Making a change

 

I have now been in Tanzania for 1 month! In some ways I feel like I’ve lived here for a long time, but on the other hand, time is flying!

The NGO that I am working for, Amref Health Africa, is an Africa led organization present in 9 African countries. I am working in the implementation office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania which is focused on 4 programmes of work which are:

  • Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH)  Programme
  • Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) Programme
  • Capacity Building Programme
  • Disease Control and Prevention (DCP) Programme (focusing on HIV, Malaria, TB and other diseases) 

More details behind these programs and donors can be found at https://amref.org/tanzania

Under these 4 programs are 27 projects which are implemented and managed by teams of project managers, technical experts, engineers and are supported by procurement, HR, communications.  Since arriving here, I have been amazed to see the work that is happening.

Back at home, we hear stories about humanitarian work happening in countries like Tanzania – on TV adverts, on the news and Facebook. We donate money when friends run marathons and take clothes to charity shops, in the hope that the money we give will actually reach the communities who need it. It has been fantastic to see where this money is going – the staff here at Amref are some of those individuals actually doing the projects in the communities.

As a non-profit organization Amref rely on donor funding to finance the projects. I’ve seen a lot of trisector partnerships here (where social sector organizations partner with both private and public companies to reach a common goal). It is vital for success and something I believe Amref is particular good at. Fostering a good working relationship with the government is also key for delivering the lasting heath change in Africa…by working in partnership with the Tanzania government, Amref is able to make sustainable change in the communities.

I was keen to see some of the projects in the field to learn more about the organization and to understand the challenges that the team face.

Taki ni Mali – one project that falls under the WASH programme were doing some activities in Dar es Salaam, and the project team invited me along.

What is the Taki ni Mali project?

 

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Solid waste management is the most serious environmental issues confronting urban areas in developing countries. Efforts are limited by skills to recycle organic materials that usually comprise over 60% of the total waste. One district in Dar es Salaam – Ilala Municipal Council generates about 1,088 tons of solid waste/day and has a collection efficiency of 39%.

This project is aiming to educate communities in the district about reduce, reuse and recycle – with a special focus on training people on how to use recycled materials. A social enterprise model is also being formed with vulnerable women and young people to manage solid waste management in Ilala.

I joined for 4 days, where we visited several schools in the Buguruni, Vingunguti and Tabata districts. At each school (we did 2-3 per day) one of the Amref team would speak to the WASH club (most schools have different clubs that students can join, and as some schools had over 1000 pupils we had to be targeted) to educate them on the project and its goals. We left 3 bins at each school so they could begin to separate their waste. We will visit again in a few months to speak to the students again and discuss what they have learnt.

I’ve never met such energetic and happy kids, the reception I received as “muzongo”(white person in Swahili, not a derogatory term at all) was crazy! They would follow me around shouting hi and bye and find it very amusing when I would try answer them in Swahili. We were joined by Adrian, an intern in the communications team (and a very talented photographer). He shared with me some of the photos he took from our trips. I found it quite heartbreaking at times to see what little resources the schools had and how many kids were in each classroom…but the fact these children can come to school day is amazing. I think we often think those in need are in rural Africa, but in fact a lot of help is also needed in the built up cities.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about Amref please reach out!

Asante!

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Source: Amref Health Tanzania