MEN CIRCUMCISION (TOHARA)

By Mariam Msangi – Art in Tanzania internship

Circumcision is defined as the surgical removal of the foreskin. The foreskin retractable fold of skin that covers the end of the penis. It is the continuation of the skin that covers the whole penis. Male circumcision has been shown to considerably reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection. Male circumcision is defined as the complete removal of the entire foreskin (the skin that can be rolled forward or back over the head of the penis) and it may be carried out for a number of reasons. Medical reasons: in men, circumcision is most commonly carried out when the foreskin is tight and won’t pull back (retract). Non-medical reasons: circumcision is a common practice in the Jewish and Islamic communities, and it’s also practiced by many African communities. Most non-medical circumcisions are carried out on children.

Medical reasons for men to have a circumcision

In men, circumcision is sometimes considered a possible treatment option for the following conditions.

Tight foreskin (phimosis): phimosis is where the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis (glans). This can sometimes cause pain when the penis is erect and, in rare cases, passing urine may be difficult;

Recurrent balanitis: balanitis is where the foreskin and head of the penis become inflamed and infected;

Paraphimosis: paraphimosis is where the foreskin can’t be returned to its original position after being pulled back, causing the head of the penis to become swollen and painful. Immediate treatment is needed to avoid serious complications, such as restricted blood flow to the penis;

Balanitis xerotica obliterans: this condition causes phimosis and, in some cases, also affects the head of the penis, which can become scarred and inflamed;

Cancer of the penis: is a very rare type of cancer, where a red patch, wart-like growth or ulcer appears on the end of the penis or under the fore.

Male Circumcision Acceptability

 In Tanzania Several observational studies have shown that the traditional patterns of circumcision in Tanzania are changing a substantial number of men belonging to traditionally noncircumcising tribes have been circumcised. For instance, the prevalence of male circumcision increased from 19% to 30% in 2004 in the traditionally non-circumcising populations in Mwanza Region. The prevalence of male circumcision was 21% in selected communities of Mwanza Region in 1994 and 54% in the 2003/04. The changes in the pattern of circumcision may be due to health reasons, social mixing between circumcising and non-circumcising cultures, desire for sexual pleasure. With regard to health reasons, circumcised men are believed to be less susceptible to STDs because the foreskin secretes dirty fluid which is a favourable medium for the growth of disease-causing agents and may be a source of bad smell and also circumcised men heal genital ulcers much faster compared to uncircumcised men. The urbanisation in Tanzania and the establishment of district capitals with government officials from all over the country has led to increased mixing of circumcising and noncircumcising ethnic groups. The mix of ethnic groups is most obvious in secondary schools, and has led to increased acceptance of male circumcision.

 Rate of circumcised men in Tanzania

 An estimated 70 percent of Tanzanian men are circumcised, according to government surveys, but prevalence varies from region to region. In some districts up to 80 percent of men especially in the western parts of the country are not circumcised. For this case there has to be more effort in providing more education to people so as to increase the rate of circumcised men and reduce the rate of transmission disease such as HIV, STD’S and other infections.

 Circumcision Benefits

There is some evidence that circumcision has health benefits, including:

  • Less risk of urinary tract infections;
  • A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men;
  • Protection against penile cancer and a lower risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners;
  • Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin);
  • Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location;
  • Circumcision also makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean.

Circumcision Risks

Like any other surgical procedure, there are risks in getting circumcision. But this risk is low. Problems linked to circumcision include:

  • Pain;
  • Risk of bleeding and infection at the site of the circumcision;
  • Irritation of the glans;
  • Higher chance of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis);
  • Risk of injury to the penis.

WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT ARE ITS EFFECT ON OUR PLANET? PART 1.2 

By Gabriel Andre – Art in Tanzania internship

Welcome to part 1.2 in our new climate change blog series.

What are the main consequences of climate change and the risks to our survival? 

The first consequence of climate change is obviously the rise in temperature and the harmful consequences of heat on biodiversity. But why do we keep hearing that we must not exceed the “2 degrees more” of the Paris Agreement by 2100?

Þ Temperature rise and disruption of the water cycle

Source

Indeed, the storage capacity of water in the atmosphere varies according to its temperature. As the temperature increases, the storage capacity increases. As the temperature rises, evaporation is prevalent, and the amount of water stored as water vapor increases. As a result, rainfall is more abundant and there is an increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events (especially in mid-latitudes and humid tropics). Warmer air can also contain more water vapor and therefore intensifies extreme phenomena’s such as cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons. There is no need to recall the human tragedies caused by hurricanes Sandy (2012), Irma (2017) or Hurricane Harvey (2017).

Þ Melting ice zones 

Global warming leads to the melting of ice zones (glaciers, ice caps, ice pack) with different consequences. Melting glaciers impact freshwater reserves because by melting too quickly, they no longer fulfil their role as reservoirs that gradually release freshwater at steady intervals. Freshwater is drinkable and is a vital need for animals and humans on a daily basis. Today, the demand for water exceeds the quantity available, which is already a major geopolitical issue in many dry regions of the world. In addition, the melting of these glaciers releases fresh water which then flows into rivers, seas, and oceans, causing water levels to rise. The melting of the ice sheets, huge areas of ice resting on land whose height can reach several thousand meters, would be devastating if they were to melt entirely.  

On our planet, there are only two ice sheets:

  • The northern part of Greenland, which has existed for 3 million years
  • The southern part of Antarctica, which is the largest, and has exist for 30 million years.  Given the thousands of meters of thickness of the ice sheets, their complete melting would raise the sea level by 7 meters for Greenland, 54 meters for Antarctica, consequently causing the disappearance of many islands (such as the Maldives) and the relocation of a large part of the coastal population.

Þ Our forests are dying’s

As we have seen with the carbon cycle, forests today are a very important for sequestering carbon. As living matter, flora is composed of carbon and thanks to photosynthesis, it absorbs atmospheric CO₂ to transform it into oxygen. Conversely, when the forest dies or in the event of deforestation, the decomposition of plants leads to the emission of CO₂. The same is true when fires ravage forests: combustion releases into the atmosphere all the CO₂ that was then stored and stabilized. 

With climate change, we are witnessing: 

  1. a warming of the air and soil temperature, destabilizing ecosystems, and biodiversity, 
  2. periods of drought and flooding that can deplete soils and kill the biosphere,   
  3. a significant increase in fire outbreaks and intensity. 

