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Today, 70 percent of Africans and 95 percent of those living in rural areas do not have access to electricity. Although many countries are still lacking access to electricity, there are some inspiring leaders making a difference in establishing electricity in Africa.  Particularly, George Mtemahanji has spearheaded the movement towards implementing solar energy in Tanzania.

Bringing Solar Energy to Tanzania

Mtemahanji was born in Ifakara, a Tanzanian village located in the Kilombero District of Morogoro Region. In his village, poverty rates are very high and education completion rates are very low. As a young adult, Mtemahanji was able to pursue his education in Italy. Mtemahanji’s passion for clean energy grew throughout high school and technical college, where he studied to become a renewable energy technician. Upon graduation in 2012 from IPSIA Ferrari, Manuel Rolando and Mtemahanji co-founded SunSweet Solar Ltd. The company designs and installs Solar Hybrid Microgrid Systems that supply electricity to rural communities in Africa, and more specifically, in Tanzania.

SunSweet Solar

Connecting rural areas to the power grid is an expensive process. However, solar energy has the ability to cut these high costs in the long-term. SunSweet allows customers to purchase energy via mobile phones, expanding energy access to schools and hospitals. Families who live in rural areas can also connect to power easily for a mere 15 cents per day. As of 2016, the technology has been implemented throughout six villages and provides energy to about 25,000 people.

One system, the Eco-Friendly Village Solar system, can meet the energy demands of a village 24 hours a day. This system is durable, where it can roughly last 20 years before needing to be replaced. Additionally, there are systems in place to help communities avoid electrical blackouts. This is especially meant for villages that are not connected to the national electrical grid (off-grid).

Impact on Medical Dispensary

With the collaboration of the Kilombero District Council, SunSweet has designed a solar photovoltaic system that has the capacity to satisfy the energy demand of an entire medical dispensary. Further, the system will provide energy each day for more than 25 years.

Called the RuDEK (Rural Dispensary Energy Kit), this kit has the ability to store energy for emergency dispensaries in less than three hours. First installed in 2016, the system stores additional energy for rainy seasons and cloudy days. By supporting dispensaries, more people will receive high-quality health services. Some of the direct benefits include women giving birth with more than candlelight, vaccination and medication storage in a refrigerator, and doctors having clear visuals of ailments.

Educational Benefits of Solar Energy in Tanzania

SunSweet’s first major contract was installing a solar power plant at the Benignis Girls Secondary School. The system aimed to support 236 lights, dozens of computers and fans in a majority of the classrooms. Though this was logistically challenging, SunSweet was successful in the project. With the installation of the solar power plant, students’ testing performance increased from 81 to 94 percent.

Looking Forward to a Bright Future

Two years after the company’s inception, SunSweet Solar was nominated for the prestigious Anzisha Prize, an award for young entrepreneurs in Africa. The exposure given to the company has attracted many opportunities that will support energy development throughout Africa. Further, support from Denmark, Brazil and Sweden will launch the company to take on greater projects.

Mtehamanji has since spoken with the Tanzania private sector foundation, the Tanzania investment center, the Tanzanian rural electrification agency, and many others to implement sustainable energy. With an official FuturaSun partnership, an Italian company, and a contract for a future partnership with Trine, a Swedish company, the future of SunSweet Solar looks as bright as ever.

Janice Athill

Photo: Flickr

TB in TanzaniaTanzania is a country located in East Africa that is home to 54 million people. Unfortunately, tuberculosis is a big issue within the country. Tanzania currently ranks within the top 30 countries worldwide that are most affected by tuberculosis. While the national TB budget has consistently stood at around $60 million. However, NGOs like APOPO are also doing their part to fight TB in Tanzania.

Why APOPO is Needed

Historically, Tanzania has struggled to supply clinics with rapid forms of testing. But this is where APOPO helps to bridge the gap. APOPO is an NGO fighting TB in Tanzania by using specially trained rats to detect cases of the disease. Along with the work this group does in Tanzania, it also helps fight against tuberculosis in Mozambique and Ethiopia. Since the program in Tanzania first launched in 2007, the group grew from collaborations with four government clinics to 57 clinics.

