Tanzania-Child-Survival-GoalMillennium Development Goal 4: “Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.”

Tanzania is one of the only African countries that has achieved this goal. There is much to celebrate with the country’s accomplishment; however, we must not ignore other critical areas of work that need prioritization. A thorough analysis of the efforts in Tanzania is important to understand what strategies have been effective in the region.

Successes in Tanzania

  • Reduction in child deaths after first month of life
  • 12,500 lives saved thanks to vaccines
  • 9,300 lives saved from malaria programs
  • 5,800 lives saved from HIV/AIDS programs

Areas for Improvement

  • Maternal and newborn survival can be improved
  • Reduction of stillbirths needed
  • Low contraceptive use in Western and Lake Zones
  • Rural poor lack access to health services
  • Shortage of health workers

The achievement of MDG4 is significant in Tanzania. Child deaths after one month of life have decreased at a rate of 8 percent per year during the last decade. This is 50 percent faster than in the 1990s.

Most lives have been saved from programs that increase access to vaccines, address malaria and work to decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS. These types of programs have received the most funding, and therefore these results should be expected.

In Tanzania, 40 percent of national child deaths are newborns. This indicates a need to improve health services in the critical time surrounding childbirth.

Rural women are twice as likely to deliver their children in private homes versus health facilities. Estimates indicate that Tanzania needs 23 health workers per 10,000 people, but Tanzania currently only has five health workers per 10,000 people.

It is evident that portions of the population have not benefitted from some of the improvements Tanzania has experienced as a country. The identification of these categories of people is critical in order to further decrease mortality rates in the country.

High mortality rates slow the rate of development of entire communities and prevent poverty-stricken families from obtaining enough resources to support themselves.

The good news is that this case study of Tanzania estimates that “60,000 lives could be saved each year with intensified efforts to achieve universal access to essential health services.”

Iliana Lang

Sources: WHO, The Lancet, UNDP
Photo: Global Post

As of 2013, around 738 million people across the world do not have access to clean drinking water. Of these people, an approximate 8 million die as a consequence of this inaccessibility.

Water is the paramount need for all human being. Sanitation of this water is vital for preventing many water-borne diseases that can potentially be fatal. Despite the development of new methodologies to sanitize water, the process of chlorination remains unparalleled in its prevalence and efficiency.

The process of chlorination, as the name suggests, uses chlorine gas or bleach to purify water. Chlorine gas is highly toxic and an effective antimicrobial agent. Chlorine also remains in water through longer periods of time than its alternatives. This reduces the costs of repeated purifications.

Despite these advantages that put chlorination far ahead of its counterpart purification methods, it is still difficult to successfully utilize this technique in developing countries. Chlorine gas and its derivatives – such as bleach – are highly reactive and can be dangerous in excessive quantities. The chlorine gas is sold compressed in cylinders, and its pressure requirements change in accordance with the water source to be chlorinated. Hydraulic equipment necessary for safe chlorination is not always accessible in remote areas.

These safety considerations pose a dilemma for the safe sanitation of drinking water. Recently, Mountain Safety Research (MSR), an outdoor gear manufacturer, collaborated with an NGO to release an innovative solution to the problem.

Their device, Smart Electrochlorinator or SE200, uses saltwater and a car battery to produce a carefully-calculated amount of chlorine gas. It consists of a canister that attaches to a battery through jumper cables. The canister is filled with salt solution, and the dissolved salt is dissociated into ionic chloride ions.

The ions are then converted into bleach electrochemically. The hydrogen gas produced from the battery reacts with the chloride ions to form perchlorate, or bleach. The added advantage of the device is in its specificity – it is designed to calculate and produce specific amounts of chlorine per gallon of water. This maintains the concentration of chlorine in water at a constant level and within safe ranges.

The chlorinator is lightweight and portable, which is important in smaller remote areas. It can purify up to 20 liters in a meager 5 minute interval. The device is also notably energy efficient: a 12 volt battery can be used to generate enough chlorine to purify 400,000 liters of water.

