Stolen phone, injured elbow and applying for research permit

I’ve been in Zanzibar now for 4 weeks and to summarize, it’s been both the best and the worst 4 weeks I’ve had in many years. For starters, my iphone got stolen about two weeks ago while being out with some friends in Stone Town. And when I was trying to reclaim it, I fell and injured my elbow. So for the past weeks my days have consisted of going back and forth to the doctor and to the police station to get updates and hear about the proceedings of finding my phone. I also discovered early on that I need a research permit here in order to interview people in Zanzibar. Which has led me to also spend a lot of time going to different ministries, institutions and banks to fill out papers. Although it’s been stressful having to spend my time going to various places, having contact with the authorities here has given me an insight on how the bureaucracy works in another country. An experience I think I wouldn’t of had if I was “sliding on a räkmacka”.  

On more positive notes, I’ve finally gotten my research permit (yay!), met so many amazing people and have been surrounded by the most stunning environment and scenery. Being the language enthusiast that I am, I also started a 20-hour kiswahili class at the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA). I’ve come to love the language and its’ logical grammar structure and from my experience, Kiswahili is a really easy language to learn. In the following weeks I hope to learn even more swahili and maybe even continue with self-studies when I’m back home in Sweden.

Being injured and living on a paradise island doesn’t give you the best motivation to study but luckily now that I’ve gotten my research permit and my elbow has healed, I can focus all on my studies and also proceed with doing interviews in the coming weeks.

Badaaye (see you)

Freddie Mercury’s house

Typical doors in Zanzibar
My usual dinner at the Forodhani market

First 72 hours in Stone Town

It’s been three days since I arrived to Zanzibar and a lot has happened already. When I arrived at the airport I was instantly greeted with karibu – the Swahili word for welcome. On my way to my accommodation I picked up some useful words, that I now have been using at least 20 times a day, such as; asante sana (thank you), pole pole (slowly slowly) and all of the various greeting phrases like jambo, mambo and habari. And of course hakuna matata (no worries) which to my surprise is frequently used by the locals. People are extremely friendly here and you feel welcomed straight away. Besides some miscommunication and not getting used to a new currency, everything went smoothly.

These first days I have just wanted to feel the place out, get to know my surroundings and rest from the long trip. Because of this, I haven’t been writing on my thesis at all. Hopefully I will get going with it tomorrow. And besides from wanting to take it a little bit pole pole, there is an international music festival in town right now so Stone Town is packed with people from all over the world. I have been going to live shows, watching some kids do crazy flips and diving in to the ocean and eating the most amazing street food!

View of Stone Town from The Swahili House
Kids jumping in the water

I also took the opportunity, while strolling around the town with some new-found hostel friends, to go to the Slave Museum and the Slave Chambers. This year it will be 100 years since slavery was abolished in Zanzibar. I was really saddened to hear about and see the atrocious cruelty that happened and it left many emotions in me for the rest of the day. I really recommend anybody visiting this island to go to the museum.

The circle in the middle is where the people that were brought in as slaves would be whipped and then sold for auction. The ones who endured the pain the most got sold the quickest because it showed signs of strength. This place is now a church.
These are the real chains that were used for whipping slaves.
In this very tiny chamber, over 75 slaves were chained together and stayed there until they would be auctioned off.

 

Lizard & escaping the traffic jam

Hello everyone!

I finally arrived in Tanzania a few days ago. I know I’m quick in writing and it’s because I feel the internet I am using is quite unreliable. So I am trying to make the best of it.

As you may have noticed hehe, I will be writing the blog in English because a) I study in English & all thesis progress will be written in English. And b) all my family and friends can follow the updates, without being “left out”.

First of all, I want to start off by saying I AM ALIVE, this is more to my family that have been bombarding my phone asking “did u arrive?”. YES. I did. And it is suuuper hot!!! When I arrived, it only took 30mins to get through the immigration & passport control + collect my luggage, so a big round of applauds for the airport staff. Usually, it can take up to even 2 hours. So this was beyond awesome. So, what have I done these few days?