How APOPO Fights TB

Many forms of testing for tuberculosis are quite inaccurate. The better quality methods of testing can be quite expensive and take a longer time to get results. Cheaper forms of testing can often yield false results. Due to cheap testing, people will be given an inaccurate diagnosis. Government clinics in Tanzania mainly use smear microscopy tests due to the test’s affordability.

This method of detection has very low sensitivity rates that range from 20 to 60 percent. To combat the current inadequate forms of testing for tuberculosis, APOPO has implemented a program that uses specially trained rats. These rats can detect cases of tuberculosis at a fast and more accurate rate.

The rats at APOPO’s facilities can test 100 samples in 20 minutes, as opposed to technicians who can only check 25 samples per day. APOPO’s labs can get test results within 24 hours. APOPO’s rats have increased detection rates of tuberculosis by 40 percent.

APOPO’s Effect

APOPO is an NGO fighting TB in Tanzania that has seen success in its initiative to incorporate innovative tactics in the fight against tuberculosis. From 2000 to 2018 there have been decreases in total incidents of TB as well as a decrease in new and relapse cases in Tanzania.

Tuberculosis currently ranks within the top 10 causes of death across the world. APOPO already works with 57 clinics in Tanzania. This group’s success through alternative methods of testing can serve as an example of how to fight against the spread of tuberculosis.

– James Turner
Photo: Flickr

Project Healthy Children

Global hunger is one of the most pressing and visible poverty-related issues in our world today. People can easily recognize the defined ribs, sunken eyes and bone-thin limbs of starvation. However, there is another side to hunger that is not as obvious: micronutrient deficiency.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, iodine, vitamin A and folic acid. In developed nations like the United States, most people get these critical nutrients from maintaining a well-rounded diet or taking a daily supplement. But it isn’t always that simple in some other parts of the world. In fact, micronutrient deficiency remains a big problem in Eastern and Southern Africa but often does not get the attention it deserves because the effects are not immediately visible. For this reason, micronutrient deficiency has been nicknamed “hidden hunger.”

Hidden hunger has real and long-lasting consequences. Insufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals can result in learning disabilities, mental retardation, low work capacity, blindness and premature birth. These deficiencies lower overall health and weaken the immune system, thus making it much harder to survive infections like HIV and measles. They can cause extreme birth defects in children and are the leading cause of maternal death during childbirth.

Background

Clearly, micronutrient deficiency is a pressing issue that deserves the attention necessary to mitigate it. An organization called Sanku’s Project Healthy Children (PHC) is doing just that through a process known as food fortification: essentially, they add critical micronutrients to the flour people already consume.

PHC is based in Tanzania and currently supplies almost 2 million people with fortified flour to help them get the vitamins and minerals they need. Flour is a staple food that many people consume regularly; according to the PHC website, “over 50 million Tanzanians eat maize flour every day,” but more than 95 percent of it is produced without added nutrients in small, rural mills. Countries like Tanzania are in desperate need of better access to micronutrients—here, about 35 percent of children under 5 years old have stunted growth due to under-nutrition. Project Healthy Children uses the mills and distribution systems already in place to simply add essential micronutrients to the flour with no additional cost for the consumer. This way, people can get the nutrition they need without changing their eating or purchasing habits.

Why Food Fortification?

  1.  It is cheap: Food fortification is very inexpensive, typically costing no more than $0.25 per person annually. In other words, one quarter donated is enough to supply someone with adequate nutrients for an entire year.
  2. It is effective: Improving nutrition can be highly beneficial to overall health, work capacity and productivity. Women who sustain good nutrition before getting pregnant greatly reduce the risk of maternal death and birth defects.
  3. It has a huge payback: The economic rewards of food fortification are astounding. The WHO estimates that the consequences of micronutrient deficiency (birth defects, learning disabilities, premature death, etc.) can cost a country about 5 percent of its GDP per year. Supplying people with critical vitamins and minerals puts less pressure on a country’s health care system and allows for a more productive workforce. In addition, the Copenhagen Consensus estimated that for every dollar spent on nutrition in young children, a country will save an average of $45 and sometimes as much as $166.

