Tanzania: Day Two

Published: 21 June 2011

Good evening YRAP fans (:

Just got back to the hotel after a long second day.

Everyone had a bit of a shock this morning after seeing articles about our visit in three of the national newspapers – especially after being interviewed by Capital News yesterday. (A video I never want to see, but will probably be uploaded here for your amusement very, very soon.)

Trip to visit the National Authorisation Officer this morning to chat about how EU development money is being spent in Tanzania – around 80 per cent is given straight to the government to support their budget, while 20 per cent is given directly to different projects. Many people are skeptical about funding the budget of other countries – how do we know our money is being spent on aid, and not ministers’ allowances? – and it was good to get answers from someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

We also visited the University of Dar Es Salaam’s journalism school. Many of them talked about facing the same kind of problems as we do – everywhere I went, I could only think how little was different from back home, although they worked with a lot less equipment. It's nice to know that really, deep down, nothing changes.

Final visit of the day was to the Tanzanian Media Women’s Association, where female journalists work to promote women’s issues in the media. After being told constantly by so many people that it is impossible to be a journalist today and still make a real difference- not when you’re under so much time pressure, so understaffed, so desperate to boost profits- it was nice to hear that somebody, somewhere, really was changing the world. I asked them if their work was more public relations- but they were adamant that they first and foremost journalists, using their skills, writing content for newspapers: although that content was different, more challenging than what staff reporters would usually produce.

In other news, the prize for the strangest moment of the day goes to sitting in the ambassador’s office trying to play the ambassador’s vuvuzela. Yes, there are photos. However, no photos or video will be accompanying this blog post, after I tried to blog yesterday and lost everything while trying to upload a picture. If it happens again, I will be very unhappy.

An early start tomorrow, but we will be going out to visit EU supported projects in the field for the first time (: