The Effect of COVID – 19 on African Tourism

By Dilyara Shantayeva – Art in Tanzania internship

Tourism is an important economic sector for Africa. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Africa received 71.2 million international arrivals in 2019 amounting to about US$ 40 billion in revenue. This represents a 4 percent growth in arrivals over that of the previous year. Tourism has witnessed sustained growth on the continent as governments continued to pursue it as a viable economic option due to its contribution in terms of jobs, revenue, foreign exchange, and infrastructure.

Africa is increasingly becoming a preferred destination for many international tourists looking to enjoy its sunny beaches, ecotourism products, national parks and safaris and exotic culture and food. Unfortunately, the projected growth of between 3 to 5% in international arrivals for the continent cannot be realised: like every continent, Africa’s tourism industry is shattered, and the inflow of the tourist dollar has ceased due to the impact of COVID-19. The highly contagious spread of the coronavirus ultimately stopped most of the traveling to many touristic destinations is still causing many discrepancies these days as well. This article will overview the main effects of COVID – 19 on African tourism.

“We live in very challenging and uncharted waters at the moment,” says Nigel Vere Nicoll, President of the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA), an organization which he founded 25 years ago. ATTA has around 700 members in Sub-Saharan Africa, split relatively evenly between buyers – such as tour operators – and suppliers (hotels, lodges, and transportation companies). In the interview with the journalist from the Africa Outlook, he mentioned that one of the biggest problems currently facing the industry is confusion over cancelled bookings. Travellers who’ve already booked the tours and tickets and the situation have changed very rapidly, they have loads of questions concerning refunds, re-bookings, and other related issues.

He also mentioned the economic issues that Africa had encountered during the pandemics: “Take one small boutique lodge in Africa with, say, 10 rooms,” he says. “They would employ about 50 people, but their extended suppliers – so, the person who does the laundry, or brings in the eggs every day – probably equates to around 1,000 extra people. If that lodge packs up, then 1,000 people have no income.”

There are also other, less obvious effect: In Kenya, for example, many conservancies have been established on land belonging to the Masai Mara peoples. They remove their grazing cattle from the land and lease it to organisations building safari lodges that conserve it for wildlife, the revenue from tourists providing an income to the Masai people.

“That model works fine until there’s a nonessential travel warning, and then no money is coming in and they can’t pay the Masai,” Vere Nicoll adds. “One my closest friends has just been to see one of the chiefs and explained the situation, telling him ‘we’re going to go on paying you out of reserve funds, but we don’t know how long this is sustainable for.’

“If this goes on for a long time, all this work on conservancies will be put in jeopardy, because if the Masai don’t get revenue then their livelihood is at stake.”

So, what is the solution? How can the African tourism industry keep going?

Vere Nicoll believes the answer lies in domestic tourism. As there are such low levels of COVID-19 within many African countries now, travel is still possible.

“It’s not possible to cross borders within Africa, because they all have the same warning on, but it is possible to create domestic tourism,” he explains. “In fact, this is an amazing opportunity to create cashflow for survival with the local market. Kenya, for example, has a huge number of Europeans living within the country, who could become domestic tourists.”

Another saving grace is that it’s currently low season in East Africa, so tourism companies and hotels in that area anticipate having fewer customers this time of year. Some smaller safari lodges are even closed, ready to reopen for summer’s high season.

“What we are hoping is that tourism will recover in the English autumn, and they’ll have the chance to get some bookings in the late season, leading up until Christmas,” Vere Nicoll says. “If it lasts any longer, we’re in a totally different ball game.”

However, he concludes our conversation on a note of optimism. “The bottom line is that the tourism industry is very resilient. It always has been. We’ve been through many problems over the years, especially in eastern and southern Africa, and we’ve always come through in the end.

“I think the industry will come out of it much stronger. A lot of relationships will be built up. And I think that once the coronavirus goes, if it’s a short-term thing, then the industry will bounce back tremendously.”

In general, the tourism industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic as people’s economic lives are halted and their freedom of movement curtailed. Chiefly among these impacts on African economies is the reduction in foreign income. With the closure of the world economy and the associated redundancy as well as closure of international borders, international tourist inflows into Africa have ceased.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) indicates that international tourist arrivals to Africa decreased by 35% between January to April 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Countries such as Gambia, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and a host of others that are heavily dependent on the expenditure of international tourists have witnessed dwindled injections of tourism-based foreign income. Equally, and associated with this, is the closure of tourism businesses. Tourism businesses are forced to close either because of internal measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus or directly because of the absence of tourists.

Either way, the closure of tourism businesses such as hotels, attractions, travel and tour operations, food and beverage services, and other support businesses have resulted in massive job losses across the tourism industry in Africa. Both direct jobs that are primarily targeted at serving tourists and those in the value chain have all been impacted.

Ultimately, the closure of tourism businesses coupled with massive job losses have resulted in the reduction of corporate and individual income tax revenue to African governments and thereby affected their abilities to provide the required public services and infrastructure. Such tourism-dependent African economies are therefore compelled to increase their borrowing, thereby spiraling their debt burden and potentially perpetuating their poverty cycle. For instance, South Africa, a country with a significant tourism sector, for the first time in its history took a loan of US$ 4.3 billion from the IMF. Interestingly, this amount is less than its annual foreign income from the tourism industry.

Similarly, countries like Ghana that has tourism as its fourth foreign income earner, contributing more than over US$ 1 billion a year, have contracted a US$ 1 billion loan facility from the IMF. This has become an all too familiar story across the continent with many African countries with significant tourism industries losing out on tourist dollars.

While tourist dollars have stopped flowing to the continent, for the time being, there is hope, with the UNWTO indicating that confidence in recovery in Africa remains very strong compared to other world regions.

To achieve this, there is the need for the gradual easing of lockdown measures, including the opening of international borders, to allow the inflow of international tourists. Also, African governments should institute safety protocols to guarantee the safety of both tourists and employees at the ports of entry into individual countries, and at tourism facilities and attractions. And African governments through their national tourism organizations can begin to bundle their tourism products to reduce the cost of travel.

The bundling can be done to cut profit margins on individual tourism elements and therefore reduce the overall cost. This will also have the advantage of compelling tourists to visit many attractions and stay longer and thereby spend more at destinations. Tourism facilities can also offer discounts or complementary services to entice customers, especially domestic tourists at the initial stages of re-opening.

Further, there should be aggressive marketing of African destinations in international circles to re-assure Western and, to some extent, Chinese tourists about visiting Africa once more. Lastly, African governments can offer tax exemptions and holidays to tourism businesses to help them recover from the consequences of the pandemic. Such tax holidays and exemptions will help them grow back their earnings into their businesses to recover and grow in the short term.