The Future of Project Healthy Children

In the past few years, Project Healthy Children has become even more streamlined in its approach to food fortification. A partnership with Vodafone, a mobile network based in the United Kingdom, allows PHC staff to remotely monitor flour mills so that they instantly know when a machine is down or a mill is low on nutrients. The partnership saves money, time and manpower, allowing PHC to run more smoothly.

Project Healthy Children currently helps nourish about 1.7 million people in sub-Saharan Africa but hopes to reach 100 million people by 2025, an ambitious goal that would be instrumental in lifting communities in Southern and Eastern Africa out of extreme poverty.

– Morgan Johnson
Photo: Flickr

ACE Africa hasACE Africa was established in Kenya in 2003 with only four staff members: a U.K. expatriate and three Kenyans. They had a tall order, as the city of Bungoma, Kenya was near the point of collapse in 2003. Nearly one in three households in the community were infected with HIV/AIDS and all government and community structures were falling apart. ACE Africa began their work and 14 years later, Bungoma is a drastically different place.

Focus and Work

ACE Africa focuses on three core areas to improve a community over the long term: child development, community health and wellbeing and community livelihoods. Using specific programs to mold projects to communities in Kenya and East Africa, ACE Africa has grown from four to 58 staff indigenous to Africa and 12,500 community volunteers. ACE Africa is a registered NGO in Kenya, the United Kingdom, the United States and Tanzania, employing small staffs in each country. The organization has also partnered with investment banks, world-leading universities, Dame Judi Dench and other NGOs and international organizations.

In 2010 the Star Foundation, an independent charity founded in London by a wealthy Saudi Arabian family-owned business conglomerate, awarded ACE Africa with an Impact Award. The award was given for the organization’s work in rural Kenya to reduce the spread and increase the treatment of HIV/AIDS. ACE Africa began by opening testing centers and educating the community at all levels about the spread of HIV/AIDS and the necessary treatment. They also educated the population about the importance of a healthy diet, which can improve health increase the productivity of a village. As of 2010, ACE Africa had helped to improve the lives of more than 300,000 children in Kenya.

Beyond Kenya

ACE Africa has begun to branch out of Kenya into the north of Tanzania. In 2014 the organization began working with the Innocent Foundation in Tanzania. According to the Innocent Foundation, the project will last 10 to 12 years. When the project began in 2014, over 93 percent of the wage-earners in the villages where ACE Africa and Innocent are working earn less than $1 a day. Nearly 44 percent of the children in the schools are orphans, and it is estimated that only 4 percent of the villagers eat a balanced diet.

ACE Africa and the Innocent foundation will work with six community organizations within these villages to improve the quality of life. Training the locals ensures that skills will stay and flourish within the community. ACE Africa is working closely with the Tanzania government and more than 7,000 local volunteers to see that this plan succeeds.

ACE Africa’s Impacts

ACE Africa has improved the lives of more than 1 million children through their programs. The organization has helped to establish more than 500 community garden clubs, resolved more than 12,000 cases of child neglect and abuse and engaged nearly 100,000 children in school guidance programs. ACE Africa has screened roughly 100,000 people for HIV/AIDs and has helped around 80,000 people seek treatment and counseling. As part of their community livelihood programs, ACE Africa has trained more than 35,000 people on the proper techniques for sustainable farming. This has allowed approximately 87,000 kitchen gardens to be established. ACE Africa also works with partners and third-parties to research better techniques to help people and make their projects more efficient.

In 2017 ACE Africa-founder Jonna Waddington was invited to the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa conference, where the United Nations development plan for Africa through 2030 will be discussed. With six awards and international cooperation and recognition from the United Nations, it appears that ACE Africa will continue to make a positive impact on the world.

– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in TanzaniaThe agricultural sector of Tanzania employs over 66 percent of this African nation’s workforce and accounts for nearly one-quarter of its GDP. Coffee, cashew nuts, and cotton are Tanzania’s top exports next to gold. Other important agricultural products in Tanzania include sisal, tea, pyrethrum (an insecticide made from chrysanthemums), tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava, bananas, various fruits, and vegetables, cattle, sheep and goats. In 2016 and 2017 Tanzania exported over $5 billion in goods. Because agriculture is such an important pillar of the economy, sustainable agriculture in Tanzania has special attention of big and small groups, domestic and international.

Integrated Production and Pest Management Programme

Two of the largest and most powerful supporters of sustainable agriculture in Tanzania are the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Union. With the help of the European Union, the FAO established the Integrated Production and Pest Management Programme (IPPPA) in Africa in 2001 and through their Farmer Field School Approach, they have been working hand in hand with local governments and NGOs to improve food security and economic stability of farming communities in Africa. The food security portion of the program helps by training farmers to mitigate the risks associated with climate change and limited water access.

Domesticated cereal grains is what kick-started civilization and we have been reliant on them ever since. In 2013, cereal grain production reached a peak but due to insects, climate change, and lack of new farming equipment, it has been hard to surpass the yield of this year. The IPPPA is trying to rectify the situation with sustainable agricultural practices in Tanzania.

European Union-Africa partnership on cotton

Cotton has become an important crop from the cash perspective. Unfortunately, cotton needs a lot of water and a lot of pesticides to make sure the crop produces a proficient yield. When done incorrectly water supplies can become poisonous or dry up which causes soil quality to degrade. In 2014 the IPPPA began to specifically support the cotton industry in Tanzania with the Support Programme for the Consolidation of the Action Framework under the EU-Africa Partnership on Cotton.

The program heavily favors the investors in the Tanzanian cotton industry but in the long run, will help sustainable agriculture in Tanzania. The plan is to increase support of sustainable farming to increase the stability of the cotton yield. The deal will include better education and better equipment for farmers. A deal like this can be good for the Tanzanian economy in total. Belgium is already one of the countries largest trading partners.

Sustainable Agriculture organization

There is an important NGO operating in Tanzania, called Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT). This organization has been in operation since 2011. It does exactly what it says on the label. It promotes sustainable agricultural practices in Tanzania through its multi-platform plan. Dissemination, research, application, and networking about the information about sustainable agricultural practices. It also runs farmer training centers where people from other NGOs and agricultural professionals can share ideas and learn new techniques.

Tanzania’s agricultural sector looks to be stable and heading in a right direction. This has a huge importance for the nation. Currently, all farmland is owned and leased on 99-year leases to farmers. There has been tension and disagreement over if this should change. The biggest fear is that foreign investors will buy the land and hold too much power over the Government, the people and the market. The current relationship is working for both Tanzania and their investors. Hopefully, this harmony will continue and sustainable agriculture in Tanzania will flourish.

– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
Photo: Google

Electricity Coverage Rising in Africa
It is hard to imagine life without electricity. In the American standard of living, electricity pervades every aspect of a person’s life, from food storage to entertainment and everything in between. In Africa, however, only 30 percent of people have access to electricity.

Power Africa

Power Africa is a USAID agency that aims to provide people in Africa with access to electricity. They plan to make 60 new electricity connections and generate 30,000 more megawatts (MW) of electricity across the continent by 2030. The goal is to do this by harnessing the sun, wind, lake water, and natural gas to power rural areas that do not have access to electricity.

Power Africa tracks its progress on various projects by tracking business transactions with African power companies. For example, in 2016, they made a deal with the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (ACEF), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Department of State to provide $30 million worth of financing of 32 renewable energy projects in 10 countries in Africa. With Power Africa’s help, 90 business transactions have been completed and 25 of Africa’s 55 countries now have access to some form of electricity. Examples from Power Africa actions are described in a text below.

Mali

Although the demand for electricity in Mali is currently greater than the supply, that does not mean that there is no supply at all. Electricity in Mali currently comes from mostly hydraulic and thermal energy (55 and 44 percent, respectively). Power Africa plans to help Mali produce an additional 80 MW of hydroelectric energy, more than 300 MW from biomass, and unlimited MW from the sun.

