International Day of the African Child 2013

kidsSunday, June 16th is the Day of the African Child. This day draws attention to the issues facing African children and this year’s theme is “Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices Affecting Children: Our Collective Responsibility.”

Historically, June 16th, 1976 marked a sad day. Thousands of students had taken to the streets of Soweto, South Africa to protest their inferior education system and the fact that they were not being taught in their own language. Tragically, over a hundred children were shot and killed plus countless others were injured during the protest. Then in 1991, the Organization of African Unity began holding an annual celebration in honor of those killed and commemoration of the courage shown by the protesters.

In Tanzania, this year’s African Child Festival will be held at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam. The event is organized by the African Child Trust and expected to draw over 500 children from all over, including some orphanages. The all day festival is sure to be a fun with entertainment including comedy, dance and African dress shows, sing alongs and other exciting activities. Additionally, the children will have a chance to visit other kids in treatment for cancer, at the Muhimbili National Hospital. Unfortunately, many of these little patients have no one to care for them. “This festival aims at encouraging them and to also remind them that they are part of our society” according to Ailinda Sawe the Chairperson for African Child Trust (IPP Media).

kids_Katusyo Primary School2 (2)What an important day to reflect upon the challenges facing the children in Africa. Here at Africa Bridge we are fortunate and humbled to be able to do our part to make a difference in some of their lives. And, we also feel extremely grateful to get to interact with so many amazing and special children in our work, that certainly calls for a celebration!






International Workers’ Day in Tanzania

Bwilando women dancingTanzania, along with many other countries around the world, celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1st every year. This day, also referred to as May Day, is usually marked by protests, rallies, processions or other organized events from various labor organizations drawing attention to their cause. Many large cities will also have a parade where commissioners or the President will recognize award-winning workers and organizations.

So, on this year’s International Workers’ Day, what labor issue will be top of mind for Tanzanians?

Despite the fact that Tanzania economy and GPD continues to grow, unfortunately unemployment remains a significant problem. According to the youth unemployment rate estimated at 8.8%, is double the national unemployment rate,  and disparately impacts youth and young women in urban areas. With Tanzania’s large youth population this is an important issue for the nation.

iphone 431A recent article in The Citizen also painted a grim picture of this issue, saying that “unemployment is widespread, victims of what is truly a crisis, being mainly potentially resourceful young men and women who would gladly work to earn a decent living but aren’t doing so for lack of job opportunities.” The crafts and training institutions are putting out more graduates than the job market can absorb and the government continues to struggle to stimulate job growth.

On this International Workers’ day, youth unemployment seems to be one of the most pressing issues for Tanzanians and we will surely see many organizations working to create awareness and calling for action on this challenge today.

Finally, we’d like to thank our Africa Bridge Staff  for their continuous hard work and dedication to changing lives! We are so grateful to have you as part of the Africa Bridge family, thank you!


Another Step for Children’s Rights

Here at Africa Bridge we love children! So, needless to say, every time we learn about another step to protect children’s rights, we are thrilled and feel the need to share our excitement with you!

First off, here’s a little info about how we do our part at Africa Bridge. We listen to children and advocate for their rights. Core to Africa Bridge’s model is the establishment of a voluntary village committee, known as the Most Vulnerable Children Committee, which takes on responsibility for identifying and aiding vulnerable children and their families.

The MVC committees do many things, but some of their most vital work is the provision of what are essentially basic social services: they help address children’s barriers to school attendance, offer assistance in getting birth certificates and other legal protection, provide short-term food and find shelter for kids and families.

Considering all of the above, you could say that we have a real investment in making sure that Tanzanian communities have a support structure for kids. We were pleased  to learn that Zanzibar officially has their first child friendly court! That means that child witnesses can testify over a video feed in court cases where they must serve as witnesses; the children are given a feeling of safety with these arrangements, as they do not need to be in the same room as the person(s) they’re testifying against. This is a big step in supporting children in a very vulnerable and stressful situation. Hopefully many more child-friendly courts will follow soon!

See the full article here:

One of Africa’s Most Powerful Women

Elsie Kanza has been named on of Africa’s most influential women. What an accomplishment in a sector that is still largely male-dominated. She is an inspiration to young girls everywhere interested in public service!

Kanza  has a history in banking and finance, and has accepted a position in the World Economic Forum, where she is Director and Head of Africa Region. In this article, Kanza discusses how her new role will give her the opportunity to help address the challenges that Africa faces. In the article, Kanza’s continued dedication to promoting leadership in young people also shines through.

Read more here:


Tanzanian Youth Discuss Children’s Welfare

Find out what youth think about social welfare of children in Tanzania. Here’s an interesting article about young people from all over Tanzania voicing positive ideas on how the government can better work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. What a great way to get children actively involved in creating a better future for Tanzania! I bet there were  many future leaders of Tanzania in attendance. The workshops were organized by the Children Dignity Forum, who are helping children make their voices heard.

Read the full article here:

Finding News from Tanzania

Although we’re pretty sure this is obvious through our work, here at Africa Bridge we love learning new things about Tanzania! As I’m sure you noticed, though, Tanzania doesn’t make it into international news all that often. Lucky for us, we have staff working in Tanzania and much information can be found online these days too. So, we rely on some local newspapers to keep us up to date as well. We realize that some of our friends may have this same thirst for knowledge and thought we’d share these resources with you!

 Tanzanian News Sources

The Citizen

Daily News Tanzania

All Africa Tanzania


IPP Media


Celebrating the Holidays in Tanzania

As we continue to enjoy the holidays here at Africa Bridge US, we thought we should share a little about how people celebrate this time of year in Tanzania.

About one third of the population in Tanzania is estimated to be Christian and celebrates Christmas during the holiday season. In Tanzania,  like in the US, the holidays are a time for family. On Christmas, families usually go to church for a special service and then gather with relatives to share a meal. As this is a special occasion, meat is served as part of the meal. Some families will also decorate a tree for their home with lights, stars and bells.

As it is in remote communities in many countries, funds for presents are limited, but those parents that can afford to will buy their children new clothes. Toys are much rarer presents than in the US, particularly in rural Tanzanian villages and towns. Often you see kids proudly showing of their new clothes on Christmas day.

From the US to Tanzania to all of you out there– wherever you are for this holidays season and however you celebrate, we wish you a wonderful time with family and friends!