The device has so far been tested successfully in field operations in Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Thailand. It is especially noted for its feasibility in small population communities, where large-scale sanitation does not reach and household purification is a hassle. The chlorination is relatively inexpensive as well: at around US$200, it can provide a clean supply of water for 200 people for a period of five years.

As with any new technology, there are issues with this device as well. As it is designed for use in remote areas, it is questionable as to how technical issues might be dealt with. Any of the maintenance issues needing to be fixed can seriously jeopardize a steady supply of clean water. Moreover, in spite of pictorial instructions, there is always the danger for misuse. These are some of the issues that need to be fine-tuned for the chlorinator’s effective usage.

Despite the issues that need to be resolved, the chlorinator is undoubtedly an innovative initiative in the provision of clean drinking water to each and every human being in the world.

– Atifah Safi

Sources: CDC 1, NPR, Cascade Designs, CDC 2
Photo: Flickr

For millions of people around the world, irrigation has provided a means of subsistence and economic opportunity in the form of small-scale farming operations. But for rural farmers in Tanzania’s agriculture-intensive regions, irrigation policy has become a source of controversy and economic uncertainty.

The most recent controversy was born out of the Tanzanian government’s plans to ban economic activity, including small-scale farming operations, from taking place near reservoirs and other “listed water resources.” The ban is an attempt to reduce competition for water in reaction to a recent drought-induced hydropower shortage.

The recent drought has struck a major blow to the country’s national power grid, 57 percent of which is generated by hydropower. The drought alone has been devastating for Tanzanian agriculture: of the country’s 29.4 million hectares of irrigable land, under 600,000 are currently being irrigated. Combined with the government’s recent ban on reservoir-sourced irrigation, many farmers face the prospects of lost livelihoods.

“I have been farming in this area all my life,” said Eliudi Samizi, a rice farmer who relies on irrigation from the Great Ruaha River. “If someone asks me to stop fishing or farming, what else can I do to feed my family?”

The government’s decision to limit water usage is a reaction to state-run power company TANESCO’s request to evict local communities that it claims overuse the water resources near its hydropower plants. Last year, President Jakaya Kikwete called for the eviction of farmers in the Uluguru region, reversing a decision made six years ago during a similarly problematic period.

While bans on irrigation have been temporary in recent years, TANESCO’s request would make those bans permanent, resulting in total uncertainty regarding the future income of Tanzanian farmers.

In 2006, farmers were threatened with eviction from the Uluguru Mountain, having been accused of damaging the environment and threatening the availability of urban water. They were allowed to stay only after an appeal to President Kikwete, but today their future remains uncertain, as demonstrated by the government’s recent compliance with eviction efforts from private investors and entities like TANESCO.

According to Elizabeth Harrison and Anna Mdee, development researchers at the Universities of Sussex and Bradford, these policy proposals are part of a broader trend throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, one that has seen the prioritization of large-scale commercial operations at the expense of small-scale communities.

“The politics of irrigation development in Tanzania sadly mirrors this: the favouring of large schemes that attract significant donor support, coupled with the problems of managing this at a local level,” they wrote in an article for The Guardian. “Unfortunately for farmers like those in Choma, it seems that no matter how significant the social or economic benefits of their less formal practices, the politics is likely to continue to lead to them being dismissed by those in authority.”

Indeed, large-scale operations driven by private investment are often sold on the claim that they will serve to benefit the most vulnerable Tanzanian farmers. But a recent resettlement process led by KPL, a subsidiary of British-based agribusiness giant Agrica, resulted in the displacement of 230 farmers, many of whom were vastly undercompensated. Some were given merely $17 per acre, a fraction of the $600 for which an acre can be purchased in neighboring Zambia.

“When they came here, they told me that if I provided land for KPL they would build me a new house,” said a villager from Tanzania’s Kilombero District. “But they did not do that; they just threw us out of there and gave us a little money in order to survive.”

Millions of dollars of aid contributed by countries like England and the United States continues to subsidize corporate investment in operations like that outlined above. The current politicization of irrigation in Tanzania represents an opportunity to alter the flow of aid in favor of operations that will prioritize the well being of the small-scale farmers whom donors claim to help. It also provides an opportunity for investment in renewable energy alternatives, like the Lake Turkina Wind Project in Kenya, which would relieve Tanzania’s allocation of water to its national power grid. Until that happens, rural farmers will continue to face economic uncertainty at the hands of corporate interests.

Zach VeShancey

Sources: The Guardian, News 24, Reuters, New Internationalist
Photo: The Guardian

Albinism in Tanzania
Albinism, a rare congenital disorder that presents itself in the form of a partial or complete absence of melanin production, results in pigment-less eyes, hair and skin. An estimated 1 in every 17,000 to 20,000 people in North America and Europe live with albinism. However, cases of albinism in Tanzania and the African continent, with 1 in every 5,000 to 15,000 people, appear with more prevalence.

The majority of cases are seen in the East African country of Tanzania. Under the Same Sun (UTSS), an organization committed to assuring the rights of people with albinism, report a prevalence of 1 in 1,400 cases of albinism and 1 in 19 cases of carriers, meaning there are over 33,000 persons with albinism in Tanzania alone.

This population lives under constant threat, as people with albinism face slaughter and dismemberment. Their body parts, suspected to bring luck or riches, are used in witchcraft. A full “set” of body parts, four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose, can bring the seller upwards of $75,000 in the black market.

There have been eight reported cases of mutilation in Tanzania since autumn 2015. More than 200 similar cases were reported to the United Nations from 2000 to 2013.

In a May 13, 2015 interview with The Guardian, Don Sawatzky, director of operations at UTSS, states that no one really knows the exact source of these killings. Since the documentation was not as historically prevalent in Africa. However, many still connect the rise in deaths to the 2015 elections, placing blame on politicians who allegedly seek out “seers” who use albino body parts to predict the future. Others point to the rise in food prices as the cause, leaving many desperate to make money with no regard for consequence.

Recent collaborative efforts between the Tanzanian government, civil society and nongovernmental organizations have proved beneficial. The community’s perception of people with albinism is slowly changing. Additionally, cases in which people with albinism were killed are now being taken seriously, and the government has begun to prosecute and convict those responsible.

At the community level, these changes will not come about easily, but with the international community’s backing and advocacy, this shift in perception has greater potential.

On June 13, 2013, the United Nations adopted the first resolution in its history on albinism, guaranteeing the rights and acknowledging the plight and discrimination of those who live with albinism. More recently, with the help of UTSS, the United Nations welcomed the observance of June 13 as International Albinism Awareness Day to be celebrated for the first time in 2015.

Many remain hopeful that violence against people with albinism will one day be nonexistent. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, affirmed that “people with albinism are just as deserving of dignity as every other human being.” He adds, “They have the right to live free from discrimination, deprivation and fear.”

– Jaime Longoria

Sources: The GuardianWashington Post
Photo: The Telegraph

A cholera outbreak in Tanzania that claimed the lives of 30 Burundian refugees and local Tanzanians has been curbed.

The epidemic occurred in western Tanzania near Lake Tanganyika, in a remote village that is overcrowded with refugees. Authorities estimate refugees consumed contaminated lake water, which facilitated the spread of cholera. A total of 4,408 cases have been reported.

A UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesman, Adrian Edwards, said that no new deaths have been reported since last Thursday, and the number of new daily cases has fallen from around 915 per day at the height of the outbreak on May 18 to less than one hundred per day. According to Edwards, the situation is improving but it still could take several weeks to see cholera completely eradicated among this population.

The majority of the cholera victims are refugees of Burundi who are fleeing to avoid violence stemming from a failed political coup in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.

The influx of refugees from Burundi to surrounding countries has not stopped. The UNHCR estimates that over 100,000 Burundian refugees have escaped, leaving over 64,000 Burundians in Tanzania, and the remaining in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. About 100 Burundians per day arrive to each of these surrounding countries.

