Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How TANEDU drives Tanzania towards knowledge society

IT has been envisioned that education and knowledge helps the poor to improve their current livelihoods, address impediments and vulnerabilities that prevents them from seeking opportunities to improve their lives, and participate in new sectors of the national economy that require advanced skills and therefore offer incomes. But the many deprivations that compound the misery of the poor and prevent them to rise out of poverty, is their lack of access to adequate education, training, acquiring skills and development and broader information and knowledge resources that could help them improve their livelihoods. Tanzania as a nation, struggles very hard in order to overcome such problems that exists in the country especially in rural communities. It’s therefore mostly important to give priority to education and human resource development and ICT are by far the most efficient tools for education today. These are borderless technologies that have interacted with mankind development and expand horizons by shrinking the world. They are more useful as they can transform future generation to be part of the knowledge society which is a challenge for the new millennium.

Acquiring ICT skills and development for broader information and knowledge resources that could help people improve their livelihoods.

The Tanzania Education and Information Services Trust (TanEdu), is a Non- governmental Organization formed in January 2003 with a view to avail the potential of ICT so as to enhance the quality of education by giving the professional help to teachers, students and education administrators at all levels in the country. The organization which is located along Uporoto street, Kinondoni district in Dar es Salaam region, has set up an example that drives Tanzania towards knowledge society by having an ICT training center for secondary school students and their school heads, individuals, and government staff from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEvT). The center in this case also gives sensitization programs through seminars on the use of ICTs for administration, classroom teaching and long life learning with the objective of creating awareness and make the beneficiaries become computer literate in this knowledge society. This is in line with the organization’s mission that aims at providing accuracy, reliable and much needed educational information and services to the beneficiaries by the most up to date means possible, on a regular basis and at affordable costs. To facilitate its vision, the organization has managed to create a knowledge society by providing educational information and services by the most efficient, effective and sustainable means by giving training and runs an education website namely, www.tanedu.org Since 2003, the organization has been rapidly developing its resources and staff and is devoted to the improvement of ICT training in the country through implementation in the education sector and have most of its activities done under the support of a Netherlands based International Institute for Communication Development (IICD).

Computer training in a classroom, is a good resource to increase ICT knowledge.

According to the Organization’s Managing Director, Daniel Long’lway, his organization has trained more than 600 people including secondary school students and their school heads on the use of ICT for development and become competent with the use of ICTs so as to reduce the digital divide that exists among them today. So far the center has trained 39 heads of schools from Dar es Salaam based secondary schools, and has put ICT awareness raising to 116 heads of secondary schools in Tanga, Dodoma, Arusha and Iringa regions and about 200 heads of schools from in eastern zone. The center has also given computer training and other skills to 161 best form four and six students in Dar es Salaam and have a weekly schedule of a knowledge society with an estimate of 30 students attending to the center per week. Of recent, the center has trained 35 officials from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. The center which is equipped with approximately 30 internet connected computers in its lab, has significantly played a key role in ICT industry by using international computer driving license standards. According to Mr. Daniel, the organization has provided basic ICT familiarization workshops both in its offices and in other sites in the country. For sure information literacy is a challenging for everyone. This need not be underestimated because in an information society, wealth comes from knowledge which is created through accessing, assimilating, sharing and using information. TANEDU recognizes the critical importance of effectively utilizing new ICTs to meet the growing need of managing information systems and contribute to poverty reduction in the country. In conjunction with its partners, the organization has actively supported many research through the information for development program and it has offered cost-effective opportunities to bring together policy makers and development practitioners across the country. To facilitate e-learning activities in the country, government and private sectors have formed various online projects with a view to help cater for the needs of the poor and the vulnerable groups in the country. TanEdu with the support of a Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) has provided a special training program known as Ambassador’s Program to a group of 40 outstanding students who excelled well in the National Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (CSEE) 2006. The organization has been giving such training for the past three years with remarkable success and at the end of training for this batch, TanEdu reached a total number of 168 students who have gone through the program. According to Long’lway, the aim of this program is to equip outstanding CSEE achievers with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to succeed more in school and be student ambassadors by sharing what they learn with other students. The objectives of this student Ambassador program were among others to link students to some of the best colleges and schools in and outside of Tanzania so as to share their knowledge and experiences with them. Concerning scholarships, there are a number of students who got offered with scholarship opportunities in some of the best schools in the country and abroad. The total worth of all the scholarships offered during their yearly program has a net worth of over US$ 445,000 (about Tshs. 500 million)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dealers applauds campaign against fake electronics goods

Dealers in electronic goods have applauded measures being taken by the police and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) in fighting counterfeit electronic goods imported into the country, saying the illegal trade is detrimental to business and the economy. They were commenting on the recent seizure of fake TV sets by police in Dar es Salaam shops, noting that the war on contrabands requires concerted efforts and involvement of all stakeholders, including consumers. Kassim Zarafi, the marketing, research and training officer at Freedom Electronics, sole agents of South Korean brand Samsung, said the problem of counterfeits is huge, threatening the survival of businesses in the country.
He said the importation of counterfeit electronic goods especially television sets has been a major constraint to the smooth operations of many companies. "Illegal products are cheap but of poor quality, which makes ignorant buyers discredit even the genuine brands," he said, noting that Samsung is among those brands most affected. He called on buyers to buy from authorized dealers and outlets sourcing their goods from them. Dar es Salaam special police zone commander Suleiman Kova told journalists that the police seized 12 television sets after being tipped that some shops were selling the counterfeits.