I have slept! I was so exhausted by the journey. And when I finally felt a little alive, I had a friend help me with getting a sim card, setting up internet etc etc. Oh and I found a lizard in my kitchen. I feel so welcomed 😀 On a more serious note, I have studied. I have been writing my literature review and some other ‘fun’ assignments that I have to send in to my supervisor (in Sweden) next week.

Also, I have managed to escape the hectic traffic of Dar es Salaam! Two days in row! Now, if anyone has ever been to Dar es Salaam you would know that the traffic jams here can get quite crazy and tiresome. So, me escaping it for 2 days is also beyond awesome. I hope I did not just jinx my own luck lol. Anyhow, I am supposed to start the ‘real’ thesis work next week, tomorrow I am dubblechecking with my supervisor if that is still possible and hopefully by the time I write next time, I have started the empirical thesis work. OOH and I am so bad with taking pictures… But, in the next blog I will post some pics.

I hope all of you are doing well in lovely Sweden. Did I mention it is 31 C here. And sunny 😀 hehe

See you in the next post 🙂

Tanzania – a last reflection

During three months, I did a field study in Tanzania about aid and women’s education. I investigated two projects that focus on young women’s education. One of the projects is the Mama-course program, which gives pregnant girls a second chance to education, and the other is the Help-to-help foundation, which offers scholarships and skill-training to ambitious students who wish to study at university but don’t have the economic means to pay the tuition fees. After interviewing numerous people, I strongly believe that both of DSC02099these programs are important, and that they include a new way of thinking about aid. In my opinion, these projects respond to the local needs, build human capacity, and provide ground for making long-lasting changes in the society. They alter social norms, help people to be independent, and thus, empower the poor and marginalized.

The time I spent in Tanzania was valuable, and I learned a lot. I will certainly miss the friends I got and the adventures I woke up to every day. I am very grateful to all the people who helped me with various things, participated in my study, and made my stay a blessed one. In very few places, I have received so much love.

Nevertheless, there are numerous issues in Tanzania that are problematic and hinder its development. The country has been dependent on foreign aid for decades, and this without showing much progress. One might ask if the external support impede on the government responsibility to provide political goods to its population. Is aid a solution for development, and if so, how should the external support be carried out?DSC02923

The government aspires for Tanzania to be a middle-income country in the near future. And indeed, it is a country with resources, and the economic growth has been high for several years, with an annual growth rate around 7 %. However, the majority of the population is still living in poverty, with a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Gender equality is far from reached. Women are still doing most of the work in the household, they are often discouraged to make their voices heard, and they might not have the right to decide over their own bodies. Forced marriages, early pregnancies, and sexual violence occur. Domestic violence is more a rule than an exception. In many schools, children are beaten by their teachers if they don’t behave in a disciplined way. The pupils might be punished if they fail an exam, have a sexual relationship, or are late to school because they had to work in the morning.

Nonetheless, most Tanzanians I met were proud of their reputation of being so peaceful. But from my view-point, it seems to be a long way to go before peace has occurred at all levels in their society.

IMG_2930A sustainable development must include empowerment of the disadvantaged.  All people should have the right to a decent life, without discrimination or violence. I went to Tanzania with the idea that education is the ground for development. But education is not enough. It must be qualitative, based on individual needs, and it should provide for life-long learning. To have a school system in which the students are worried about not being able to pay the school fees, are afraid to be beaten, and are not allowed to ask questions or think critically, and where boys and girls do not have the same chance to finish their studies, it might be very difficult to develop to a middle-income country. The change must come from within. Economic development is not the same as sustainable development. Education is a step, but it must be carried out in a way that provides for the people to be able to build the country. If aid should be a way to reach these goals, it must help people to help themselves towards a sustainable development. I hope that people will get the chance to understand their capacity to change their lives and to improve their conditions. It’s time that Human Rights become global norms.