These three phenomena’s, which are consequences of climate change, lead to the decline of plants. Those that survive will have a poorer capacity to absorb CO₂ and those that die will decompose releasing CO₂. Thus, the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere increases, fueling global warming which in turn feeds the three causes listed above. Between the Australian forests going up in smoke in the summer of 2019, and President Bolsonaro’s efforts to deforest the Amazon as quickly as possible, we are not talking about a hypothetical situation. The latter said, in opposition to pressure from European countries, to act to slow the fires in the Amazon “Brazil owes no debt to the planet in terms of environmental preservation”, he said during a conference in Santiago Chile on May 23rd of 2019. 

Þ The two climate time bombs 

Thawing permafrost

Permafrost refers to ground that is permanently frozen, i.e., at a temperature that has never been above 0 for at least two years. Permafrost is found on about 20% of the planet’s surface, notably in Greenland, Alaska, Canada and Russia. It is even found in France, in the Alps.

The huge problem with permafrost is that it contains elements that have been locked in the ice for thousands of years. To take an image, permafrost is like a huge freezer. If you leave the freezer door open, your pizza thaws, your ice cream melts and microbes feed on these organic elements. Similarly, as the permafrost melts, it releases organic matter which, when subjected to the activity of microbes, produces CO₂ in the presence of oxygen or methane in an oxygen-free environment. These GHGs would then enter the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. 

The potential for releasing GHGs from permafrost is colossal: we are talking about 1500 Gt, i.e., twice the amount of GHGs already present in the atmosphere. This would triple the concentration! Just imagine the additional greenhouse effect that would be generated. In this sense, the melting of a large part of the permafrost constitutes one of the two “climate bombs” from which it would probably be impossible to recover.  Another important consequence is that permafrost also contains diseases that have been dormant for hundreds or thousands of years. If the permafrost melts, it could release them and create major health crises. 

For example, in 2016, an Anthrax outbreak killed several humans and over 2,300 reindeer in Siberia. The disease had disappeared for more than 75 years in the region.

It reappeared with the melting of permafrost, which kept the corpse of reindeer that had died of the disease (and thus its deadly bacteria) frozen. Anthrax can be treated with the antibiotics; however, this would not necessarily be the case for all the other viruses that we do not know or do not know how to treat. The risk of epidemics or outbreaks of disease is very high. The risk of epidemics or pandemics much worse the Covid 19 is also very real consequence of climate change.

Methane Hydrate 

Another potential ‘climate bomb’ is methane hydrate. These are methane molecules trapped in ice. They are found in large quantities:

  • Under permafrost
  • At the bottom of the oceans, in ocean sediments.

For the moment, this methane is stored in these reservoirs in a stable manner. It’s difficult to estimate the exact quantities, but we are talking about 10,000 Gt, which is 7 times more than all the GHGs contained in the permafrost, and therefore 21 times more than all the GHGs currently present in the atmosphere!

Unfortunately, if current warming exceeds the famous 2-degree mark, these molecules could become unstable. As the permafrost melts or the oceans warm up, methane hydrate would come into contact with higher temperatures. The unstable probability of these molecules becomes significant with a 2 degree rise in temperature. In this case, the molecules can dissociate, and the methane can escape directly into the atmosphere. Given the titanic volume of methane we are talking about, it is easy to understand the devastating consequences for global warming and life on Earth.

There are many other devastating effects caused by global warming, such as the acidification of our oceans, possibly causing the disappearance of its aquatic fauna and flora; modified ocean currents, reducing the capture of CO2; or the Albedo effect, which is the mechanism of absorption and reflection of light energy that will be less and less effective because of the ice melting.  We therefore understand that it is imperative to act quickly for our survival and to avoid scenarios such as the melting of the permafrost or islands like the Maldives which is being buried by the rising waters. As climate scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jean Jouzel says, “Global warming, as it would be if nothing is done, is another world.” It is a world where, according to the UN, there will be at least 150 million climate refugees. It is a world where southern Europe would resemble to Sahara with temperatures approaching 50 degrees in the summer in France. It is a world where by 2070, 1 billion people will be living in areas where almost every day of the year, outdoor conditions will be lethal.  

But if a country like France would be like the Sahara in the summer, what can a country like Tanzania, which already experiences temperatures of over 40 degrees from November to March, expect? What would be the impact of global warming on a population where more than 80% of the people live only on agriculture and are totally dependent on the climate?

WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT ARE ITS EFFECT ON OUR PLANET?

PART 1.1 

By Gabriel Andre – Art in Tanzania internship

Welcome to our new four-part blog. In a series of blogs, I will be discussing the effects of climate change on our planet and the consequences it will have if we do not do anything about climate change.

Climate change 

Before discussing the specific case of Tanzania, it is important to understand the definition of climate change and the consequences of its impact on our planet. Firstly, it’s critical to understand the difference between climate and weather. Weather is an instantaneous and local situation of observable things such as, temperature, precipitation, wind, and so on. Climate, on the other hand, is a statistical description based on the averages and variability of the same variables (temperature, wind, etc.) over long periods of time and on a global scale. For example, the difference between weather and climate would be the comparison between a student’s grade on an exam versus his or her yearly average. 

In this report, I will focus on the effects of climate change on our environment. Since the beginning of time, the climate has changed naturally with the ice ages. For 11,000 years now, our planet has been in an interglacial era (average temperature has similarly been constant over many years, in summer the snow melts and the ice surface slowly shrink around the globe), i.e., our planet is warming at its own pace. However, climate change is different, our planet is warming much too fast. Previously, losing 5 degrees would take thousands of years, nowadays, we have already gained 1 degree in less than a century!  Indeed, our greenhouse effect is completely out of control. The concentration of “greenhouse gases” (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and water vapor (H2O), etc.) in the atmosphere has increased at an unprecedented rate in recent years. The higher the level of CO2, the higher the temperature. For simplicity’s sakes, we will give for the greenhouse’s gases the abbreviation GHG’s. This diagram shows the natural evolution of the amount of CO2 during the ice ages and interglacial.  

Source

The exponential increase in GHGs over the last century is therefore leading to a completely new climate disturbance that is causing global warming to become more and more alarming and in need to be controlled. 

But what has caused climate change? 

From the diagram above, it is clear that the human race has a large share of the responsibility for this phenomenon. Before the 1850s, CO2 in the atmosphere played its natural role as a greenhouse gas at a relatively stable rate. Since then, human activities have contributed greatly to its increase, particularly through economic growth as standard of livings have increased drastically. As wealth rises, humans develop continuous need to consume, thus increasing their GHG’s impact. This phenomenon primarily started in Europe, and then progressively spread in all the industrialized countries. Population growth has actively participated in climate change as we have gone from 1.2 billion people to 7.7 billion between 1850 and 2019. 

