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.  

The value of using Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH) in a country (Tanzania)

James Mathew Mgaya – Art in Tanzania internship

To many Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH)/ Gross National Happiness (GNH) is new terminology but it bears most important value to the countries. Gross Happiness (GNH) is a measurement of the collective happiness in a nation.  The king of the Himalayan country of Bhutan introduced Gross National Happiness (GNH) in the 1970s as a measure of economic and moral progress 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 currently work internationally. These pillars provide the foundation for the happiness, which is manifested into the nine domains of GNH: psychological well-being, standard of living, good governance, health, community vitality, cultural diversity, time use, and ecological resilience. In short, the country prefers people than self-governed interests by living with peace and harmony towards its citizens.

The value of GNH?

Encourage investment; a country with good Gross Domestic Happiness mean will attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) which will contribute to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the certain country. More FDI means more foreign investors will start their business in Tanzania and increase our national revenue. In addition, it also encourages entrepreneurship and establishment of new companies and enterprises owned 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, and foreign exchange reserves (the amount of currency held by foreign governments). Simply, the value of currency increases according to its circulation money within international borders by good diplomatic relations via international trade/financing/business. GDH can give a good standard of living. This means there will more available markets, purchasing power of consumer, and good money circulation.

Good diplomatic relation internationally; GNH gives good governance and psychological well-being. This leads to governments that can have good relationships to neighbouring countries and international collaborations economically, politically, and socially. Psychological wellbeing means, through its resource’s government can ensure life satisfactory in some degree of its services, creating peace and harmony among the citizens. Mentally stable countries bring relief to nearby countries and allow friendship due to available labour forces, no political unrest which attracts more investments to multinational companies and international relationship.

Increase of production nationally; GDH gives the government opportunity to build into its public policy decisions like good governance and sustainable development This is when government focus is on public good, boosting their citizen economy and infrastructures like in Tanzania’s strategic cities projects which gives formal and informal employment to the citizens. Building transportations means for the citizen to increase production from the producers towards the consumers, availability of water and electricity to the rural areas stimulating production and leading to urbanisation of rural areas which increases the connectivity between factories and available raw material.

Increase of national income; for citizens to enjoy, their government the needs sustainable income. For example, in Tanzania they use strategic projects 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, bringing good income good to government and individuals. It creates formal and informal employment to the citizens while simultaneously creating income through toll bridges,  like Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam. Air Tanzania can create national income, and 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 rather focuses 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, providing the foundation for the happiness, which is shown 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.

Natural Attractions of Zanzibar

By Farzad Ghotaslou – Art in Tanzania internship

Zanzibar is popular weekend trip for Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns in Dar es Salaam. It is also a destination for our safari and Mt. Kilimanjaro clients to relax after their safari of climb. We commonly tailor the Zanzibar stay; usually night or two at the historical stone town with day trips and then total relaxation at the beach. Zanzibar is not only a place to lay on the beach. There are many options to enjoy the exhausting beauty of that this tropical Island provides. Some of them listed below.

Zanzibar have been inhabited for many hundreds of years and although ancient records refer to imported elephants and other iconic species, you won’t find any of Africa’s major land mammals here today.

Jozani Forest has several habitats including swamp forest, evergreen thickets, mangroves, as well as a variety of wildlife, including Sykes and Red colobus monkeys, bush pigs, Ader’s duiker and suni antelopes, elephant shrews, chameleons, and lots of birdlife.

It is best known for its red colobus monkeys, which are endemic to Zanzibar. About 20 years ago, the monkeys were in danger of extinction. This trend has since reversed due to the conservation project. There are about 6000 red colobus monkeys residing in Jozani Forest.

After visiting the red colobus, you will walk across to the Pete-Jozani Mangrove Boardwalk. It entwines through coral thicket vegetation, mangrove forest and across a creek. You walk through mangrove forest, which is extremely crucial to Zanzibar’s ecosystems, providing a habitat for many lizards, snakes and birdlife as well as preventing the coastal erosion.

Most visitors to this vast and scenic spread of green, a biodiversity hotspot that’s part of Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, come in hopes of sighting the rare red colobus monkey. Thousands of years of isolation from sibling species on the African mainland have made this simian specimen a special beauty, with distinct cries and vibrant coats. There are nature trails through shafts of sunlight where butterflies flicker, a boardwalk that descends into mangrove swamps and the very faintest chance of a leopard sighting – although don’t get your hopes up too much, as the last was decades ago.

