Diaspora ought to play part  in Tanzania's transformation

24Aug 2018
The Guardian
Diaspora ought to play part  in Tanzania's transformation

THE African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from Africa's peoples, predominantly in the Americas.

The phrase African diaspora was coined during the 1990s, and gradually entered common usage at the turn of the 21st century. The term diaspora originates from the Greek word literally meaning "scattering” which gained popularity in English in reference to the Jewish diaspora before being more broadly applied to other populations.

Less commonly, the term has been used in scholarship to refer to more recent emigration from Africa.  The African Union (AU) defines the African diaspora as consisting: "of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union".

  The Tanzanian diaspora community have, from time to time, come together to help the motherland by all means possible. It is on this background that government has been urged to create favourable conditions for the Diaspora, including policies which would enable them to contribute to the development of the country.  This was an appeal emerging from the breakfast debate entitled: “Migration and Development in Tanzania: What should Diaspora engagement look like?” that was organised by Policy Forum in 2014.

Diaspora can be key partners for development by harnessing the power of their private remittances which have the potential to contribute to job creation and entrepreneurship. In 2013, for example, migrants remitted 404 billion USD to the developing world, three times the amount of money given in official development aid (ODA).

Today, Tanzanians living abroad send home an average of $456.5 million (about 1.03trillion/- a total of $ 2.283 (about 5.2 trillion was remitted between 2013 and 2017, according to  the ministry of Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation. The ministry has as a result formed a team of experts tasked with preparing a national strategic plan that will set clear guidelines on how to incorporate the remittances in the national economy.

It is therefore important for our Tanzanian embassies abroad to keep registers of Tanzanian living in various countries, their economic activities, skills and professional levels to ensure that the government had accurate data on what and how they could contribute to the national economy. In the same vein Tanzania living abroad had brought 108 houses from the National Housing Corporation (NHC). From 2015 to 2017, a team of Tanzanian doctors from the Institute of Health, Education and Development in the Unites States of America volunteered at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital donated medicines and medical supplies worth $ 459.074 (1 billion/-). They also donated cancer diagnostic equipment worth $ 200,000 (440 million) to Dar es Salaam’s Lugalo Hospital and volunteered at Mwananyamala Regional Referral Hospital  in Dar es Salaam.

The estimated 3 million Tanzanian migrants living abroad remitted a modest 75 million dollars in 2013. In comparison, the Kenyan Diaspora remitted 1.4 billion dollars, while Ugandans living abroad accounted for approximately one billion dollars in remittances in the same year,” she said when specifically describing the East African region.

  It is assumed that a large number of Tanzanians are living abroad but there is little knowledge on the composition of the diaspora, including their profiles, skills, and numbers,” they stressed. They further suggested that a website designed particularly to facilitate contacts and communication between Tanzanians living abroad and the government will offer resources for diaspora to become involved in Tanzania, including job skills matching.


   Empowered women, girls contribute

          to health and productivity  


GENDER equality is a human right, but our world faces a persistent gap in access to opportunities and decision-making power for women and men.

Globally, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation.

Guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them opportunities to reach their full potential is critical not only for attaining gender equality, but also for meeting a wide range of international development goals.

Empowered women and girls contribute to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries, creating a ripple effect that benefits everyone.

The word gender describes the socially-constructed roles and responsibilities that societies consider appropriate for men and women. Gender equality means that men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for financial independence, education, and personal development. Women's empowerment is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality.

It includes increasing a woman's sense of self-worth, her decision-making power, her access to opportunities and resources, her power and control over her own life inside and outside the home, and her ability to effect change.

Yet gender issues are not focused on women alone, but on the relationship between men and women in society.

The actions and attitudes of men and boys play an essential role in achieving gender equality.

Education is a key area of focus. Although the world is making progress in achieving gender parity in education, girls still make up a higher percentage of out-of-school children than boys.

Approximately one quarter of girls in the developing world do not attend school.

Typically, families with limited means who cannot afford costs such as school fees, uniforms, and supplies for all of their children will prioritize education for their sons.

Families may also rely on girls' labour for household chores, carrying water, and childcare, leaving limited time for schooling.

But prioritizing girls' education provides perhaps the single highest return on investment in the developing world.

An educated girl is more likely to postpone marriage, raise a smaller family, have healthier children, and send her own children to school.

She has more opportunities to earn an income and to participate in political processes, and she is less likely to become infected with HIV.

Women's health and safety is another important area. HIV/AIDS is becoming an increasingly impactful issue for women.

This can be related to women having fewer opportunities for health education, unequal power in sexual partnership, or as a result of gender-based violence.

Maternal health is also an issue of specific concern. In many countries, women have limited access to prenatal and infant care, and are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

This is a critical concern in countries where girls marry and have children before they are ready; often well before the age of 18.

Quality maternal health care can provide an important entry point for information and services that empower mothers as informed decision-makers concerning their own health and the health of their children.

A final area of focus in attaining gender equality is women's economic and political empowerment.

Though women comprise more than 50 per cent of the world's population, they only own 1per cent of the world's wealth.

Throughout the world, women and girls perform long hours of unpaid domestic work.

In some places, women still lack rights to own land or to inherit property, obtain access to credit, earn income, or to move up in their workplace, free from job discrimination.

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