Parallel with these two phenomena, several industrial revolutions (steam, electricity, nuclear power, etc.) were born, transforming more and more natural resources into energy or materials. Population growth, coupled with growth in GDP per capita, have led to an upheaval in energy consumption on our planet, and now 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels or hydrocarbons (oil, gas, coal). Fossil fuels constitute a stock that was formed over hundreds of millions of years by the slow decomposition of the remains of living organisms. However, these fossil resources are exploited by humans during which a very large quantity of carbon that was normally buried underground for millions of years is suddenly released into the atmosphere in the form of CO₂. Changes in land use also significantly impact the balance of natural carbon stocks: deforestation, agriculture, the draining of swamps, and of peat bogs for example. The carbon cycle is therefore strongly impacted by human activities and can no longer regulate itself normally. The Earth is no longer able to regulate this unnatural flow through its physical and biological mechanisms. Unfortunately, the situation is only getting worse as human activity continuously disrupts the carbon cycle, but it is becoming more and more consequential each year.

Source  

This diagram shows that we previously needed 130 years to emit 1000Gt (gigatons) of CO2 equivalent and nowadays we only need 30 years to emit the same amount again. At this rate, we will only need 20 years to produce another 1000 Gt.

The value of using GDH to the country, especially Tanzania

James Mathew Mgaya – Art in Tanzania internship

The nine domains of GNH

To many GDH is new terminology but it bears most important value to the countries. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a measurement of the collective happiness in a nation. Gross national happiness (GNH) is a measure of economic and moral progress that the king of the Himalayan country of Bhutan introduced in the 1970s as an alternative to gross domestic product. The kingdom of Bhutan’s first legal code, written at the time of unification in 1729, stated that “if the government cannot create happiness for its people, there is no purpose for the government.”. GNH has nine domain pillars of measurement which current work internationally. These pillars provide the foundation for the happiness, which is manifest in the nine domains of GNH: psychological well-being, standard of living, good governance, health, community vitality, cultural diversity, time use, and ecological resilience. In simple understanding is that the country that prefer people than self government interest by living with peace and harmony towards its citizens.

The value of GNH?

Encourage investment; the country with good Gross Domestic Happiness mean it will attract more foreign direct investment which will contribute to GNP (Gross Domestic Product) of the certain country. By FDI means more foreign investors will start their business in Tanzania and increase our national revenue. Moreover, it also encourages entrepreneurship and establishment of new companies and enterprises own by local resident (Tanzanians). Valuation of currency; increase of value of the currency like Tanzanian shillings depend on interest rate, exports and imports , the purchasing power of currency in internationally, foreign exchange reserves that means amount of currency held by foreign governments. Simply, the value of currency increases according to it circulation money within international borders by good diplomatic relation through international trade/financing/business. Which GDH can give you that good standard of living means available market, purchasing power of consumer and good money circulation. Good diplomatic relation internationally; GNH gives good governance and psychological well being this means the government can have good relationships to neighbouring countries and international collaborations to economically, politically, and socially. In psychological wellbeing means government through its resources can ensure life satisfactory in some degree of it services which create peace and harmony among the citizens. Mentally stable country bring relief to nearby countries and allow friendship due to available labour force, no political unrest which attract more investment to multinational companies and international relationship. Increase of production nationally; GDH gives that the government could build into its public policy decisions like good governance and sustainable development This is when government focus in public good to boost they are citizen economy and infrastructures like in Tanzania strategic cities projects which give formal and informal employment to the citizens. Building transportations means to the citizen to increase production from the farmers toward the producers, availability of water and electricity to the rural areas which stimulate production and lead to urbanisation of rural areas which bring closure factories to available raw material due to availability of public goods. Increase of national income; for citizen to enjoy their government the need sustainable income, example in Tanzania they use strategic project to build infrastructure of public goods like roads, railways, bridges aviation and marine transports. This is life satisfactory to the citizens by means of transportation, but it has income good side to government and individuals. It creates formal and informal employment to the citizens and at same time create income through toll like bridge toll at Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam creates income, air Tanzania can create national income, also marine transport in lake zones create employment and national income. If citizens are happy with their government, it means no political unrest and its national income will thrive.

The verdict

There so much to talk about the Gross Domestic Happiness and the things can offer if considered. It is an alternative to Gross Domestic Product which it rather than focusing strictly on quantitative economic measures, gross national happiness considers an evolving mix of quality-of-life factors. The centre provides an overview of national performance across these pillars provide the foundation for the happiness, which is manifest in the nine domains of GNH: psychological well-being, standard of living, good governance, health, education, community vitality, cultural diversity, time use, and ecological resilience.

Strategies to Promote Tourism Development in Tanzania: Setting Sights on Europe

By Romaisa Hussein – Art in Tanzania internship

African Tourism Development in Perspective

While the continent possesses a wealth of natural and cultural resources, tourism in Africa has largely performed below expectations, and its sometimes poorly managed expansion has had long-term detrimental implications for both people and the environment. To achieve long-term and sustainable forms of tourism that are respectful of Africa’s rich natural and cultural heritage, tourist industry executives and policymakers must take into account the broader historical and socioeconomic background in which tourism is introduced. It is quite wondrous that such a huge land mass lying between the Indian Ocean as well as the great lake Victoria and lake Tanganyika provide an exceptionally rich assortments of tourist sites, ranging from the snowy Mt. Kilimanjaro and open volcano craters to the boundless plains, and from the large tropical rain forests to the warm emerald ocean with white sandy beaches. Some of the world’s most beautiful wildlife regions are located in the northern hemisphere, while others are distributed throughout the country in national parks and game reserves that are densely populated with animals which set amid some of the world’s most breathtaking landscape. Exotic wildlife hunting, fishing, and scuba diving in the Indian Ocean including the friendliness and innate courtesy of the people appeals the visitors in this region from all around the world.