The refugees that arrive in Tanzania must walk four hours through the mountains to reach the border. Some immediately are bussed to the camp called Nyarugusu, and some wait for boats that will take them to a camp called Kigoma. Tens of thousands wait by Lake Tanganyika, a tiny beach area that is only 800 meters by 500 meters. The overcrowding and high density of refugees on the move has facilitated the quick spread of cholera.

Many refugees are being moved from Lake Tanganyika because it is overcrowded and unsanitary. Kahindo Maina, a public health officer of the UNHCR, said, ”Our priority is to get all the refugees out of Kagunga because the situation is dire. We have built latrines and brought supplies to provide clean water but the terrain and the crowded situation does not allow for a good sanitary situation there.”

Refugees have been moved to the Tanganyika stadium in Kigoma where there are better facilities, and cleaner water and sanitation. Tanzanian health authorities, the UNHCR, the World Health Organization and other partners have helped stem the spread of cholera by the promotion of hygiene, treatment of patients, implementation of effective prevention measures and the creation of access to sanitation and safe water.

Other preventative measures provided by the Ministry of Health, the UN and NGO partners include airlifting medicine and providing medical supplies and protective gear. UNHCR spokesman Edwards explained that “together with the government and our UN and NGO partners, we are providing oral rehydration solutions, soap and water purification tablets, and increasing hand-washing facilities.”

Around 30,000 refugees have also been moved from the lake area to Nyarugusu. Here, they receive vaccinations for childhood illnesses, get dewormed and have nutritional assessments done. New latrine and sanitation facilities are being built.

– Margaret Anderson
Sources: AllAfrica, Humanosphere, UNHCR 1, UNHCR 2
Photo: UNHCR

Malinzanga Village’s primary school educates the countries future leaders. How do we know this? Within minutes of asking 14-year-old children what their priorities of their families and communities were, they had named many key elements of new development goals. The key elements described by these children of Generation Z were things like access to more food, more community support to end poverty and better healthcare. All these issues are current topics that many representatives of every nation in the world are discussing right now.

With the help of Happy, a local youth activist from Restless Development, ONE co-founder Jamie Drummond spoke to 15 teenagers about what they would like to see happen for their country. Restless Development started in 1985 and its main mission is to help the younger generation take a leadership role in speaking up about important issues that face their countries and the world. Happy’s background with Restless Development proved to be helpful in motivating these kids to act on their ideas. Not only did these children give great suggestions on improving certain issues but they also have inspired Malala, Desmond Tutu to take these suggestions and put them in their open letter to world leaders.

With the recent Ebola outbreak, it has only reminded Generation Z that the impoverished health systems of Africa are fragile and often are the site where most of the tropical pandemics take place.  The Ebola epidemic has led to a great deal of anxiety, but this crisis fuels the flames of desire to address the issues that are needing attention and these teenagers see the future optimistically.

As the year 2014 comes to an end, the coming new year holds a lot of promise for ending poverty entirely or at least getting close. With the letter sent out to the world leaders warning them about making the right decisions for 2015, ONE and the kids from Malinzanga Village primary school gave their suggestions and hopefully, these get taken into account and change can finally take place.

Brooke Smith

Sources: ONE, Restless Development

Tanzania has some of the most talented artisans and technicians, but we use very old, outdated equipment, mostly from Italy, from the 1960s and ‘70s,” said Dotto Said, the supervisor at Yasir Ahmed a shop that makes windows, doors and gates.

Yet using outdated tools or “sawdust piled ankle deep” are not the biggest problems facing Tanzanians and Africans as a whole. Electricity has been identified, by many Africans, as the single biggest inhibitor of its success. Alex Adrian, a carpenter at Yasir Ahmed said. “All we need Obama [sic] to help us with is a reliable supply of electricity.”

While the President has made several trips to Africa, once to pledge 7 billion dollars to the energy relief fund, Tanzanians like Said and Adrian would like to be able to turn to themselves for help. Relief of this kind has come in the form of Helvetic Solar, a Tanzanian-based company whose goal is to supply solar panels to all those looking for electricity across Africa.