Fight Against Tuberculosis

by Senthamaraiselvan Pooja – Art in Tanzania internship

Background of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The United Republic of Tanzania is one of the 30 countries with the highest burden of TB in the world. According to WHO, 142 000 people (253 per 100 000 population) fell ill with TB in 2018 [1].

A large proportion of persons with the illness (90% to 95%) have latent TB infection (LTBI) in which case they do not exhibit any symptoms as the immune system will contain and control the infection. However, the infection typically does not get eliminated and most people with LTBI do not know that they are infected because they do not feel sick.

The bacteria can remain inactive for many years and the chance of developing active TB decreases over time [2].

Approximately 5% to 10% of individuals are not able to control the initial infection and will develop primary tuberculosis. The dormant bacteria can also become active again in a few of those with LTBI due to various factors that compromise the immune system. Active tuberculosis among this group is referred to as reactivation tuberculosis [3].



Main Differences between Latent and Active TB
Latent TB
●                     TB bacteria are “asleep” in your body
●                     You do not have symptoms and you feel well
●                     You cannot pass TB on to others
●                     It can only be detected through a blood test or TB skin test
 
Active TB
●                     TB bacteria are “awake” and making you ill
●                     You will have symptoms that make you feel unwell
●                     You can pass TB to others if it is in your lungs
●                     It shows up on a chest x-ray if you have TB in the lungs [4]
 
Symptoms of Active TB
Tuberculosis most often affects the lungs and respiratory tract. This is known as pulmonary TB. However, TB can affect almost any organ system. Active tuberculosis can manifest as pulmonary or extrapulmonary disease irrespective of whether the individual is a primary or reactivation case. However, approximately 80% of clinically manifested tuberculosis is pulmonary among individuals with good immune function, while extrapulmonary tuberculosis can be seen more frequently in immunocompromised people.
 
Pulmonary TB can be mild or severe and present with any of the following symptoms: excessive coughing (sometimes with blood in the sputum), chest pain, general weakness, lack of appetite, weight loss, swollen lymph glands, fever, night sweats, chills, and fatigue. Extrapulmonary TB can also present with fever, fatigue, night sweats, and progressive weakness, but prominent symptoms will typically stem from the affected organ system.
 
Extrapulmonary TB commonly involve the pericardium (thin sac surrounding the heart), lymph nodes (small, oval-shaped cluster of immune cells located throughout the body), urogenital area, gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, adrenal glands, bones, eyes, and skin [3]. If untreated, active TB can be life-threatening.

TB Transmission

TB is spread to susceptible individuals when they breathe in contaminated droplets that are released into the air when an infected person (with Active Tuberculosis) nearby sneezes, coughs, talks or laughs. Humans can also get ill with TB by ingesting unpasteurized milk products contaminated with Mycobacterium bovis, also known as Bovine Tuberculosis [2].

Risk Factors for Progression and Development of Active TB Disease

In general, people at high risk for developing active TB once infected with M. tuberculosis include:

  • People living with HIV/AIDS
  • Children younger than 5 years of age
  • Persons who are receiving immunosuppressive therapy
  • Persons who were recently infected with M. tuberculosis (within the past 2 years)
  • Persons with a history of untreated or inadequately treated TB disease
  • Persons with silicosis, diabetes, chronic renal failure, leukemia, lymphoma, or cancer of the head, neck, or lung
  • Persons who have had a gastrectomy or jejunoileal bypass
  • Persons who weigh less than 90% of their ideal body weight
  • Cigarette smokers and persons who abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Populations defined locally as having an increased incidence of TB disease, possibly including medically underserved or low-income populations [5]

TB Control and Prevention

Individual Level

  • Keep your immune system strong by eating healthy and exercising
  • Avoid exposure to people known to who have active TB.
  • Surgical masks should be worn by patients with active TB to prevent infectious droplets from being expelled into the air.
  • Only consume pasteurized milk products.
  • Travellers at higher risk should have a pre-departure tuberculin skin test (TST) and be re-tested upon their return home.
  • Those at increased risk should also consult their healthcare provider to determine if the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is recommended [2].

Community Level

There are several critical factors that need to be taken into account to implement an effective tuberculosis control and prevention program to protect the community.

  1. Significant resources including public health infrastructure and personnel are required to enact and sustain tuberculosis control programs. Sustainability is critical because control of this disease requires a long-term effort. As such, a strong commitment by government agencies, which can mobilize the necessary resources and infrastructure, is essential for regional control of tuberculosis.
  • Rigorous case finding and treatment is obviously critical to save the affected individuals as well as stop transmission of infection to contacts. Case identification must combine microscopy and clinical symptoms, and treatment should consist of the short-course of directly observed therapy (DOTS) elaborated below.
  • Exhaustive contact tracing for contacts of each active tuberculosis case should be carried out in the field so that new infections can be identified and treated before becoming active cases.
  • A good surveillance system is fundamental to the control of any infectious disease. An administrative system for recording cases and monitoring outcomes is necessary to estimate the occurrence of disease and identify temporal trends and spatial clusters.
  • An adequate supply of tuberculosis medications must be available to populations with endemic tuberculosis. This may seem obvious, and it is, but unfortunately the lack of a consistent supply of medication has hampered many control programs particularly in poor areas of the developing world [3].

Technology

Germicidal ultraviolet lamps can be installed to kill airborne bacteria in buildings where people at high risk of tuberculosis live or congregate. A germicidal lamp is an electric light that produces ultraviolet C (UVC) light. UVC light kills tuberculosis bacteria, including drug-resistant strains, by damaging their DNA so they cannot infect people, grow or divide [6].

TB Treatment

Treating tuberculosis requires a long-term commitment. Specifically, at least 6 months of treatment are required because of the heterogeneous population of M. tuberculosis in an infected individual, which is composed of bacteria in active and dormant states. Medication that is effective against active mycobacteria may not work against latent mycobacteria and, thus, extended treatment ensures that the whole population of M. tuberculosis will eventually be exposed to the drug. Inactive tuberculosis may be treated with an antibiotic, isoniazid (INH), to prevent the TB infection from becoming active. Active tuberculosis is treated, usually successfully, with isoniazid in combination with one or more of several drugs, including rifampin, ethambutol, pyrazinamide, and streptomycin.

However, drug-resistant TB is a serious, as yet unsolved, public-health problem, among several regions including Africa. Undergoing treatment over a long time favors the emergence of drug-resistance gene mutations in the M. tuberculosis population.

Thus, at least two effective drugs must be administered: this reduces the probability of developing drug-resistant bacilli.