Tourism Master Plan in Tanzania

Tanzania has a plethora of natural, cultural, and man-made attractions in almost every region but many of these are overlooked from the aspect of sustainable tourism development. Although there is huge potential in the country, not all locations are said to develop any time soon in the foreseeable future due to poor access to resources, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of utilities. Judging from the lack of infrastructure in remote areas of Tanzania, as well as a lack of utilities to put the plan into action, it summarizes that the last decade covered by the ten year Master plan in Tanzania, it is only proper to concentrate development efforts specifically in the parts of the country that lie between Mwanza and Mbeya. In accordance with the results of a poll conducted by the tour operators in Europe and US for the Master Plan, the majority believe that the condition, quantity, diversity and prospects of wildlife in Tanzania’s national parks surpasses to that of wildlife in rival destinations. Although the Northern Wildlife parts in Tanzania are becoming exceedingly packed with tourists, the majority of respondents stated that wildlife is not yet completely over crowded by tourists as it has the potential to compared to the competing destinations which also include hunting areas adjacent to the National Parks. The Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Wildlife Migration are World Heritage Sites and deemed as “unique wildlife watching opportunities”. Participants noted that Tanzania also has the potential to fetch a higher price for its Wildlife Watching, but only if the conditions for the tourism development, as well as the quality of the housing and services are enhanced. Sport hunting may arguably be the ultimate enigma of sustainable tourism. Even though the majority involved in conservation and nature tourism go against hunting and consider it ethically iniquitous, many still acknowledge that, if supervised properly, trophy hunting helps to reduce poaching, causes less environmental degradation, and significantly generates more foreign revenue.

First Sustainable Tourism Management Meeting

In October 2012 in Arusha, the Government of Tanzania hosted the ‘First Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management in National Parks and Protected Areas: Challenges and Opportunities’. The conference was organized by the Tanzanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment in which participants discussed “park tourism” to be crucial and a key component to overall national park management in Africa. The meeting was also directed towards having better understanding of the present difficulties in the areas of demand and supply chain management. Moreover, they discussed at length new collaborations and business models for park management structures, with the goal of maximizing the economic and social advantages to the surrounding communities.

Through 1.28 million visitor arrivals in 2016 in Sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania has since gained popularity on a global scale with its most popular sites being the Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar. Tanzania has always been prime destination for travelers seeking adventure and at the same time has steered clear from mass-market overdevelopment by capitalizing on its natural and cultural assets. Such model is a goal for many developing countries to emulate in the future. With a aim of attracting three million visitors per year by 2022, the government is attempting to develop the first new national tourism strategy expected to focus on high-value infrastructure.

Europe as Potential Tourism Market

According to an official with Tanzania’s Tourist Board, the government is now focusing its tourism marketing efforts in Eastern Europe after experiencing vast success in Western Europe and North America. In an interview with the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Willy Lyimo, the TTB’s northern zone manager stated that the new market will add to the country’s otherwise traditional markets like that of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. After meeting with a delegation of travel agencies from Eastern Europe, Lyimo emphasized the importance of growth of new market in Tanzania’s tourism industry, stating that the country stands to gain significantly from it. “This is a distinctive opportunity to extend our base into rising markets.” He also highlighted the tourism potential in countries like Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Tanzania’s Tourism Board official was also optimistic about the promotion of the country’s natural resources across international travel expos due to the attention indicated by foreign travel agencies and tourism operators to attract tourists in Tanzania.

A representative from Ukraine’s BCD Travel described Tanzania as a well-established safari destination for many Ukrainians and said that his firm will continue to bring more tourists from the country. Because of the “pristine heritage” of Tanzania as well as “plenty of natural resources,” he says, “Tanzania is the ideal gateway for tourists from Ukraine.” Voloshyn was encouraged by the introduction of direct flights from Ukraine’s capital Kiev to the spice island of Zanzibar and believed that this development would help to open up Tanzania to the rest of Eastern Europe. In 2019, Tanzania begun a six-day tourism roadshow in several European nations to promote the country’s tourist attractions. According to Francis Malugu, marketing officer for the Tanzania Tourist Board, ten Tanzanian tourist enterprises participated in roadshows between 3rd June and 8th June in London, Brussels, Paris, and Lyon. In terms of foreign exchange, tourism is one of Tanzania’s most important sources, delivering an average of 2 billion US dollars per year, which is comparable to 25 percent of total foreign exchange earnings, according to government statistics. According to CHL Consulting Groups, the most popular tour programs in the “European market demand profile” include Beach resort, Safari, Single destination /sightseeing, and Dual destination safari/sightseeing. In this market demand profile, Beach resort is the most popular tour program desired by Europe. Safaris are also significantly high in demand, and same goes for beach tourism. While just 15% of the market seeks a vacation that consists solely of beaches, more than one-third i.e. 35% seeks a vacation that includes both a beach and a safari. Tanzania’s most important export markets include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Scandinavia and Italy.

Earnings from visitors at tourist attraction sites in Tanzania in 2020

According to the Tanzanian Tourism Development Authority, the number of visitors to Tanzania’s tourism attractions resulted in earnings of nearly 17.4 billion Tanzanian shillings (around $7.5 billion US) in the fourth quarter of 2020. In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2019, the value was dropped by about 75%. According to the source, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was to blame for the decline in the stock market. Furthermore, the Northern and Lake zones accounted for nearly 90 percent of the overall revenue generated by visitor arrivals in the country.

Prospects for Tourism Development in Tanzania

After a period of being negatively impacted by external challenges, Tanzania’s tourist sector is experiencing tremendous growth once more. Privatized investment in resorts and hotels as well as government investment in infrastructure are expanding new tourist destinations in remote parts of the country. Nevertheless, the tourism industry is still faced with obstacles, such as the application of VAT and the consequences of austerity on business demand. However, the government’s new sector strategy, which is now being developed, should give new impetus as well as a framework that will allow new markets to be explored. Tourism in Tanzania, as in other parts of Africa, should play a developmental role that is in line with the aspirations of the local population. According to Mwalimu Nyerere, “You cannot develop people until they grow themselves.” Even with the continuous development of tourism, it will never be enough to solve all of the difficulties facing the country. However, it can at the very least provide some jobs, help to diversify the local economy, and enhance the quality of life of the people. Tanzania should also take into consideration the establishment of a truly sustainable tourism development program. Such a program necessitates real collaboration across disciplines as well as across the numerous gaps that exist between academics, policymakers, business leaders, and other interested parties and stakeholders. To achieve sustainable tourism potential in the local livelihoods as well as biological conservation, one of the most important challenges is to empower the local people to take initiatives and exercise control over their economic activities and resources. In order to reach sustainable tourism in Tanzania, there is definitely a long road ahead.

SOURCES

Faria, J. (2021, May 5). Earnings from visitors at tourist attraction sites in Tanzania 2020, by zone. Retrieved from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1149350/earnings-from-visitors-at-tourist-attraction-sites-in-tanzania-by-zone/

Oxford Business Group. (2018). Tanzania to diversify tourism offerings and address growth challenges. Retrieved from Oxford Business Group: https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/achieving-potential-taking-steps-diversify-offerings-and-address-remaining-challenges-growth

Salazar, N. B. (2009). A troubled past, a challenging present, and a promising future? Tanzania’s tourism development in perspective. Tourism Review International, 259-273.