The Dar es Salaam special zone commander, SACP Kova in his operation with other colleagues.

Mr Kova said preliminary investigations established that the substandard TVs could negatively affect consumers, including their vision. The commander challenged the police and TBS officials to see to it that Tanzania does not become a dumping market of counterfeit products. Commenting on the other effects of counterfeit electronic goods, Mr Zarafi said most fires in residential and office premises caused by current flow faults are being attributed to counterfeit products, as they fail to cope with the power supply. Apart from denying the government tax revenues because of evaded custom duties the government spends a lot of its limited resources to fight counterfeits, he said. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development put the illegal trade at over $200 billion based on 2005 figures.

Tanzania mobile phone users to pay more

Mobile phone users now have to dig deeper into their pockets to make calls in Tanzania. This follows the mobile phone service providers adjustment of their airtime charges following an increase in Excise Duty on mobile services in the 2008/9 National Budget. The new rates became effective on July 1 which is the official implementation day of the new fiscal amendments approved by Parliament in Dodoma recently. All the major companies have confirmed that, the subscribers would now talk less for the same amount they used to pay before the three per cent increase in duty. Excise Duty on airtime was raised from seven to 10 per cent in the Budget read in June by the minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Mustafa Mkulo. Vodacom charges about Sh260 a minute for pre-paid Vodacom to Vodacom call during peak time and Sh225 a minute in off-peak hours. These translates into Tshs. 5 and Tshs. 4 a second in peak and off-peak periods, respectively. Zantel advertising and promotion manager William Mpinga said the increase in Excise Duty meant that the subscribers would now talk less on the same amount of money they used to pay prior to hiked tariffs. Zantel charges about Sh3.3 a second within the network during peak and off-peak periods. Mr Jackson Mbando, the Tigo public relations officer, said the company would compensate its subscribers by introducing more discount promotions to cushion them against the higher charges.

The Minister for Finance and Planning, Mr. Mustafa Mkulo raising up a briefcase that had contained a National budget speech for the financial year 2008/2009 at parliament buildings in Dodoma. This was in mid June this year when he was entering parliament buildings to read a speech.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Zain (formerly Celtel) East Africa region, Mr Bashar Arafeh, said that despite the Tanzanian market being one of the most advanced in the region (in terms of the number of mobile operators), the Excise Duty increase was a disincentive that could have an adverse effect. "The Government has a role to play in ensuring that rural populations have access to mobile phones, he added. Analysts say that though there has been no direct increase in the airtime billing, subscribers will talk less for every shilling they spend on vouchers. For every Sh1,000 spent on a pre-paid airtime voucher, about Sh310 will go to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), up from Sh280 before the Excise Duty increase. This amounts to an increased cost of Sh30 in actual airtime on every Sh1,000 mobile phone voucher. For every Sh1,000, subscribers will talk for 3.28 minutes on average, instead of 3.42 minutes they used to get. With a Purchasing Power Parity of $723 for an average Tanzanian, the three per cent increase in the cost of mobile phone calls means that a single subscriber will now use about Sh1,147 more a year, which will go to government coffers. But with about seven million active subscribers currently, the Sh1,147 increase will give the Government Sh20 billion more a year. The last time the Government increased tax on mobile phone airtime was in 2006/07, when it raised Excise Duty from five to seven per cent. This gave the Government an additional revenue of Sh15,661 billion for the period between July 2006 and January 2007. With the 10 per cent Excise Duty increase, Tanzania now joins Uganda as the countries with the highest mobile phone tariffs in East Africa. Uganda also levies 30 per cent tax on mobile phone services. Kenya has a 26 per cent tax on mobile services. Tanzania charges a one per cent TCRA levy on mobiles phones services. The high cost of airtime is being cited as one of the factors that may limit mobile telephone service growth in Tanzania. A mobile phone usage explosion has given many Tanzanians phone access and the number of mobile subscriptions is now 350 per cent higher than fixed-lines accounts. Mr Gerhard May, the CEO of Hits, a new mobile service provider, said the Excise Duty increase is a major drawback for customers and operators of mobile phone services. Customers are already burdened with the 20 per cent VAT and seven per cent Excise Duty. The Excise Duty increase to 10 per cent is not acceptable. According to him, this has made Tanzania one of the countries with the highest mobile phone tariffs in the world. The mobile industry is expected to generate $71 billion in tax revenue in sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2012, but that figure could be higher if governments removed the taxes that categorise mobile phones and services as luxury goods, according to research commissioned by the GSMA. The research by Frontier Economics found that uptake of mobile services in the region was being held back by mobile-specific taxes on handsets, airtime and telecom equipment, which increase costs for consumers and deter investment by mobile operators.

