Leprosy in Rural Tanzania: Detection, Treatment and Overcoming the Stigma -6th March, 2017

Date: 6th March 2017

Time: 5pm to 7pm

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

Speaker:  Dr Sarah Feather

The Rufiji Leprosy Trust was set up thirty years ago to support the village of Kindwitwi, in Rufiji District, about 80 miles South of Dar es Salaam, which was once a leprosy camp for people affected by leprosy but is now a thriving village concerned to promote the self-sufficiency of people living with leprosy and their families. Many cases are still being diagnosed, but with help and support almost all can learn a craft or become farmers.

Dr Sarah Feather is Co-Chair of the Trust and a GP in the UK. She visited Kindwitwi in 1983 with a group of young people from the Diocese of Hereford, then did her medical student elective in the village, and has been returning on and off ever since. She became a trustee in 1989.

All our events are open to anyone interested in Tanzania. We particularly welcome Tanzanians to our meetings.

See also BTS Facebook Leprosy Seminar

The Arusha Declaration @50 – 24th February 2017

Date: 24th February, 2017

Location: 50 George Square Project Room, 1.06, The University of Edinburgh

To mark the 50th anniversary of Tanzania’s Arusha Declaration in February 1967, the Centre of African Studies and the Global and Transnational History Research Group at the University of Edinburgh  hosted a one-day workshop on the theme ‘The Arusha Declaration @50’ on Friday 24 February 2017.

The workshop brought together academics from across the UK and Tanzania providing an interdisciplinary forum for discussion on the broad theme of implications of the Arusha Declaration on contemporary Tanzanian politics, economic development, education and social media. There was an amazing range of speakers, from those who had worked closely with Nyerere at the time, to those discussing the implications for Tanzanian politics today.  There are some slides from the conference, and Ralph Ibbot and Kenneth King’s presentation here, and you can also find out more on Twitter at #ArushaDeclaration.

See also BTS Facebook Arusha Declaration@50 on Facebook

Britain Tanzania Society Education Group Seminar – Maths focus -23rd January 2017

Date : 23 January 2017
Time : 17:00
Location : School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square WC1H 0XG.

This was a very interesting evening with presentations from Polycarp from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, who run teacher training and maths camps in Tanzania and Lyra who are doing a research project on how using tablet computers running RACHEL content can help with the teaching of Maths in Tanzania.  The presentations, additional links and recordings of the seminar  can be viewed here.  BTS Education Seminar, Maths Focus

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.

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.



Rob the Poor to Pay the Rich – Sat 8th October

Date: Saturday, 8th October, 9.30am for 10am to 4pm

Location: Redditch Town Hall, WalterStranz Square, Redditch B98 8AH

This was a seminar exploring tax avoidance and its impact on developing countries organised jointly with Methodist Tax Justice Network and Redditch One World Link.  The speakers were:

David Haslam is Convener of the Methodist Tax Justice Network, which he helped to found in 2012. He is a former Executive member of Anti Apartheid and War on Want and was secretary of the Churches Commission for Racial Justice from 1987 to 1998, where he helped form the International Dalit Solidarity Network, campaigning against caste discrimination. On 28 April he spoke about tax justice at the AGM of Barclays Bank in the Royal Festival Hall.  He is a Methodist minister in Evesham.

Professor Sol Picciotto is chair of the Advisory Group of the International Centre for Tax and Development, and a Senior Adviser of the Tax Justice Network. He is one of the few independent experts who attend the international meetings on this topic. He taught law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in the 1960s, before coming to Warwick University Law School and then Lancaster University Law Faculty. He lives in Leamington Spa.

Dr Hildebrand Shayo did his PhD at South Bank University and was a committee member of the Britain Tanzania Society, before returning to Tanzania, where he is Director of Research at the Tanzania Investment Bank, where he takes a special interest in the investment needs of large companies.

A summary of the day by Andrew Coulson can be found on page 5 of the BTS Newsletter Jan 2017





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