Numgwi

You’ve come to the Indian Ocean to sink your toes into coral sands as pure and pale as caster sugar – and the place to do that is Nungwi, on the northwesternmost tip of Zanzibar. There’s a DoubleTree Resort by Hilton here, plus a few lodges immersed in tropical gardens, beach cottages and sea-view restaurants, yet the place has not fallen victim to swarms of international tourists, and islanders mingle casually with visitors. The water sports are plentiful, as are sundown cruises, and you can organise deep-sea fishing excursions in search of leaping sailfish and mean-looking bull dorado.

Also known as Mji Mkongwe, Stone Town is the ancient part of Zanzibar City, which is itself capital of Unguja island. Visit and you’ll get a perfect picture of how the old Swahili trading towns of East Africa look, sound, feel, taste and smell. With Islamic prayer calls on the air and atmospheric winding old alleys redolent of spices at every turn, this settlement is the heart and soul of the island. Admire elegant stone buildings, sip chai and coffee from busy vendors, and eat fresh fish dinners laced with coconut. Stone Town mixes Persian, Arabic, Indian and European legacies to create a destination to remember.

Stone town

Forodhani Market

In the thick of Stone Town, as the afternoon dims towards evening, Forodhani Gardens transforms into a circus of calorific magnificence: welcome to Zanzibar’s spectacular night-time food market, a whirl of chefs juggling spitting pans. The aromas are fabulous, and the range of dishes is extraordinary. Bring a large appetite. You might be familiar with some of the offerings – kebabs of tandoori lobster, say, or falafel as big as your fist. Our favourites are the fish plates served with fried potato balls, naan and samosas. You won’t need to eat for a week – or maybe just not until the same time, same place tomorrow.

Nakupenda Beach

Nakupenda (Swahili for I love you) is the name of a slender slice of sandbank just off the coast of Stone Town. And what’s not to love? Abutting the brilliant blue of the ocean, this tiny beach is an idyll of sand as soft and white as baby powder. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling in clear waters flickering with marine life and generally keeping cool under the hot African sun. If you’re lucky you might glimpse the local superstars – the much-loved dolphins, doing their own thing in the distance.

Prison Island:

The prison – which is now owned by a hotel – was built in 1893 and was originally intended to house violent prisoners from the mainland and sick people.

You will get the opportunity to visit the tortoise sanctuary, which contains a large colony of giant tortoise imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century. The average weight of these creatures is 200 kg, and many of them are said to be over 150 years old. There will be a chance to touch the tortoise and take photos. The island is also a home to a colony of beautiful peacocks.

For the rest of the trip, you can either enjoy the marine life as you snorkel around the coral that fringes Prison Island or just relax under the warm glow of the sun, until you head back to Stone Town.

Chumbe Island:

The Chumbe Island Coral Park is an award-winning private nature reserve and one of the last pristine coral islands around. It is the home of many rare and endangered animals that are protected here. The Park includes a fully protected coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve, a visitor and education center, nature trails, historical ruins, and eco-bungalows for overnight guests.  Chumbe Island is one of the most beautiful islands of Zanzibar and a prime example for sustainable tourism.

You get to snorkel in the most colorful underwater world with a huge variety of fish, corals, turtles, and other fascinating sea creatures. Learn about the marine life, forest, and nature reserve from professional guides. Enjoy a tour of one of the 7 eco-bungalows available for overnight guests, taste the delicious Swahili cuisine for lunch and enjoy the exclusive atmosphere of a secluded island.

Spice Tour:

Spice Tour is one of the most popular excursions on the Island.
In days past, Zanzibar was known as a spice island, exporting cloves, vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom across the world. The spices were brought over from Asia and South America and flourished in the tropical climes.
Nowadays the plantations are a tribute to the island’s past, swapping spices for tourism, combining both in a spice tour.

If variety is the spice of life, then Zanzibar is nature’s supermarket. East Africa’s favorite island playground, Zanzibar appeals to those who want to heighten their senses in a kaleidoscopic world of flavors. The island is renowned for its exotic aromas, spices and herbal remedies, and discovering these delights in their natural home makes for a… well, spicy adventure!

Over the course of centuries, traders arrived at Zanzibar’s port on route across the Indian Ocean to discover new world trade.

The original settlers on the island were Bantu-speaking Africans. At the turn of the 16th century, Portuguese traders established themselves in Zanzibar as part of their quest to take over East Africa. They brought with them various plants from their own colonies across India and South America. Fast forward 200 years later; Arabs set up trading companies on the island, drawing a close to Portuguese dominance over Zanzibar.