“The electrification issue was a major one and I just figured out that Tanzanians might be receptive to an alternative energy source,” said owner of Helvetic Solar, Patrick Ngowi. He discovered a love of solar power on one of his many trips to China. At this time, only 10 percent of Tanzania was on a power grid. Most companies, wealthy families and government agencies relied on generators.

In the beginning the idea struggled, but in 2007 the word spread of the benefits and Ngowi was contacted by several government, non-government agencies, and multi-national corporations to install solar panels. His company grossed 6.8 million dollars in 2012.

For a country whose GDP is low and poverty so high, is it even economically feasible for this country to convert to solar power? Forbes broke the numbers down and found it was economically more sound to install solar panels in Tanzania than Oregon. The average homeowner in Oregon will take anywhere from 15-27 years to recoup the initial investment solar panels require. This is due to a very large electrical grid already providing relatively cheap power.

When you take the same principles, apply them to Tanzania and compare the cost of fuel to run a generator in rural Tanzania to the initial cost of solar power, one find that Tanzanians can recoup their losses well enough to sell their generators.

Giant leaps in innovation like this have helped several in rural Tanzania. Lusela Murandika, a 76-year-old farmer who lives in Kanyala village in northern Tanzania, installed his solar panels for a little over 400 dollars. Murandika said that the hardest part was installation. He now runs a small side business, earning 12 cents for every cell phone he charges. Edward Buta, a solar power shop dealer, said business is booming in the Tanzanian town of Katoro. Electricity is slowly inching across Africa, but until the grid makes it into the outskirts solar power will continue to be king.

Frederick Wood II

Sources: Mother Jones, NY Times, Forbes 1, Forbes 2
Photo: Face2Face Africa

potable water
As the largest country in East Africa, about one-third of the land in Tanzania is waterless. A little under 50 percent of Tanzania’s citizens do not have access to clean water, totaling around 21.6 million people.

Although there are three lakes that surround Tanzania, it is extremely difficult for individuals to find access to potable water if they do not live near one of these bodies of water.

While there have been attempts to address the situation, there has not been much success. In 1971, the Rural Supply Program was introduced in the hopes that the government would be able to provide free, clean water to the citizens of Tanzania. A lack of donors and technology have led to the low success rate of this project.

In 2002, Tanzania began major reforms in the water sector, and still insists that by 2025, it will have more comprehensive access to safe, clean water. Reforming the water sector has recently made the country a target for foreign donor support. Germany’s state aid agency is one donor that has been extremely involved in providing Tanzania’s water sector with aid.

Private sector donations are also coming from various types of companies. H&M, a Swedish retailer, has created a three-year program that will pair with Wateraid to “improve water provision and sanitation facilities in 36 schools in the rural Manyara district. As well as immediate assistance, H&M hopes the intervention will influence government thinking about water-related issues in schools.”

Wateraid is also working to solve the sewerage issues in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city. The initiative is a for-profit one that removes waste from latrine pits for a small charge in order to reduce disease and improve quality of life in the city.

As a country, Tanzania has become a guinea pig for “water stewardship approaches that involve the wider business community.” The Water Futures Partnership (WFP) has been instrumental in this endeavor.

Although many attempts have been made to rectify the water situation, public awareness still remains a pressing issue. People are accustomed to disposing their waste in the river and unfortunately still fail to recognize that they are not only contributing to the lack of potable water but are also facilitating the spread of water-borne diseases.

In order to make sure the program has a chance of success, there needs to be more open communication and collaboration between the organizations trying to improve access to potable water and the individuals in the populations they are trying to help.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: The Water Project, allAfrica
Photo: Wikimedia

education in tanzania
Tanzania has seen tremendous growth and progress in the education sector over the last decade. However, despite rapid expansion in primary and secondary school enrollment, the country’s education system continues to struggle to deliver quality education and to keep its children in school. Below are some facts about education in Tanzania:

1. Growth in Education

According to a census report, 94 percent of children aged 7 to 13 were enrolled in primary school in 2011. Only 59 percent of children were enrolled in primary school in 2000.