Tanzania Tourism Sector Survey. (2014). The 2012 International Visitor’s Exit Survey Report. Retrieved from https://www.bot.go.tz/Publications/Other/Tanzania%20Tourism%20Sector%20Survey%20Report/en/2020021122482624214.pdf

THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM. (2002). TOURISM MASTER PLAN: STRATEGY AND ACTIONS. CHL Consulting Group. Retrieved from http://www.tzonline.org/pdf/tourismmasterplan.pdf

Xinhua. (2018, May 6). Tanzania sets sights on Eastern Europe as potential tourism market. Retrieved from Xinhua.net: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/06/c_137159712.htm

Yan. (2019, June 7). Tanzania stages tourism roadshows in Europe: official. Retrieved from Xinhua.net: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/07/c_138122692.htm

COVID-19 Delta Variant

By Gwamaka Mwakyusa – Art in Tanzania internship

Delta variant, a strain of Covid-19 that wreaked havoc during India’s second wave, has been identified in at least 85 countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the delta covid variant is the most transmissible of all the variants identified so far. Acknowledging the contagious nature of the delta Covid-19 variant that was first identified in India, the WHO on June 25 urged vaccinated people to continue wearing masks.

The delta variant, or B.1.617.2, which was first identified in India in October 2020, has now become the dominant strain in the UK, currently accounting for more than 90% of coronavirus cases there. Meanwhile, in the US, the delta variant accounts for more than a third of new cases, according to Financial Times analysis. The former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told ‘CBS News’ Face the Nation’ that the United States is likely to witness “very dense outbreaks” due to the delta variant.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that delta accounted for 20.6% of all Covid-19 cases between June 5 and June 19.

This surge has led Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the White House, to label the variant as the “greatest threat” to the country’s attempt to eradicate Covid-19.

Both the UK and US have high vaccination rates, and it remains to be seen whether their populations are protected against this Covid strain. But in much of the rest of the world, where Covid-19 vaccines have not been administered at the same level, the concerns are even greater.

Covid delta variant on WHO’s radar

On June 25, the World Health Organization’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove in a press conference said that the delta variant is a dangerous virus. “It is more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which was extremely transmissible across Europe, across any country that it entered. The Delta variant is even more transmissible,” she explained during the conference.

Thus far, there are four “variants of concern” flagged by the WHO and seven “variants of interest.” Despite the strain being identified last year, the delta variant was tagged as a variant of concern only on May 11. This is because the WHO uses three parameters—increased transmissibility, more virulence, and decreased effectiveness of public health measures—to determine its seriousness.

The delay is also because there wasn’t enough genome sequencing data coming from India during its brutal second wave. Now, data from the Public Health England (PHE), the UK government’s health executive arm, have given scientists and public health experts around the world some ability to make sense of this Covid-19 variant.

What is the delta variant?

When Covid-19 infections broke out in Wuhan, China, that first strain was a “wild type” virus. This was the strain used by scientists across the world to develop testing kits, treatment plans, and even Covid vaccines.

It is in the nature of viruses to mutate, and it did. But not all mutations are serious, and usually do not require countries to reimagine their public health measures.

The variants of concern—Alpha (first identified in the UK), Beta (South Africa), Gamma (Brazil), and Delta—are different from all other countless variants for this very reason.

The delta variant has certain significant mutations in the spike protein of the virus—the pointy elements that give it the shape of a crown (which is why it’s called the coronavirus). These spikes are like hooks that have to find the receptors in a human cell to link with. Studies have shown that these spikes hook onto receptors called ACE-2. Once these spike proteins can unlock the cells, the infection spreads by replicating the genetic code of the virus.

Some key mutations in the delta variant—such as the E484Q, L452R, and P614R—make it easier for the spikes in the virus to attach to ACE-2 receptors. This means it can infect and replicate faster, and even evade the body’s natural disease-fighting immunity more efficiently.

The spike protein mutations make the delta variant the “fastest and fittest” variant yet, according to the WHO. The disease caused by this variant might also exhibit different symptoms than other viral mutations. Those infected with the delta variant develop symptoms such as headaches, sore throat, and a runny nose, replacing cough and loss of taste or smell like the most common symptoms.

Is the delta variant more transmissible?

“Most studies indicate delta is 50-60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant,” says Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee, associate director for quantitative data sciences at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. “The Alpha variant itself was nearly 50-60% more transmissible than the original strain.”

This, according to Mukherjee, implies that if the reproduction number for the original strain was around 2.4-2.6, the one for Alpha is 3.6-4.2, and for delta, it is 5.6-6.7. In layman terms, if a person infected with the original strain could infect nearly two people, a person with the Alpha variant could infect four people. With delta, one person could infect nearly seven other people. It’s important to remember that these are averages, not absolute numbers; one delta carrier might infect zero people, or 25.

Its higher reproduction number is likely why entire families in crowded Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai were infected together. It would also explain the tsunami-like surge of cases in the country in April and May.

The other consequence of a higher reproduction number (denoted as R in epidemiological data) in an epidemic is that it increases the threshold for herd immunity. That is, more people will need to have the antibodies—either through infection or vaccination—to be protected as a community against the delta variant. “With an R of 2.5, the threshold for herd immunity is 60%, but with an R of 6, it is 83%,” explains Mukherjee.

Do vaccines work against the delta variant?

According to the CDC, studies show that the currently authorized vaccines which include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson&Johnson or Janssen work on the circulating variants.

Dr. Gautam Menon, professor at the departments of physics and biology at Ashoka University in India said, “It is reasonably certain that the delta variant also exhibits some immune escape, although estimates vary as to the extent.” For instance, single doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to data from the UK, are only 33% efficacious against the disease.

But there is hope that those who are fully vaccinated are reasonably protected against serious disease. According to data from PHE, Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine is 96% effective, and the AstraZeneca vaccine 92% effective against hospitalizations after two doses. These, PHE says, are comparable to efficacy against the Alpha variant.

This also means that getting a large part of the population fully vaccinated is crucial for countries where the delta variant is prevalent. For countries like the US, where nearly half the population is fully vaccinated, scientists suspect a varied impact of the delta variant. “I would expect some breakthrough infections and transmission happening even in highly vaccinated areas in the US, but would not expect a spike in hospitalizations and deaths,” Mukherjee says.