It wasn’t until 1832 that Zanzibar’s tropical climate and fertile soils were taken advantage of to make Zanzibar the spice island it is today. The Omani Sultan, Seyyid Said, moved his empire capital from Muscat to Stone Town to cultivate the production of cloves, which was traded like gold at the time. It wasn’t just the flavors that was a winner with taste buds — cloves were used as a common method of curing and preserving meats long before the refrigerator.

When the island’s other main trade — slavery — was abolished, the spice trade continued to flourish, bestowing wealth and flavors that led to the island’s legendary moniker, ‘the Spice Island.’

Walk through the spice farm with your guide. Touch, smell and taste different spices and tropical fruits. Try to guess which is which, from the crushed leaves, the fruit, shoots and vines and creepers crawling up the Zanzibar Spice Tour trees.

Today, the spice tourism trade is booming with various farms of spices and exotic fruits dotted inland.

The spices grown in these plantations add flavors to the distinctive cuisine of the island, provide numerous cures for everyday ailments, and are ingredients in cosmetics and the colorful dyes needed to celebrate festive gatherings. From henna to lipsticks, pillows to medicine, many useful plants are woven into the fabric of Zanzibar’s culture and industry.

On my tour, a local guide led me through a spice farm, from plant to plant, tasting and discussing the significances and uses of each.

Walking through one of Zanzibar’s inland spice farms makes you feel like you are in a scene from the ’90s family movie, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids,’ thanks to a soaring canopy of evergreen trees that makes you feel miniature. This is especially the case when you find yourself caught under leaves that are taller than you! Among the tropical greens and coconut palms is the exotic kapok tree, famed for its height, hollow trunk, and spikes. The tree itself can grow up to 200 feet, towering over the rainforest, and the spikes give off the dramatic appearance of a medieval torture device. And yet, the tree shreds its spikes once it matures, and its fibers are used to produce something soft: mattresses and pillows.

Bring your make-up bag, as another fascinating plant you’ll spot is the bright, red-hued lipstick tree. Inside its furry red fruits are hard, deep red seeds that are used as industrial dye in food preparation and cosmetics. The henna plant is also found here, most known for creating stunning and intricate patterns on the skin, of course, but what you might not know is that it is also used to incite natural abortions.

But the most alluring part of walking through the spice farms is seeing what spices look like in their natural state as opposed to a local grocer’s store shelf. A shopping list of spices can be found here: pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, chili, peppermint and allspice with its dried berries pleasantly smelling like a fusion of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg

Despite losing its claim to be the world’s biggest clove producer to Indonesia, Zanzibar still produces what is referred to as the ‘King of Spices’ in vast amounts. Cloves are not only a flavors enhancer but its oil, eugenol, acts as a food preservative. It can also be used for medical purposes, as a relief for nausea, gas and vomiting. It can also help control the pain from a toothache.

Zanzibar’s spice farms not only produce spices to eat but also exotic fruits to consume. The red banana, guava and jackfruit trees capture your attention due to their brightness and the sheer size of the fruits. Seeing an almond plant makes for fun piece of trivia to quiz friends back home: did you know it takes roughly 100 days for one nut to be produced from one fruit? No wonder almonds don’t come cheap!

Mother Nature really wanted to spice up the lives of all Zanzibar’s occupants, and with a visit to one of its exotic plantations, you’ll see that for yourself. Zanzibar is a natural mega-mart with spices, fruits, natural cures, manufacturing materials and cosmetics all readily available — just bring an empty bag!

Dolphin Swimming

Traditional small boats pick up tourists and take them snorkeling on the coral reefs and swimming alongside dolphins. While bottle-nose dolphins are very playful and easy-going, humpback dolphins are rather shy and prefer to avoid people. Dolphins are especially abundant along the Fumba peninsula.

You should avoid sudden movements and allow the dolphins to come to you and do not chase the dolphins by boat! Also, the best time to encounter them is typically early in the morning.

The best period for seeing and swimming with dolphins is during the dry season, which runs from January to February and from June to October.

Try to avoid the rainy season because the visibility is not as good.

Ruaha The most beautiful national park in Tanzania

By: Farzad Ghotaslou –  Art in Tanzania Internship

Ruaha National Park in the centre of Tanzania takes its name from the Hehe word for ‘river.’ The eponymous Great Ruaha River serves as a lifeline for the park’s wildlife. Although it’s the largest national park in the country and rich in wildlife, Ruaha is one of the least busy places to visit in Tanzania, so safaris here feel remote and exclusive.