Poor patient compliance, lack of detection of resistant strains, and unavailable therapy are also key reasons for the development of drug-resistant TB. Non-adherence can lead to treatment failure in the individual as well as the development of antibiotic resistant forms of M. tuberculosis.

Therefore, adherence to treatment with the full regimen is essential for treatment success. To effect complete resolution of infection in the individual and mitigate the spread of antibiotic resistance in the population, WHO recommends the short-course strategy of directly observed therapy (DOTS) regimen, comprised of four drugs (typically isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol) for two months, followed by two drugs (typically isoniazid and rifampicin) for four months.

DOTS regimen requires a healthcare worker to monitor each tuberculosis patient closely and observe the patient taking each dose of anti-tuberculosis medication to ensure proper compliance [3].

References

1 https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/united-republic-of-tanzania-tb-community-network-a-platform-for-a-stronger-community-response-to-tuberculosis

2 https://www.iamat.org/country/tanzania/risk/tuberculosis

3 http://www.infectionlandscapes.org/2013/04/tuberculosis.html

4 https://www.thetruthabouttb.org/latent-tb/what-is-latent-tb/

5 https://www.cdc.gov/tb/webcourses/tb101/page121.html

6 https://www.everydayhealth.com/tuberculosis/guide/risk-factors-causes-prevention/

CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR IN TANZANIA

By Rosemary David – Art in Tanzania internship

Child labour or child labor refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work.

All over the world, children are being exploited through child labour. This mentally and physically dangerous work interferes with schooling and long-term development -the worst forms include slavery, trafficking, sexual exploitation and hazardous work that put children at risk of death, injury or disease.

CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR IN TANZANIA

Personal Variables

Physical and mental attributes of children influence their abuse. Physical disabilities have long been associated with child abuse and neglect, as these children are often victims of discrimination, sexual exploitation and social exclusion. More often than seldom, the abused or the victims of abuse do not report such cases to the authority, for fear of reprisal by the abuser who may be a parent and due to ignorance.

Socio – economic Aspects

Modern socio-economic developments have diminished the traditional role and power of women. This change in status, has brought about strains in family life and decreased the value of children, resulting into more frequent occurrences of child abuse and neglect.

Social – cultural Aspects

Social-cultural aspects, play a vital role in contributing to the increasing rate of child labour in many developing countries today. Traditionally, children have been viewed as personal property and were generally expected to work. There was a maximum division of labour, where girls were expected to do all the house chores and the boys went hunting. These roles were meant to prepare the children for future adulthood, especially girls who were often subjected to early marriages when they clocked the age of puberty, while their male counterparts went to school. It is however important to note that, some of the household work is too excessive and exploitative and can be categorized under child labour.

Family Characteristics

Family characteristics have played a crucial role in the employment of children based on the type of family (polygamous and monogamous), family size and the employment of parents. Household poverty, is one of the underlying causes of child labour that affects school enrollment, as many cannot afford school fees and school materials. Child labour becomes a majority option for most families for survival, which eventually affects the academic performance of some children, who labour for fees which endangers them physically and psychologically. While it might seem obvious that, children had to fend for their families, parental consent to work, comes in the way as a major issue of maximum consideration in child employment.

Single Parenthood

Many studies indicate that, children who reported their parents as no longer staying together, or those who had lost one of their parents and in most cases drained in poverty, engaged in work. The increasing number of orphans and children raised by single parents, undoubtedly necessitated the employment of children.

Community Variables

At community level, societal transformation and challenges therein, act as a stressor on families and diminishes the capability of families to look after their children properly. The rampant slum developments, which are a manifestation of poor socio-economic conditions and overcrowding, represent a bigger challenge to the life of a child than the society itself.

 Political Factors

Political factors, refer to conditions that cause civil and national strife and unrest including wars inter alia as considered. Children migrate to bigger cities in search for help. These children sometimes go accompanied by their parents and some unaccompanied, especially orphans. War zones, serve as catchment areas for vulnerable children who end up on the streets and involve themselves in child labour for survival.

The Social Capital Theory

The social capital theory offers a beginning point in the theoretical analysis of the street children phenomenon in Tanzania. This theory draws a correlation between family structure and home-leaving. Most of street children end up being employed at small age.

Mikumi National Park

By Farzad Khataslou – Art in Tanzania tourism intern

Mikumi National Park is a favorite safari destination to Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns. It is easily accessible and fair priced trip. being only 2-days trip it is often combined with one extra day at the Udzungwa rain forest.

About Mikumi National Park

Size: 3,230 sq km (1,250 sq miles), the fourth-largest national park in Tanzania, and part of a much larger ecosystem centered on the uniquely vast Selous Game Reserve. Location: 283 km (175 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, north of Selous, and en route to Ruaha, Udzungwa and (for the intrepid) Katavi.

How to get there

A good, surfaced road connects Mikumi to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro, a roughly 4-hour drive.

Also, road connections to Udzungwa rain forest, Ruaha and Selous.

About Mikumi National Park

The Mikumi National Park near Morogoro, Tanzania, was established in 1964. The landscape of Mikumi is often compared to Serengeti. The road that crosses the park divides it into two areas with partially distinct environments. The area north-west is characterized by the alluvial plain of the river basin Mkata. The vegetation of this area consists of savannah dotted with acacia, baobab, tamarinds, and some rare palm. In this area, at the furthest from the road, there are spectacular rock formations of the mountains Rubeho and Uluguru. The southeast part of the park is less rich in wildlife, and not very accessible.

The fauna includes many species characteristic of the African savannah. Changes of seeing a lion who climbs a tree trunk is larger than in Manyara (famous for being one of the few places where the lions exhibit this behavior). The park contains a subspecies of giraffe that biologists consider the link between the Masai giraffe and the reticulated or Somali giraffe. Other animals in the park are elephants, zebras, impala, eland, kudu, black antelope, baboons, wildebeests, and buffaloes. At about 5 km from the north of the park, there are two artificial pools inhabited by hippos. More than 400 different species of birds also inhabit the park.

The Mikumi belongs to the circuit of the wildlife parks of Tanzania, less visited by international tourists and better protected from the environmental point of view. Most of the routes that cross the Mikumi proceed in the direction of the Ruaha National Park and the Selous. The best season for visiting the park is the dry season between May and November, warm weather and beautiful sites that are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Mikumi is Tanzania’s fourth-largest national park. It’s also the most accessible from Dar es Salaam. With guaranteed wildlife sightings, it makes an ideal safari destination for those without much time. Since the completion of the paved road connecting the park gate with Dar es Salaam, Mikumi National Park has been slated to become a hotspot for tourism in Tanzania.

