization. It also placed environmental sections under the sector ministries to ensure and monitor the environmental issues as well as raising awareness amongst the community. The Government also needs to guarantee that efforts are being made in terms of the development of the environment and climate change in national as well as subnational plans. 

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is one among many partners of the Government of Tanzania that has aided in the development of the environment and contributed to measures regarding natural resources and climate change issues. The UNDP encourages the Government and respective communities in terms of sustaining the environment and contributing to the reversal of environmental degradation. As long as the correct policies are implemented, the chances for preserving the ecosystems in terms of food, energy, wood i.e., timber, clean water, consistent climate etc. are possible. Over the past few years, Tanzania has recently experienced high growth rates of about 7.4%.

The impact of climate change has had a huge effect on the incomes of the people in Tanzania. It has had a severe impact on the economy, agriculture, natural resources, and livelihoods of people which exposes the vulnerable part of the country. It is, to say the least, that the Government of Tanzania is to be respected for the progress it has made regarding the development and exercising of policies and strategies to prevent degradation and the protection of the environment. The Government tends to cater to the environmental needs of the country and maintain its natural resources as a means of saving economic and social development. This would mean effectively establishing immediate measures to improve the damages caused. The Government also needs to guarantee that efforts are being made in terms of the development of the environment and climate change in national as well as subnational plans.

References

Kijazi, A. L. (2019). The Contribution of the Global Framework for Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa (GFCS APA) in National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Process for Tanzania. doi:10.4236/acs.2019.94040

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. (n.d.). Current and future challenges and opportunities in Tanzania. Retrieved from https://um.dk/en/danida-en/strategies%20and%20priorities/country-policies/tanzania/current-and-future-challenges-and-opportunities-in-tanzania/

Ordu, E. I. (2021, April 7). Climate adaptation and the great reset for Africa. Retrieved from Brookings: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2021/04/07/climate-adaptation-and-the-great-reset-for-africa/

UNDP. (2016-2021). ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESILIENCE PILLAR, STRATEGY PAPER.

UNDP Annual Report 2020. (2020). Goal 13 CLIMATE ACTION. Retrieved from UNDP Organization: https://www.undp.org/sustainable-development-goals#climate-action

United Nations. (n.d.). Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development. Retrieved from Sustainable Deevelopment Goals: https://sdgs.un.org/goals

UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA. (2007). NATIONAL ADAPTATION PROGRAMME OF ACTION (NAPA). Division of Environment.

USAID From the American People. (2020). Tanzania. Retrieved from climate links: https://www.climatelinks.org/countries/tanzania

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Tanzania vs Canada

Jeet Patel Art in Tanzania

What is Corporate Social Responsibility? Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the act of regulating company business models that assist a company or organisation to be socially accountable to the public and itself. Organizations can be conscious on the kind of the impacts they have in all aspect of society in areas like the environment or the economy.

The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has provided guidance on how to achieve CSR. Organizations usually start investing in CSR once they a have reached a secure place to invest in it. The ISO came up with “ISO 26000” to help clarify what social responsibility is, and aids organizations in effective practices. ISO 26000 revolves under seven core principles and core subjects. These are the guidance points the ISO has come up with to help organization maximize their corporate social responsibility.

Core Principals

  1. Accountability
  2. Transparency
  3. Ethical Behaviour
  4. Respect for stakeholder interest
  5. Respect for the rule of law
  6. Respect for international norms of behaviour
  7. Respect for the human rights

Core Subject

  1. Organization Governance
  2. Human Rights
  3. Labour Practices
  4. The Environment
  5. Fair operating Practices
  6. Consumer Issues
  7. Community Involvement and Development

CSR around the world

CSR in Canada

CSR is becoming a major driving force for organisations in Canada. One of the main driving forces is due to the Canadian public looking to support organisations that are socially involved in making the community better. The tactics have changed over the years, organisations now plan strategic, social purpose-driven, and transformational models, that can be seen in local communities. It has become an essential part of business practices.

CSR in Tanzania

Tanzania has made huge strides in corporate social responsibility. Tanzania had enacted the Companies act in 2002 (an amendment of the Companies act of 1932) to try and keep up with global and local pressures of improving CSR. Even though this act requires audited financial reports to disclose details of the remuneration of directors and offices, there is no obligation to provide information on employee discrimination, health and safety, tax planning schemes, and pollution and environmental disruption cause by corporate activities. This  led to the enactment of Employment and Labour relations act and labour institutions act in 2004. The government has also come out with the health and safety act in 2003 and the worker’s compensation act in 2008. Tanzania’s main factors and initiatives that influence CSR in the country is due to many reasons.