Bank wins internet banking accolade

Citibank (T) Ltd, the only US bank operating in Tanzania since 1995 and part of the Citibank East African network, has won the Global Finance best corporate and institutional internet bank award for 2008.
The bank said in a statement issued recently that, the award involved selected banks from 68 countries around the world, including Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in Africa. Global Finance has 50,000 subscribers and more than 284,000 readers in 158 countries.
Mr Hamza Nassoro, the head of global transaction services at the bank, said that the bank was delighted to be recognized by Global Finance and feel it is demonstrative of its state of the art platform and advanced internet capabilities. "As an innovator in global banking and online treasury management services, Citi has been at the forefront of developing integrated online corporate and institutional banking services," the statement noted.
It has also ventured in web-based treasury management solutions to meet clients' growing demands for integration, efficiency and control locally, regionally, and globally, it further noted. The bank, which is a fully owned subsidiary of US Citibank N.A. has one branch in the country. Citi, a leading US financial services company, has up to 200 million customer accounts and conducts business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, it added.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ICT knowledge should be targeted to the poor

THE life of the people in rural communities in Africa, south of Sahara desert continues to deteriorates as most African governments in these regions do not adopt serious means by which they could bridge the digital divide and allows ICT tools to twist the modern technology transfer in the workings. Despite ICTs’ powerfulness that can play a pivotal role in reducing abject poverty among the marginalized groups of the people in rural communities within the region, sheer laxity on their use is determined to be a great cause for their failure to avert poverty. Most economies in rural areas depend on road infrastructure and other forms of cheap transport, but going beyond this trend, communication link is of vital importance to ensure time delivery of services. Internet, being the fastest communication tool, has less accessibility in rural communities because of the high cost of its accessibility. Even if the service cost is made available, they are virtually unaffordable to the ordinary people in most of these regions. Since mid of the 1990s years of economic liberalization in Tanzania, there has been a large wave of investments in ICTs for development and the most significant of this is the mushrooming of the telecommunication sector. Such interments have been aimed at poor people both in terms of bridging ICT access and using it in many other ways which it could support poverty reduction strategies. For the last five years, a number of measures have been taken by the government to locate a conducive environment for ICT investment in IT sector in the country as addressed in the National ICT policy that among the key areas that need attention in order to realize the benefits of ICT application for all is in rural community.

Empowering the locals at Lunga Lugoba community based Tele-Centre in Cost Region.

The policy highlights 10 focused areas which includes strategic ICT leadership and infrastructure for reliable and efficient access to information for the people to be involved in rural business activities. Since then, Tanzania has made major strides to ensure that most villages in the country get internet access and at the most affordable price. The strategy has been focused on the construction of community technology centers popularly known as the Tele-Centres. A number of Tele-centres have been constructed in various districts in recent years in a bid to ensure the digital empowerment among users in rural communities. Thus, this is one way on how to curb with the digital divide which still exists among the poor people in rural communities in the country. But it’s unfortunate to say that, while information technology is growing rapidly, some segments of communities remain largely disconnected and or stay away from this trend for some better reasons in mind. From the African continent point of view, statistics shows that internet access and computer ownership plus the use of mobile phones in most African rural communities are lower among other groups of the population primarily due to poverty. A continued poverty stricken situation in the continent is one such aspect which has put many African communities to lag behind the western nations in terms of development. Other attributing factors is accounted for lack of knowledge and possession of poor skills in information technology. Lack of reliable electricity supplies that still prevails in most African regions is yet another big problem which contributes to a larger extent the growth of the communication sector in general an aspect that leads to the expensiveness in use of the information tools such as internet access. Many researchers in Africa have restricted to the problem of access to technology, but having access to the computers the major component used to drive the information technology in the world, the individual lack of skills is attributed to poor knowledge and lack of sufficient training. The study carried out in Tanzanian rural villages five years ago on the impact of ICTs on rural livelihood and poverty reduction, meant to see to what extent the ICTs had in fact speeded to the rural areas and to what extent they contributed to socio-economic development of the rural people.

A training session for empowerment on ICT use for the local people in rural areas is a one step development initiative on ICT awareness

Reports on these research findings reveals that better understanding of the use of ICTs is an important part of the national strategy for growth and reduction of poverty. But this has remained rather compelling. Indicators such as infant and maternal mortality rates access and school performances are worse off in most rural areas in the country according to the reports. For the last twelve years of economic liberalization, Tanzania has shown a tremendous increase of the use of the internet in urban areas since the country was fully connected into the internet in 1996. More development of the internet use is envisaged in urban areas than in rural areas. There is therefore a need to reduce barriers in deploying ICT and in developing the required human capital for sustainable participation of Tanzanian society in the ICT industry.

What is Tsunami and its causes?

TSUNAMIS are a series of extremely long waves that are created after a large volume of water is displaced. Although there is no calculated volume of water that constitutes a standardized quantity that will generate a tsunami, the amount displaced must be significant enough to create waves underwater in the vast ocean. Waves are formed as the displaced water mass which moves under the influence of gravity to regain its equilibrium and radiates across the ocean like ripples on a pond. The larger the displacement, the larger the wave generated.