2. No Fees

This incredible jump in enrollment is due in part to Tanzania’s abolition of primary school fees in 2001.

3. MDGs

Today, Tanzania is said to be on track for meeting the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal for male and female enrollment in primary and secondary schools.

4. Class Size

Due to rapid enrollment numbers, Tanzania faces extreme overcrowding within its classrooms. The average government primary school classroom holds 66 pupils. In some areas of the country, there can be as many as 200 pupils in a single classroom.

5. Student:Teacher Ratio

While the number of enrolled students continues to grow, a corresponding increase in qualified teachers does not. The pupil to qualified teacher ratio remains 49:1 in Tanzania.

6. Student:Latrine Ratio

The pupil to latrine ratio is an even larger culprit when it comes to factors that hinder Tanzanian children’s education—for girls, especially. On average, there is 1 toilet for a collective 54 boys and 51 girls. This ratio — far below the normal pupil:latrine ration of 25:1 — affects not only attendance but also performance in Tanzanian schools.

7. Special Education

There is no system today in Tanzania for the identification of, assessment of, or support for children with mental or physical disabilities within government schools.

8. Drop Out Rates

In 2010, 68,000 children dropped out of primary school, and 66,000 children left secondary school early.

9. Pregnancy

Also in 2010, 7000 girls dropped out of primary and secondary schools due to pregnancy.

10. Exams

Only half (53.5 percent) of students passed the primary school’s leaving examination in 2010; the majority of children who passed the examination were boys.

Though the statistics that reflect the enrollment growth are impressive, the system supporting education in Tanzania is decrepit, if not dysfunctional. With one of the highest net enrollment ratios in Africa, there is much potential to empower Tanzanian children and adolescents, helping them to attain the education necessary to break the cycle of poverty. For the thousands of children who begin, but never finish, their schooling, education reform must remain at the forefront of the Tanzanian government’s agenda.

– Elizabeth Nutt

Photo: HNKC News

At a meeting hosted by the Zoological Society of London, four African leaders vowed their countries would prohibit the sale of ivory for 10 years.

Prince Charles and The Duke of Cambridge also attended the gathering, which sought to “find new ways to protect animals and reduce demand for wildlife products,” according to BBC News.

The leaders of Gabon, Chad, Botswana and Tanzania said, “they will not act on an option to sell from their ivory stockpiles, in an effort to protect elephants.”

The ivory trade involves the poaching of animals such as elephants and rhinos for their ivory tusks. The BBC claims most of the practice takes place in Africa to satisfy the large demand from Asia.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) claims 23 metric tons of ivory, which is equivalent to 2,500 elephants, “was seized in the 13 largest seizures of illegal ivory in 2011.” Moreover, between 2007 and 2012, South Africa has seen a 5,000 percent increase of rhino poaching, “with over 900 rhinos poached in 2013 alone.”

The organization also claims that wildlife crime is worth $19 billion per year and is as dangerous as other black forms of illegal trade.

But why do people join the black market for ivory in the first place? The WWF suggests that people in many countries gained an interest in a “variety of seafoods, leather goods, timbers, medicinal ingredients and textiles.”

However, this only explains the demand side of an ivory transaction. By understanding the context of the African nations involved in the ivory trade, it is clear that people slaughter animals for reasons other than simply trying to be evil.

Thus, the WWF also believes that “extreme poverty means some people see wildlife as valuable barter for trade.” As a result, individuals exploit the corruption and weak judicial systems in their poor homelands that enable the illegal trade of ivory.

In other words, those who are involved in the killings of defenseless rhinos and elephants for their ivory are simply trying to survive. If the international community wishes to see and end to the ivory trade, it needs to provide more aid to African nations struggling with poverty.

– Juan Campos

Sources: BBC, WWF
Photo: All Africa