31 May 2011

Finally, good data on sanitation in Tanzania. But it paints a bad picture

For years, the true state of household sanitation in Tanzania has been hidden by bad data. Household surveys have repeatedly found that around 85% of households across most of Tanzania have access to a pit latrine, with around 10% having better facilities (like flush toilets) and around 5% having nothing. This high level of access to basic latrines is a result of Mwl Nyerere's Mtu ni Afya campaign in the 1970s.

But other than providing an opportunity for an interesting history lesson, this statistic was almost useless, as it made no distinction between well constructed, clean pit latrines and filthy, overflowing or uncovered pits. Now, at last, we have better data.

18 May 2011

Sungura na Kobe - Up-country internet speeds in "ICT-Hub" Tanzania

Sungura na Kobe, aka TTCL na Voda
An old Greek fairytale tells of the hare (sungura) and the tortoise (kobe) having a race. The hare runs back and forth, teasing the tortoise about how easy the win will be. Eventually the hare is so far ahead that it stops for a rest and falls asleep. When the hare wakes up, it finds that the tortoise has already finished.

I often have this story in mind when trying to connect to the internet here in Njombe. We have 2 main options - TTCL "broadband" and Vodacom "mobile broadband" (there are other mobile networks providing internet access as well, but Voda stands out well above the others).

16 May 2011

DFID Tanzania Operational Plan

A few weeks ago, this blog looked at DFID's recent Aid Reviews and asked what this meant for Tanzania. There wasn't much Tanzania-specific information available at the time, so it was a slightly speculative and incomplete analysis. But now DFID has now published its 2011-2015 Operational Plan for Tanzania, which means we have a little more information to work with.
Breakdown of DFID's Operational Plan for Tanzania, 2011-15
Some brief highlights:

12 May 2011

Daraja's Maji Matone programme, as presented by Ben Taylor (video)

This video was recorded so I could participate in a student seminar in UCLA, California, and make a presentation to Twaweza's Advisory Board in Dar es Salaam, all without leaving the lovely, if remote, town of Njombe.

Ben Taylor on Maji Matone, May 2011 from Ben Taylor on Vimeo.

For Twaweza Board Members and UCLA students, the downside to this approach is that I can't respond to questions in person. But please add any comments or questions you may have in the comments section below, either in the facebook section or the comments box further down the page, and I'll do my best to get back to you.

3 May 2011

Are we free? Celebrating World Press Freedom Day

The following cartoon and editorial column was published in our Kwanza Jamii Njombe newspaper earlier this week. The original Swahili can be found below the English translation.

Possible effects of limited press freedom - click to enlarge

Are we free?

May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day. It’s a day to celebrate the contribution of the media to society and to development. And it’s a day for public education on both the importance of press freedom and the threats it faces.