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Events Calendar

June 2017
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UN: Unemployment among the youth is a time bomb

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 Mr. Rodrigues holding a copy of Tuwasiliane newspaper printed by the UTPC’s auspices  

A massive tide of unemployment among the world’s youth, including those of Tanzania, is one of the most pressing social problems that, the United Nations (UN) Tanzania feels, need to be addressed adequately for it to turn round.

The concern is contained in Mr Alvaro Rodriguez’s remarks he made when the UN Resident Coordinator in Tanzania paid a courtesy visit to Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) premises, in Mwanza, recently.

Reacting to Mr Abubakar Karsan, a UTPC Executive Director, Mr Rodriguez also the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident in the country, described the unbearably higher unemployment rates in many countries in the world as a potential time bomb.

He noted that should the problem, compounded by the current inequitable socio – economic and political systems keep persisting, then the situation is most likely to make the disillusioned youth more willing to consider new and different violent principles and ideas to realize their dreams.

Mr Rodriguez made no mention of such terrorist, Al - Qaeda affiliated groups as Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Somalia’s Al - Shabab, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the like.

But the survey clearly suggests that all the aforesaid highly radicalized groups are made up of the disgruntled youth, most of whom have  either found it difficult to make ends meet or simply been ignored by their respective countries’ governments.

Other areas of priority which the UN official said equally needed to be looked into with a critical eye, include particularly such marginalized groups as women and persons with disability so they get involved in participatory democracy, which strives to create opportunities for all the citizenry.

Earlier on, the UTPC Executive Director updated Mr Rodriguez, during the latter’s brief visit, on UTPC’s historical background, vision, mission, objectives, structure and Strategic Plan 2011- 2013 – related activities already carried out, achievements registered and challenges encountered.

Officially incepted in 1996 and subsequently registered with Home Affairs Ministry as a non – profit Non- Governmental Organization (NGO) in the following year, Mr Karsan said, UTPC has managed to establish a  Media Support & Development Fund in the name of the late Daudi Mwangosi, a Chairperson of Iringa Press Club (IPC), thus having its visibility enhanced, among other things.

He mentioned promoting professionalism, social interaction and refined development and raising the public’s awareness of press freedom and economic empowerment as UTPC’s some key objectives.

The visitor, currently on his familiarization tour of Lake Zone regions, during which he is inspecting UN – funded projects, is accompanied by Senior Human Rights Adviser, Dr Chitralekha Massey and Ms Hoyce Temu, a Communications Specialist.

Specifically, the objective of Mr Rodriguez’s mission in the Lake Zone is to attend the UNFPA- supported Alternative Rites of Passage of young girls and boys and projects and to access the Human Rights issues which include Female Genital Mutilations (FGM), early marriages and killings of people living with albinism.

According to the UTPC Director, this has been possible for its concerted efforts to support members of the Press Clubs, scattered all over United Republic of Tanzania, by providing them with training and modern working equipment.

As a result, Mr Karsan said , Tanzania’s rural areas are now accorded a wide coverage, besides UTPC’s initiatives to arbitrate in disputes between media stakeholders and practitioners and defused a suspicion and mistrust between the very journalists and the Police Force, following the brutal killing of Mr Mwangosi,

Contending that there are no successes without challenges, the Executive Director acknowledged that unfair and unreliable payments to freelancers, who constitute the majority of practitioners in Tanzania (by 75% - 80%), unethical reportage and journalists’ growing insecurity, impediments whose recommended remedial measures are contained in the upcoming Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019.   

Given that the two parties have a lot in common, in terms of their endeavour to promote the welfare of the general public, they agreed, in principle, to sit down and chart out how they can work in closer partnership in capacity building of the youth and media and in incorporating the Human Rights approach in future.  

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The UN and Tanz...
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Project undertaken by E4a and UTPC progresses well

Evidence For Action

UTPC/E4A Board Member deliberating on issues at UTPC premises, in Mwanza recently. From left are UTPC Executive Director Mr. Abubakar Karsan, Mr. Kenneth Simbaya (Centre) and Ms. Chiku Lweno all from E4A.

A project jointly implemented by Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) and Evidence for Action (E4A), undera Memorandum of Understanding signed in Mwanza on 5th February, 2014 progresses well.

The acknowledgement is contained in the project’s first quarter evaluation report, submitted at a recent meeting of a E4A and UTPC Board, held in Mwanza.

