Archives - ‘Tanzania’

“Polite, considerate and friendly”

July 30, 2019 | Valérie, Développement international et mondialisation, Tanzanie, Uniterra, Friends in Development (FIDE) - Communications and Documentation Officer

Whereas most people associate Tanzania with wildlife and landscapes, the thing I will remember the most about Tanzania is the generosity and friendliness of the people here. “Polite, considerate and friendly” are words often used to describe Canadians and those seem to apply perfectly to Tanzanians as well. There are 120 ethnic groups and therefore 120 tribal languages in Tanzania, which makes the country the second most ethnically diverse in the world. Despite this diversity, Tanzanians live such in harmony with one and another. Once again, this makes me think of Canada as it is perceived by many, myself included, as a multicultural country that embraces all races, ethnicities and religions.

If not for the people, I will miss Tanzania for its food which is very simple and yet so rich in taste. Living in the small city that is Babati, I have had the opportunity to eat local dishes every day, whether it was rice and beans with milk tea (black tea infused in boiled milk) for lunch or chips mayai (omelet filled with fries) for dinner.

The work culture in Tanzania was definitely a challenge throughout my whole mandate and even after 3 months, I can’t really say that I got used to it. For instance, being productive all the time isn’t a thing, whereas frequent tea breaks and 2h lunches are. During these 2h lunches, everyone eats together, and no one brings their own food unless they are willing to share with the whole office. Also, no one tells you what you are supposed to do and you are expected to create work for yourself. Last but not least, everything takes time here and you can’t rely on schedules. This is where the whole “hakuna matata” saying means more than just “no worries” – it also refers to time as in “do not rush”. Without a doubt, the latter has made my work more difficult and longer than it could have been.

However, when looking back at all the tasks I have achieved, I have done more than the Uniterra team and I had anticipated in my work plan.

In fact, in 3 months I have:

• Redone completely the website;
• Updated the website and social medias weekly;
• Developed a Gender Equality Policy and presented it to the staff and board;
• Designed a newsletter;
• Developed participants form to track the gender, age group and knowledge level on specific subjects of beneficiaries at trainings and meetings;
• Conducted interviews with beneficiaries to see how their situation improved;
• Created a guide on how to use WordPress for my coworkers.

Babati, Tanzania

June 18, 2019 | Valérie, Développement international et mondialisation, Tanzanie, Uniterra, Friends in Development (FIDE) - Communications and Documentation Officer

It now has been a little over 6 weeks since I arrived in Tanzania and 5 weeks since I started working as a Communication and Documentation Officer with Friends in Development (FIDE) in Babati. In a few words, FIDE is a local NGO using local expertise to lead community-based rural development projects in different regions in Tanzania in order to achieve a poverty-free, equitable and environmentally sustainable society. It works in various fields, such as agriculture, health, education and water supply, partners regularly with local, national and international organizations to help implement its projects.

Living in a very small town has had its pros and cons. On one hand, most people here only speak Swahili and the diversity of restaurants and shops is very limited as is the number of foreigners here. On the other hand, I get to interact with the same people every day, practice Swahili and eat more local food than I would if I were living in a bigger city like the majority of volunteers are. Altogether, this has made my integration into my host country easier and I feel as though I am experiencing the local culture more than I would have thought.

Having the opportunity to put to practice what I have learned in class for the past 3 years is truly rewarding. As I am currently developing a gender equality policy for my organization, I was grateful for the “Women, Gender and Development” course I took during the fall semester of 2018 as it provided me with knowledge about theoretical and practical approaches to women in development and issues women face in Southern countries to use for the aforementioned policy. Though, reading back on my class notes from different DVM courses made me realize how applying the theories we learn in class is not as realistic as it might seem. In the case of women’s empowerment, I have found that most theories fail to address the core of gender inequality which is in the private sphere and is engraved deeply in cultural norms and traditions. As pessimistic this might seem, it is the reality I am faced with. I am, though, finding smaller but still meaningful ways of supporting excluded groups (women, youth and indigenous) through everyday actions, whether it is buying from them at the market or giving them a forum by interviewing them on their past and current living situation.

Seeking discomfort brought me the most amazing adventures!

November 28, 2018 | Alexia, Honours in International Development and Globalization, Uniterra, Tanzanie, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), Youth Entrepreneurship Officer

I have 4 days left in Tanzania and I have mixed feeling about leaving. This has been such an unbelievable experience that I do not want it to end. I have had the chance of seeing things I had never thought I would ever see in my life. I have made friends that have taken me under their wing to make sure I have the best time while I am here, and others that I could now consider family. On the other hand, I am really excited to get back to my family and tell them all the adventures I have had here.