Ruaha has a bimodal pattern of rain forest; the short rainfall season begins November to February, while the long season is between March and April. The park experiences its dry season between June and October.

In the dry season, visitors can expect to see golden savannah studded with baobabs and misty hills stretching along the horizon. With the annual rains, the grasslands become a lush green and the baobabs bloom.

Waterbuck, impala and gazelle come to the river to drink and predators are never far behind. You may spot lion or leopard prowling watchfully along the banks, or cheetah lying in wait on the plains, while skulking jackal and hyena are on the lookout for an opportunity to catch their next meal.

Ruaha is easily combined with a Serengeti safari or Zanzibar beach break. It also partners well with the Selous. Fly from Arusha or Dar es Salaam to one of Ruaha’s two airstrips.

History of Ruaha National Park

Ruaha does not have an extensive history like other areas in Tanzania. It is thought that early permanent settlers were dissuaded by the semi-arid climate and the high concentrations of tsetse fly. (Conservation efforts have recently reduced the levels of tsetse fly making visiting here a more comfortable experience today!) The transformation of this vast area into a national park was first proposed by George Rushby (a Senior Game Ranger) in 1949. Two years later all the residents were forced out of this protected area and in 1964 Britain elevated Ruaha to full national park status. In 2008 the Usangu Wildlife Management Area was incorporated into the park creating the 20,000Km² Ruaha National Park that we know today.

How to get there

By Air-There are both scheduled and chartered flights into the park mainly from Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma and Dar-es-salaam. Park’s airstrips are located at Msembe and Jongomero

The park is about 130 kilometres  west of Iringa. It is a part of the 45,000 square kilometres Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem, which includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area.

By road-It is about 130km drive from Iringa town and 625km from Dar-es-salaam city.

The road into the park is passable throughout the year.

Wildlife

Ruaha National Park is renowned for its excellent wildlife-sighting opportunities. Combined with the low numbers of visitors, this makes it a spectacular destination.

The wider Ruaha area hosts 10% of the world’s lion population and has been a Lion Conservation Unit since 2005. It’s not uncommon to find prides of more than 20 lion in the park. Leopard stalk the thicker woodland areas, while cheetah can be found scanning the plains for prey. The wild dog is endangered, but Ruaha is home to almost 100 of them. There are healthy populations of hyena and black-backed jackal too.

The park was formerly known for its large elephant population. It had numbered 34,000 in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem in 2009, before declining to only 15,836, plus or minus 4,759, in 2015.

Elephant are seen in high densities during the dry season, when they gather around the dry riverbed to dig for water with their trunks and front feet. The park is also home to plentiful buffalo, zebra, giraffe, greater and lesser kudu, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, and impala.

There are more than 570 species of birds, including the eponymous Ruaha red-billed hornbill. Migrant birds from Europe, Asia, Australia and Madagascar arrive during the rainy season between February and April. 

 In addition, Ruaha is populated by large herds of buffalo, major and minor kudus, Grant’s gazelles, African wild dogs. , ostriches, cheetahs and tawny and black antelopes, as well as more than 400 bird species. The latter are particularly numerous along the Great Ruaha River, which meanders in the eastern part of the park and also offers shelter to many hippos and crocodiles.

The Ruaha is also distinguished by its rugged and magnificent topography, particularly in the Great Ruaha area. The park extends mostly on an undulating plateau at about 900 m of altitude, dotted here and there by rock formations and groups of baobabs, while to the south and west rise mountains that reach a height ranging from about 1600 m to 1900 m. The territory is crossed by several rivers of “sand”, most of which dry up completely in the dry season and whose beds are used by animals as corridors to reach the little water left. The combination of rugged river scenarios, large quantities of animals that can be easily seen (during the dry season) and good solutions for overnight stays make this place truly incomparable.

In high season, the area surrounding the campsites, in the eastern part of the park, is crowded with tourists, but Ruaha is generally less crowded than the northern parks. There are still large unexplored areas and, if you exclude the high season from August to October, it can happen quite easily to have the park all to yourself. Whichever period you come, however, budget as long as you can to visit it: this is not a place to be seen only in passing.

More than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park. Among the resident species are hornbills. Many migratory birds visit the park.