Politically, the government has come with many different ways to promote CSR in the country, for example, the Presidential Award on CSR and Empowerment launched in 2012, to promote sustainable development of products, specifically in the extractive industry. The country also had the Tanzania Development Vision 2025, in an effort to reduce the country’s poverty levels. The country is also tracking towards primary education, gender equality, HIV/ AIDS, and access to sanitation.

The country is also down well in other factors and influences for CSR. Examples of this would include educating the population in different aspects through social programs in partnership with international organisations. Educating people on the importance of their natural resources and use it to their advantage through the different industries like agriculture and tourism, making sure to work with government organizations to help preserve the Tanzanian way, while sustainably providing goods and services.

President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete speaking at the launching ceremony of the presidential award on the Extractive Industry Corporate Social Responsibility and Empowerment

Local businesses and NGOs are also aided by international businesses through joint ventures and partnership in promoting good and services and finding ways to give back to the community. Even though there has been an increase in CSR in the country, there is still a long way to go. Without policies and regulations there is no way to monitor if organisations are trying to benefit their local communities. There are many barriers that could harm the further implementation of CSR. Some of these include:

  • Unreliable data on community needs
  • Misunderstand in communication between companies, organisations, and government
  • CSR used and a competition tool for business instead of being used to benefit the community
  • Lack of conscious consumers
  • Lack of recognition of good effort made

These are just some of the few barriers that can come in Tanzania’s path to have CSR businesses. However, this can be addressed by educating the public and creating policies to show data as well as meet the ISO’s standard guide on being having CSR.

Fernando, J. (2021, July 6). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corp-social-responsibility.asp.

ISO 26000 – Social responsibility. ISO. (2020, November 30). https://www.iso.org/iso-26000-social-responsibility.html.

Johnnyspade. (2019, February 21). Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada: Trends, Barriers and Opportunities. Coro Strandberg. https://corostrandberg.com/publication/corporate-social-responsibility-in-canada-trends-barriers-and-opportunities/.

Kenton, W. (2021, May 19). International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/international-organization-for-standardization-iso.asp.

Vertigans, S., Idowu, S. O., & Schmidpeter René. (2018). Corporate Social Responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa Sustainable Development in its Embryonic Form. Springer International Publishing.

Definition of Volunteering

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group freely gives time “to benefit another person, group or organization” Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served.It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.

The concept of “volunteer”

The term ‘volunteer’ has been recently introduced in the lexicon of the social sciences and not without ambiguity and vagueness connected to its original connotation of common sense.

It is agreed almost unanimously that the term ‘voluntary action’ identifies a particular type of social action and it is often characterized by the gratuity, that is without financial reward some reimbursement for expenses, stipend-type payments or payments in kind such as provision of meals and transport. Indeed, these kinds of payments are often regarded as good practice as they make opportunities for volunteer action more accessible and inclusive.
The action that qualifies as a form of social altruism or philanthropy is a type of action that takes “a form of gift generously offered”, although most of the times is produced and delivered on an organized basis. 
However, the gratuity alone does not appear a sufficient criterion to distinguish the voluntary action by other forms of action (such as leisure) that are not performed in order to obtain in return an economic reward. The voluntary action goal is in fact geared to produce benefits for the exclusive advantage of individuals clearly distinguished from those who perform the action and it is configured as a service or distribution of goods to others, for the common good. It should directly or indirectly benefit people outside the family or household, even though the volunteer normally benefits as well from the experience. In many cultures, a volunteer is often described as “someone who works for community well being”.

Why volunteer?

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.
Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.
Benefits of volunteering: 4 ways to feel healthier and happier
1. Volunteering connects you to others
2. Volunteering is good for your mind and body
3. Volunteering can advance your career
4. Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life


About EVOLVET


EVOLVET (European VOLunteer coordinators Vocation Education and Training) was a European strategic partnership funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission, composed by seven organizations working with development projects for social inclusion and education from Austria, Finland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.