Located between the Uluguru Mountains and the Lumango range, Mikumi is the fourth largest national park in Tanzania and only a few hours’ drive from Tanzania’s largest city. The park has a wide variety of wildlife that can be easy spotted and well acclimatized to game viewing. Its proximity to Dar es Salaam and the amount of wildlife that live within its borders makes Mikumi National Park a popular option for weekend visitors from the city, or for business visitors who don’t have to spend a long time on an extended safari itinerary.

Most visitors come to Mikumi National Park aiming to spot the ‘Big Five’ (cheetah, lion, elephant, buffalo, and rhino). Hippo pools provide close access to the mud-loving beasts, and birdwatching along the waterways is particularly rewarding. Mikumi National Park borders the Selous Game Reserve and Udzungwa National Park, and the three locations make a varied and pleasant safari circuit.

The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplain, the popular centre piece of Mikumi, draws frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains.

Lions survey their grassy kingdom – and the zebra, wildebeest, impala and buffalo herds that migrate across it – from the flattened tops of termite mounds, or sometimes during the rains, from perches high in the trees. Giraffes forage in the isolated acacia stands that fringe the Mkata River, islets of shade favored also by Mikumi’s elephants.

Criss-crossed by a good circuit of game-viewing roads, the Mkata Floodplain is perhaps the most reliable place in Tanzania for sightings of the powerful eland, the world’s largest antelope. The equally impressive greater kudu and sable antelope haunt the miombo- covered foothills of the mountains that rise from the park’s borders.

More than 400 bird species have been recorded, with such colourful common residents as the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated long claw and bateleur eagle joined by a host of European migrants during the rainy season. Hippos are the star attraction of the pair of pools situated 5km north of the main entrance gate, supported by an ever-changing cast of waterbirds.

Mikumi is one of the most reliable places in Tanzania for sightings of the eland, the world’s largest antelope. The equally impressive greater kudu and sable antelope can be found in the miombo woodland-covered foothills of the mountains that rise from the park’s borders. The Lichtenstein’s hartebeest is one of the more unusual antelopes found here.

The Dry season, from June to October, is the best time for wildlife viewing in the park. Wildlife is easier to spot because vegetation is thinner and animals gather around predictable water sources such as the Mkata River, the hippo pool and other waterholes. At the end of the Dry season, during September and October, these waterholes are almost constantly visited by big herds of buffalo and elephant as well as other wildlife.

References:

  1. “Tanzania National parks Corporate Information”. Tanzania Parks. TANAPA. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Mikumi National Park”. Tanzania Tourism. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  3. ^ Collett, Leah; Hawkins, Dawn; ho, Charles; Marwa, William; Norton, Guy (December 2007). A description and evaluation of Malundwe Mountain forest in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. 6th Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) Scientific Conference. Arusha, Tanzania. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  • Wikiepedia

Women’s Empowerment in Accessing Financial Services

By Marina Joseph – Art in Tanzania internship

World Bank views financial inclusion as means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. Financial inclusion expands access to efficient financial services. Achieving inclusive growth means promoting often overlooked groups of people in the society such as women and poor people as they disproportionately face access to quality financial services. Empowering such groups helps increase participation in the economy and their standard of living improves simultaneous 

Women’s World Banking (WWB) is a global network comprised of 39 leading microfinance institutions from 27 countries. The network members are diverse in geography, size, and structure but united in the firm belief that microfinance must remain committed to women as clients, innovators, and leaders. In 2009 WWB was asked to review proposals by the G-20 Financial Inclusion Expert Group which they gladly did as it was an acknowledgement that women face different or additional barriers to entry in accessing finance.

WWB offered 9 suggestions to financial institutions interested in increasing access to finance for poor and low‐income women. The following are the suggestions

  1. Time: Acknowledge constraints on women’s time and mobility
  2. Confidentiality: Give women the choice of who they want involved in financial transactions
  3. Product design: Accommodate all levels of literacy in product design and marketing
  4. Documentation and collateral requirements: Be sensitive to the fact that requirements for documentation and collateral may exclude women  
  5. Loan size: Give women access to a range of loan sizes and structures  
  6. Accounting for cultural norms: Tailor marketing strategies to reach women
  7. Branding: Create a brand position that honors women  
  8. Institutional Culture: Ensure gender positive interactions
  9. Moving beyond credit: Offer a full suite of financial products  

World Bank’s empowerment sourcebook, ‘empowerment is the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor people to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold Empowering Women through Microfinance: Evidence from Tanzania 36 accountable institutions that affect their lives’. In a developing country such as Tanzania financial inclusion for women can have transformative effects. Tanzania’s policy makers have made steps in creating an enabling environment for women’s financial inclusion. 

In 2006 Alliance for financial inclusion (AFI) mentioned efforts that Tanzania is a country is undertaking to bridge that gap. The following are some of the existing and expanding policies to achieve that

Financial inclusion data disaggregated by gender 

The Bank of Tanzania has expressed its intent to collect sex disaggregated data and is in the process of expanding its financial inclusion database collecting data similar to Findex 2014. As a country it has developed policies based on FinScope surveys in 2006, 2009 and 2013, which provide financial inclusion data broken down by gender. A new FinScope survey will be conducted in 2016 and is expected to have an even stronger influence on policy direction.

  • Development of financial infrastructure

Significant progress and development have been made by Tanzania in developing payment infrastructures that are effective alongside its regulatory framework for mobile money. These infrastructures help in building information based on women as clients so they can be better served.  

  • Women’s financial inclusion as an explicit policy objective with quantitative targets

Tanzania’s 2013 Framework gives priority to poor rural households and their enterprises, including low-income women and youth, without specifying gender targets. Following the high-level conference on women’s financial inclusion held in Yamoussoukro in August 2015 and the 7th AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF) held in Maputo in September 2015, the Bank of Tanzania decided to introduce gender targets and indicators in the revised measurement framework, with the possibility of integrating gender issues into the Financial Inclusion National Framework itself ( Alliance for Financial Inclusion, 2016). 

  • Financial consumer protection regulation

The Financial Inclusion National Council recognizes the importance of financial consumer protection which has been emphasized with the growth of digital financial services. The Bank of Tanzania sees consumer     protection as particularly important for women as they are considered to be more vulnerable to the environment. 

THE PRESENT STATUS OF MALARIA VACCINE

By Mazhar Shahen – Art in Tanzania internship

In Tanzania over 90% of the population live in areas where there is risk of malaria. In Africa, Tanzania is the third largest population at risk of malaria. Most of the victims of the disease are children, with around 80,000 death annually caused by malaria. In Tanzania, the Kagera Region on the western shore of Lake Victoria has the highest risk of contracting the disease. The Arusha Region is a lower risk area. However due to climate change and people migration caused an increase in the migration of mosquitoes and caused areas that are malaria free to be exposed to the disease. 

