Mapping Tanzania – 16th January 2017

Date : Monday, 16 January 2017
Time : 17:00–19:00
Location : School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, WC1H 0XG London, United Kingdom

There were presentations on various mapping projects currently in progress in Tanzania. These included those to assist with rebuilding after the Bukoba earthquake, to protect girls from Female Genital Mutilation, and to protect the population of Dar es Salaam from flooding.  Continue reading “Mapping Tanzania – 16th January 2017”

Britain Tanzania Society Annual General Meeting (AGM) – 19th November, 2016

The Annual General Meeting took place on Saturday, 19th November at 2pm at Central Hall Westminster. See BTS Newsletter Jan 2017   We were delighted to welcome H. E. Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Tanzania High Commissioner to the United Kingdom as the speaker.

This gave us another opportunity not only to meet Dr Migiro, but also to get a briefing on the fast-changing scene in Tanzania, one year into the Magufuli presidency. The whole of Africa is watching his efforts to confront corruption and waste – but it is not easy for one person, even the elected President, to quickly change cultures that have become entrenched, and not every problem can be tackled and solved quickly.

This year the Annual Report has been published on line on this website.

Listen to H E Dr Migiro’s Speech



Zanzibar Soccer Dreams – free screening and Q&A with stars – 7th November 2016

Date : 7th November 2017

Time : 19.00 – 22.00

Venue : In UTC: Pyramid Room, 4th floor, K4U.04, King’s building, Strand London WC2R 2LS

ZANZIBAR SOCCER DREAMS (2016, 64 mins): Directors. Florence Ayisi & Catalin Brylla
Tanzania-Zanzibar/2006/20016/115 mins/Swahili with English subtitles/TBC
This film is a follow up to Zanzibar Soccer Queens – ZSQ (2007) – , a film about the personal stories and football activities of Women Fighters, a predominantly Muslim women’s team in Zanzibar. ZSQ is a documentary portrait of strong-willed women determined to better their lives and define new identities through soccer.
Times are changing in the playing fields of soccer in Zanzibar as young Muslim girls are starting to have equal opportunities, and access to soccer training as part of physical education in schools. Thus, changing the status of women’s soccer – from playing in the streets to becoming part of Sports Education in government schools. Going for Goals: Zanzibar Soccer Dreams tells the story of a new era and changing times in this exotic Island on the Indian Ocean.

Kagera Earthquake Appeal

Rebuilding after the EarthquakeVisit my fundraising page on BT MyDonate

You will no doubt be aware of the earthquake which took place in Kagera region, in particular in Bukoba area, on 10th September 2016. The Earthquake measured 5.7 on Richter Scale. BTS Executive Committee Member and TDT Project Officer, Aseri Katanga wrote:

‘Some people died and so many houses, hospitals, schools and churches were reduced to rubble. Some roads have been affected in a big way. It will take decades for things to return to normality. Things were bad before this but now things are pathetic to say the least.’


Many of the communities who have been affected by the earthquake are those whom TDT has helped with grants in the past. It is our hope that we can help them to rebuild or repair the fabric of schools and other projects damaged or destroyed.


We appeal to you to help us to provide funds to help our friends in Tanzania to rebuild after the Earthquake.

Please make your donation to our MyDonate page:

Visit my fundraising page on BT MyDonate


Kate Dyer to run a Half-marathon to support the Safe House

Mugumu Girls: Safe and DancingKate Dyer is planning to run in the Scottish half marathon on 18th September, 2016. She will be fundraising for the Mgumu Safe House.


She writes : I haven’t done much in the way of running since I left school, but hearing about these vulnerable young women getting up the courage to run away from home, made me think maybe my running could  help.  With your support, of course.

I lived in Tanzania for many years and I know how much good work small citizen led organisations can do.  Even small sums in solidarity can mean to small organisations who don’t access funding from big donors.  Please look at their facebook page:

The Mugumu Safe House Facebook page

All the money raised goes direct to the Safe House project, there aren’t any overheads to Tanzania Development Trust.    Please use MyDonate.

Promoting the social inclusion of people with albinism in Tanzania – 24th October, 2016

Date : Monday, 24th October, 2016

Time : 5pm to 7pm

Location : School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square WC1H 0XG

A seminar hosted by the Britain-Tanzania Society and the SOAS African Studies Centre and facilitated by Standing Voice as part of the African Studies Centre programme , SOAS.