The project, that took place from the 01/09/2015 to the 31/08/2017, aimed at giving a positive impulsion to the training of volunteer coordinators by providing a standardized tool-kit containing on-the-job training materials for skills and competences commonly demanded to volunteer coordinators across Europe, not only for the management of development projects but also on the concrete education and training of the volunteers taking part on them.
Moreover, the project also run transnational training mobilities that made possible to volunteer coordinators from the different partner organizations to take part in common education initiatives about volunteer management embedded within the activities of the project. 
The creation of such standard pan-European training materials for professional volunteer coordinators is intended to contribute to improve the transparency and recognition of their qualifications and competences using already established systems based on measurable recognitions at transnational level, including those acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning. 
Furthermore, the project was focused on identifying the skills required by professional volunteer coordinators on development organisations, what allowed to compose an standard curriculum of competences for this professional category for being used afterwards for both, vocational education and training centres (to develop new learning pathways, methodologies and degrees) and organisations working with projects for local and international development (to detect which competences should be reinforced on their teams and detect those skills needed for future recruitments).

Participation of Art in Tanzania at the first transnational training for facilitators of EVOLVET

Art in Tanzania is always showing efforts of creating new collaborations with other organizations, whether local or international. This month from June 19th to June 25th the first transnational training for facilitators of EVOLVET which stands for European Volunteer Coordinators Vocation Education and Training is taking place in Vienna, Austria. Art in Tanzania is now part of the EVOLVET project which is co‐funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ programme. 


Kari Kohonen, the head of Art in Tanzania, is participating at the first training in Vienna. EVOLVET is a two-year long partnership of the Erasmus+ programme that was organized by CONGDCA. This is an organization from Spain and is additionally supported by several institutions, namely LVIA from Italy (www.lvia.it), Fund for Intercultural Education from Poland (www.miedzykulturowa.org.pl), Pista Mágica – Associação from Portugal (www.pista‐magica.pt) , Platforma dobrovolnickych centier a organizacii from Slovakia (www.dobrovolnickecentra.sk), Südwind Agentur from Austria (www.suedwind‐agentur.at) and of course Art in Tanzania Ry. Art in Tanzania was founded in Finland, but is mainly active in Tanzania.
The emphasis of this training will be on the first meeting, which will involve exchanges of different experiences and will elaborate on materials prepared during previous months. As one of the main aims will be on the process of the implementation of the next phases of this project. This is made possible through the staff conducting workshops that mix formal and non-formal methodologies as a method of bringing together different perspectives and creating interesting discussions and exchanges between the numerous organizations.

Meet Tassia

Meet Tassia de Cock, a 25 years old Belgian girl who moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after a three-month internship with Art in Tanzania.

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From the beginning, Tassia liked Tanzania and felt at home. She felt less stressed than in her home place. “I found people nice and liked the fact that there’s a lot of energy going on all the time.”

During her internship, she met John; a Tanzanian guy who soon became her boyfriend. When it came time to leave, Tassia had a choice to make. “It took me five minutes to decide: I’ll just move here. I was done with school, I didn’t really have anything waiting for me back in Belgium.” As she explained to me, John is not her main reason for her moving Even when she was a little girl, she knew she did not want to live in Belgium or the western world. “I wouldn’t say that it’s completely because of John that I’m here, the main reason is that I feel more comfortable living here. I get stressed really fast, and in the western world, there is a really big pressure on you to perform.”

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As she explained, a place without stress doesn’t exist. Tanzania is not exempt from stressful situations. Tassia faces many cultural differences in Tanzania that can be difficult to deal with, including commonplace bribery, and the relaxed approach people take with their work. Despite the difficulties in overcoming this culture shock, Tassia still feels far less pressure she believes she would in Western society.

Which parts of the culture are the most difficult for you to deal with?

“I wouldn’t say that people are liars, but they say a lot of things to please you.” They will say what you want to hear, even knowing they can’t do it; promises don’t have the same meaning as in the occidental world. Because people don’t have schedules, you always must remind them of the things you planned with them. “When you’re on holiday, it’s fine because you take it slowly. But when you are living somewhere, sometimes you need things to be done. It’s easily frustrating for a western person. Everything takes time.” It’s the same for appointments; in Belgium, it is rude to be late to an appointment, yet here, people will never be upset if you are not there on time. Their perspective is that a lot of things can make you late, so it’s reasonable for you to be three hours late; at least, you are there now.

The good part is that people here don’t push others to do anything, so you can do your things at the speed you want, and everything is fine.