MALARIA

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by the transmission through an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The infected mosquito is a carrier of Plasmodium parasite. The parasite is released into the human bloodstream through the mosquito bite. The parasite survives in tropical and subtropical climates. After the parasite enters the human bloodstream it travels to the liver to mature. Maturity of the parasite takes several days, then the parasite goes back to the bloodstream to travel to the red blood cells this time. Once the red blood cells are infected, the parasite starts multiplying withing 2-3 days, causing the infected red blood cells to burst. 

Malaria is an acute febrile disease, which means it shows signs of fever when infected. Symptoms appear in a non-immune person 10-15 days after the infection has occurred. Early symptoms are mild fever, chills, and headache. Since it is mild, it makes the malaria disease harder to detect early on. If not treated the plasmodium parasite can progress to severe illness, usually leading to death.

Severe malaria in children could lead to severe anaemia, respiratory distress, and/or cerebral malaria. Adults are at risk of multi-organ failure. 

In 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. With most of the cases and deaths are in the sub-Saharan Africa. This indicates that African community is in need of a malaria vaccine as soon as possible. Malaria control has been better, with the number of cases dropping significantly over the last decade, with the number of children dying from malaria being halved. 

MALARIA VACCINE

Vaccines are a hot topic in the world we live in. Vaccines help us strengthen our immune system against specific disease which protects us from that illness. Vaccines are usually needle injections but can also be given by mouth or sprayed into the nose.

WHO claims that the malaria vaccine is capable of reducing malaria cases by 75% and put us on goal of the eradication of the illness. Malaria is responsible for 219 million cases each year with an estimated 660,000 deaths of the illness.

Tanzania has the third largest population that is at risk of the illness in Africa, with 90% of the population at risk of contracting malaria. Tanzania has 10 to 12 million cases of malaria annually, with most of them being children. The number of cases has been controlled a lot better of the decade leading to significant decrease, and number of children dying from malaria halved. However, due to climate change and the migration of people malaria cases are rising in areas that were considered low risk in the past. This is complicating the fight against malaria. 

Vaccine RTS,S acts on Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite in the world and specifically in Africa. The vaccine is the first and only successful vaccine for malaria, which helped in reduction of children death in Africa. This vaccination is part of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Progamme (MVIP), this program is established by WHO to deliver the vaccine in selected areas of Africa with the help of each country’s governments. The 3 African countries that are currently in pilot introduction are Ghana, Malawi and Kenya. The goal is to supply the whole region by 2023. Vaccine RTS,S is considered a safe vaccine, and no proven direct side effects are there. The pharmaceutical giant GSK will be conducting a number of Phase 4 studies in the 3 African countries chosen for pilot. 

In 1987 the discovery of a synthetic peptide polymer (SPf66) in Columbia enabled the development of the first vaccine candidate. Tanzania was the second country after Columbia to participate the clinical trials of SPf66. This indicates that historically Tanzania has an advantage as researchers will have a deeper pool of information in Tanzania compared to other African countries. Researcher George M Bwire states in his article that the inclusion of Tanzania in the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program for the current RTS, S vaccine is crucial.

REFERENCES

  1. Agnandji, S. T., Agnandji, S. T., Asante, K. P., Lyimo, J., Vekemans, J., Soulanoudjingar, S. S., . . . Abdulla, S. (2010). Evaluation of the Safety and Immunogenicity of the RTS,S/AS01E Malaria Candidate Vaccine When Integrated in the Expanded Program of Immunization. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 202(7), 1076-1087. Retrieved 2 11, 2021, from https://academic.oup.com/jid/article-abstract/202/7/1076/837083
  2. Bwire, George & Sanga, Anna. (2019). Malaria control in Tanzania: Current status and future prospects. 2664-8490..
  3. Dimala, C. A., Kika, B. T., Kadia, B. M., & Blencowe, H. (2018). Current challenges and proposed solutions to the effective implementation of the RTS, S/AS01 Malaria Vaccine Program in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 13(12). Retrieved 2 11, 2021, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30596732
  4. Galactionova, K., Tediosi, F., Camponovo, F., Smith, T., Gething, P. W., & Penny, M. A. (2017). Country specific predictions of the cost-effectiveness of malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 in endemic Africa. Vaccine, 35(1), 53-60. Retrieved 2 11, 2021, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s0264410x16311033
  5. Malaria vaccine implementation PROGRAMME (MVIP). (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/malaria-vaccine-implementation-programme
  6. Malaria in Tanzania. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2021, from https://malariaspot.org/en/eduspot/malaria-in-tanzania/
  7. White, N. J. (2011). A vaccine for malaria. The New England Journal of Medicine, 365(20), 1926-1927. Retrieved 2 11, 2021, from https://nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejme1111777

BANKING IN TANZANIA

By BEN K GWAMAKA – Art in Tanzania Internship

gwamakaben25@gmail.com

INTRODUCTION

–Banking, The provision of deposit and loan products normally distinguishes banks from other types of financial firms. Deposit products pay out money on demand or after some notice. Deposits are liabilities for banks, which must be managed if the bank is to maximize profit. Likewise, they manage the assets created by lending. –

Banks, are Institutions that match up savers and borrowers help ensure that economies function smoothly. Although banks do many things, their primary role is to take in funds called deposits from those with money, pool them, and lend them to those who need funds. Banks are intermediaries between depositors (who lend money to the bank) and borrowers (to whom the bank lends money).–The amount banks pay for deposits and the income they receive on their loans are both called interest.

TYPES OF BANKS

1. Central Banks:

Over and above the various types of banks mentioned above, there exists in almost all countries today a Central Bank. It is usually controlled and quite often owned by the government of the country.

2. Agricultural or Co-operative Banks:

The main business of agricultural banks is to provide funds to farmers. They are worked on the co-operative principle. Long-term capital is provided by land mortgage banks, nowadays called land-development banks, while short-term loans are given by co-operative societies and co-operative banks. Long-term loans are needed by the farmers for purchasing land or for permanent improvements on land, while short-period loans help them in purchasing implements, fertilizers and seeds. 

3. Commercial Banks:

These banks play the most important role in modern economic organization. Their business mainly consists of receiving deposits, giving loans and financing the trade of a country. They provide short-term credit, i.e., lend money for short periods. This is their special feature.