 

The blog was originally published on: http://fufkorrespondenterna.com/2015/07/13/tanzania-a-last-reflection/

A Second Chance to Education

Imagine that you are a teenager in Tanzania. You come from a village. Every day you go to school, and you love studying. You study hard because you know that your parents are poor and they struggle to afford paying your school fees. But you are planning to do well, and find a job. Your future seems bright.DSC02073

Then suddenly, you see that your body is changing. You hope that everything will be alright. But you know that it will not. You have become pregnant. What is going to happen next will possibly destroy your dreams.

Soon you are suspended from school in accordance with Tanzanian law. Your friends laugh at you and wonder how you could be so stupid. Your family is angry and disappointed. Maybe you are not welcome in their house any longer. The boy you thought was in love with you says that he does not like you any longer, and he denies that it is his child.

Instead, he continues with his studies. But you cannot: because you are a girl, and you have become pregnant. You are on your own now. The future you thought lied in front of you seems to be very far away…

This is a common situation for young girls and women in Tanzania.DSC02069 If one gets pregnant in primary or secondary education, she is forced out from school, and the community disregards her. Some might get support from their families or relatives. Others are completely rejected. They have lost their chance to education, and the way they thought would lead to a better life.

So, one might ask if this practice in accordance with the International Human Right Charter that claims that every child has the right to education? Or if it follows the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that will promote equal and qualitative education for all, at all levels of education? The answer is: No. And still, it is happening on a daily basis in Tanzania.

Moreover, this issue is well-known. And for some of these young women, there might be a second chance to education. One program that I believe gives the opportunity is the Mama-course program provided at six Folk Development Colleges in Tanzania. I have visited three of those, and I was surprised by the change they seem to bring.

DSC02102

Firstly, the Mama-course program gives the young mothers free education for two years. They live on the college with their child together with 14 other young mothers. They learn things such as entrepreneur skills, life skills and English, and they get vocational training, for example in cooking, farming, or electrical installation.

The positive effects of the two years program are prominent. The young mothers get more than education. They regain self-confidence. They see the possibility to become independent. They get respected by the community again. The parents are happy and they can help to support them with knowledge and skills. Their children become healthier at the college, and they learn new things in kindergarten and get friends during the program. The mama-course students now see the chance to get employed, start their own businesses, or (if getting enough capital) continue with secondary education.

DSC02143

Still, as with many good programs in Tanzania, there are issues with the capital. Only 90 students every two years are able to enter the program, and currently there are problems with the funding. The mama-course students at Ilula FDC had to interrupt their studies after the Winter-break due to lack of finance. They, and their children, are still waiting for a chance to enter the program again.

I sincerely hope that the Mama-course program can expand and provide education to more of these young mothers who always should have a second chance to education. And I wish that the government will take actions to provide for a better future for those capable young women. Hawa wanawake vijana wanaweza! (These young women can!)

Just give them the chance that is every person’s right. The possibility and right to: Education.

The blog was originally publiced on: http://fufkorrespondenterna.com/2015/06/11/a-second-chance-to-education/

Time travels fast…

The rain has just passed, the sun is slowly coming out, and the wind is decreasing. Soon the sky will be blue again and the temperature will rise.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset I’m sitting on the balcony, looking at the palm trees, and listening to the songs from the birds. Today I have been in Tanzania for two months. I am back in Dar es Salaam.

For the past five weeks, I have been travelling around Tanzania, working on my projects, making interviews, talking to people. My first impression when I arrive here was that people are very friendly and helpful, and this view remains. In all places I have been, I have made many new friends. People say that the Tanzanians are peaceful and warm people, and I am keen to agree.

Nevertheless, there are many problems facing people here in Tanzania. Corruption is common, poverty is widespread, children are out of schools, and every day some people IMG_2933fight for survival. They struggle to meet their basic needs. Some people in the villages just eat once in a day. The food is simple: ugali (a local porridge of maize flour) or perhaps rice and beans. If being lucky, maybe they can add some vegetables, fruits, or eggs. It varies from one day to another. Moreover, the value of the dollar is increasing right now, and it does affect the Tanzanians. The Tanzanian shilling is getting weaker. Food, hygiene articles, medicine, oil etc. are likely to become increasingly expensive. The external support they were receiving from other countries is weakened. For some of the people, life is hard.