“We cannot be complacent with a large percentage only partially vaccinated, dropping masks and Covid-appropriate behaviors,” she adds. “We need full vaccination for a large fraction to fight the delta variant.” She also expects that in pockets of the US with lower vaccine coverage, cases of delta variant could rise.

Experts from WHO reiterated that the delta variant is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations. However, the health agency quickly noted that “vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the delta variants.

Can masks keep the delta variant in check?

Public health experts are investigating whether booster shots of vaccines will be needed to protect the population against the new variant.

Hence, the WHO is once again highlighting the need to wear masks. “Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission,” said Mariangela Simao, the WHO’s assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, during a briefing at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. “People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, [practice] hand hygiene, [maintain] physical distance, avoid crowding,” she said,

Although Covid cases in the US have been steadily declining as vaccination rates are going up, it might be reaching an impasse. Joe Biden had set a target of immunizing 70% of adult Americans by July 4, but the country will fall short, reaching 67% of all eligible adults. Some 20% Americans say they don’t want to get the vaccine.

What is the delta plus variant?

The delta variant has developed a new mutation of a type that was first found in the Beta variant. The new variant—which is being labeled delta plus, though not officially by the WHO yet—additionally has the K417N mutation in its spike protein, which is associated with increased immunity escape.

Shahid Jameel, a top virologist in India, has said that delta plus could also render cocktail antibody treatments—like the one given to former US president Donald Trump—ineffective in fighting the disease. This variant could also potentially lead to vaccines being less effective. India has officially flagged delta plus a “variant of concern,” though after a great deal of indecision.

Menon says the delta plus variant is not a cause for worry yet but would be “if it began to replace the existing variants.” “Currently, there is no evidence that this is the case,” he says, “so there is no cause for immediate worry, but this may change, and we should be watchful for this.”

Mukherjee warns that India, where 40% of the population is below the age of 17 and not eligible for vaccines, needs to adhere to strong public health interventions to control the coronavirus pandemic. Besides scaling up vaccinations, she suggests better studies around the variants, an area where India has been particularly slow. “We need to study properties of these variants: what the clinical manifestations are, whether our diagnostic tests work well to detect them, whether treatments work well.”

The delta plus variant has now been detected in at least nine countries, including the UK, US, China, and Japan.

Bagamoyo Port

By Alessandro Deligios – Art in Tanzania internship

In recent years China has been using their economic power to take more influence in the geopolitical arena. In accordance with the future model of geo-economic competition, China firstly, seems try to and become the leader State in Asia. Second, they are taking more power in many areas of the world. One of the strategies to extend their influence is by the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). This strategy focuses on financing projects in different areas of the world. China is able to deeply link the economy of various countries to theirs and are creating a global economic network that have Chinese economic and financial system as reference – the so-called Beijing consensus.

In particular China is focusing on East Africa and in this region Tanzania-China relationship is a key for Beijing to get a strategic economic position. In 2013 the former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete signed an agreement allowing China to invest in the financing of Bagamoyo port project, around which it should have place a special economic zone. China is expected to have special conditions such as water and energy provisions and security, as well as Tanzania wouldn’t have financing from another competitor port. But in January 2016 the project has been annulled by the President John Magufuli because the agreement for him was like selling Tanzania to Chinese investors.

In climate discussion we know that African countries are the most affected by the problem brought by climate changes, especially by the global warming. The continent probably will be exposed to longer periods of drought and water provision will be always more difficult. In regard to climate change, it is also known that China is one of the major countries that release the highest levels of greenhouse gases. Despite the attempts of the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and started in 2005, and the Paris Agreement in 2016, emissions have not yet been limited in a satisfactory way. Developed countries have the responsibility to help the development in ecological transitions and the GEF (Global Environment Facility), a program managed by the UN and the Word Bank that give financing to developing countries to help in getting positive results related to four areas: climate changes, desertification, international water pollution, and biodiversity. Good results are got in third and fourth areas, but not in the first two.

At the start of April 2021, the First Minister Geoffrey Mwambe said that Tanzania would be ready for a new agreement about Bagamoyo port project if terms will be changed: in this Tanzania-China relations can be central for the ecological transition of all of Africa. Tanzania could advance conditions for the project according to the UN 2030 Agenda of sustainability goals, cooperating with others African countries for doing the same with others Chinese investments in Africa, when possible. With high chance China is interested in extending their economic influence in Africa to get more global diplomatic weight to be disposed to accept conditions of sustainability for her projects. It could be one of the few ways for China to do that – but not the only, other countries that would like investing in Africa – massively reduce their emissions. This will be more powerful based on how many countries will collaborate. It should be a priority, as it is important for fast growing economies to develop sustainably and must pressure developed countries, especially on China as big global players are trying to extend their own powers.

Sources:

– (About climate issue and international relations)

J. Grieco, G. J. Ikenberry, M. Mastanduno, Introduzione alle relazioni internazionali, UTET, 2017

– (About Bagamoyo port project)

D, Ayemba, Bagamoyo port project timeline and all you need to know, 15 April 2021, on Construction Review Online, https://constructionreviewonline.com/project-timelines/bagamoyo-port-project-timeline-and-all-you-need-to-know/.

P. Mittal, Tanzanian Bagamoyo Port Project Story, 16 September 2020, on Belt and Road News, https://www.beltandroad.news/2020/09/16/tanzanian-bagamoyo-port-project-story/.

A. D’Amaro, Un ponte tra Cina e Africa: il porto di Bagamoyo, Tanzania, 8 September 2020, on Lo Spiegone, https://lospiegone.com/2020/09/08/un-ponte-tra-cina-e-africa-il-porto-di-bagamoyo-tanzania/ .

COVID-19 Vaccination Status in Western World

By Gwamaka Makyusa –  Art in Tanzania internship

After lagging behind the United States and United Kingdom on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines this spring, the European Union is on track to catch up by July. Following initial missteps, the EU has developed a better strategy on vaccine procurement. Even when in distress, the bloc has showed solidarity between its larger and smaller economies — limiting space for Russian and Chinese vaccine diplomacy in Europe — and towards the developing world, which will pay dividends in the future. By learning from its mistakes and capitalizing on international solidarity, Europe will be better equipped for future pandemics and increase its international soft power.