Other noted animals found in this park are East African cheetah and lion, African leopard and wild dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, hippopotamus, African buffalo, and sable antelope. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit.

Ruaha is a year-round destination, though birders may want to visit when the migratory birds are in the area and photographers, around the rains, when the landscape tends to be more photogenic.

For birders, the best time to visit Ruaha is during the long rains between February and April, when the migrant birds arrive. The wet season is a time when the park is at its lushest, with wildflowers peppering the rich, verdant grasslands. This is also an excellent time for landscape photographers to visit.

The park is characterized by semi-arid type of vegetation, baobab trees, Acacia and other species. There are over 1,650 plant species that have been identified.

The weather in Ruaha

The climate in Ruaha works slightly differently to what you might expect. Ruaha is located to the west of the Udzungwa Mountains, which run roughly north-south through central Tanzania. This geographic divide results in Ruaha having one long rainy season rather than the typical long rains and short rains found in Tanzania’s more famous safari areas. The rains in Ruaha usually start around November or early December, becoming heavier in January and February, and then start to dwindle towards the end of March. Do bear in mind that climate change has been altering the typical weather patterns for some years, so forecasting the weather you will have on your trip can be extremely difficult. However, it’s fair to say that Ruaha can often be a surprisingly good destination in the so-called low season of April and May, with clear blue skies and the park appearing lush and green. With plentiful food after the rains, the animals are likely to be in great condition and this is when many species will be breeding and birthing.

References:

  1.  “Tanzania National parks Corporate Information”. Tanzania Parks. TANAPA. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area. Twma.co.tz. Retrieved on 14 September 2016.
  3.  “Tanzania: 5 Reasons To Visit Ruaha National Park”. HowAfrica.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  4.  “Research”. Ruaha Carnivore Project. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  5.  IUCN Cat Specialist Group (2006). Conservation Strategy for the Lion Panthera leo in Eastern and Southern Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: IUCN.
  6.  Karl Mathiesen (2 June 2015). “Tanzania elephant population declined by 60% in five years, census reveals”. The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  7.  Adelhelm Meru, Permanent Secretary, Tanzania Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (2 November 2015). “Press Release: Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem Elephant Census Results, 2015”. Retrieved 15 March 2015 – via Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.
  8. www.lonelyplanet.com
  9. www.expertafrica.com
  10. Wikipedia

Tropical Diseases in Africa – Sleeping Sickness

by Shravya Murali – Art in Tanzania internship

Human African Trypanosomiasis, also known as ‘Sleeping Sickness’ is a neglected tropical disease, and a recurrent public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. The deadly sleeping sickness has robbed tens of thousands of lives of individuals in Africa annually, and about 65 million people continue to be at risk of falling prey to it. Fortunately, internationally coordinated efforts have led to a drastic drop in death rates after 2000, with the reported cases of infection being 992 in 2019. It is vital to sustain these global efforts to eradicate the disease for the safety of millions residing in Sub-Saharan Africa.

How does sleeping sickness spread?

This life-threatening disease is spread to humans via bites from tsetse flies that carry the parasite (Trypanosoma brucei) causing the disease. Tsetse flies are exclusively found in Africa, specifically in the south of the Sahara. While there are about 30 species or sub-species of the tsetse fly, only six are known to be able to transmit the sleeping sickness parasite to humans.

However, this disease can also spread from an infected individual to another individual via:

  1. Contaminated needles (i.e., sharing of needles with an infected individual)
  2. Sexual contact – reported to have resulted in the spread of the disease between humans in some cases.
  3. Pregnancy – The parasite is able to cross the placenta, thereby spreading from mother to fetus.
  4. Mechanical transmission – The parasite may spread from human-to-human through other insects that feed on blood.

What are the effects of the disease?

The disease can manifest in two forms caused by different subspecies of the Trypanosoma brucei sleeping sickness parasite – T.b.rhodesiense and T.b.gambiense. The former is commonly associated with the presentation of a painful inflammation, known as ‘chancre’, at the site of the bite. The latter rarely results in a chancre although this has been occasionally observed in infected travellers from non-endemic regions. The “Winterbottom’s sign”, or swollen lymph nodes, is more commonly observed in infections caused by T.b.gambiense.

Regardless of the subspecies of the parasite, the disease comprises of two stages at which it can be clinically diagnosed – the early stage, and the late stage. Furthermore, the symptoms are usually common, causing difficulties in identifying the subspecies that resulted in the disease.