4. Savings Banks:

These banks (perform the useful service of collecting small savings. Commercial banks too run “savings departments” to mobilize the savings of men of small means. The idea is to encourage thrift and discourage hoarding.

5. Industrial Banks:

There are a few industrial banks in India. But in some other countries, notably Germany and Japan, these banks perform the function of advancing loans to industrial undertakings. Industries require capital for a long period for buying machinery and equipment. 

6.  Utility of Banks:

An efficient banking system is absolutely necessary for a country, if it is to progress economically. The services that an efficient banking system can render a country are indeed very valuable. Undeveloped banking system is not only an index of economic backwardness of a country, it is also an important cause of it. The banking system can be useful in the following ways, in addition to what has been mentioned in the functions of banks.

7. Exchange Banks

Exchange banks finance mostly the foreign trade of a country. Their main function is to discount, accept and collect foreign bills of exchange. They also buy and sell foreign currencies and help businessmen to convert their money into any foreign money they need. Their share in the internal trade of a country is usually small. In addition, they carry on ordinary banking business too.

TYPES OF BANKING

1. Unit Banking:

• In unit banking, all the operations are performed from a single branch.

• It is a limited way of banking where banks operate only from a single branch or a few branches in the same area taking care of the local population of that area.

• The size of the unit banks is small as compared to branch banking. 

• Due to the small size of the Unit Banks, decision making is very fast as the management enjoys more autonomy and discretionary powers at their disposal. 

• Due to the single unit of the Bank, the risks are not diversified. 

• A customer having an account in a specified branch must undergo all banking activities through that branch. 

2. Mixed Banking: 

• Mixed Banking is the system in which banks undertake activities of commercial and investment banking together.

• It can also be described as the dual functioning of investment banking and commercial banking.

• These banks give short-term and long-term loans to industrial concerns. Industries don’t have to run to different places for differential financial needs. Mixed Banking thus promote rapid industrialization. 

• Mixed Banking may however pose a grave threat to liquidity of a bank and lead to bad debts. 

3. Universal Banking: 

• Universal banking is a system of banking under which big banks undertake a variety of banking services like commercial banking, insurance, investment banking, merchant banking, mutual funds etc.

 • It involves providing all the above services to the customers under one roof by financial experts who can handle multiple financial products. 

• This makes the banking operations economical and boosts investor confidence. However, if these kinds of banks fail, it costs huge losses as well as causes a huge dip in consumer confidence.

4. Narrow Banking: 

• The system of narrow banking involves mobilizing the funds towards risk-free investments mostly government securities. 

• It can be considered the opposite of Universal Banking.

5. Relationship Banking: 

 • In Relationship Banking, the customer needs are understood by the banks and then appropriate banking services are offered to the customers according to their needs.

• This type of Banking helps banks to gather important information about the borrowers which in turn helps them to determine the creditworthiness of the customers.

6. Branch Banking:

 • Branch banking is engaging in banking activities such as accepting deposits or extending loans at facilities or locations away from a bank’s home office or headquarter.

 • Branch banking allows a financial institution to expand its services to an area outside of the home location, functioning as an extension of the home location. It can be a more cost-effective approach because not all the locations are required to offer the same levels of services as the home location, allowing smaller offices to provide key services while larger locations provide additional services.

THE IMPACTS OF COVID 19 ON TANZANIA’S BANKING AND FINANCIAL SECTOR

–We assess the impact COVID-19 has had on the banking and financial services sector in Tanzania and what policy measures have been introduced through the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Tanzania to maintain financial stability. These measures include the ease of requirements on Statutory Minimum Reserves, discount rates, haircuts on government securities, regulatory flexibility on restructuring loans, transaction limits plus daily balance amounts for mobile money operators.

1. Recent profits–

Despite the COVID-19 situation, some major commercial banks in Tanzania have reported an increase of net profits during the quarter ending June 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019. It remains to be seen whether a continuation of the strong financial performance will be reflected in the quarterly reports for the period ending September 2020.

2.  Measures implemented by banks and financial institutions–

Banks and financial institutions in Tanzania have taken advantage of the BOT policy measures to implement various relief measures to ease the effects of COVID-19. –Most banks have implemented relief packages for their customers especially small and medium enterprises in an effort to offer financial reprieve from the effects of COVID-19. The relief packages include payment holidays (moratoriums) ranging from 3 – 6 months and restructuring of loans to extend repayment periods.

3. UNDP impact assessment–

In April 2020, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) issued a Rapid Social-Economic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 in Tanzania (the UNDP Impact Assessment). It took note of key stakeholders in the finance sector, including over 40 corporate banks including 30 commercial, 6 community and 2 development banks. Microfinance institutions and mobile money operators were also acknowledged as financial players in the country.

4. BOT statements and bulletins–

The BOT published a Monetary Policy Statement of 2020/2021 in June 2020 and an Economic Bulletin for the Quarter Ending June 2020 (the June 2020 Bulletin).– According to the Monetary Policy Statement, the banking sector was stable as banks had enough capital reserves to withstand financial hurdles.

The recorded ratio of core capital to total risk weighted assets and off-balance sheet exposure as at April 2020 was 17.4% whereas the minimum regulatory benchmark is 10.0%. Furthermore, banks remained liquid as the ratio of liquid assets to demand liabilities was around 32.7% whereas the minimum regulatory requirement is 20.0%.–

However, the ratio of NPLs to gross loans rose to 11% in April 2020 compared to 10.7% in June 2019, hence a deterioration of the quality of banks’ assets. This was largely caused by the slowdown of business due to COVID-19.–In the June 2020 Bulletin, it was reported that the BOT sustained an accommodative monetary policy and enhanced liquidity easing measures to shield the economy from the effects of COVID-19. 

5. Noticeable impacts–

NPLs: Under Tanzanian law, loans are declared NPLs when the obligation for repayment is past due for more than 90 days, or when the loan is classified as substandard, doubtful or a loss.–

Business engaged in import and export, transportation, tourism and accommodation have been heavily hit by measures of countering COVID-19. Following the BOTs policy measures to tackle the effects of COVID-19, banks have restructured loans to their customers by reducing interest rates, instalment amounts and extension of the return period. Banks have also issued moratoriums to the extent of giving relief to their customers. However, the issue of NPLs persisted and most businesses are still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.–

Deterioration of customer and bank relationship: this is relative to the issue of NPLs as customers and banks failed to establish a common ground due to operational challenges for both sides.

PROBLEMS FACING BANKING IN TANZANIA

1. Raising expectations

–Today’s clients are savvier, smarter, and more informed. They expect a high degree of convenience and personalization out of their financial service experience. Altering client demographics plays a vital role in these heightened expectations. Each new generation of financial service clients is having a better understanding of technology. As a result, there is an elevated expectation of digitalized prospects.