Electricity usage has already gone up in Mali. Major mining companies increased their energy consumption by 136 MW (189 percent) between 2008 and 2011. In 2016, the government passed a law mandating partnerships between public and private electric companies in order to increase MW production. The ultimate goal is to make an additional 20,000 MW of energy and distribute it to 50 million people by 2020.

Namibia

Currently, Namibia gets most of its electricity from power grids in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and other nearby countries. However, electricity demand in these countries is way higher than supply, forcing Namibia to find ways to generate its own electricity. As of 2008, Namibia can only generate 393 MW from 3 stations, while the national demand is 533 MW.

One of these stations, the Ruacana power station, is dependent on the flow of water from the Kunene River, which flows out of Angola. Another station, the coal-run Eck power station, is costly to operate and maintain. Eck, along with the oil-based Paratus power station, is only used for short-term peaks in electricity demand.

For the time being, Namibia still needs to have its electricity needs met by its neighbors. The Caprivi link is a transmission line that connects Namibia’s power grid to those in Zambia and Zimbabwe. This provides the country with an additional 600 MW, fulfilling Namibia’s electricity needs. In 2007, Namibia consumed 3.6 TWh of electricity.

Tanzania

Most of Tanzania’s electricity (90 percent) comes from biomass. This has resulted in mass deforestation and, thus, is far from ideal for the ecosystem. Only 18.4 percent of Tanzanian citizens have access to electricity in any form. Currently, the country is financially incapable of extending the power grid into all rural areas.

In 1975, the government founded the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Ltd (TANESCO). TANESCO has a nationwide monopoly on electricity production and distribution. However, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) is trying to end this monopoly by allowing companies to get licenses to generate, transmit and distribute electricity. The Rural Energy Agency (REA) is slowly getting electricity into rural areas. With these services, the government aims to make electricity available to everyone in Tanzania, and one can see electricity coverage rising from their efforts.

Conclusion

In the modern day, electricity seems like a basic ingredient for life that it seems like everyone should have it. The people in Power Africa agree and we can see electricity coverage rising in Africa as a result of their efforts. Mali is making more energy from more sources than ever, Namibia is starting to make its own electricity, and Tanzania is spreading electricity out as far as it can. Africa is becoming more and more electrified, reaching the ultimate goal- provide access to electricity for everyone on the continent.

– Cassie Parvaz
Photo: Flickr

global health security agendaThe Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is a partnership of nations, international organizations and NGOs that are seeking to keep the world safe from infectious diseases and maintain health security as a main global priority. The program launched in 2014 as a five-year initiative to increase country-level health security to stop disease outbreaks at their source.

In October 2017, GHSA was extended until 2024. This extension will allow the global health community to enhance data sharing, preparedness planning, epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, risk assessment and response to infectious diseases and other health issues and threats.

The Global Health Security Agenda has created a set of eleven targets and an assessment tool, which is currently being carried out in five countries: Georgia, Peru, Portugal, Uganda and the United Kingdom. In the organization’s assessment of Georgia, it noted that zoonotic diseases are a problem, as 60 percent of human pathogens are zoonotic. Much of the diseases seen in humans within the country are of animal origin, spreading, for example, through contact with veterinarians. These assessment reports contain information about immunization, biosafety and biosecurity and real-time surveillance among other things.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that global health security strengthens United States security. The CDC works in association with GHSA to combat disease worldwide. The organization currently has partnerships with 31 countries, including the Caribbean, that are working to meet the goals of GHSA. The CDC has established Global Disease Detection Centers around the world, providing assistance to over 2,000 requests for disease outbreaks and creating more than 380 diagnostic tests in laboratories of 59 countries.

GHSA has had success stories in many countries, including Tanzania. The nation’s government is determined to play a role in ensuring GHSA’s success, both nationally and internationally. Tanzania joined the program back in August 2015, and in February 2016, it became the first country to use the Joint External Evaluation to assess its 19 capacities to prevent, detect and respond to public health issues.