Social rules are also very different. You have to prove yourself a lot, that you can be part of this culture and this community. Because you will always be a mzungu (white person), so locals expect you to act differently.

Do you feel safe in Madale, Dar es Salaam?

Madale is a small village, everyone knows everyone. People look out for each other, and that makes me feel safe; the community is taking care of you.

Tassia 2

“There are parts of the city where I wouldn’t go at night as a “mzungu” and particularly as a “mzungu girl”, of course, but Madale is safe.”

Criminal justice here is in the hands of the village. If you are a good person, you will be protected. For example, if someone breaks into someone else’s house, people will help take care of it. When the community knows that the person you are calling a burglar has a history of bad behavior, they will not hesitate to stone them. “But as a tourist, you will never experience that.”

How do you adapt to yourself here? What difficulties did you encounter?

In the beginning, it was easy because you know when you are traveling in a third world country, you expect things to be adventurous and different than what you are used to at home. A bucket shower is primitive but funny; you know you are going to go back home. After a couple of months, things are getting heavier because you know you are not going back home; this is your home. This is your new normal. Here you poop differently, you shower differently, you eat differently, you sweat differently, you drive on the other side of the road; everything is different. After a while, it kind of hits you how different things are and how different they will stay.

It took Tassia a month to adapt and become 100% comfortable living here. At the beginning, we want to prove ourselves; we want to prove that we are able to live like everybody else here. “You try to distance yourself from the «mzungu» characteristics, but after a while, you have to find a reasonable and healthy balance between your original culture and your new one so that you are comfortable with how you live.

There is a lot of little communities of persons from the same place or speaking the same language in every country. It’s easy to judge them and ask them to mix themselves with locals. “I think that I just never took the time to understand what they were living. It’s not because they love their culture more than ours, it’s because they need people to connect with and have support because they are facing the same issues. If I was still living in Belgium, I wouldn’t be able to understand their situation, because I wouldn’t have experienced that.” As Tassia said, you have to be out of your comfort zone to understand the power of community and the power of people understanding your issues and needs.

What about the cost of living?

Because I’m mzungu, I make more money than local people; for the same job. I hate it. I don’t agree with it. But I can’t say no to the job because there is no other job. For a mzungu, it’s really really hard to find work. Visas are a complicated thing here. The fact that I’m more paid just increases the image of mzungu needing and having a lot of money. I think that they need to give equal opportunities to Tanzanians. That’s why I want to start my own company, and I would never pay a Tanzanian less than a mzungu. A mzungu has the opportunity to move somewhere else if he wants to earn more money; Tanzanians don’t have that option.

There are a lot of people who are working for free and have been for two or three years because there are not nearly enough jobs for everybody. Companies take advantage of people’s limited options and will often pay them less than they deserve. They know that if people just have a small amount of money, they will stay. But a mzungu will not accept to be paid only 100 $US/ month. Companies know this and so they pay them 10 times the rate they pay locals to get them to stay. It’s such a common practice that even UNICEF are guilty of it. They pay their mzungu employees between 300$ and 800$ US/month, to live in Tanzania. You don’t need that amount of money to live here. My rent is 180 000 shilling (~80$) per month for a three rooms apartment.

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Be confident and know what you want, don’t be afraid to ask people. Most people yell at you because they want to help you and they want to touch you because you seem exotic to them. This can make people feel that they are in danger, but it’s the opposite. I understand that people are just curious. Understanding Swahili helps you to understand that things that seem scary at first glance are not at all.  I have never felt like I was in danger. I don’t get scared easily in life, I give people the benefit of the doubt so for now everything is fine.

You learn to truly appreciate the things you have. I’m just happy to live a simple life with few luxuries, and I really appreciate the small luxuries I do have. I don’t have a lot of stuff, which has reduced my stress level. When you feel hungry, you have to deal with what you have in your fridge because there is no supermarket around. It forces you to look at your priorities from another point of view, and that’s nice.

 

Florence Dupuis

A passion for helping the kids in need

Interview with volunteer Rukiye.

All photos are from the day we spent in Snakepark with the kids of Amani orphanage.

Let’s begin with a hard one: Who are you?

I’m Rukiye, 26 years old and I come from Denmark but originally I’m from Turkey. I’m almost done with my studies and soon I can say that I’m a graduated careworker. I already work in nursery schools where my focus is on early childhood development. In addition I have two other jobs and I do volunteer work in Denmark too.