2. Raised competition–

The financial industry is facing threats that target the most crucial areas of the service. These threats have forced many financial organizations to go after partnerships as a stop-gap precaution. To sustain a competitive edge, credit unions and traditional banks need to devise substantial measures that will counter threats to their service.

3. Consistent innovation–

Substantial success in a business entails agility, insight, continuous innovation, and stable client relationships. Benchmarking useful practices across the whole industry can offer valuable insight, assisting credit unions and banks to remain competitive. Benchmarking is not enough, it only enables the institutions to maintain the pace, and it doesn’t lead to any innovation. Businesses ought to do benchmarking but remain innovative if they wish to thrive.

4. Altering Business models–

The cost that is linked with compliance management is among the numerous financial service challenges forcing banking institutions to alter the manner they conduct business. The elevated cost of capital integrated with unrelenting low-interest rates, decreased proprietary trading, and decreasing return on equity are all pressurizing traditional source’s financial profitability. But the shareholder prospects remain unwavering.

5. Regulatory compliance–

This is among the most vital financial industry challenges. The dramatic increase in regulatory fees has steered this. Compliance with various set regulations can significantly strain financial institutions as they gather resources.

6. A Cultural shift–

From thermostats that allow you to heat the surrounding to artificial intelligence-enabled wearables that monitor the user’s health is the technology that has been embedded in our culture. The same has extended to the banking industry.– This cultural transition towards an innovative-first attitude is a reflection of the greater industry-broad acceptance of digital transformation.

7. Customer retention–

Financial services clients expect meaningful and personalized experiences through intuitive and straightforward interfaces on any device, anywhere, and at any time. While customer experience can be tricky to quantify, client turnover is substantial, and client loyalty is rapidly becoming an endangered idea.

Client loyalty is a product born through sturdy relationships that start by comprehending the client and their expectations.–Understanding the client and engaging with them appropriately can result in client satisfaction, therefore, decreasing customer churn. Financial institutions can also use Bots, which is an effective and efficient technology for delivering superior client services. Bots can assist in increasing client engagement without incurring costs.

CHALLANGES HINDERING FINANCIAL INCLUSIONS IN TANZANIA

a) Lack of education 

In this, it was established that, lack of sufficient education or knowledge concerning with access to various financial services is a problem to majority of Tanzanians which in turn affects the overall people’s access to finances. Basically, it was realized that majority of people within the country lacks information on various services particularly loans in terms of access and repayments. 

Also, other seems to lack the important knowledge on the requirements for securing such loans. Hence, due to this, one of the basic ways that can be used to improve people’s access to financial services is the provision of education to the public, so as to remove the wrong long-stuck mentality on various services to the public. 

b) Low technology (ICT)

 In this part the major problem was realized to be the low information communication technology infrastructure which causes uneven distribution of information between the financial institutions and the people utilizing the financial services. In this, banks need to make significant improvements in various areas such as Management Information System. The improvements of technology will assist in uniting many people in different geographical locations. 

c) High costs associated with the important financial services 

Another challenge that was highlighted was the costs that are associated with the consumption of financial services. In this various charge such as the interest rates and service charges on using ATMs were sought to exert pressure on the customers which in turn affects their general usage of the services. Basically, in this, it was realized that the charges that are put on various services are in most cases destructive to the overall mood of the respondents to utilize the services of the financial institution. In order to curb this, there is a need to harmonize the overall charges so that the users can be comfortable in paying them without any problem.

d) Regulatory requirements

Regulatory requirements such as know your customers rules that have been introduced to prevent money laundering can also make it difficult for poor people to open even a bank account as they may not have the necessary documentation. It has also been observed that many people do not have collateral or credit record due to the lack of proper credit bureau.

CONCLUSIONS

–The banking sector is undergoing a radical transformation. The shifts include changing business models, disruptive technologies, FinTechs, and compliance pressures. The emergence of non-bank startups, which is also referred to as FinTechs, is altering the competitive landscape in the banking industry.

It has forced traditional institutions to reorganize the way they conduct business.–The Tanzanian banking sector embarked on a plan for financial liberalization in the 90’s in order to sustain the country’s economic growth. This has been accomplished through the mobilization of financial resources as well as by increasing competition in the financial markets and by enhancing the quality and efficiency of credit allocation. As a result of the liberalization, new merchant banks, commercial banks, bureaus de change, credit bureaus and other financial institutions have entered the market.

REFERENCES

–http://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0025/113299/economic-broadband-oecd-countries.pdf

–OECD (2013), “Broadband Networks and Open Access”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 218, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k49qgz7crmr-en–

Finance and Economics, C50, New York University Salomon Center, Leonard N. Stern School of Business.–

Heffernan, S.A. (1996), Modern Banking in Theory and Practice, Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Donations to An-Nabawiya Nursery School

school2 SebastienBeunA small nursery in the village of Fuoni, pronounced An – na – Ba – wee –yah, built in 2012 by Ms Asia Issa Jecha and Mr Hassan Mwinyi kombo as part of a women’s project.

The school is run by 6 local teachers who devote their time from 07:30 in the morning to 12:00pm, five days a week, in order to help educate the young local children. The school initially had 93 students and now have at least 100 local children who attend the nursery for free. The nursery building is also used from 19:00 to 20:00 for private tuition classes; these are held by different teachers.

teaching3-SebastienBeunThe children learn English, Maths, Science, Swahili, Arabic, Art and Religious Studies. Art in Tanzania have been involved with the nursery since 2014 and have provided a total number of 10 volunteers who have helped teach the children and also assisted the local teachers, by, for example, providing them with one to one English lessons.

The first day we visited the nursery was to deliver four benches that were kindly donated by a former Swedish volunteer; altogether there are four classrooms, however, all four of the benches were placed in one classroom. The aim is to fill all four classrooms with these little benches so that all of the children can benefit and enjoy learning in a comfortable environment. All the children wanted to sit on them and were extremely excited and happy with the generous donation.

When we went to visit the nursery again, we spoke to the head teacher, Mrs Latifa Mahfoudh, a stunning and pleasant woman who you could see loved working with the children and had always had a passion for teaching; we sat down and had a long chat at about the nursery and what her ambitions were for the nursery and its students.

Latifa pointed out some of the improvements to the actual building that needed to be carried out; a new roof was needed as the current one leaked, new windows were needed as well as a more stable and safer wall/fence around the parameters of the school with a gate, in order to keep the children safe and protected. Two of the classrooms were not plastered so it was impossible to provide a more pleasant environment for the children to learn in, as you can see from the pictures, the classrooms were dark and unpleasant, even with the sun blazing outside. The nursery also needed to build new toilets for the little boys and girls to use.