The people of Tanzania have taught me a lot of things. One of them being, take your time. In western countries, especially Canada, we rush to complete tasks every day. Whether this is for school, work, or just in your personal life, we never take a couple minutes to enjoy life and here they do and I like to think I have learned to do this here. Another lesson that I have learned is to not stress about the little things. People here are just so happy, nothing seems to bother them, and I was wondering how they do it. What I noticed is that they take one day at a time, and do the most they can do with that day. If they do not accomplish everything, then they do it tomorrow. They do not stress about anything because there are more important things to think about, and you would be missing out on more interesting life moments otherwise.

With regards to my work at the Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, everything is going smoothly and I do believe I will be able to accomplish my mandate. With the new pamphlets and other recruitment strategy tools that I have created I believe it could be quite useful for them in the future. Overall, the experience here at TCCIA has been very informative and had taught me a lot about the business sector and how complicated it can be to run a business.

All in all, this internship has been very useful not only for academic purposes but also for personal ones. By doing an internship you learn a lot more than if you were sitting in class. Of course learning in a university setting is important but going to a country and seeing the theories talked about in class adds another layer of knowledge to what you already know, or you think you know. It allows you to discover the lessons by yourself and also to see the dichotomy between what your professor said and what you are living through while you are there. Even though professors are specialized in their fields what they can teach us can sometimes come from a biased opinion. Personally, this internship has taught me many things about myself that I did not know before. For example, how I do not mind living in another country for a long period of time, how I adapt quite easily to new environments, and how seeking discomfort brought me the most amazing adventures. Lastly, this has been the most incredible internship and it is going to make me sad to leave, but as they say all good things have to come to an end, and here is me wishing that a lot more amazing experiences are to come!

5 weeks left

October 23, 2018 | Alexia, Honours in International Development and Globalization, Uniterra, Tanzanie, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), Youth Entrepreneurship Officer

I have been in Tanzania for 7 weeks now and let me tell you this, it is incredible. The country is such a big contrast compared to the Canadian lifestyle, however, you get used to it really quickly. The first week the Uniterra Tanzania staff take you under their wing showing you where to go grocery shopping, how to travel in the city, and how life in general in Tanzania works. The team was so considerate I did not feel overwhelmed at all! They are truly good in helping you integrate into society.

Arusha, the city I am placed in, is very lively. During the day there are the merchants bustling about and at night all the restaurants our open for your leisure. There is even quite a bit of night life if that is a thing that interests you. Also, during the weekends there are a lot of one-day excursions you can do for relatively cheap! Nature in Tanzania is very vibrant. It goes from desert plains, to huge mountains, to forests that could be compared to the rain forest. Furthermore, there is a considerable number of hiking groups here in Arusha that allows you to see things you otherwise would not. One weekend we were hiking and we could see Kilimanjaro appear over the desert, it was amazing!

Now that I have provided you with a tiny glimpse of what Tanzania is like outside of the workplace let me share how it is inside. My mandate is taking place at the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (TCCIA). This organization is like any other chamber of commerce you might encounter in Canada. However, it is responsible for all sectors of business and not just one, as we are normally used to seeing. For my mandate I have been entrusted in categorizing all the services that TCCIA Arusha offers. Now that I am starting my 7th week everything is coming together, which is a very satisfying feeling. Furthermore, TCCIA Arusha has brought me along while they were doing field work in the different districts of Arusha. These excursions allowed me to discover one of the main industries here in Tanzania, which is agriculture. During these work trips we get to go meet the farmers and talk about the challenges they are facing, but you also get to see how the farming is done. Machines are barely used here so mostly everything is done by hand, which is quite exceptional to witness. Having always wanted to help people in life, knowing that my role in TCCIA could make their jobs a little bit easier thrills me.

Having the capability of seeing what we speak about in class is eye opening. All the theories you learn in class could be applied here depending on the circumstances. Of course you cannot change the country while you here, neither do you have the authority to walk up to someone and tell them what they are doing is wrong. There is quite the contrast when comparing the supposedly right method of doing things like we learn about in school and then what they are doing here. You see the power dynamics between the classes and the genders and you can do your part by supporting the women or the lower class while you are buying your groceries, but it is hard to do more. However, it is interesting to have internal conversations with yourself or with your fellow volunteers about what you have seen and how you would change things if you had the capacity of doing so. Being out in the field is really great experience and I would definitely recommend doing at least one placement while in school. It gives you a different perspective then just the theoretical one.