The Board members greeted the pace of the project implementation with a general satisfaction, given that only 15 champions and mentors had actively contributed news stories and feature articles out of 24 identified earlier on for the that task.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development, the programme popularly known as Mama ye!  Simply envisages that by using better information and improved advocacy and accountability, deaths of mothers and babies that do occur before, during and after birth can be mitigated.

To that effect, a special training was organized in Dar es Salaam in May, 2014 whose participants were drawn from all 23 Press Clubs to give them required journalistic skills in reporting.

After lengthy discussions, the Board meeting resolved to adopt a new monitoring system according to which quantity and quality of stories filed from the regions and duration can be determined.

It was also resolved only journalism practitioners who have demonstrated diligence be considered first for the up-coming, 2nd training, slated for Dodoma between 15th and 16th November, 2014.

Also resolved was the idea that E4A should have an e –mail address of its own to facilitate dissemination of Mama ye! – related information, news stories and feature articles for the benefit of interested journalists who will wish to remain. 

On Tuwasiliane newpaper, it was resolved that its editorial Board should meet for it to be able to see how best the publication can be in circulation at the end of every month.

Following Stella Mwaikus’s demise, the meeting resolved that Mr Kenneth Simbaya be a mentor in her place, charged with ascertaining stories filed by all the journalists who were working under her supervision.

Maternal and new-born health sensitization campaign yields good results

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Minister Dr Rashid addressing the journalists

A programme aimed at improving maternal and new-born survival, initiated in April, 2014 by Evidence for Action (E4A), in collaboration with Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC), has started yielding positive results.

Indicators that show how the maternal and new born health situation is steadily changing in Tanzania for the better were confirmed at a just ended two – day training for the programme’s mentors and champions, held in Dodoma.

Evaluating how well the programme has been implemented for the past six months, the participants contended that achievements registered during the period under review have simply outweighed the challenges, to a considerable extent.

In their presentations, the aforesaid mentors and champions, without giving statistics to authenticate their argument, they mentioned the way the programme has been greeted by the general public with enthusiasm as an overriding achievement.

Other positive results recorded, according to them, include higher level of spouses’ awareness of the importance of expectant mothers attending clinics and availability of essential drugs in health facilities.

Others are general improved working relations existing between journalism practitioners and health personnel at all levels, nurses and trained midwives reaching out to expectant mothers from marginalized ethnic tribes such as pastoralists and the Hadzabe people, who are widely viewed as remnants of gatherers and hunters.

Also in the list of achievements registered within a span of six months are that stern disciplinary measures have been taken against health personnel who have violated professional ethics and journalism practitioners have been accorded cooperation, making them play their pivotal information dissemination roles uninterruptedly. However, the training participants, drawn from 26 out of 27 Press Clubs, scattered all over United Republic of Tanzania, equally outlined a long list of challenges they encountered.

According to them, a poor state of infrastructural facilities and politically – motivated decisions made by  some government officials and legislators, concerning health sector – related issues, all have been hindrances to the programme’s smooth  implementation.

An incident in which an Ambulance which the Central Government had provided to Tumbi Hospital, in Coast region, only to be diverted by an undisclosed politician to a distant rural health facility is a classic example of  misuse of one’s (political) power.

Other drawbacks include some nurses and midwives staying far away from where their respective health facilities are located, traditional midwives being widely consulted still especially in the remotest rural area and traditions dictate what the expectant women should  or shouldn’t do, in relation to their pregnancy period.

An unnecessary bureaucracy tendency on the part of both officials of some Central

Government and Local Government Authorities, general public’s low level of awareness of the importance of donating blood to the needy patients and unethical practices by a handful of nurses, all have been pointed out as additional obstacles to an on-going maternal new – born health programme.

On the way - forward, the participants resolved that information dissemination methodology and infrastructural facilities be improved further by incorporating religious institutions in preaching the gospel of enhancing information on increased accountability for maternal and new-born survival in Tanzania, among others.

It was also resolved that for the health sector matters to be addressed meaningfully, the  politicians’ undue influence should not be condoned, both media owners and editors be exposed to a better and more enlarged understanding of and skills in maternal new – born health issues respectively.

In his greetings to the journalist practitioners earlier on, E4A Resident Executive Director, Mr Craig Ferla congratulated them all for what they have done well within a span of just six months, in terms of reaching out to the rural – based Tanzanians most of whom, he said, rarely have easy access to information, compared to their privileged urban counterparts.