This is a large Tsunami wave, its height is about 100 meters high

A tsunami is a large ocean wave that is caused by sudden motion on the ocean floor. This sudden motion could be an earthquake, a powerful volcanic eruption, or an underwater landslide. The impact of a large meteorite could also cause a tsunami. Tsunamis travel across the open ocean at great speeds and build into large deadly waves in the shallow water of a shoreline. Most tsunamis are caused by earthquakes generated in a subduction zone, an area where an oceanic plate is being forced down into the mantle by plate tectonic forces. The friction between the subducting plate and the overriding plate is enormous. This friction prevents a slow and steady rate of subduction and instead the two plates become "stuck". As the stuck plate continues to descend into the mantle the motion causes a slow distortion of the overriding plage. The result is an accumulation of energy very similar to the energy stored in a compressed spring. Energy can accumulate in the overriding plate over a long period of time - decades or even centuries. Energy accumulates in the overriding plate until it exceeds the frictional forces between the two stuck plates. When this happens, the overriding plate snaps back into an unrestrained position. This sudden motion is the cause of the tsunami - because it gives an enormous shove to the overlying water. At the same time, inland areas of the overriding plate are suddenly lowered. The moving wave begins traveling out from where the earthquake has occurred. Some of the water travels out and across the ocean basin, and, at the same time, water rushes landward to flood the recently lowered shoreline. Tsunamis travel swiftly across the open ocean. Many people have the mistaken belief that tsunamis are single waves. They are not. Instead tsunamis are "wave trains" consisting of multiple waves. A tsunami can be generated by four general ways such as, an undersea earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption and an extra-terrestrial collision.

A rescue team during their operation in a recent tsunami disaster that took place in Northern Asia carrying a dead body from the shores of an ocean.

An Undersea Earthquake - is the most common form of tsunami formation, typically generating the most destructive tsunamis. The earth is constantly moving on large tectonic plates. When these tectonic plates move past each other, collide and/or slide under one another (subduction), an earthquake results. This is what happened with the recent tsunami that devastated Southern Asia. Here, a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean measuring 10.0 on the Richter scale jolted the seabed causing the sudden displacement of a very large volume of water. The earthquake temporarily produces a fluctuation in the mean sea level of a specified area. Waves quickly form as the displaced water tries to recapture equilibrium by filling the vacuum that was created. It should be noted that not all earthquakes generate tsunamis. Usually, it takes an earthquake with a Richter magnitude exceeding 7.5 to produce a destructive tsunami.

Dead bodies on the shores of an Ocean in Northern Asia after tsunami disaster in late 2007(File photo)

Landslides – resulting in rockfalls, icefalls, or underwater (submarine) landslides or slumps can generate displacement of water to create a tsunami. More often than naught, submarine landslides are often caused by earthquakes, large and small, therefore strengthening the force of an earthquake induced tsunami. The most notable example of a landslide-induced tsunami can be traced to Southern France in the 1980’s where the movement of a significant amount of earth for the construction of an airport triggered an underwater landslide, which resulted in destructive tsunami waves hitting the harbor of Thebes.

Another dead body being retrieved out of the sea, this was when the tsunami disaster had subsided. (File photo)

Volcanic Eruption - Although relatively infrequent, violent volcanic eruptions represent also impulsive disturbances, which can displace a great volume of water and generate extremely destructive tsunami waves in the immediate source area. Volcanic disturbances can generate waves by the sudden displacement of water caused by a volcanic explosion, by a volcano's slope failure, or more likely by a phreatomagmatic explosion and collapse and/or engulfment of the volcanic magmatic chambers. The majority of tsunamis that occur in the Pacific Ocean happen around the “Ring of Fire” Area surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. The periphery has also been dubbed the 'Ring of Fire' because of the extraordinarily high number of active volcanoes and seismic activity located in the region. Since 1819, over 40 tsunamis have struck the Hawaiian Islands. One of the largest and most destructive tsunamis ever recorded was generated in August 26, 1883 after the explosion and collapse of the volcano of Krakatoa (Krakatau), in Indonesia. This explosion generated waves that reached 135 feet, destroyed coastal towns and villages along the Sunda Strait in both the islands of Java and Sumatra, killing 36, 417 people.

This is how rescuers took out the dead bodies when they found them already decayed and some parts of the human bodies were eaten by fish. (File photo)

Extraterrestrial Collision – Tsunamis caused by extraterrestrial collision (i.e. asteroids, meteors) are an extremely rare occurrence. Although no meteor/asteroid induced tsunami have been recorded in recent history, scientists realize that if these celestial bodies should strike the ocean, a large volume of water would undoubtedly be displaced to cause a tsunami. Scientists have calculated that if a moderately large asteroid, 5-6 km in diameter, should strike the middle of the large ocean basin such as the Atlantic Ocean, it would produce a tsunami that would travel all the way to the Appalachian Mountains in the upper two-thirds of the United States. On both sides of the Atlantic, coastal cities would be washed out by such a tsunami. An asteroid 5-6 kilometers in diameter impacting between the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast of North America, would produce a tsunami which would wash out the coastal cities on the West coasts of Canada, U.S. and Mexico and would cover most of the inhabited coastal areas of the Hawaiian islands.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reprimanding children is not only parents’ job