In the early stage, the parasite is found in the blood and the lymphatic system. Its symptoms commonly include:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Itchiness
  • Joint pain

Signs such as weight loss, intermittent fevers that occur could for a day up to a week, and swelling of the liver and spleen, are usually indicative of an early-stage infection.

In T.b.gambiense infections, the disease progresses slowly as it proceeds from the early stage to the late stage after about 300 to 500 days. On the other hand, T.b.rhodesiense infections advance quicky from the early to the late stage in only around 21 to 60 days.

The late stage is known to be riskier as the parasite enters the central nervous system and results in inflammation of the brain – a condition known as meningoencephalitis – which causes neuropsychiatric problems and tends to be fatal. Some of the neuropsychiatric issues include reversal of the sleep-wake cycle (hence the name “Sleeping Sickness”), hallucinations, anxiety, aggression, and mania. The patient may also enter coma, and if left untreated, this stage leads to death.

How is sleeping sickness treated?

The sleeping sickness, after infection, is normally treated by administered specific drugs depending on the stage of infection. For early-stage infection, pentamidine or suramin is used. Both drugs produce unwanted side-effects and can only be used for early-stage infections. While suramin can result in allergic reactions, pentamidine, is commonly well-tolerated by patients. In the late stage, melarsoprol, eflornithine, and nifurtimox are usually used. While melarsoprol can be used to treat both gambiense and rhodesiense infections, it is obtained from arsenic, hence resulting in serious side effects such as reactive encephalopathy – altering brain function. Eflornithine and nifurtimox are less toxic, but the former is only effective against gambiense infection, while the latter has not been studied for its effectiveness against rhodesiense infections. Hence, the current treatments against late stage rhodesiense infections are still inadequate, drawing an urgent need for sufficient treatment considering the quick progression of infection caused by this subspecies.

What could be done to prevent the disease?

Due to the lack of drugs or vaccines to allow for immunity against sleeping sickness, the only way to prevent the disease currently is to avoid contact with tsetse flies. In countries where tsetse flies are found, the following precautions can be taken:

  • Checking vehicles before travelling in them, as tsetse flies are drawn to motion and dust from vehicles in motion.
  • Wearing fully covered clothing, such as pants and shirts with long sleeves.
  • Ensure that clothes worn are of neutral colours or blend with the environment, as tsetse flies are attracted to colours that stand out in the environment.
  • Avoiding bushes, where the tsetse flies often reside.
  • Using insect repellent to prevent bites from other blood-sucking insects other than tsetse flies that can spread the disease – as tsetse flies are not significantly affected by insect repellents.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to completely eradicate the African Trypanosomiasis by 2030, with international research organisations coordinating to study potential treatments that are more effective, and drugs that may help prevent the disease. At the same time, it is also important that individuals play their part in avoiding transmission of the disease by taking the necessary precautions for the safety of all.

Government Expenditure to Combat Pandemic Situation

JAMES MATHEW MGAYA – Art in Tanzania internship

Other Africa countries have prioritized the pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns measures that have worsened the severe food insecurity problem, increasing the population of people living in extreme poverty. While Tanzania has opted for a different approach. Though Tanzania’s unconventional approach to COVID-19 may be slow in response ad seem to lack in direction, its uniqueness illustrates the need for government to form context-specific smart containment strategies and recovery plans. The Tanzania government’s expenditure was to maintain multiple competing priorities, so far the government did not ignore the pandemic by increase public health funding. Tanzania’s interest was to contain the transmission of the virus along all its borders and coordinate closely with its partners, maintain diplomatic relationships, ensure trade is not severely disrupted, and invest in formal small-holder farmers to produce for domestic economy.

How did it work?

Tanzania used its government expenditure to refocus on financial services which makes them among 14 African countries that did not introduce any social safety measures, such as cash transfers. Instead, the government focused on responding with some economic measures through the Bank of Tanzania with various policies to ease liquidity and safeguard the stability of the financial sector. The bank reduced the discount rate, lowered the minimum reserve requirements ratio, incentivised the restructuring of loans for severally affected borrowers, and relaxed limits on mobile money use.

Tanzanian government expenditure focused on increasing its capacity to maintain and manage the virus, while pursuing sustainable economic development. In other words, Tanzania can learn to adapt and live with the virus in a way that is not detrimental to the economy, but not overwhelming the health system. They fund health centres and witness the Covid-19 emergence facilities and also Government built special covid-19 health centres to combat it and increase public health funding to local health centres to implement mass testing, enforce social distancing, and sanitation measures.