Now that I have 5 weeks left, hopefully they go by slowly because I am not ready to leave just yet. Tanzania is really a remarkable country filled with exceptional people. I want to be able to absorb as much as I can because who knows if I will ever have the opportunity to come back, I sure wish I will.

Tanzania Tourist Board - Cultural Tourism Enterprises

August 20, 2018 | Tabitha, International Development and Globalization, Uniterra, Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement, Communication and Documentation Officer

Working with the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) for 3 months as their Knowledge Management Officer, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of Cultural Tourism Enterprises (CTEs) across Northern Tanzania.

In order to identify the real knowledge management needs of CTEs and then be able to offer them relevant support and tools, I conducted a number of interviews and focus group discussions with CTE leaders who were in charge of communications, knowledge management, or the everyday organizational responsibilities of their social enterprise.

Through qualitative research, I discovered that although a number of CTEs have been managing well on their own, one of their most pressing constraints for better enterprise outcomes was the lack of a formal network connecting CTEs across the country. Without collaboration, CTEs have been unable to collectively problem solve, package-sell their products in the international market, nor learn from one another and share knowledge together.

As a pilot project, with enormous support from TTB Coordinator, Mr. Eliherema Maturo and WUSC Coordinator Mr. Gaudence Kapinga, I curated the 1st CTE Share Fair in Arusha. Over two days, CTE leaders from all over Tanzania captured this niche opportunity to learn, share, and network.
Led and organized by Mr. Maturo and myself, the two day CTE Share Fair consisted of a series of seminars and workshops for CTEs. CTE members discovered and practiced the potential for the application of Knowledge Management within and between their social enterprises, using both manual and electronic processes and tools, such as Google Drive. In addition to a training session on Knowledge Management, they were also able to present and promote their CTEs through formal networking sessions.

On the second day, with the unique opportunity to work together in small group discussion, CTE members deliberated and decided via consensus the rules governing the newly created community of practice tool, the “Tanzania CTE Whatsapp Group.” Additionally, it was important to highlight and uplift CTE leaders with deep expertise on Cultural Based Tourism, and several men and women conducted seminars on their own about topics of their speciality.

The CTE-led seminars, in addition to the widely accessible and easy to use ‘CTE Whatsapp Group,’ signifies the beginning of CTEs forming and sustaining meaningful business relationships. Using technology to facilitate knowledge sharing to better keep in communication with one another, both improves enterprise performance complementary to achieving various environmental, cultural, and human development objectives.

Trust the process

July 25, 2018 | Marwan, Specialization - International Development and Globalization and Additional Minor - Public Administration, Tanzania, Arusha NGO Network, Research and Advocacy Officer

The country of Tanzania and the city of Arusha itself is extremely beautiful - filled with kind hearted citizens. This experience has far passed my expectations and really allowed me to develop as an individual.

The NGO I work with do research and advocacy focusing on marginalized groups in northern Tanzania. ANGONET have done numerous research in the past, a few of them are on mining and the effect it has with the locals that live near the resource, malnutrition in areas in the northern region with a focus on capacity building and policy advocacy for resource mobilization, and the effect of corporate social responsibility on wildlife tourism and how it lacks transparency and benefit sharing.

I am currently focusing on the research of wildlife tourism and the deficiency of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the northern region of Tanzania. My duties are to develop a policy brief from the research findings and help schedule a meeting with the tourism board to discuss the issues regarding CSR. In addition, also find techniques to disseminate the policy brief to marginalized citizens in the northern region to inform them of the issue and allow them to be aware.

Although three months did seem long for this internship in a city/country/continent I have never been in, it has inspired me to further travel and experience different countries to enhance my capacity to understand various living standards/norms. Tanzania is definitely a country I recommend people to visit and be mesmerized by the beauty. I have gotten to the point where I consider myself Tanzanian and I am really invested to help incorporate development ideas/projects in the future in the country.

To any future interns…it might seem “scary” and “nerve-racking” to go on an international internship, but just like what Joel Embiid says, “Trust the Process” and you will love the experience and yearn to take on more opportunities of this nature in the future!