Europe fell behind the U.S. and other countries because of its slow negotiation process for procuring vaccine doses. The EU had no prior experience on the matter; health was a member state competence. The member states’ approval of the European Commission vaccine plan on June 17, 2020 — which set aside the vaccine “alliance” initiated by France and Germany, later joined by Italy and the Netherlands, for a joint procurement led by the EU’s largest economies — stemmed from the idea of avoiding competition over vaccines inside the EU. Yet, this put a huge burden on the unprepared commission, which then treated vaccines as a trade matter rather than an emergency negotiation, preferring lower prices over timely deliveries. Widespread vaccine skepticism was also a problem, and when negotiations were carried out last summer, Europeans thought they largely had the pandemic under control, so they were not desperate for a vaccine. But COVID-19’s variants proved them wrong and ultimately the EU fell behind in the rollout, especially compared to the speed of the United Kingdom or Israel.

Yet, recent facts suggest that the EU is learning from its mistakes. First, rollout has significantly improved across the continent. By early May, the daily pace of vaccine injection had increased by 60% in France, 90% in Italy, and 145% in Germany compared to a month prior, matching the U.K. The EU is now vaccinating more than 3 million people daily, nearly twice as many as the United States (albeit with a larger population). The majority of EU member states now have at least 30% of their population at least partially vaccinated, including the five largest: Germany (38.2%), France (33.3%), Italy (32.8%), Spain (33.3%), and Poland (31.3%). While the overall EU rate of 32.9% still lags behind Israel (60.1%), the U.K. (55.4%), and the U.S. (47.9%), infection and death rates are down across the continent and EU officials expect to catch up with the U.S. in July. While logistics improvements like enabling military facilities and family doctors to administer vaccines were crucial to this performance, the EU seems to have found a solution to its most important problem on the supply side.

After being criticized for lack of leadership, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced negotiations for and ultimately concluded a deal for over 1.8 billion doses through 2023 with Pfizer and BioNTech. Such deliveries will be facilitated by a scale-up in production in Pfizer manufacturing sites, while the commission’s diplomatic initiative is likely to set a precedent for a bolder EU role in future health crises. After the experience of unmet delivery promises with AstraZeneca, there has been substantial pressure from NGOs and debate between EU member states to buy and share the ownership of vaccine patents to disentangle European public health from the fortunes of a handful of private companies. While member states disagree over the U.S. proposal for a broader liberalization of COVID-19 vaccine patents — with Germany fearing a negative impact on intellectual property, while Italy and France support Washington — the EU holds a strong position at the negotiating table given its massive efforts in vaccine production and regulatory power, and therefore has an important role to play in worldwide response to future pandemics or similar crises. The European Council is currently assessing a temporary suspension of vaccine patents.

It is true that the advantages of shared European procurement seemed slim at the beginning given the slowness of the EU’s vaccine rollout. However, there were important benefits to an EU-led approach, from a geopolitical standpoint. If Brussels had not taken centralized action, it is fair to assume that larger European countries would have cooperated to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies from a stronger position. They would then have distributed vaccine doses to others after meeting their domestic needs, similarly to the United States. However, it would be wrong to assume that smaller European countries would have been patiently waiting. So far, Hungary is the only EU member state using the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Yet fights over purchases or distribution of Sputnik V have led to government reshuffles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hungary also turned to the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm for additional doses, and Poland considered it. While the case of Hungary is not surprising, interest from other countries indicates that the absence of shared procurement may have led member states to turn to and rely on China and Russia for jabs, offering Beijing and Moscow an opportunity for greater influence in the EU.

Lastly, the EU has given proof of solidarity even in hardship, which will pay off in the future. Set aside the one case of blocking the export of AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia as the company had not fulfilled its commitment to the EU; since December 2020, the EU has exported more than 159 million doses to 87 countries and supported the global vaccine initiative COVAX with 2.2 billion euros. The United States, on the other hand, only started to unlock 60 million doses of unutilized AstraZeneca vaccines in April after the rapid deterioration of the situation in India. It is true that the EU also pushed AstraZeneca to supply the EU market first, but this did not result in an export ban; instead the EU used these doses to assist the developing world. Perhaps these EU efforts are too little too late, given how the delays impacted both lives and economies across Europe. Perhaps they will never be acknowledged by the EU citizens, who are also unhappy with their national governments’ management of the vaccine rollout. But it is still remarkable how the EU was able to adapt in an area that had been a national responsibility. Improving its capabilities by learning from past mistakes and investing in solidarity will set Europe up well for tackling these challenges more effectively in the future, domestically and globally

Tropical Diseases in Africa – Malaria

by Shravya Murali – Art in Tanzania internship

As a significant health problem in several tropical regions of the world, malaria costs almost 435,000 lives annually. A substantial fraction of these deaths occurs in Africa. The proportion of cases and deaths In Tanzania alone constitutes to 3% of those globally. Over the past few years, the number of malaria cases have been on the rise, with a staggering increase by 3.5 million from 2016 to 2017 as reported by the WHO.

How does malaria spread?

Malaria in humans is caused by four kinds of parasites from the Plasmodium genus – Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae. A fifth species Plasmodium knowlesi, is a zoonotic species infecting animals. Of the five species, P.falciparum results in the most severe form of malaria and is responsible for the majority of malaria-related deaths, especially among children below the age of five.

Malaria is transmitted to humans through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito that is infected by one of the malaria-causing parasites. The Anopheles mosquito can also spread the parasite from a human to another human when it feeds on an infected human’s blood meal, and later goes to bite another human.

Human-to-human transmission can also occur through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or sharing needles containing contaminated blood as the malaria parasite can be found on red blood cells. Malaria can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her child before or during delivery, which is also known as congenital malaria.

However, malaria is not contagious and cannot be transmitted through casual contact (i.e., by sitting next to someone infected) or sexual contact.

What are the effects of the disease?

Those infected with malaria often experience flu like illnesses and fever. Symptoms often include headache, fatigue, chills, muscle soreness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. As malaria can cause a loss of red blood cells it may lead to anemia, and jaundice, which is the yellow colouring of skin and eyes. If left untreated malaria becomes life-threatening as it can cause kidney failure, mental confusion, seizures, coma, and death. Usually, these symptoms occur about 10 days after a malaria infection.

Malaria caused by P.vivax and P.ovale may occur again and the parasites may reside in the liver for up to around four years after an individual has been bitten by an Anopheles mosquito. These dormant parasites may become active later and invade the individual’s red blood cells, causing another malarial infection.

How is malaria treated?

If a patient is suspected to be infected with malaria, a drop of his/her blood is often observed under a microscope to detect the malaria parasite. Treatments for malaria vary based on the severity of malaria, clinical status of the patient, the Plasmodium species causing the infection, and prior use of anti-malarial drugs.