In a formal event, Tanzania also launched the National Action Plan for Health Security. Held on September 8, 2017, the event was well attended, including guests such as USAID, the World Bank and the World Health Organization.

The fight to keep the world safe from disease may still be a long road, but with programs like the Global Health Security Agenda, the future seems promising.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to TanzaniaTanzania has seen a rapid increase in its growth rate over the years, becoming a hub for foreign assistance from a myriad of countries, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations. Despite increases of humanitarian aid to Tanzania, poverty continues to persist in predominately rural zones of the country.

A 2008 country report indicated that 36 percent of the population was living beneath the poverty line. To account for this, Tanzania became an integral component of President Obama’s strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa. Under the Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), programs were launched to spark economic empowerment for women and children. Furthermore, the object aimed to “achieve inclusive, broad-based, and economic growth – to advance Tanzania’s advancement toward middle-income status by 2025.”

The aim of humanitarian aid to Tanzania is to provide economic empowerment for those residing in rural and urban areas, as well as providing direct humanitarian assistance for those in need.

Funding 

Some forms of assistance have come from philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, who announced that their foundation will invest $300 million in Tanzania toward public health and poverty reduction programs. Bill Gates spoke on the improvements in the way foreign aid was being spent in the developing world, noting that aid spending was occurring in a “smarter way.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided an extensive amount of money toward development aid projects in recent years, according to Reuters. Gates added that eradicating both malaria and HIV in Tanzania were essential in inspiring any direct change.

Foreign Assistance

The United Nations started an initiative in 2016 to respond to a severe cholera outbreak which impacted 19 regions of the country. Their aim was to allocate $11 million to respond to the urgent needs of refugees fleeing from Burundi at the time.

Since then, other medical issues have surfaced because of inadequate resources as well as a decline in funding from international donors. Specifically, there is an increase in sexual and reproductive health concerns, as well as malaria, which is attributed to refugees who reside in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

The success of humanitarian aid to Tanzania, however, stems from the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This operation is sought to target severely underfunded emergencies in 94 countries and territories and has now allocated almost $4.2 billion in aid.

Room for Improvement

Despite Tanzania’s remarkable increase in GDP growth at seven percent per annum from 2003-2012, the reflection of this growth was not accurately represented. According to the CDCS report, Tanzania’s population living below the $1.25 per day global poverty line was at 68 percent in 2007.

Additionally, farmers residing in rural areas were much more impoverished than those residing in urban areas. In order for Tanzania to implement effective change in its development strategy, the CDCS advised the government of Tanzania to increase regional economic integration.

Final Thoughts

More pragmatic approaches include rectifying the education sector, providing employment opportunities in rural areas as well as promoting exports by reducing trade barriers. Humanitarian aid to Tanzania can be successful with the integration of Tanzanian women and youth, who are largely marginalized and underutilized segments of the population. Further, the continuous wave of refugees and asylum seekers who have been fleeing persecution or natural disaster from neighboring countries have impacted efforts of eradicating extreme poverty.

Tanzania is one of the ten largest U.S. aid recipients in Africa. Despite potential cuts to foreign assistance, USAID still maintains efforts to provide aid and opportunities for citizens who are desperate to lift themselves out of poverty.

– Alexandre Dumouza

Photo: Flickr

Development ProjectsWe have all been exposed to effective development projects, as well as to ineffective development projects. Sometimes these look like carefully constructed and well-funded projects created by NGOs, and sometimes they are drives created by high school students to help disaster victims. The scale and scope are not necessarily the key determinants for whether or not a development project will be effective. The following areas are useful to consider in order to create a development project, large or small, that does the most good for the most people.

Participation
“Participation is involvement by a local population and, at times, other stakeholders in the creation, content or conduct of a program or policy designed to change their lives.”

In other words, participation is placing the input of a local population at the forefront of the process of creating effective development projects. If a project is going to affect them and address their needs, they must have the primary say in tailoring it to their situation.