Experience of a lifetime

July 5, 2018 | Marwan, Specialization - International Development and Globalization and Additional Minor - Public Administration, Tanzania, Arusha NGO Network, Research and Advocacy Officer

I am located in Arusha, Tanzania and I have been here for two months. By far, this has been the greatest experience I have had in my life for numerous reasons. The first reason would be the fact that I am able to work on the field in a developing country and witness the everyday lifestyle from residents of the country. Secondly, it is being able to network with local NGOs in Tanzania and understanding their needs as well as demands. Lastly, it is gaining knowledge and expertise from residents I meet day-to-day.
I meet around five new people each day on my way to work and back home. The conversations we have are great and really stimulate new ways of thinking on how to improve living standards in the country. The main difference I get from being on this international internship compared to being in a classroom, is that I can get multiple incite from citizens in the developing country and increase my knowledge on the barriers they feel that are holding them back.

I believe international development students should highly consider taking international internships because it enhances and develops your thinking processes as well as perception of “development”. In addition, it allows you to mature and become accustomed to new cultures and traditions. Each country is different from another and have different needs and demands. Once you experience the lifestyle (living, work, leisure, etc) you get a general sense of areas where improvements/projects can be successfully implemented.

To any student reading this, do not hesitate to apply for this once in a life time experience. It will only benefit you and allow you to grow as an individual.

Worthwhile Change

June 28, 2018 | Tabitha, International Development and Globalization, Uniterra, Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement, Communication and Documentation Officer

International development, its historical scholarly study and its practice, has been critiqued for instigating more problems in the global south than inspiring worthwhile change. Today, some professionals and practitioners are keen to explore and prototype alternatives to traditional development models that truly enact worthwhile change at the heart of communities themselves.

As an aspiring traveler and keen learner, I try to be aware of the ways in which irresponsible tourism can often be exploitative of vulnerable people and even exacerbate poverty and environmental harm across the world. As Knowledge Management Officer with the Tanzania Tourism Board based in Arusha, during my mandate, I have quickly learned that Cultural Based-Tourism (CBT) is a phenomenal way to engage tourists directly into sustainable and long-term community development.

In 2001, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) identified CBT as one of the major growth markets in the global tourism industry. In Tanzania, Cultural Tourism Enterprises (CTEs) are recognized by the federal government as a vital industry with incredible growth potential, that can also promote substantial contributions to human development, poverty alleviation, environmental management, and gender empowerment within local communities.

Although the Tanzania Tourism Board provides marketing, financial, and developmental support to help CTEs reach their full potential, Tanzania’s tourism industry is still largely dominated by wildlife safaris and luxury retreats, an industry saturated with men, and of which the financial rewards often land in private hands.

With CTEs, stakeholders in the community – local leaders, artisans, farmers, cooks, women’s groups, professionals, and youth (just to start!), can all have an equal opportunity to bring their various skills, knowledge, and ideas to and develop unique cultural tourism products, and they also decide how the financial benefits are distributed within the community.

For instance, I had the chance to participate in Old Moshi Cultural Tourism’s program for a day, where I took a coffee tour, traveled across banana farms to view the remnants of the original German settlements on Mt. Kilimanjaro, learned local history, met and interacted with a number of Bibis (grandmothers!), and witnessed a magnificent 700m waterfall. I bought some art produced by local youth, and even took some of the delicious coffee brew home with me!

Later, in the Old Moshi office, I identified a number of financial charts posted along Old Moshi’s walls. I realized that CTEs will post their quarterly financial reports openly in their office so that community members, government officials, and tourists can see themselves the CTE revenues, and how much directly goes back to the community. In many CTEs, it’s not uncommon for 50-75% of the revenues to go into projects like funding teachers’ salaries, irrigation systems, building or maintaining schools, supporting women’s and farmers groups (through microcredit programs), tree planting, and community outreach for youth discussing topics promoting the environmental stewardship, career opportunities, and even sexual health or HIV/AIDS awareness.

As a student, so often I feel that development work is strictly critiquing the negatives of a project. However, it’s so incredibly refreshing to witness and be part of decentralized, community-based programs that bring all the best elements together to manifest sustainable and long-term development outcomes.

As a traveler, I feel amazing knowing there are ways that tourism can be sustainable, and the money I spend will have incredible and direct benefits for the people of the country, even the people I meet in that community. I urge all people - volunteers, professionals, or travelers, to forge a new path off of the development or tourist road, to find alternatives in how we can engage abroad and devote our time and money to motivate and invest in powerful, wonderful, and helpful change.

