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end hunger in AfricaWhen Sirjeff Dennis was 17, he founded Jefren Agrifriend Solutions, a poultry business working to end hunger in Africa and eradicate poverty. A student at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dennis uses his leadership and knowledge to successfully run the organization while finding innovative ways to end hunger-related hardships.

Jefren Agrifriend Solutions works by providing communities in Tanzania with affordable chicken meat and eggs. Dennis was inspired at a young age to counter hunger after witnessing the death of a neighbor’s seven-month-old son, who passed from malnutrition.

Dennis founded the organization by saving the money he earned from joining Tanzania’s compulsory national service’s training program.

He earned $20 a month and was in the program for three months. Instead of spending the money on clothes or personal items, he put it away in hopes of starting the business.

At the end of the program, he used the money to purchase chickens and raise chickens in his yard.

Dennis was soon accepted into a local university and had received a small loan from the government to pay for school. The young entrepreneur used as little money from the loan as he could, living off of mostly bread and water for several months, so he could save for the business.

Thanks to his sacrifice, the business now produces roughly 2,000 chickens a month. Dennis markets poultry to informal traders, who sell the produce at nearly half the price of their competitors. This allows locals to purchase a good supply of food at a more affordable price.

Although the company has helped improve the slums of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania significantly, there have been many issues Dennis was forced to overcome.

When he was 18, he left the business in the hands of an employee while he studied at university. Unfortunately, the chickens went unattended and all died from a severe disease when Dennis returned from school.

However, he quickly overcame the situation by raising money to purchase more chickens. Now, nearly four years later, the company continues to thrive in Tanzania.

Last year, Dennis became one of 12 finalists for the Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier award for young entrepreneurs.

He believes poultry and vegetable farming is the start of a more nutritional and profitable future in the fight to end hunger in Africa.

Julia Hettiger

Photo: Flickr

Tanzania_Women_Cricket_Africa_sport_female
Historically, cricket in Tanzania has not been a sport played by the nation’s indigenous population. Those with backgrounds from countries with strong cricket programs, such as India and the United Kingdom, traditionally dominated the sport. That demographic has been changing, however, ever since 1999 when Zully Rehemtulla, chairman of the Tanzania Cricket Association, and former player Kazim Nasser became set on bringing cricket to all Tanzanians.

In the initial stages, Rehemtulla estimates that only about 150 people in Tanzania played cricket. He and Nasser decided that it was unacceptable for the sport to not permeate the majority of the country and started to focus their attention on bringing the sport to schools in Dar es Salaam, the capital.

Since then, and after about a century of non-indigenous participation in cricket, the sport has taken off, with Rehemtulla estimating that roughly 15,000 people now play in Tanzania. In August 2013, the International Cricket Council ranked the men’s Tanzanian team at 30th in the world.

Women in Tanzania have joined the game too. Though the Tanzanian women’s cricket team was eliminated from the last two World Cups early into qualification rounds, women’s participation has increased significantly.

Rehemtulla and Nasser state that they run into many barriers, due to Tanzania being one of the most impoverished nations in the world, when attempting to boost the participation of adolescent girls in cricket.

Moreover, they state that when girls become teenagers in Tanzania, their families put pressure on them to get jobs and contribute to family income. In order to offset this hurdle, the pair began offering services to girls who wanted to start playing cricket. They offered housing, HIV and malaria awareness classes, as well as, of course, cricket coaching to make them better players and in the future, effective coaches themselves.

The results of this program were very successful, with women not only continuing to play cricket, but also with many attending universities and maintaining lucrative jobs. Nasser and Rehemtulla report that many of the girls in the program are now financially comfortable and can make up to five times as much as low-wage workers in Tanzania.

Nasser explains that he and Rehemtulla have gotten to know the girls in the program and can serve as mentors and aid in their future development.

“We have spent five years with them so we try to do what is best for them. We train them so they get employment instead of going to work as house maids.” Furthermore, he states, “We as an association tried to give them classes and pay the school fees. We tried our best to help them to ensure they have better lives in the future.”

Cricket is also growing in other African nations. There has, for instance, been increased financial investment in cricket programs, including plans to build a new cricket stadium in Rwanda, largely to support the development of its new women’s team. Cricket has already become the second most popular sport in South Africa, whose men’s team, the Proteas, is globally competitive and whose amateur women’s team is gaining recognition.

Though the Tanzanian women’s team has not made it to the cricket World Cup, Tanzania has participated in a World Cup event. In 1975, Tanzanian athletes competed as a part of an East Africa team that included Uganda, Zambia and Kenya.

Tanzania is still far from achieving its goal of having premier, globally-recognized cricket teams, but with programs supporting female athletes and an increased investment in cricket and cricketers, one day Tanzania could prove its athletic prowess.

Kaylie Cordingley

Sources: BBC Sport, AllAfrica
Photo: BBC News

Poverty_in_Dar_es_Salaam_Tanzania
With a name that quite literally translates into “house of peace,” one might expect Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, to be fraught with peace and prosperity. However, contrary to its namesake, this locale still grapples with impoverishment, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than $530 USD.

Despite this low per capita GNI, Dar es Salaam remains one of the world’s fastest growing cities as an influx of rural farmers from outlaying Tanzanian villages migrate in hopes of success in the city.  Not only is Dar es Salaam one of the world’s fastest growing future municipalities, it is also the largest city in Tanzania, hosting over 4 million residents. A key characteristic of the city is a proliferation of urban sprawl placed in jeopardy by severely inadequate infrastructure.

In an interview with BBC news, Rolens Elias, one of the many immigrants in Dar es Salaam, attests that “It has been hard to set up a life here. I came here by myself and had to wait until I had enough money to bring my wife and family. We all live in one room, but it’s a better life than in the village.” According to Start.org, approximately 50% of the city’s most deprived inhabitants survive on a daily income of $1 USD- an income that falls short of the cost of utilities and adequate healthcare.

It is not as if this widespread impoverishment has gone unnoticed. Many programs have attempted to tackle poverty in Dar es Salaam, however, none of these initiatives have proved fruitful, undermined by insufficient leadership, planning, regulation, and resource constraints.

However, regardless of the humble living conditions in Dar es Salaam, the city still proves more opportune and accommodating than the more rural regions of Tanzania- a country that has consistently ranked among the top ten poorest countries in the world. Indeed, approximately 80% of the country’s impoverished live in rural households with the wealthier members of the populace living within less-destitute urban milieus, such as Dar es Salaam.

By 2015, Tanzania is projected to accomplish three of the seven critical Millennium Development Goals, falling short in the areas of education, maternal health, poverty eradication, malnutrition, and environmental sustainability.Thus, despite present poverty, Dar es Salaam, and moreover, Tanzania, can progress towards a more stable economy, guided by proper leadership and global support.

Phoebe Pradhan

Sources: Rural Poverty Project, Start.org, BBC, IFAD, World Bank
Photo: National Geographic