He urged them to continue drumming relentlessly maternal new – born health issues to the entire society considering the staggering number of expectant mothers and infants who die before, during and after delivery.

The E4A Director put the current death toll at 7, 900 for mothers and 39,000 infants annually, a scenario which he described  as an appalling tragedy.

Midway through the first quarter of the training session, apparently after graciously having accepted E4A’s invitation, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr  Seif Rashid, who is in Dodoma attending an on- going  Parliamentary session,  came to the conference room to exchange views with the journalists.

In his remarks, the Minister expressed appreciation to E4A for launching the on- going campaign aimed at improving maternal new – born health saying it is among crucially important  health programmes at which he is delighted.

He, however, reminded them of the importance of upholding set professional ethics considering that with the enormous power and influence they have, they can either usher in negative or positive results in the society.

On his side, he disclosed that his Ministry strives to make some structural changes aimed at ensuring health delivery uninterruptedly as well as generating income required for smooth running of health facilities in the country 

The Final Evaluation of UTPC Strategic Plan 2011-2013

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The activity mentioned above is to be carried out by a Nairobi – based Delta Partners Solutions Ltd, after it had won the tender as advertised in the local newspapers in the recent past.

 The said assignment, scheduled to commence shortly, has been shelved aside for now simply because implementation of UTPC’s Plan (2011 -2013) has been extended for an additional one year.

That means the final Evaluation of UTPC Strategic Plan 2011-2013 will, therefore, be undertaken sometime in 2015.

At least 200,000 premature infants are being born in Tanzania annually

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Parliament Deputy Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai lighting a candle to signal official opening of Premature Infants Day occasion, observed at Parliament premises in Dodoma, involving Members of Parliament.

In the recent past, Evidence for Action (E4A) had an audience with Members of Parliament, currently attending an on- going session in Dodoma during which time it seized such a rare opportunity to sensitize an issue ofpremature birth.

Welcoming the dignitaries in attendance at the gala dinner party, graced by Deputy Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai, the E4A Resident Executive Director, Mr Craig Ferla defined premature birth as either the same as preterm birth, or the birth of a baby before the developing organs are mature enough to allow normal postnatal survival.

For that very reason, he contended, such premature infants are at greater risk for short and long term complications, including disabilities and impediments in growth and mental development.

While significant progress has been made in the care of premature infants, but not in reducing the prevalence of preterm birth worldwide, Mr Ferla said the preterm birth as being among the top causes of death in infants in the developing countries, Tanzania included.

Describing the prevalence of preterm birth in the country as “kizungumkuti”, in Kiswahili, literally meaning a somewhat tricky situation or state of uncertainty, he presented to the law makers staggering statistics which suggest that at least 200,000 premature infants are born annually in Tanzania, 39,000 of whom don’t survive the first month of life.

The law makers looked a bit amazed when the E4A Director asked them searchingly whether they would keep quiet upon discovery that number of premature infants who died in Tanzania between 2000 and 2014 alone are estimated at 560,000, equivalent to an entire population of newly – established Katavi region or not.

In addition, he said, of 47,000 premature infants born alive, almost half of them do die during delivery, an untold tragedy which can be easily prevented from happening by 80%, using simple methods, at low costs and with the meagre resources available.

Mr Ferla paid glowing tributes to the government for having managed to reduce infant mortality rate in Tanzania, as required by United Nations Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs’) cluster No. 4, from 81 in every 1,000 babies born alive down to 54 in every 1,000 babies born alive.

It was at this particular juncture that all invited guests lit their candles as the Deputy Speaker was standing at a podium to give a brief speech.

Among other things Mr Ndugai thanked E4A for what he called awakening

Of the legislators’ interest in the highly sensitive premature infants issue, hitherto rarely publicized by the media.

To that effect, he urged all the Members of Parliament to go and take stock of incubators available in their respective constituencies to ensure that the plight of premature infants is fully addressed from now onwards.

Turning to the Parliament itself, he pledged with it to contemplate allocating sufficient funds for the Health and Welfare Ministry, besides challenging menfolk to collaborate with their beloved wives during the latters’ pregnancy, particularly in matters pertaining to attending clinic sessions.