Frequently, people ask me for money. They hope that I could help them. They think that the solution might come from external givers: that we in the West have the money and capacity. I understand how they think, and in some senses they are right. We are extremely lucky to be born where we were born. But I do not believe that the solution is external support in that way. I believe that Tanzania has all the potential to decrease the gaps, reduce poverty, and to prosper. Tanzania has resources, they have human capacity, they have willingness to develop, and the people want to have a good and peaceful life. The main problem is that many are lacking capital and/or knowledge how to proceed with their future objectives. And there, I believe external support could help, to give the main tools for development. Then, external support could be sustainable, and help in the long-term perspective.

DSC02130

Even so, the way towards sustainable development might be a long journey to walk for Tanzania. But change could also happen very fast here. Already, I notice that there is a shift in people’s mindsets and many Tanzanian I talked to believe that good education and equality is vital for their future development.

In October this year there is an election in Tanzania. My fingers are crossed that people will use their right to vote, and that good governance, provision of political goods, and human rights will be prioritized and implemented by the political party that wins.

 

The blog was originally publiced on:

Time travels fast…

Will We Learn Together for Change..?

In September this year, the member-states of United Nation will agree upon a new Global Development Agenda that will come into force 1st of January 2016. The current Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, will be replaced by 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. In the new agenda, Goal 4 is about education. Unlike the MDGs, this goal is not only limited to reassure enrollment in primary school, but it also includes provision of qualitative and affordable secondary and higher education, as well as possibilities for inclusive research. vicepresidentNevertheless, the reality we are facing right now is quite different, and this Goal will meet many challenges. The main question might be how we will manage to provide education for all, which leaves no one behind?

Last week, I participated in the conference “Learning Together for Change, Advancing Education for All through Higher Education” in Arusha, Tanzania. It was an interesting conference with around 160 representatives from 24 African and 15 Swedish universities. As the youngest participant, and a student of International Relations (doing a research about Higher Education for Females in Tanzania) it was an interesting forum to gain more knowledge in the field, and an understanding of the African context. There are certainly great differences when it comes to education in this large continent!

Currently, many African countries are doing well when it comes to the enrollment of pupils in primary education. Most children, both boys and girls, are enrolled in primary school. But far from all are completing the primary level of education. Even fewer continue to study in secondary school. Very few succeed to travel the long journey towards Higher education. And a very small number of students are able to receive a university degree.

DSC01757

Thus, during the conference, we were discussing the challenges that prevent us from providing education for all, at all levels here in Africa. Some of the problems we discussed are the issues of drop-outs from schools, the financial difficulties many families meet, the cultural norms and practices, the issues of early pregnancies and child marriages, the gender expectations, the gaps between the urban and rural areas, the poor training of teachers, the sometimes poor quality of the education provided, and the low salaries and status for the teachers and principals. Some countries, such as South Africa, has come far to meet these challenges, whereas many difficulties remains in countries such as Tanzania.

Moreover, all participants in the conference took part in two workshops to further discuss some of these obstacles. There were totally eight workshops. I was joining the ones titled: “Education for All and Higher Education in a CRC context (the Convention of the Right of the Child)” and “How to Prepare Students to Become Change Makers”. 17123135090_a5e46baaef_oTogether with two other young women, I was presenting the results from the workshop “How to Prepare Students to Become Change Makers”. It will not be an easy task, and many actions and cooperation between countries are needed to meet the challenges.

To sum up, the aim of the three days long meeting was to exchange educational experience from the 20 different countries represented, and try to learn together to improve education. Additionally, conclusions from the workshops will be reported to the UNESCO World Education Forum in South Korea 19-22 of May, where the post-2015 education agenda will be discussed in more detail.

I am looking forward to see how this will develop!

 

The blog was originally published on:

http://fufkorrespondenterna.com/2015/05/08/will-we-learn-together-for-change/

Sustainable safari in Tanzania?