Tanzanian government expenditure uses the Strategic Cities Project for Tanzania development objectives to facilitate the Additional Financing (AF) which enhances the development impact and sustainability of the investments financed by the original project by investing in equipment and operation, and maintenance capacity for existing infrastructure, and deepening local government capacity for urban management. These initiatives enable the government to maintain multiple competing priorities, managing the transmission rate, while ensuring food security creating and protecting jobs. 

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic will have short-, medium-. and long-term effects on territorial development and sub-national government functioning and finance. One risk is that many governments respond to focus only on the short term. But the Tanzanian government use it’s expenditure to longer-term priorities must be included in the immediate response measures in order to boost the resilience of regional socio-economic systems. Much effort of Tanzanian government redirected to growth of economy during pandemic so as government expenditure was driven by strong public investment and export earnings. The government’s firm focus and commitment during this pandemic have been to avoid a complete halt of economic activities. 

Resources

The International Growth Centre – COVID-19 in Tanzania: Is business as usual response enough?

COVID-19 AND ECONOMY IN TANZANIA

JAMES MGAYA – Art in Tanzania internship

The pandemic has forced to switch the plans globally. All fashion, sport, and technology events have been cancelled or have changed to be online. Possible instability generated by an outbreak and associated behavioural changes could result in temporary food shortages, price spikes, and disruption to markets.

Such price rises would be felt most by vulnerable populations who depend on markets for their food as well as those already depending on humanitarian assistance to maintain their livelihoods and food access. In Tanzania it was the season of cashew nut during Asian outspread of Covid 19 pandemic as we all know that Asians their the consumers of cashew nuts for years now the Vietnam, India; Malaysia and so on.

During the period the shipment stops due to curfews and lockdowns. Mtwara’s economy went down with it although it was the year before but now it was devastated situation and desperate moment for farmers who were hungry for money due to last year recovery.

  We witness Global stock markets crashed in March 2020, but in tourism industry unemployment was inevitable , tourism enterprise experience bankruptcies, The pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as a slump in demand among travellers air Tanzania incurs tremendous loss which is facing accumulated losses of TZS150 billion Tanzanian shillings (USD64.6 million).

Thank to God Tanzania’s macroeconomic performance has been strong for the last decade, but the current crisis is an unprecedented shock that requires strong, well-targeted and sustained policy response.

The gravity of the situation was easy to Tanzanians, the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in different ways and the measures taken by the respective governments have also differed on the areas of focus and comprehensiveness.

When our late President John Magufuli let people to continue working this bring relief to low-income earners who eat according to the day and work, they do. If measures of lockdown implemented like other nation people of Tanzania Most in big cities would starve for food more than pandemic. Thanks to him we Tanzanians at least overcome fear of unknown although many international organisations went on lockdown.   

The pandemic has been affecting the entire food market system due to border closures, trade restrictions and confinement measures have been preventing farmers from accessing markets, including for buying inputs and selling their produce, and agricultural middle men from harvesting crops, thus disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets. 

We experience panic buying which lead to genuine shortages of spices, citric fruits and vegetables regards of fear of the unknown, which is caused by emotional pressure and uncertainty to food security. This increases the amount of entrepreneurs who seize opportunities to produce different products, and the spread of lies rumours of preventive measure and commodities to social medias so as people can earn income.

During the earlier stage of the pandemic, supply shortages were expected to affect a number of sectors due to panic buying, increased usage of goods to fight the pandemic, and disruption to factories and logistics. There have been widespread reports of shortages of pharmaceuticals product with many areas seeing panic buying and consequent shortages of food and other essential grocery items.

The verdict

Tanzanian economy, including lower export demand, supply chain disruptions for domestic producers and suppressed private consumption. International travel bans and caution against contracting the virus have severely hurt the tourism sector, which had been one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy.

The pandemic is impacting lives and livelihoods particularly those in urban settings relying on self-employment and informal/micro enterprises. However, government has already taken, and this forecast assumes the authorities will take additional health and economic policy measures to mitigate negative impacts. 

Typical Skin diseases Tanzania

By Gwamaka Mwakyusa – Art in Tanzania internship

Skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema are associated with a significant impairment in the quality of the patient’s daily life. Several instruments assess quality-of-life (QoL) in adults and children with skin disease and help us understand its impact. Three groups of investigators have recently examined the psychosocial effects of skin disorders.