 

Earlier on, Health and Social Welfare Deputy Minister, Dr Kebwe Stephen Kebwe and Chairpersons of four Parliamentary Committees – Defense and Security Committee (Anna Abdalah),  HIV / AIDS Committee (Mr Maeda Abdalah), Safe Delivery Committee (Mr Mtutura Abdalah Mtutura), Illicit Drugs Committee (Mr Albert Obama), Budgetary Committee (Mr Ole Rmedei) and Social Welfare Committee (Ms Margareth Sitta) addressed the audience one after the other. 

U.S. Embassy Office of Public Affairs Officials’ visit to UTPC, in Mwanza.

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UTPC Executive Director, Mr. Abubakar Karsan giving a full briefing on the organisation to the US Embassy's Public Affairs Department Director, Ms. Maurer Powel in Mwanza recently.On her left is Ms. Rehema Kalinga

Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) staff had played host to a delegation of two officials from the Dar es Salaam-based U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Department on 23rd July, 2014.

Following opening remarks by UTPC Executive Director, Mr. Abubakar Karsan, Ms Maurer Powel, a Public Affairs Department’s Director, was introduced to the Organization’s history, vision, mission, structure, values, roles and responsibilities.

Looking conspicuously impressed with the briefing, particularly regarding UTPC’s fascinating objectives and results registered between 2011 and 2013, Ms Powel said her office was to contemplate how it could possibly work in partnership with UTPC once again.

She couldn’t go into minute details, however, but simply hinted that currently her country’s interest is hinged on organizing what she called USA Show Mission, in which photos of USA - sponsored projects undertaken in the country and related activities will be displayed.

To that effect, she advised UTPC to start collecting such materials as photos and other relevant documents which reflect whatever had been accomplished in the past, with funding from either U.S. Government itself or Public Affairs Department (formerly United States Information Services).

She also reaffirmed that her office would possibly provide UTPC with several copies of books, as requested by the Organization during the brief talks, held at UTPC premises.

Among other things, the U.S. Embassy, through the United States Information Services (USIS) then, played a pivotal role in sponsoring an Extra-Ordinary Members General Meeting (MGM), held in Arusha on 20th -21st September, 1996.

Widely viewed as media industry landmark in the Tanzania’s history, it was during such an occasion, graced by Second Phase Government President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, that UTPC was officially incepted, with 12 founding Press Clubs in attendance, all of which were established with the USIS’ moral, material and financial assistance.

Besides 23 Press Clubs which are fully operational all over United Republic of Tanzania -21 on the Mainland and two in the Isles – currently TPC boasts 27 Press Clubs in total, in addition to four other founded in the newly- formed regions of Njombe, Katavi, Geita and  Simiyu.

Ms Powel, accompanied by her office’s staff by the name of Rehema Kalinga, could not promise anything but said she was equally of the opinion that UTPC should start developing a proposal for kind of reciprocal exchange visits for Tanzania Press Clubs’ leaders and their US counterparts. She stressed that even individual Press Clubs members can apply for such an opportunity.

In the end, the UTPC Secretariat, led by Mr. Karsan, furnished Ms Powel with a list of some serious challenges facing Tanzania’s media industry including partisan journalism, media owners dancing to the tune to the tune of either the government or its organs and unethical reportage, compounded by the journalists’ unbearably difficult working conditions.

Others are limited editorial independence, unreliable, erratic payments to freelancers, a string of media outlets being owned and run by a single person and journalists operating in an increasingly volatile and hostile environment in the wake of the on - going socio - economic and political liberalization process in the country.

Embassy appreciates implementation of UTPC activities

Swedish Embassy

UTPC secretariat (seated on the right) and Swedish Embassy officials (on the left) at an Annual Review Meeting held recently in Mwanza. Facing the camera are the stakeholders Mr. Donald Kasongi (left) and Issac Wakuganda (right).

Officials of Dar es Salaam – based Swedish Embassy have expressed delight at how Strategic Plan- related activities have been carried out in 2013 with success.

Reacting to an Annual Implementation & Results Report, 2013 submitted at the Annual Review Meeting, held at UTPC’s premises, in Mwanza, on 30th October, 2014, the officials described the extent to which the project’s objectives have been attained as fantastic.

“Personally, I can say the way the activities have been carried out is so impressive that it has inspired us to continue working with UTPC”, said the Embassy’s Programme Officer (responsible for the Media), Mr Tumsifu

Mmari.

Accompanied by Ms Gracemary Bange, also a Programme Officer responsible for Administration and Financial Control, Mr Tumsifu paid glowing tribute to UTPC for being trustworthy, thus making it one of the few renowned media Organizations.