To suddenly stand face to face with a wild lion is a thrilling experience. You caught yourself holding your breath, and almost not daring to blink. You see his majestic body moving smoothly over the road, and he continues to walk slowly over the savanna.DSC01426 In the next moment another magnificent creature comes out from the bushes: a female lion. They watch each other. The female looks suspicious, seemingly measuring the male with her graze. The male lion begins to walk towards her. We are all watching the scene with exhilaration. Will she approve his move? No.  When he comes closer, she turns around and walks in another direction. Well, better luck next time Simba (lion in Swahili).

Moreover, now someone else is getting our attention. It is a Masai approaching us with his goats. I can feel that my body freeze. The Masai is walking in the same directions as the lions just have disappeared. And worse, his movement has not gone unnoticed from the lions’ eyes. I can suddenly see several lions walking out from the bushes. Six of them are now watching the lonely Masai. I feel uncomfortable. How will this end..? Should we interfere?

Well, my unease seems to be needless. The Masai, apparently aware of the situation, leaves his goats and walk towards the male lion. He stops and stares at the lion; challenging him with his gaze. They stand like that for a while. Then, the Masai calls his goats, and they walk calmly over the savanna. They are passing the lions without any problem.  DSC01403The lions just watch him proceed with his goats. I am impressed. It is fascinating to see how people and animals can live in some kind of symbiosis with each other.

 

When I, a few days ago, was on a safari-tour with a group of people from Sweden, we visited Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania. During the safari, we saw many remarkable animals and stunning landscapes. It was amazing.

However, I couldn’t help myself from wondering if these safaris are sustainable? Does our presence interfere with the daily lives of the animals that are living on the savanna? Have the animals become used to the safari jeeps driving there every day? How does the jeeps pollution impact on the environment? And, do the safaris result in benefits for the Masai’s who own the land we are visiting during the safari-tour?

To know what actually should be considered sustainable tourism is a complicated question. As a tourist, you never know if you do harm or good. You always have several aspects to deliberate. On the one hand, the tourists pay the park fee, which contribute to the status of the land being a national park, which give the savanna protection. It also includes some small economic support to the Masai’s. On the other hand, the people’s presence might stress the animals. It might impact on the environment that various jeeps are crossing the savanna on a daily basis, stopping so the people can take DSC01230pictures. Moreover, there is also risk of hitting the animals belonging to the Masai’s. More than once, we almost hit the goats and the cows when we’re driving in the National park.

The safari left me with mix feelings. I am delighted to have seen these marvelous animals, but also troubled if I have supported something that might interfere with the people and animals everyday life. How can safari’s be organized to be more sustainable? And how can I know what I contribute to?

 

This blog was originally publiced on Fuf-korrespondenterna: http://fufkorrespondenterna.com/2015/05/02/sustainable-safari-in-tanzania/

Being sick…

It’s Friday night, and I am in a room. One of the walls is damaged. It looks quite old, and a little dirty. The light is not functioning properly; the shed that comes from it gives me an odd feeling. There is a tap in the corner. Water is running from it, and it leaves black marks in the sink. Different things are spread all over the place. There are bars in the windows. I don’t feel well…

Am I in a prison-cell?

No. In front of me there is an angry-looking woman with a needle in her hand. She wants to take a blood-test. I am in a hospital… Suddenly, I cannot help myself, but I start to laugh. I cannot stop laughing. The whole situation is so bizarre. The nurse looks at me with a strange look in her face. She asks me in a very harsh tone what is so funny? hospitalBetween my laughter I try to explain to her that the situation is so different from what I am used to, and then we are both laughing. It feels better. She takes the needle from the sterile package, and she completes the blood-tests. Now she dosen’t look angry any longer: she is smiling and we are talking a bit in Swahili. Soon, I am off to the doctor in the next room, and two hours later, I am on my way back home: with two different kinds of antibiotics. I should soon be cured, the doctor promised. After four days of vomiting and high fewer, and I am looking forward to be healthy again.

Being sick in another country is always a challenge. You never know how the health system works. You don’t know what is the best option to choose, who you should contact, or which hospital you should visit. You don’t know how you should describe your symptoms, or if the medicine given to you actually will help.