In Mainland Tanzania, artemether lumefantrine, a drug that can be orally consumed, is used for uncomplicated malaria. In Zanzibar, however, artesunate and amodiaquine are used. For severe malaria, artesunate and quinine are injected in patients in both Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Quinine is another drug that is only used when other drugs are ineffective, as quinine is known to have more side effects than the others. However, quinine is used to treat malaria in the first trimester of pregnancy as it is not known to have significant effects on the child at therapeutic doses.

What could be done to prevent the disease?

To prevent malaria, one could consume anti-malarial drugs (i.e., atovaquone, chloroquine, doxycycline). While it is possible to provide infants and children some of these drugs, not all drugs are suitable for children and doses are based on the weight of the child.

Apart from anti-malarial drugs, one should also prevent mosquito bites (specifically at night), which could be done by sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets, wearing fully covered / long-sleeved clothing at night, and carrying an insect repellent.

With the increase in the number of malaria cases over the years, it is crucial that members of the public and healthcare professionals cooperate in fight against the disease. While the research for vaccination against malaria is ongoing, it is also essential for everyone to play a part by taking precautions to avoid malaria.

References:

1. Carfagno, J. (2018, July 16). Noninvasive Malaria Test Wins Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize. Docwire News. https://www.docwirenews.com/docwire-pick/future-of-medicine-picks/noninvasive-malaria-test-wins-royal-academy-of-engineerings-africa-prize/

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 26). CDC – Malaria – About Malaria – FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/faqs.html.

3. Mutabazi, T. (2021, June 6). Assessment of the accuracy of malaria microscopy in private

health facilities in Entebbe Municipality, Uganda: a cross-sectional study. Malaria Journal. https://malariajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12936-021-03787-y

4. Ryan, S. J. (2020, May 1). Shifting transmission risk for malaria in Africa with climate

change: a framework for planning and intervention. Malaria Journal. https://malariajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12936-020-03224-6

5. Tanzania. Severe Malaria Observatory. (2007, January 17). https://www.severemalaria.org/countries/tanzania.

6. Thomas, D. L. (2020, March 13). Triple therapies effective and safe in malaria. News. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200312/Triple-therapies-effective-and-safe-in-malaria.aspx

Sport Inspires

By Racquel Hudson – Art in Tanzania internship

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than the government in breaking down racial barriers.” – Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela’s quote holds an accurate depiction of the effect that sports have on individuals and groups of people all over the world. Mandela expresses how sports can end the divide between people and cultures as well as inspire people to come together. Sports allow people to build bonds and establish relationships that typically would not have occurred in another setting. It is a form of communication that encourages people to express themselves through play. Essentially, in most countries, sport is not entirely competition-based. Instead, they are portrayed as an activity in which people can get out to have fun and exercise. There is less pressure on winning and more pressure on the expectation that people are communicating and expressing themselves with those around them.

In terms of children, sports help bring them out of their comfort zone and bring them great joy.  It is not always necessarily about competition, rather it is how it can make you grow and benefit as an individual. Sports are for people of all ages and backgrounds, which provides  structure for unity than any other method. It is all about what you like to do, who you engage yourself with, and how much you are willing to explore your options and try things that you did not expect to do.

Furthermore, sports are an essential source of socialization and social integration for informing young people and further their development. Social interaction through team sports teaches young people to associate with their friends, solve and prevent conflicts, communicate, and socialize better with their teammates. Whether it is the friends you bring or the people seated next to you, sporting events bring people together.  Perhaps it is the common interest in the different teams that starts the conversation. Whatever the reason, if you talk to any sports fan, you are bound to hear a story or two about mid-game encounters with interesting people.

For instance, sports in South Africa are largely separated into different parts on ethnic lines. In South Africa, sports are treated as a national religion, language group, and transcending race that helps unify the entire country. The focus of sport is primarily to create an active and winning nation. It focuses on bringing many opportunities for Africans to celebrate in sport while still instilling country values.

Especially, football(soccer) without a doubt is one of the most popular sports admired by most Africans. Football is an exciting game with origins tracing back to the 1800s, when the British, French, and Portuguese colonists introduced the sport to Africa. Unlike other sports, football required minimal resources, and for this reason, it has penetrated every part of Africa. Many African footballers had to surmount some obstacles, including poverty, amongst other things before they achieved all the glitz and glamour they are now associated with. The football talent in Africa mostly begins at the grassroots level, and for this reason, many football stars come from hardship.

Fredrick Odhiambo, also known as Abedi, was born in the city of Kisumu in Kenya. He grew up in the poorest neighborhood out of Manyatta. Like many people from that area, life was not easy. To Fredrick and other fellow African athletes, football is everything. It is not only something to keep them busy and out of trouble, but it was also a chance at a better life —a way out of poverty. Abedi fell in love with football at the age of ten, where he quickly began to establish himself as a leader playing as a center-back. He once said, “Growing up in the slums, if I didn’t play football, I would have never gone to school.” He grew up in a family of seven kids, where his parents could not afford to take them to school. One evening, he went out to play on the football field, some high school coaches noticed his talents and agreed to pay for his schooling. He received an opportunity to attend school, whereas thousands in his village are not as lucky.   Abedi’s journey growing up as a kid lead him to create a program and organization for people that were like himself and give them the opportunity to be included and engage positively as kids. 

On another account, Yaya Toure grew up with similar hardships as Abedi and used football as an outlet in order to prevail. Growing up with his four other siblings and both parents, Yaya Toure often tried to normalize his childhood experiences whenever he spoke about it, but the truth is he grew up poor. According to Toure, ” I did not have football boots until he was ten years old because his parents could not afford them.” However, his boots later served him as he impressed the coaches at the Asec Mimosas academy. He earned himself a move to Europe with Dutch club Waasland Beveren. That move served as a springboard that opened new opportunities at European clubs such as Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, Monaco, Barcelona, and Manchester City. Yaya Toure had a long and distinguished career that saw him win two La Liga titles, one Champions League, one Copa del Rey, three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one Nations Cup, and many others. Safe to say, he made up for all of his childhood struggles. He is a four-time African footballer of the year grant champ now and routinely is in the discussion of most noteworthy African footballers.

Tanzania’s Football team

Athlete development is a continuous process. It begins when an athlete first engages in a sport until an athlete withdraws from the sport itself. There are various stages of learning that outline the various stages of learning that an athlete undergoes to acquire new skills and techniques. Youth athletes are among some of the hardest-working people all across the world. Many factors contribute to their success. However, athletes at all levels have their motivation and will that push them to strive for greatness. We all have obstacles and hardships along the way, yet it is the process, the hope, the unity we partake in the sport of football that molds us along the way. Sport has the power to inspire.