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Rukiye and Alex.♥

Why did you decide to come to volunteer in Tanzania?

I have always wanted to come to Africa because since I was a child I have been dreaming of having my own orphanage in this continent. I was looking around in Internet for a long time and visited many web sites of different organizations. I noticed that AIT was the cheapest option so that played a role in my choice too. Couple months ago I finally decided that February would be a good time to go. After that I wrote to a Facebook group and asked if someone would want to come with me because I was too afraid to go alone. Luckily I got one girl to come with me and now we have spent almost a month here. What comes to the country, I didn’t prefer any but I could not be happier that I chose Tanzania.

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What kind of volunteer work have you been doing here?

Before coming here I arranged a fundraising through Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels. My family and friends helped me to share the message and I was so happy about how much I managed to collect: 2 739 dollars along with the money I put into it. With this money I bought a lot of toys from Denmark and brought them here because I wanted to give them to the schools and nurseries. Playing is learning and it especially improves children’s motor skills. That is why I wanted to bring toys here. It took from 1 to 2 weeks to visit different places, play with the children and give them the toys and games.

After that we have been visiting more schools and orphanages, observing them and asking what kind of things they would need. Then I have been buying more things such as backpacks, pens, books and other school things, toys, diapers, food… I learnt that you need to be careful when doing this because unfortunately some people only want the money and don’t think about the children’s needs. I have, with the help of others, also arranged a day out with the children of Amani Orphanage and we together also cleaned and painted the walls of a school nearby. I have also been talking to the leader of the orphanage about what it takes to open an orphanage here, how she started etc.

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Has something surprised you here?

I really did not expect Africa to be like this. Media gives us only one side of the continent: hunger, poverty, insecurity… Those things exist here but still it is so much more than that. I didn’t expect it to be this green and many places remind me of other countries even in Europe. In addition people, especially children, have surprised me because they get so happy with so little: just by seeing you. I have to say that it feels like home here and I feel safe. Before I came here I was so nervous and scared that something bad would happen to me but here I have not felt fear at all. Despite of that it is important to always be careful.

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What has been the best thing here?

People. I’m shy when I don’t feel safe and before this trip I was scared that I wouldn’t find any friends. But I have got so many new friends and I can talk to anyone here. It feels like I have a new family because normally I get homesick very quickly but here I haven’t felt that almost at all.

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What has not been that great?

The toilets… Hygiene is obviously not that great here and the dry toilets were not very tempting at first and it took two weeks to get used to them. But that’s just a small thing and you learn to live with everything.

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What have you learnt during this trip and what can you bring with you to Denmark?

When we were arranging the day out with the kids, it was the first time in my life when I had to be the leader and people were asking me about everything. I definitely had to come out of my comfort zone and just do it because it was my own plan. Now I feel that I can be responsible for these kind of events and for so many people. But especially here I think you have to have locals helping you and people who you can rely on. I’m glad that the team leaders helped me in so many ways.

This trip has in many ways been an eye-opening journey. I have learnt that I can’t do anything alone and that loyalty is very important. I have gotten many new contacts which could help me when I begin to work towards my dream: my own orphanage. But the most important thing I got from here is friends.

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Tessa

 

‘Adoption in Tanzania’

Interview with Joel from Glory of Africa Orphanage

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Glory of Africa is  an orphanage located in Mivumoni where Art in Tanzania teaches, gives seminars and organizes activities for the kids. Joel and his wife Felista have been running the organization since 2012 and strive to give each kid a promising future by providing them with food, shelter and education. What surprised me is that no kids get adopted, ever. In this interview I asked Joel why this is the case and what happens when the kids grow older.


“How many kids have been adopted from this orphanage?”

Zero.

“Why do you think children don’t get adopted by foreigners that are often in Tanzania?”

The governmental procedures are very strict. It takes such a long time that inevitably most of the potential parents looking to adopt just give up. Also the orphanages don’t like kids to be adopted. This is because they are scared to give the kids to strangers. It’s always a guess, you never really know what the intentions for the adoption are.

Since most of the kids still have family here, they (kids and family) prefer to stay here. The family sends their kids to the orphanage because they know they will get an education here and stay out of trouble. In the future they expect the kid to come back to the family and provide them with a better future.