Travailler sur le terrain et enrichir ses connaissances

April 3, 2018 | Geneviève, ECH, Uniterra, Tanzanie, VETA, agente aux communications et marketing

Voici maintenant quelque temps que je procrastine pour écrire ce blogue. En fait, ce dernier témoignage de mon expérience veut dire que celle-ci tire bel et bien à sa fin et que cette belle aventure est maintenant derrière moi.

J’ai beaucoup appris durant les derniers mois, tant sur les plans académique, professionnel que sur le plan personnel. Je continue d’entretenir les relations que j’ai formées avec les gens qui ont tant enrichi mon expérience et j’essaye de continuer à apprendre le swahili.

Je peux fièrement dire que je comprends maintenant beaucoup mieux les défis qui proviennent d’un partenariat avec un pays du Sud et que les outils que j’ai développés durant mon stage me serviront dans ma carrière.

Mes collègues au Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture m’ont vraiment aidé à rendre mon expérience des plus agréables tout en m’aidant à intégrer le mode de vie, en m’enseignant la langue et en ouvrant mon regard à leur réalité.

Je continue de travailler avec eux à distance en espérant pouvoir les supporter davantage.

Je n’oublierai jamais cette étape de ma vie et j’espère que je pourrai un jour retourner visiter les gens que j’ai rencontrés et qui sait, peut-être retravailler avec eux !

J’encouragerais fortement les étudiants en sciences sociales à considérer cette opportunité qui rajoute beaucoup de valeur au curriculum en nous donnant l’occasion de travailler sur le terrain et d’enrichir concrètement nos connaissances.

Halfway point

February 23, 2018 | Christina, DVM, Tanzania, Uniterra Malawi - NYCOM, Environmental Management Officer

I am escaping the cold winter of Ottawa this semester by traveling to Malawi, Africa. My internship is with the National Youth Council of Malawi. I have already been here for 6 weeks and I am at the halfway point of my mandate. I can’t believe the time is flying by this quickly. When preparing for this adventure, 3 months seemed like a long time to be living in Malawi. During my pre-departure training, as well as any other time I’ve traveled there has been a lot of discussion around culture shock and the different shapes and forms it might take. I have always felt like culture shock didn’t affect me as much. I have never been to Africa so, Malawi is exciting and different. My first two weeks here took more adjusting than I thought I would need. But now my everyday life has begun to feel normal and I have my own routine. I believe this is a good lesson for myself to know what with a little time my everyday challenges will not seem as apparent and that I can assimilate in the country that is very different from my own.

Reaching my halfway point, I’ve begun to feel the end approaching and a new found motivation to make my 6 weeks here the best. My role as an environmental manager at NYCOM has been challenging but rewarding. I have never worked in a role like this in development. So it was hard to see the possible challenge that was going to erupt during my time here. I am passionate about environmental sustainability and agricultural development and Malawi allows me to really expand and learn about these issues. Malawi’s GDP runs on the agriculture sector and most farms are small-holder farmers. It has been interesting to learn about the differences and similarities between small-holder farmers here compared to small-holder farmers in other countries. Farmers here struggle with accessing a market that can provide them with a steady income and resources. Most farmers practice modern agriculture techniques with the use of pesticides and herbicides.Which is not always the case for smallholder farmers elsewhere. But learning about the struggles farmers face here, really illustrates the impact that climate change has on their lives. Flooding and Drought are the biggest threats here. People live’s and income here rely on the weather patterns. Right now Malawi is green and lush because it is the rainy season. So farmers are working in overtime to prepare their crops for maximum growth. But it has not been as rainy as excepted so people are losing time and money. Part of my role at NYCOM is to develop a disaster risk assessment on affiliate organizations and youth in Malawi. This project has given me a new perspective on climate change and how we can better monitor and understand the impacts in the analytical framework. This week has been considerably productive and enjoyable. As an intern, I have taken my development knowledge that I’ve learned in university and have demonstrated it in my position here. I have definitely gained new perspectives and understanding of how to work in a role like this.

The work, culture and people have made a strong impression on me. I am lucky enough to be living with 4 other Canadians and they allow me to reflect on some of the challenges and accomplishments I’ve had here. I’ve made lots of friends with locals or people from different parts of Africa and they always ask me what Canada is like? If I will take them back with me when I go. My friends here have shared their culture with me and we have learned from each other. It seems hard to believe I will shortly be leaving my home in Malawi. These friendships have made my time here enjoyable and helped me grow and learn in Malawi.