A lady reprimanded her sister-in-law’s son for some delinquent behavior. Her mother-in-law hauled her over the coals for this. This old lady was upset that her daughter-in-law took it upon herself to tick this boy off. This boy is literally brought up by this young lady. She cares for him like she does her own son. When she found all relatives making fun of this boy, she decided to correct him. He was listening to her, but the grandmother butted in and created a scene and made this lady feel out of place. The reason for the reprimand was forgotten. This boy was in need of correction, which no one was willing to take on. They all preferred to make fun of him and laugh at his expense. This hurt his aunt, so she decided to give him a piece of her mind. But it backfired on her badly. She feels burnt after the tongue-lashing she got and is very upset. Her other relatives asked her to lay off. Why bother about others? They asked her to limit herself to her son and her own family. Their argument is if his mother and grandmother are not bothered by his behavior, why should she bother? This lady finds it difficult to wash her hands off this boy. She has taken care of him since his childhood and wants him to have a bright future. Are her intentions wrong? Does this lady have a right to reprimand this boy? Especially as she is taking care of most of his needs, does she still have a right? Such incidents occur in most families African families. Extended families are supposed to only praise, compliment and provide for relatives’ children. If anyone decides to reprimand, he/she is treated as an outcast. There are many such good souls who feel bad when their nieces and nephews behave badly. When they see these children committing mistakes, they itch to correct them. But their good intentions are misinterpreted. Does this not lead to family units being separate? Where are the bonding and the close relationship that is supposed to be fostered among relatives? Many parents know their children are in the wrong, but they do not appreciate anyone else pointing this out, even if the person happens to be sibling or a close relative. Sometimes parents are blinded to their children’s fault. They may not see the wrong that is being done. Always a third person sees the right and wrong better. So if a person with good intentions points the children’s fault, why should parents mind? After all it is happening for the good of their child/children. This particular relative will be otherwise close to the nieces/nephews. He/she will make sure the kids are fine, entertain them, buy them goodies, soothe them in times of trouble, rush to their aid whenever it is required, but they are not allowed to reprimand. Till then they are considered family, but once the reprimand takes place, this relative finds him/herself out in the cold. It is as if they can only give, they have no rights over these children. This relative will be doing the dirty job quite willingly, even at the risk of the children getting angry with him/her. But they are made to realize the kids do not belong to them. So lay off, they are warned. Children should be shown the right way, the right behavior. How else will they learn? So what if someone other than the child/children’s parents do the teaching? Is it easy to turn a blind eye to the wrongs of children? Especially when a person loves kids, and wants them to grow up mature and confident? Hope parents do see reason and thank the others for the thankless job they perform.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What actually happens in Dar es Salaam city during morning and evening rushing hours

DAR-ES-SALAAM city is a home of about 4 million people, despite of its large number of people it lacks strong public transport system. The transport system currently being provided by private operators in the city is not reliable. Citing together with other factors, the high operational costs such as fuel which is being hiked now and then has contributed a lot to the miserable condition facing most city commuters. Despite of the prevailing situation, on the other side a recent fare rise by the Surface and Marine Transport Agency (SUMTRA) in the country, transporters still want the government to allow them redouble the fare to meet the operation demand. One day in the morning, as the sun was shining I got myself to the bus stage and found people were already at the bus stop waiting for town buses popularly known as ‘Daladala’ to take them to their different working places, mostly in town. As the bus was coming in a slow motion as if to stop to make a u turn, all of a sudden the driver sped away leaving the stranded passengers in their mouth open wondering why is it so. The driver never let anyone on board may be for fear of school children who happens to be in large numbers at the bus stage. The running away simply means that, the bus operators are shunning away from students who they do not want to board their busses owing to the fact that, they pay smaller amount of the fare and yet to make it worse are many on the bus stop. The reasons given by them is more fictitious other than running away from students.

Boarding town buses popularly known as daladala in the morning and evening rushing hours in the city of Dar es Salaam is a big problem. Due to the prevailing situation, some commuters resolve to cling at the back of the bus in an attempt to get in through the window oblivious to the danger posed to them while in motion.

On seeing what the driver has done, people are running along with it looking at the conductor who peers back at them through the window while the door is closed. People are panting as they keep on running here and there, it’s as if it looked like a marathon race to them. Others gives up, disgusted, still a number of people ran with the bus for some distance until it stopped. With self congratulatory smile on their sweaty faces, they watched as the door is opened. But before the first person could set a foot on the bus the conductor declares that the bus was not going anywhere. What is it? The outraged mob at the door cries out and a conductor answers, “We are going to the garage” Sometimes you might manage to get into a bus to commute to work and never know where a delay might pop up. It could be a traffic policeman on the road who allows more traffic cars from one direction flow more than the recommended time, a faulty engine on an aged bus, Presidential motorcade on their way to airport is also a growing menace or anything related to it. You might sometimes be obstructed by large crowds of people scrambling to get into a bus, you might as well be pulled away and a man may elbow you out of the way so that he can get on the bus first. A traffic police officer may stop the bus for some other reasons basically known to him. But you can’t blame for he is simply doing his job. However, on the course of dong so, he or she will cause a delay for minutes at a time. Often the delay takes the form of routine checks that these officers of the law carry out. The officer will stop the daladala and circle it, then jotting down things on the notebook. After he had talked with a driver or a conductor and are so notoriously is when they stand in a place of the automated traffic lights at busy intersections.

While struggling to board a bus, you might sometimes be obstructed by large crowds of people also scrambling to get through a thin door into a bus, you might as well be pulled away and a man may elbow you out of the way so that you can get on the first.