The kids who do get adopted are expected to come back to Tanzania after their education to take care of the family. This is an unwritten rule and the decision fundamentally lays fully with the kid, of course. However, the family does expect that. For example some adoption contracts ask the kid to keep in contact with their biological family. This is also because the kid should not forget the country and culture in which he/she was born. This doesn’t happen often though.

“Do Tanzanian families ever adopt Tanzanian children or does this also not happen?”

No. Tanzanian families have enough difficulties in taking care of their own families. So they barely ever adopt a child. The financial situation of most Tanzanian citizens is not strong enough to adopt a child out of their family.

“Are you afraid that people come here do adopt with bad intentions?”

Yes, that always crosses my mind. Sometimes kids get adopted to do chores in the house, to work on the farm, … This is not a good future for them. That’s why I prefer to keep them here until they are grown up and can make decisions on their own. When they turn 18 they can be adopted if they still want to be adopted. Before that age, anything attracts them and they make decisions without thinking. When they regret the decision, they might run away from the adoption family, live on the streets and get in contact with bad people and learn to behave badly.

“How many kids are staying here now?”

35 kids come here daily to get food and education. 7 of the 35 kids are also sleeping here. This is because a lot of the kids here still have family, however they can’t provide for them. Common examples of the children’s situations are having a single, disabled or mentally ill parent or no parents at all with only grandparents or possibly an uncle left. Most of them do keep in touch with their family. This might not be a registered orphanage but the government passes by once in a while and they have the contacts of every kid staying here at the orphanage. The orphanage provides food, shelter and education for kids who need it.

“Do kids want to be adopted? Do they ever mention it?”

No, they like to be at the orphanage. They are surrounded by kids who are the same age, who speak the same language and all of them are in a similar situation. This comforts them and they wouldn’t like it any other way. They feel safe.

“What happens when the kids turn 18?”

When the kid turns 18 he can do whatever he wants. He can go to college, he can go back to his family, he can start working or he can stay at the orphanage. It’s all up to the kid. The kid can also choose the get adopted, but this happens rarely. If the kid gets adopted, he can stay at the family for one month as a trial. If everything works out well and both parties are happy, the adoption can officially go through.

If the kid wants to stay at the orphanage, that is possible if he keeps following the rules. If the kid doesn’t listen, goes out, drinks alcohol, or is badly behaved and influencing the other kids than he/she will no longer  be welcome at the orphanage. 

“Do they get proper support from the government to build an independent life?”

No the government doesn’t support them. This is because this orphanage is not registered (yet). The orphanage itself barely gets any support from the government as well. Sometimes  when the person from the government has a heart he will provide us supplies such as food or mosquito nets. But this depends only on the heart of the person. I also work as a tailor and that enables this orphanage to stay up and running. Sometimes I get donations from people who volunteer here. That helps as well. I don’t like asking for money, if people donate it’s because they proposed it themselves.

Some orphanages exploit the system as a way to earn money. They ask the remaining relatives to give money, they send kids to the city and let them work jobs selling peanuts, for example. When they don’t sell enough peanuts, the kids get kicked out or thrown on to the streets.

“Can kids (financially) go to university after staying in the orphanage?”

Yes, they can but it depends on their own financial situation. If the family saved money to let the kid go to university, he is lucky and he can go. If the family is poor and he wants to go to university, he’ll have to work and study at the same time to be able to pay for his studies.

Written by Alice Coetsier


If you are interested in supporting this orphanage, please click the link below. More information about this project can be found on this gofundme webpage.

gofundme-GloryofAfrica

Black is Beautiful

 

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“If I had a superpower, it would be to turn white.”

“Your skin is prettier than ours.”

 

 

black handsAfter hearing these quotes from extremely young girls during my first month living in Africa, I started wondering why they would idealize fair skin when theirs is just as beautiful. Billboard advertisements for clothes and jewelry here commonly feature stunning black women, and the children are constantly surrounded by hard-working, black adults who serve as consistent, positive role models. The Tanzanian flag incorporates the color black to represent the Swahili peoples’ pride in the color of their skin; yet, during my stay here, the children have displayed the (sometimes intense) desire to be white.

It wasn’t until I went to the movies to watch The Incredibles 2 that I noticed how many young black children there were at the local theater to watch a film about superheroes- white superheroes.

The Incredibles is a typical kid’s movie—a white family with super powers saving white bystanders, with a single black hero thrown in the mix for “diversity.” I started to think about how different the film would be if The Incredibles family was black, and if Frozone was just the white sidekick.