During my third week in Tanzania, I was sick in Dar es Salaam. Nevertheless, I was blessed to be surrounded by new and supportive friends, which helped me to maintain a good spirit, despite my symptoms. Every day, my friends helped me to buy water and food, provided me with resorb (against dehydration), kept me company when I was not sleeping, or called me to ask how I was feeling. They looked up hospitals to me, and accompanied viewme during both my hospital visits. Thanks to this, I never felt alone or afraid. They helped me through some challenging days. I am very grateful to be surrounded by so many lovely people.

Asante sana marafiki yangu!

Intervjuer och chockerande insikter

101_3599

Inte så regelbundna blogginlägg.. Har haft en del att stå i. Delar upp den senaste tidens händelser i några inlägg nu i ett par dagar framöver, så håll utkik!

Som nämnt i tidigare inlägg hade studenterna här påsklov i två veckor, så vi besökte skolan Msiriwa secondary school, där vår studie äger rum, förra tisdagen när eleverna kom tillbaka. Vi började med en kort introduktion i form 4, motsvarande vårt första år på gymnasiet, där vi presenterade oss och vår tänkta studie. Vi delade ut formulär med påståenden om hälsa, som eleverna fick ranka dem, med det viktigaste först. Båda våra tolkar var med och vi märkte snabbt att Hyacinta var en heelt fantastisk människa och tolk som hjälpte oss jättemycket under hela tiden på skolan. Flickorna hade jättemycket frågor till oss, om allt mellan politik och kvinnors inflytande i Sverige och våra favoritmaträtter, väldigt intressant och kul.

Vi fick även en rundvisning på skolan av rektorn (som är en kvinna, för övrigt var det bara två anställda kvinnliga lärare, resten män…) och blev presenterade för alla lärare. Hon var jättepositiv till hela vårt projekt och ville gärna se hälsoformuläret, som hon även fyllde i med stor entusiasm. Vi blev bjudna på läsk och Hyacinta och rektorn hade en ganska hetsig diskussion med vår manliga tolk om hur det är att vara kvinna i Tanzania, chockerande hur vissa män här ser på kvinnor alltså.

Dag två på skolan var det dags för intervjuer. Vi började med tjejerna och första intervjun var något trevande, med en blyg flicka och en ganska nervös intervjuare (jag). Det kom dock fram en hel del givande svar och nervositeten släppte något från båda sidor efter ett tag.

Följande intervjuer gjordes vidare under samma vecka samt veckan efter. Vi använder oss av så kallade flash cards, där vi har tjugofyra olika påståenden om hälsa, skrivna på Swahili och Engelska, där vi låter den som blir intervjuad plocka ut kort som de associerar med hälsa och sedan ranka dem. Sedan har de fått prata ganska fritt om varje kort och vi har ställt en del korta följdfrågor. Flash cards var tänkt som ett hjälpmedel, dels för at överkomma språkbarriären och även som en bra hjälp eftersom vi är ovana intervjuare, där något fysiskt att “plocka med” och gå tillbaka till om det blir tysta stunder kan kännas tryggt, vilket det gjorde.

Vi har ännu inte börjat analysera det insamlade materialet, men efter att ha transkriberat har vi nog ändå snappat upp en del teman, som antagligen kommer att visa sig i resultatet. Bland annat att många ungdomar tycker att stress är ett problem som påverkar hälsan väldigt negativt. Många uttryckte stress för att inte klara slutproven i slutet av terminen och även en stress för att föräldrarna skulle bli sjuka och gå bort. Många tjejer uttryckte många starka känslor som “Skam”, “självmord” och “rädsla för övergrepp och våldtäkt”, vilket såklart chockerade oss.

Även om tjejerna berättade saker som gjorde en väldigt ledsen och nedstämd, så var vissa delar av samtalen också väldigt givande och roliga, eftersom flera frågor till oss ställdes efter intervjun, där de öppnade upp sig mer och samtalet blev mer naturligt och på en mer avslappnad nivå.

Långt inlägg, mer kommer. /Linnea