To complicate things further are the very important people in the country such as the high ranking government officials who must use the roads for themselves whenever they pass through. These are the government officials who have to be rushed quickly on important issues while leaving the rest of other drivers on the side where they pass. These have to be ordered to park aside even when the motorcade is half an hour away. This is too embarrassing and boring, some refer the idea as being stupid as well for it doesn’t value a patient who has to be rushed quickly in the ambulance at such an unlikely time. The bigger the dignitary, the longer the delay you will be subjected to some really big important people for a whole hour and even render some roads impassable for a whole day. Most commuters are disgusted at the helm of this situation and this is happening almost in every part of the Dar es Salaam city suburbs.

You can notice how people are struggling and windows are turned to be doors to let them get in.

Commuters have wondered why the Dar es Salaam Bus Transit project popularly known as DART is delaying to take on the operation in the city, may be they would get a relief as earlier promised by the then City Commission. The plan was established by the former Dar es Salaam City Commission as a way of reducing congestion to ease the long standing transport woes facing city commuters in Dar es Salaam city. This was almost a decade ago and it seems to be staggering. The project whose implementation was effectively expected to start this year as per the program set since it was announced to the general public in early 1999, is a great dismay as the whole planning system has left many with lots of question marks after having seen it’s not on the stage. Despite of its gradual preparation, many people seemed to have had forgotten about it and some thought that its development setups might have hit a snag. But some remained silent with the expectations while others have retained their imagination as a promise is a debt. According to the then Dar es Salaam City Commission, under the chairmanship of Mr. Charles Keenja, the principal architect behind the move, the project popularly known as Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) had been put in preparation alongside with the intensive research activities set to determine how it would work out effectively on various designated routes selected within the city. Earlier studies on the project had proved its success and what was remaining was to see its implementation which up to now is yet to start. The beneficiaries of the project had long been waiting to see some changes taking place in the whole system but the progresses seems to have stagnated or are in slow process. However, the truth about the project was revealed to the general public in May this year in Dar es Salaam when hundreds of show-goers who were anxious to know its current development flocked at the DART Agency pavilion during a week long Public Service Management exhibitions which were held at Mnazi Mmoja grounds. Speaking on behalf of the DART’s Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Cosmas Takule, an attendant who preferred anonymity said, the project would start by September 2010 with the construction of a 21 kilometer road stretching from Kimara mwisho to Kivukoni Front down up to a famous fish market. This is almost two years ahead from now. She said that, this is a pilot project and later it would extend to major six roads that covers approximately 130.3 kilometers in total. In all road stretch, the project would involve the construction of the main 18 bus stations plus other 228 small bus stands. These would be constructed in all the designated routes. The Kimara-Kivukoni road project would last for 20 months and would involve the construction of recreational centers along kivukoni road near State House and some other important buildings located on the fringes of Indian Ocean.

Vehicles plying between Mbagala and city center or Kariakoo, and those plying between Gongo La Mboto-Sinza-New Post office-and Msasani are the most hit routes that according to commuters, more vehicles are required in those routes to accommodate commuters during rushing hours.

In this pilot project alone, 29 modern bus stops would be constructed and already the World Bank has donated the sum of US$ 250 (Tshs. 300 billion) to finance the major part of it. However, an attendant noted that Dar es Salaam City Council has also set aside its budget which she didn’t mention when asked. The commencement of the second phase which is still not yet known, would involve the construction of modern bus stand and other facilities along Kilwa road up to Mbagala. The third phase would cover Nyerere Road, the fourth would cover New Bagamoyo Road, the fifth would cover Nelson Mandela Expressway, while the last phase would include Old Bagamoyo Road. Describing the types of buses to be used when the operation starts, these would be long busses like those types of ‘Ekarus’ buses used by the defunct Dar es Salaam Motor Transport popularly known as Usafiri Dar es Salaam capable of carrying 140 passengers at a time. Apart from long buses, there will also be the small and medium sized buses capable of carrying 50 passengers at a time. She said. Distraught with the whole planning system which seems to be moving slowly, a cross section of the Dar es Salaam residents could not remain behind to make a comment on it saying they are totally disappointed with the long standing project which they say is delaying for unknown reasons. Ms. Mwilima Ally of Mwananyamala could not remain dumb to make a comment as she uttered her query targeting the current daladala operators who seem to be totally disorganized and causing chaos in most city’s bus stands. However, she has appealed to the authorities of the DART agency to hurry up with the project to avoid such inconveniences. Zuberi Saidi a form one student at Tambaza Secondary school, is highly impressed by the way the current daladala operators are treating school children. He is optimistic that the newly established project would help students and there will be no any harassments caused. Zuberi who is residing in Gongo-la Mboto gets some difficulties while boarding daladalas due to the growing hostilities between students and the conductors, the habit which has become a rare phenomenon in the city of Dar es Salaam. He urged the DART agency to speed up the process to ward off the existing disparity of the transport woes.