Albinism—a genetic condition reducing or eliminating melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair—is poorly understood across much of Tanzanian society. Dehumanising myths and superstitions surround the condition, with misconceptions breaking up families and leading to mockery, abandonment and violence. Seen as ghosts or ‘zeru zeru’ (‘sub-human’ in Swahili), people with albinism are often construed as curses on their families and communities and are segregated as a result. Some are even targeted for their body parts, used in witchcraft charms thought to bring wealth and fortune. Since 2006, 76 have been murdered and 69 more attacked. Because people with albinism are often thought to be subhuman, services are not built to meet their needs. Marginalisation impedes access to health services, restricts the delivery of health education, and isolates individuals with albinism from their families, communities and caregivers. This engaging and interactive seminar will be delivered by Jamie Walling (Standing Voice Project and Fundraising Coordinator) and present the issue of human rights abuses against people with albinism in Tanzania.

Standing Voice is an international non-governmental organisation based in Tanzania with its headquarters in the United Kingdom, deeply committed to promoting the social inclusion of people with albinism through delivering Health, Education, Advocacy and Community Programmes, reaching thousands of people with albinism across Tanzania on a structured, regular basis.

A Full report  of the seminar appears on page 4 of BTS Newsletter Jan 2017

Are the rivers in Tanzania at risk of drying up? The contested causes of environmental change – 10th October, 2016

Date :Monday 10 October 2016

Time : 5.15

Location : Room 4429, School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square WC1H 0XG


Are the rivers in Tanzania at risk of drying up?

The contested causes of environmental change

This was the topic presented by Professor Bruce Lankford of the University of East Anglia at a seminar on 10 October 2016.

The facts are startling. In 2004 Bruce Fox, whose family run a safari and hotel company in the Ruaha National Park, pointed out that in 1993 the Great Ruaha River dried up in the dry season, with dire consequences for fish in the river, plants and animals in the game park, and the belief that it would affect electricity generation at the Mtera and Kidatu dams downstream (see below), which supply hydro-electricity to Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and many other parts of Tanzania.  In more recent years, it has dried up every dry season. The Great Ruaha river drains an area the size of Wales  and feeds into the Usangu or Ihefu wetland. Fox asserted that it was not a coincidence that the drying up had started after the World Bank and other donors paid for projects that increased the amount of abstraction of water for irrigation and domestic provision via so-called modernised concrete weirs which could divert much or all of the flow onto large areas of irrigated land in the Usangu plains – large state farms (now privatised) at Mbarali and Kapunga and many other smaller schemes.  Other environmental concerns included  the very large numbers of cattle in the Usangu plains, and one of the Government’s responses was to move them all out, in the erroneous belief it  would ‘save water’ – the subject of an earlier Britain Tanzania Society seminar in 2013 (see the write-up and slides at Agropastoralist Headache – paper Oct 2013)

Bruce Lankford had already done work on the hydrology of the river, and was involved in two major research projects.[1]  Many researchers were involved, including many Tanzanians, and there were other research projects, making the Usangu plains one of the most researched areas in Africa. There were some important conclusions. One was that the amounts of water cattle could drink was not so much that it would make a significant difference to the flows, even in the dry season. Another was that the drying up had only marginal impact on the generation of electricity, because by far the greater part of the water flowed into the dams during the rainy seasons, and was stored in the two dams – only a little got through in the dry seasons anyway. The challenge was to get the sustainable supply of electricity out of the water in the dams (rather than a go-for-broke maximum production).  A sustainable HEP production would, for example, mean holding water back at Mtera if the Kidatu dam was full or nearly full, and managing the water levels in the two dams together. If that had been done more electricity could have been generated over periods when droughts or late rains occurred.

The researchers also looked at other possible causes of reduced flows – deforestation upstream affecting springs and delayed releases of water, greater diversion of streams for small-scale irrigation upstream, and greater evaporation due to climate change. All of these could have an impact, and especially more small scale irrigation, but not sufficient to make a big overall difference.

But the accumulation of water abstractions, including from small diesel pumps, combined with the construction of the concrete weirs has had, over time, an impact. They allow large amounts of water, in some cases the whole flow, of tributaries to be diverted for irrigation. They were associated with water rights which gave irrigators rights to an absolute amount of water, even when there was little in a river. They were often not well managed, so that water taken out of rivers ran to waste, or was used in excess of minimum net domestic needs.

The conclusions, some of which are expressed in The Great Ruaha Restoration Campaign, involve rewriting water rights, prohibiting extraction when flows are low, and using weirs that divide the water proportionally, leaving some flowing downstream.  Some progress is being made, but so far not sufficient to restore the flows through the Ruaha game park.

All this and more was spelt out with figures and pictures in Bruce Lankford’s slides from the seminar .

[1] SMUWC – the Sustainable Management of the Usangu Wetland and its Management;  and RIPARWIN  – Raising Irrigation Productivity and Releasing Water for Intersectoral Needs.



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