Smidt and colleagues developed and tested a new instrument specifically designed to assess these issues in adolescents, who are particularly vulnerable to issues of self-esteem. Skindex-Teen addresses such age-specific matters as sports participation, peer relationships, and clothing choices. In the 200 patients studied, acne was the most common skin condition. The reliability of the 21-item scale was greater than 0.4, and test-retest reliability was supported by acceptable intraclass correlation coefficients for the total score, physical symptoms scale score, and psychosocial functioning scale score.

Numerous observations and limited studies have suggested that psoriasis increases stress and depression. Kurd and colleagues mined the British General Practice Research Database to assess the association of psoriasis with depression, anxiety, and suicidality in a large population. Compared with 766,950 patients without psoriasis, 149,998 psoriasis patients had significantly more clinically diagnosed psychiatric diseases. Additionally, among the psoriasis patients, those with most severe cutaneous disease was more likely to have depression, anxiety, and suicidality diagnoses.

Evers and colleagues analyzed the effects of psychological stressors on skin disease in patients with psoriasis. This report follows their earlier finding of clinical exacerbation of psoriasis in the month following stressful life events. The present longitudinal, prospective study assessed how stressors affect serum levels of cortisol, a key component of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, in psoriasis patients. They found that peak levels of daily stressors were significantly associated with lower cortisol levels and that patients with persistent high stress had lower mean cortisol levels than patients with lower stress. The stress response involves activation of both the HPA axis and the autonomic nervous system, both of which interact with the immune system. Therefore, stressful events could exacerbate and prolong chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. Other investigators have reported a blunting of the HPA axis in some subjects with psoriasis, which could account for inadequate secretion of cortisol and a resulting exacerbation of clinical disease.

The common issues for clean drinking water availability in the Eastern Africa

By Ekaterina Kilima – Art in Tanzania internship

The shortage of freshwater resources is considered a global problem which affects many parts of the world, including the Eastern African countries. It is often wrongly believed that, because the majority of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, the availability of clean drinking water for humans is abundant. In reality, only 3% of the global water is considered freshwater suitable for drinking (WWF). Therefore, there is a high need for a well-balanced management of the available water resources.

One of the main issues for high water demand in the Eastern Africa is the ongoing population growth and urbanization, which in fact increases the standards of living and requires more water per capita. For example, urban population in Tanzania has increased by 7.2 million people between 2005 and 2015 but the water sector bodies fail to respond adequately to these changes (GIZ 2018). It may sound like a paradox that, while the Eastern African states hold the largest amount of on ground water reservoirs on the continent, with Lake Victoria being the second largest freshwater lake in the world, at least half of the population is vulnerable to the water scarcity problem. Nonetheless, there are several socio-economic and socio-political causes which enhance the problem of drinking water availability.

Lake Victoria

One of these causes is an increasing water demand in agriculture which receives water for irrigation from the nearby freshwater resources such as rivers and lakes. Some amount of freshwater from the wetlands is being lost in the process because of inefficient irrigation methods. Due to the increasing population, the conflict between the water needs of citizens and the water needs of farming is going to become more explicit. Moreover, surface water reserves often get polluted because of the closely located industrial activities, for example oil extraction or transportation. Water contamination can also happen due to nutrient and wastewater transportation from urban and rural areas which is closely connected to poor sanitation practices. After getting polluted, this water cannot be used in households unless using multi-stage water filters.

Perhaps, one of the most complex causes for freshwater scarcity for the Eastern Africa is the trans-boundary ownership of the water sources as well as their weak management. Most countries in the Eastern Africa must share water resources with each other which often leads to uneven distribution of the fresh water (IJWRD 2016). Therefore, the problem is not in the lack of water reservoirs but in the unfair distribution and poor management. The inaccuracy of the water management involves inadequate implementation of the environmental law, corruption of interests among authorities but also lack of problem-specific knowledge and funds.

There is no universal list of solutions that would help all the countries in the Eastern Africa. The perfect mix of solutions for each country would depend on the criteria such as population, climate, level of corruption, economic and political stability, and others. However, there are some suggestions that are critical for each country. One, it is important to support local farmers in their transition to more efficient irrigation practices which would allow more water to be available for drinking and household needs. Second, governments should increase the global awareness on the positive changes in the region to attract more foreign investments. Governments should work closely with international organizations and NGOs to develop more sustainable projects to provide equitable access to clean drinking water. Third, it is critical to legally protect African wetlands from human-led contamination and avoid any disturbance of the ecosystem.

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