As well as the children’s facilities, Latifa showed us her own office, which really does need some attention, it would help her to have a proper carpet that covered all of the floor, new stable chairs and shelves so that when volunteers or guests come, they too can use the office and have a pleasant and clean workspace to work in, without feeling your chair is going to giveaway any second! Latifa would also like to go on computer courses and get computer for her office to make her work easier.

Upon our return, three volunteers, Louise Proctor, Claire Manning and Elizabeth Drey flew out to Zanzibar from Ireland and brought with them a very generous donation of over £4000 for the nursery; with their help and local workers, building work has now commenced, with a new roof and plastering. The work on the wall/fence will be started next, and then the new windows will be fitted. The donations will also help to build new toilets for the little boys and girls. A further £3296 has been donated by Whitney Harris-Linton from Michigan (£77 put towards the roof), Melissa Wolsley from Findlay, Australia (donated £99 for a black board to be fitted in the classroom) £2600 and £520 have also been donated from more kind donators. The money given will be used to finish renovating the school and any money left over will be used on a new project in Madale, Dar-Es-Salam, subject to the donors consent.

kiswahili sebastienIf you would like to volunteer at the nursery or donate; your time, skills, money, toys, stationary or school equipment, do contact Edward Busungu at Art in Tanzania and get involved, it certainly is a fantastic project and the children and staff are simply delightful to be around.

If you do wish to teach at the school, we would recommend spending more than two weeks, as this will enable you to build a much better rapport with the children and staff, allowing them to put into practice what you teach and you will be able to witness the difference that your presence can make in their lives and futures.

 

Uzi Island needs environmental interns and volunteers

Road to Uzi

Road to Uzi

Uzi is a small island in the south of Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja. The road to Uzi is called Nyeker road; manmade using rocks and stones with at least four types of mangroves on either side. The road to Uzi resembles the partition of the River Nile in the story of Moses; simply mesmerising. The road has been built slowly over 50 years. It started off as a small lane for walking; this was then made wider for the use of bicycles, then for cows and finally it was made even wider for the use of motor vehicles.

The drive to Uzi Island is very beautiful, but very bumpy, if you suffer from motion sickness, be sure to sit at the front of the vehicle or make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Our informative and helpful guide, Isshaka, met us at a resting point, made with the help of volunteers for when the tide comes in. The water can rise up to two metres when there is a full moon. When the tide is high you can goDSC03795 fishing. The land in Zanzibar is so fertile we were able to plant four mangrove seeds each, Twenty (Edward) steps from the resting point, on the right, which fulfilled a personal ambition to plant trees that will definitely grow.

The town to Uzi and has been there for around 10 years along with three wells on the Island that provide drinking water. A Dala Dala, number 334, from Uzi to Stone town takes around one hour.

Uzi baskets made by women's group

Uzi baskets made by women’s group

The main sources of income for the Island are from fishing, farming and carpenter work. There are also woman groups on the island and the woman craft their own fruit baskets that Art in Tanzania export to Finland and also sell on EBay for around 25 Dollars.

Within the mangroves, women from the villages have placed plastic bottles across the water in order to collect two types of seaweed, they use plastic boats to collect these when the tide is high; 100 of these plastic boats were donated by a friend of Isshaka. The seaweed is then made into soaps and sold in order to provide income to the villagers.

helloIsshaka went to school in Uzi then to Ston etown to study further. Isshaka is very passionate about wanting to make a difference and help people live a better life in Uzi. Isshaka does 2 radio broadcasts throughout the week; one where he brings awareness of environmental issues on Uzi Island and what others can do to help, and another broadcast called Sunset Zanzibar, where he talks about tourism and the importance to the island and how tourism can help the island develop.

Uzi grows many fruits such as Mangoes, Oranges, Guava, Yams and Cassava. Alrge Baobab trees also grow in Uzi; the villages used to cut these down, however Isshaka has been campaigning to keep these trees in order to house bee boxes that provide honey to the locals; honey season is September to October. The Baobab fruit when mixed with water and sugar is a good source of Vitamin C.

Biogas from biowaste

Biogas from biowaste

The Island really needs creative interns and volunteers passionate about the environment and sustainable development. Also people that can help the women create innovative arts and crafts in order to sell and help provide an income for many households on Uzi Island.

For volunteering at Uzi  you can contact  Art in Tanzania info (at) artintanzania.org

Helping the kids in Yusuf School

YusufFounded by Yusuf Kombo Juma, a father of six children, who witnessed the problems and challenges of education and set out on a mission to tackle the issue, he sold his own land and properties and got creative in raising money in order to fund his vision.

Yusuf started his school with just one nursery class with 30 local children in 2010, this then grew each year and now the school has two nursery classes and five secondary classes with 95 local children attending the school for 8000 TZS per month, the eldest students are aged 13. The school runs from 07:30 to 12:00/ 12:45 for the older students. There are seven local teachers. Yusuf is hoping to build another classroom for those older than this, but will need funds to build it.

donatedArt in Tanzania has been working with this school since 2011; they helped expand the school from one class room to what it is now, through Art in Tanzania two volunteers have helped out for three months, helping the students and the teachers also, a volunteer from the UK taught the teachers ways of teaching for two weeks which the teachers found very helpful. Yusuf said that good education brings in more students so volunteers are very much welcomed to help support in whichever way they can.

girl school-SebastienBeunChildren of all faiths attend the school and learn, Maths, English, Science, Swahili, Arabic and some learn about Islam. There will be opportunities to teach the children different languages, such as French and German if volunteers wished to do so. If you don’t want to teach you can simply provide help and support for the children and teachers, you could even set up clubs or different activities for the children, there is something for everyone.

In order to expand the school, Yusuf wishes to buy the plot of land next to the school building to create three new classes for the school. For this he requires 4 million TZS (approximately £1450) to buy the land, and then 3 million TZS (approximately £1060) to build one classroom.

DSC04539Yusuf also has an ambition to build a centre for children near the Yusuf school on a plot of land he already owns, this would provide shelter and education for orphans in need. To build around five rooms Yusuf would require around 9 million TZS (approximately £3200) the centre would then need, beds and other furnishings to provide for the children living in the centre.

Yusuf spoke about how some of the children come to school in really bad conditions; these children need support in many ways, not just teaching.

If you would like to volunteer at this school, or to donate, stationary, teaching material, desks, chairs, clothes for the children, bags or office equipment you time or money, get in touch with Edward Busungu at Art in Tanzania for more information.