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In my head I went through my list of princesses and superheroes I wanted to be like when I was a younger. Not one was black. Tinkerbell. Superman. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty.

The hair I wanted to grow out and comb with a fork was a realistic dream because both me and The Little Mermaid have white girl hair.

So what princess is there showing black girls how beautiful their hair can be? Which one shows how pretty and practical the common shaved African head is?

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Out of Rotten Tomatoes “Top 100 Kids and Family Movies”, zero star a black character as the lead role. That statistic includes the two movies set in Africa. Black children have the option of either watching a white family heroically raise a safari animal, or watching The Lion King in which only the villains of the plot line have black fur.

Ants are black.

So why are the ants in the animated movie Antz colored white? 

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If the statistic that 85% of the human brain develops before the age of five is accurate, having adequate representation in children’s media is a huge factor in determining a child’s self-esteem.

African girls and boys deserve to know how wonderful they are, and how wonderful they will grow up to be. They deserve to know that they have just as much of a chance at saving the world or meeting Prince Charming as the white child sitting next to them in the movie theater. They deserve to know that African Beauty isn’t just a song.

 

They deserve black princesses.

Andrea O’Boyle

Medical Project at Faraja Dispensary

Art in Tanzania work in partnership with clinics and hospitals in the Dar es salaam area to provide medical projects for volunteers who are either fully qualified doctors/nurses or currently in Med School. Around 2 weeks ago, a nurse from Norway, Katja, arrived in Tanzania and has been volunteering at the Faraja Dispensary – a local clinic in Madale; less than a 10 minute walk from the AIT compound.

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Working together with the nurses in the pharmacy

The Faraja Dispensary is a private clinic that deals with minor surgical procedures and general clinical services such as HIV/AIDS prevention, growth monitoring, child health care services and many others. Malaria diagnosis and treatment was noted as the most common problem dealt with at the clinic. Last week I, along with a fellow media and journalism intern, were able to assist Katja to the clinic to see observe what happens on a typical day. She has mainly been performing injection procedures to treat diseases such as malaria and on Fridays, Katja works alongside nurses assisting with the health care of children in the mother and baby unit of the dispensary.

I got that chance to speak to one of the head doctors in the clinic to learn a little more about the dispensary and some of the issues it deals with. At night the clinic is usually at it’s busiest with doctors and nurses treating injuries resulting from road accidents. With the clinical facilities enabling only the treatment of minor injuries, patients with more serious problems are usually referred to a public hospital obtaining more technical facilities and instruments of a higher quality.  Problems faced with the transfer of patients from the Faraja Dispensary to a hospital of higher standards is the availability of transport.  Ambulances are not an option for patients coming from the Faraja Dispensary therefore public transport seem to be the only viable option. The patient, then, is responsible for covering the cost of the transport. The cost of health care on top of transport fee is one of the issues faced for many local residents. However, compared to larger scale hospitals and clinics, Faraja Dispensary is one of the cheaper health services in the Madale area. They offer many free vaccinations and the cost of medicine is somewhat affordable for the local residents.

Art in Tanzania offer numerous projects involving medical and health care. As well as working with many hospitals and clinics, volunteers are able to provided community care and health teaching & training to schools and villages in the Dar es Salaam area. They are able to help and assist staff in the clinics as many of them are understaffed; as well as gaining valuable medical experience in an environment different from the norm. One of the largest ongoing projects is the HIV/AIDS awareness seminars in which volunteers are able to raise awareness of these issues to the local community. If you would like to read more about some of the medical projects offered with Art in Tanzania, please do not hesitate to visit our website!

Asante sana,

Lily

 

Interview with an Intern: Tomoki

Art in Tanzania receives many different interns and volunteers from different parts of the world, all year round. As an intern myself, it is interesting to meet and live among such a diverse group of people, learn about their home countries and what they are doing with Art in Tanzania. So I decided to interview one intern originally from Japan; Tomoki…

Q: What is your name and where are you from?

A: My name is Tomoki Noguchi and originally I am from Japan but I go to university in New York in the US.

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Tomoki hard at work in the office

Q: How long have you been in Tanzania?

A: So far I have been here for 15 days and I am staying for 1 month. So I’m about half way through. It is also my first time in Africa.

Q: Where did you hear about Art in Tanzania?

A: I heard about Art in Tanzania through my university on the internship website. AIT was posted on the webpage. Also, one of my friends came here last year so he told me all about it.