Needs Assessment
Needs assessment goes hand in hand with participation – it is most effective when the target population shares their needs, instead of projecting a set of presumed needs onto them.

By involving people in the process, development organizations can hear from the local population and find out exactly what needs they most want to address.

Cultural Sensitivity
Cultural sensitivity is the awareness of another culture’s norms and traditions and the ways in which they differ from your own. If you do not understand a community’s culture, it is difficult to develop solutions. For example, if a predominantly Muslim community was experiencing a food shortage, teaching them to raise pigs would not be a culturally sensitive or effective solution.

Gender Equality
Men and women often have different needs in a community based on the distinct roles they play. Sometimes women need to be specifically empowered in order to overcome gender disparities. It is important to consider gender dynamics in a development project. Will this project produce greater gender equality? Will it exacerbate inequality? Will it help or harm women or men disproportionately? These are all important questions to ask.

Accountability
Effective development projects must hold themselves accountable to the people they are trying to help, to the government of the local population, to any NGOs they are partnering with and to their donors. To avoid issues like inefficiency, resentment, unmet needs or corruption, all stakeholders should communicate and be held accountable for their agreements.

Capacity Building
Capacity building is “those sets of activities in which vested parties develop the ability to effectively take part in governance.” In other words, it is helping a community develop the skills to help themselves after a development project or organization pulls out of the region. Like everything else in this list, capacity building should be country specific and meet the needs of the target population. Effective capacity building can lead to more sustainable projects.

This all seems very nebulous and difficult to juggle – and in some ways, it is. No organization does all of this perfectly. So, what does this look like in practice? If you decide you want your school to help improve education for children in a particular village in Tanzania, you should ask yourself a few questions when deciding what to do. What do these children actually need? Is it resources? Textbooks and supplies? Transportation to and from far away schools? If they need books, on what subjects? In what language? How will you get them there, and how will they be processed once they arrive?

The main take away is this – if you are struggling with questions like these while trying to create effective development projects, the best people to ask are the children in Tanzania. They know exactly what they need and you should listen to them.

Olivia Bradley

Photo: Flickr

Zipline DronesThe California-based company Zipline, which designs and operates drone delivery networks, will start delivering medical tools and vaccines via drones to Tanzanian clinics in 2018.

The East African country has 0.03 doctors per 1,000 people and 5,640 public health facilities for a population of over 56 million. Blood transfusions and treatments for deadly diseases like HIV are hard to come by. In 2014, the CEO of Zipline drones, Keller Rinaudo, noticed this harsh reality as he browsed a database of health emergencies. The database would collect real-time data about patients who were suffering in different regions of the country, but people would not receive aid based on this information. Rinaudo, as he states in an interview with NPR, imagined “the other half of that system — where you know a patient is having a medical emergency and can immediately send the product needed to save that person’s life.”

The ‘other half of this system’ will start in January 2018, as per a statement from the Tanzanian government. Drones will be used for on-demand delivery of vaccines, blood transfusion materials and other medication or medical tools.

A drone medical delivery system is already up and running in Rwanda, with overwhelmingly positive results and stories. Tanzania hopes for an even larger system, where 120 drones will make 2,000 deliveries a day from four distribution centers spread across the country.

Zipline has hired locals to operate both the drones and distribution centers. When a hospital or clinic requests an item, a worker will stock the products into a shoebox-like container and pack the drone, which would zip to the hospital and deliver the products by parachute. This process takes what could be an eight-hour process and cuts it down to under a half hour.

The medical future is bright for rural and impoverished communities like those in Tanzania with the help of drones. Studies have found that blood samples and lab results were safely transported between medical facilities without any change in result, except for the time they took to be transported.

Rinaudo sees the system as a win not only for his Zipline drones company, Rwanda, or Tanzania, but for medical communities across the globe. In the same interview with NPR, he says that operation teams are “phenomenally smart, ambitious and driven. They work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They will do anything to save human lives…Rwanda showed what’s possible when you make a national commitment to expand healthcare access with drones.”

Gabriella Paez

Photo: Flickr