The three-lane system currently applied on some roads in the city has proved successful though this is in a fresh bid to easy traffic jam in the country’s key commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

However, the Chief Traffic Police Commander, James Kombe, has called for investments on alternative modes of passenger transportation, including marine transport, in a fresh bid to easy traffic jam in the country’s key commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. Kombe was commenting on a statement made during parliamentary debate by the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Khamis Kagasheki regarding the three-lane system currently applied on some roads in the city. Kagasheki had told the House, while responding to a question that the system was not a permanent solution to congestion in the city. The system’s implementation had generated criticisms in that it is one of the causes of road accidents. Commander Kombe said, he concurred with the deputy minister, adding that the city needed to opt for additional modes of transport as a way of decongesting its busy roads.
The commander also suggested the adoption of other permanent strategies to ease traffic jams like construction of ring roads, repairing of roads under municipal councils and introduction of town train services. ”People residing at Kijichi, Kunduchi and nearby areas, can commute using fast boats while those residing at Ubungo can use train services for traveling to and from the city centre. This would help reduce traffic jams” explained Commander Kombe. In his comments regarding the three-lane system during national assembly debate, the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs said future plans were needed to solve the congestion problem in the city. Kagasheki had said the three-way system was intended to ease traffic jam a little bit, especially in morning and evening hours, adding that the measure was not a permanent one.

Rehabilitation Work on Nelson Mandela Expressway in Dar es Salaam kicks off

THE upgrading of a dual carriage way of a famous “Nelson Mandela Expressway Road” in Dar es Salaam city whose contractual work was signed about three years ago has started. Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) which has been charged with the responsibility for its upgrading on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development in the country, is very close doing everything possible to ensure that the project is finished quickly. This is the third project to be done in Dar es Salaam’s 30 km stretch rehabilitation program targeting three major roads earlier announced by the government. Other two projects are Sam-Nujoma and Kilwa Roads whose rehabilitation works nears completion. Nelson Mandela Expressway is being undertaken by help of European Union.

A dilapidated section of the Nelson Mandela expressway which is currently under rehabilitation in Dar es Salaam.

A sign board standing besides Nelson Mandela expressway that shows work in progress ahead.

The expansion of Kilwa and Sam-Nujoma Roads into a dual carriage way were the government’s plan that aimed at providing a solution to the unbearable traffic congestion problem in the city of Dar es Salaam. The proposed rig road, 16 km stretch of Nelson Mandela is expected to last after eight months’ time from the start of the project two months ago. The road which is being upgraded by Maltauro Spencon Stirling construction company is part of the main urban ring roads in the city of Dar es Salaam that links the port of Dar es Salaam and upcountry regions. The construction of Nelson Mandela Road was done in late 1970s mainly as a bypass for heavy duty vehicles transporting goods from the Port of Dar es Salaam to up-country destinations including the neighboring countries mostly the landlocked like, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Malawi.

Workers busy digging a ditch alongside the road

The design life of the road was 20 years. Accordingly towards the end of 1990s the road became due for strengthening having reached the end of its design life. It was for this reason that in 1999 a consultant, M/S May Associates was engaged with financial assistance from the European Union (EU) to carry out an evaluation of the pavement and propose the necessary strengthening measure to be taken on the road. The study also involved the Morogoro-Dodoma and Isaka-Lusahunga roads which were constructed in the 1980s

A worker standing behind a dynapac machine that is used by contractors along the road.

After the study, the EU was requested to finance the rehabilitation/strengthening of the roads. An amount of EURO 42 million pledged by the EU was estimated to be sufficient for only the Morogoro-Dodoma and Nelson Mandela roads. However, it took some time before the financing was secured. Tenders for works could therefore not be invited until 2003. At the time the tenders were invited, some more deterioration had occurred on the roads. As a result the available budget was not sufficient to cover both Nelson Mandela and Morogoro-Dodoma Roads as had initially been planned.

This is how the situation can be seen during rushing hours along Nelson Mandela Road in Dar es Salaam. Traffic jam is mainly caused by great number of vehicles including semi-trailers which tend to line up from the port on their way to upcountry regions.

It was therefore decided that the rehabilitation of the Morogoro-Dodoma Road be undertaken while additional funds to finance Nelson Mendela Expressway were sought. The additional fund for Nelson Mandela Road were secured in March 2006. Due to the time that had elapsed since the design was carried out, it was necessary to upgrade the Tender documents for the project before inviting tenders, and after that its construction started in the first quarter of third year 2008.

Enjoy the scene of photographs

PHOTO journalism has become an interesting profession nowadays and this is because of the introduction of digital cameras. Generally, the work involves conveying messages to the public through photographing. A photo taken from the incident portrays 100 percent accuracy rather than how an incident could be described with mere words to the people. The invention of the digital cameras has indeed facilitated photo journalism work in this world to a greater extent that a photo taken on the spot can immediately be sent electronically. This is the most easiest way of sending photos in digital format. I have some but humorous photos which I think would make some of you laugh even if you wouldn’t like to do so. I think even if you would read the caption, you might not believe what the photos depicts is what actually is happening in some areas within our community set ups. Now enjoy looking at these and judge by yourself if they are true or fictitious.

You might guess from which part of the world was this photograph taken. This might have been taken in India. A local woman is seen feeding a large pack of mousses she tames in her house. She feeds them with milk poured in a large bowl while her mousses enjoy drinking. Animals are highly respected in the Republic of India, and a man who is seen causing troubles or molesting animals in any way is actually penalized according to the laws of the land.

Cameras and the images they produce are naively thought by many to never lie. But because humans operate the machine, technical, composition and content manipulations are unavoidable. Computer technology did not start the decline in the credibility of pictures, but it has hastened it. Photographic darkrooms are quickly being replaced by computer workstation light rooms.