Q: What is your job as an intern with Art in Tanzania?

A: I am working on sanitation projects. So currently I am analysing the efficiency of composting/dry toilets. In the future Art in Tanzania are hoping to put dry toilet systems in schools all across Tanzania and I am helping to do the research for this.

Q: Is living in Tanzania very different to living in your home country?

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Boxing Day at the beach with Glory of Africa Orphanage

A: Yeah, of course, no place is the same. The roads here are rubbish, I hate shaking. I get stomachache and headache, the government should fix that; there should be pavement. I don’t understand, that should be top priority – I was shocked.

Q: What are you enjoying most about Tanzania?

A: I enjoy making new friends from all over the world. Some of the food I enjoy but some I don’t really like. I haven’t tried much traditional food but I really like cassava. I’m used to eating things like chapatis and cassava so it’s good.

Q: What do you miss most about your home?

A: I don’t really miss America that much. I’ve been missing many things from Japan. For example sanitation and traditional Japanese food, of course. Tokyo city overall. But what i’ve been missing is the culture in more developed countries. When I went to the hospital I didn’t feel like they were professional or had the responsibility of doctors.

Q: Do you think you will come back and visit?

A: I would definitely like to come back and visit Moshi to see Kilimajaro and may be even climb it. I would also like to see a national park.

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Tomoki with one of the house dogs; JJ

 

“I’m really enjoying my time in Tanzania because of the people here, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, especially JJ!”

Asante sana,

Lily

 

 

Evening English Class: Interview with Zabron

‘TIA: This Is Africa’ 

Used to explain the laid back, relaxed, African way of living: ‘This is Africa‘ is a common phrase heard around the volunteer compound and Dar es Salaam in general. Despite working on bongo time (african timing), having TIA permanently carved into my brain, and adjusting to a less structured way of living; 5pm on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday—without fail—is the time scheduled for the evening English class. Putting spelling and grammar aside, last Mondays lesson was a little bit different. I decided to interview one of the students that regularly attends the class; Zabron. You see, I may know that Zabron can identify the subject, verb and object in a sentence, and I know that he can explain the difference between and adjective and an adverb; but I don’t know much about him. So I introduce, to you, Zabron Anthony…

  Q: What is your name and where do you live?

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 10.36.15 A: My name is Zabron Anthony. I live at Bagamoyo in Kiharaka Village and have been living in that place for 9 years.

 Q: And where did you grow up?

A: I was born in Shinyanga and from here that is about 1,000km. My parents were living in poverty so they could not afford to send me to school. I have been faced with a lot of challenges but I am really thankful for and enjoy the English classes.

  Q: What is your everyday job?

A: My job is that I am a security guard in Mbweni. This job helps me to pay school fees and I have only been working there since 2014 because of school. I plan to leave this job when I start school again. From my home to Mbweni is 2 hours because I walk but other days I use public transport. I don’t enjoy this job very much because of low wages.

  Q: Do you get a chance to practice what you learn at the English classes in your job?

A: A lot of people at my job only speak Swahili and that is a challenge I have because they don’t like to learn things that help you to advance. But at the moment I like to learn from my phone away from the English classes. I like looking at the lyrics of songs. When I have a chance I watch the BBC and when I do not have chance to watch TV I just watch my phone. If I am busy at work I listen to the radio so that I can learn the pronunciation and my aim is to learn English and speak it like you.

  Q: And how long have you been coming to the English classes?

A: I have been coming to these classes for a long time. I started with Art in Tanzania in 2014 for 4 months but left because of school. I finished school last year so this year I come to AIT as to improve my language because I like to know English.

  Q: Is your school/college English speaking?

A: There is English speaking at the college and there is also French but they favour English when they want people to join the college.

Q: And finally, what do you hope to do with English in the near future? 

A: In the Near future this English will help me to join the college next year, I am trying to learn good things that will help me in the future. I would like to visit England but I haven’t the support. If I get the support it would be good because I can meet more people who will help me learn. If it will happen even for only one month it will be really good.

 “When I learn English I have the opportunity to do a lot because it is an international language”

IMG_2841 (1) Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns are working to help support and to benefit
people within the local community. Providing English classes like these give locals a chance to improve their understanding and competence within the language; overall
giving them more opportunities. To read more about some of the education programmes offered by Art in Tanzania you can visit our website .

Asante sana,

Lily