Transport problems in most rural areas is mostly exacerbated by lack of reliable transport facilities. But you can imagine these people are not acting to show the world that they are faced with such eminent problems in their day to day’s life in their country. In India this is fueled by large population growth as the photo shows, everybody scrambles to get a chance of getting into a cabin, as the photo depicts how the stranded people have clung to the moving passenger train at a station in India.

But as long as photojournalists do not subtract or add parts of a picture's internal elements, almost any other manipulation once accomplished in a photographic darkroom is considered ethical for news-editorial purposes. Photojournalism -- the profession in which journalists make news-editorial images for print and screen (television and computer) media -- is under attack.

Imagine this is a swimming pool, may be engineers are to blame for its construction that’s not enough accommodate users. Though people have come to spend their week end vacation here in regardless of the congestion of the people seen around, nobody cares for that. The scene might also have been taken in India.

Media critics and viewers question the use of gruesome images, dozens of photographers hounding celebrities, picture manipulations that present misleading views, visual messages that perpetuate negative stereotypes of individuals from various multicultural groups, and images that blur the distinction between advertising and journalism.

You can judge by yourself from which part of the world do you think this photograph was taken? What are the people in the picture doing?

What is happening? Nothing that hasn't been a part of photography since its invention in 1839. What is new, however, is the spread of computer technology that allows practically anyone to produce and disseminate visual messages in massive numbers for a world-wide audience.

A passenger train is passing along a congested area of a slum settlement. Whose mistake do you think is this? Are the people around or a driver of a locomotive engine who is at fault? I think in this case, people who without caring of their safety have decided to spread their merchandise along the railway line oblivious to the danger posed to them are the once to be blamed.

Because images evoke almost immediate emotional responses among viewers, pictures have tremendous impact. With well-chosen words, visual messages combine to educate, entertain and persuade. But the flip side to such visual power is that images can also offend, shock, mislead, stereotype and confuse.

Playing with snakes such as this in India is a usual thing as you can see this little child in a washing basin is surrounded by a snake and without any fear at all tend even to wash its head.

After a gruesome image of dead or grieving victims of a tragic event is presented to the public in either the print or screen media, many viewers are often repulsed and offended by the picture. Nevertheless, violence and tragedy are staples of American journalism. "If it bleeds, it leads" is a popular, unspoken sentiment in many newsrooms.

Can you assume yourself which regions in the world that are prone to regular floods? Bangladesh and Eastern parts of India are the most common places affected by this natural disaster. Two lorries are submerged and people have clung over on the board in an attempt too save on their lives.

The reason for this obvious incongruity is that a majority of viewers are attracted and intrigued by such stories. Photojournalists who win photo prizes and other international competitions are almost always witness to excruciatingly painful human tragedies that nevertheless get published or broadcast. It is as if viewers want to see violent pictures, but through gaps in the fingers in front of their face.

With larger population densities, transport sometimes becomes so difficult in these areas as you can imagine, people in this photo have no help whatsoever except have to practice as it’s being transpired here.

Picture and subject manipulations have been a part of photography since it was first invented. But because of computer technology, digital manipulations are relatively easy to accomplish, hard to detect and perhaps more alarming, alter the original image so that checking the authenticity of the picture is impossible.

This must be in Africa where few vehicles can be found in rural areas owing to poor road infrastructure. Even for the few available, there is no proper use for them as you can see here people have to scramble. I understand the photo was taken in rural Uganda.

Some critics have predicted that in a few years, images -- whether still or moving --will not be allowed in trials as physical evidence because of the threat to their veracity created by digital alterations.

Without telling where the photo might have been taken, the caption beneath it can suggest what it means “Welcome to Eritrea”. A man after having seen he had no carrier in his bicycle, he decided to carry his goat on his back which he had just bought from the market while peddling along the road.

Photography is undergoing an exciting and challenging time in its history. Currently, the photographic medium is in a hybrid or transitional period between traditional film and computer technologies. It is reasonable to predict that by the first decade of the next century, photojournalists will no longer use film in their cameras or developer in their trays.

Tanzanian government is now proud to have an international football pitch built in collaboration with the government of China at a cost of US$ 56 million. The pitch has been selected to be used as an exercise ground by world cup footballers where they would be carrying out their regular exercises during the world cup games scheduled to be held in South Africa in 2010.

Print and screen media will also dramatically change as households are linked with fiber optic technology. Newspapers and televisions will be transformed into a medium that combines the best attributes of the printed page, telephone, television and computer will transform passive readers and viewers into active users with instantaneous links to text and images from sources anywhere in the world.

Here President Jakay Kikwete of Tanzania was live televised by national television during an official opening of the newly built national pitch. When he entered in power in 2005, the President had pledged to develop football games in the country.

This is at a supermarket in Australia, a woman walks along with a Kangaroo which has been trained to carry a basket along with it, the basket contains things she had bought at a supermarket. Imagine how human beings have advanced in technology, it’s like one delegate from Malawi who had remarked in one of the African journalists’ conferences which was held in Grahamstown, South Africa that, he would be happy to see an ICT tool is preparing food for him in his house. This it can be, if human beings are more clever to the extent of instructing an animal that turns to obey the orders like a human being.

This is a puppy seller on the road side market. The photo was taken in Dar es Salaam along Bagamoyo Road. I managed to take a snap while traveling along the road. Each puppy is sold at between US$ 20 and 30 depending on a size required.