Ms Gracemary Bange, on the other hand, could not hide her feelings about UTPC’s fascinating achievements registered just within a short time span of one year only.

This, she said, bears a clear testimony to the authenticity of the aforesaid Annual Implementation & Results Report, 2013, which has provided an overview account of remarkable successes recorded, challenges encountered and recommendations made. “This is heartening”, she remarked.

According to the 69 – page report, enclosed with a wide range of annextures, a total of successes all revolving around eight key areas were recorded including enhancement of UTPC’s visibility and receding of feelings of mistrust and hatred between the Police Force and journalism practitioners following UTPC’s intervention.

Others include decrease in wrangling in the Press Clubs, attainment of an Unqualified Financial Report and launching of Daudi Mwangosi Media Support & Development Fund.

In the list of challenges encountered during the year under discussion include erratic and delayed payments of remunerations to the journalists, unethical reportage, growing journalism practitioners’ insecurity, among others.

Kigoma Press Club to go on trip through TANAPA’s sponsorship

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Kigoma Press Club (KGPC) members are to go on a week-long study trip to six national parks, managed by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) with effect from 21st, June 2014.

The national parks to be visited by a strong contingent of 14 journalism practitioners include Arusha, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorogoro Shimoni, Saa Nane Island and Serengeti.

Other national parks administered by TANAPA in the country are Mikumi, Udzungwa Mountains, Ruaha, Kilimanjaro, Saadani, Gombe Stream, Katavi, Mkomazi and Kitulo.

Wildlife viewing, bird watching, boat trips, canoeing safaris, chimpanzee tracking and fishing are just among some activities available to the visitors to the aforesaid tourist attractions.

Serengeti National Park ,in particular, is famed for its annual migration when more a million wildebeest follow some 200,000 zebra in a 2,00 km round pilgrimage in search of both fresh grazing as well as drinking water.

The tour around the said tourist attractions, according to the KGPC Chairperson, Deo Nsokolo, has been possible after his club’s request for sponsorship was granted by TANAPA.

To that effect, he said, the practitioners will travel to TANAPA’s headquarters in Arusha first, from where they will go round all the six parks before departing for Kigoma on 28th June, 2014.

TANAPA’s gesture of good bears a clear testimony to the growing trust that the media stakeholders have in the Press Clubs, currently scattered all over United Republic of Tanzania. 

In Nsokolo’s words, it is envisaged that such an informative, tourist and working trip of its kind will enormously enrich the practitioners’ scope of understanding of how Tanzania is endowed with a wide range of fascinating tourist attractions and highly valuable natural resources.

UTPC, Standing Voice have agreed to jointly help the disadvantaged

Standing Voice

Standing Voice Executive Director Mr. John Bealle (Left) holding talks with his host, Mr. Abubakar Karsan recently when the former paid a courtesy call to the latter.

Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC and Standing Voice have, in principle, agreed to work more closely in advocating for the disabled, particularly people with albinism.

This follows recent talks held in Mwanza between UTPC Executive Director, Mr Abubakar Karsan and his Standing Voice counterpart, Mr John Bealle, during which strategies for assisting the albino, in collaboration with other Non – Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were deliberated upon.

“We are looking into best particular ways in which positive news stories on people with albinism can be written”, Mr Karsan said.

Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates including human beings. While an organism with complete absence of melanin is called an albino, an organism with only a diminished amount of melanin is described as albinoid.

The recent visit of Mr Bealle’s, whose organization is currently taking care of the albino in terms of providing them with education and medication used for treating skin cancer, was purely educational aimed at learning how UTPC operates in terms of serving the general public.

Standing Voice is currently engaged in implementation of on - going projects in Shinyanga region, where it helps the elderly who are camped at Kolandoto and in Ukerewe district, in Mwanza region, where construction of centre for albino is well underway.

It is s envisaged that upon completion, sometime on April, next year (201), the centre to be called Umoja, will serve as an educational facility charged with both imparting education as well as rendering other social services, Mr Karsan hinted. 

Successful project implementation for Kagera Press Club

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Currently, Kagera Press Club (KPC) is credited with implementing an investigation into Magnitude and Impact of Illicit Arms Proliferation on Kagera Region Project successfully.

The 60.0m/= project, funded by Tanzania Media Fund (TMF), was undertaken by a total of six journalists operating from Kagera, solely with a view to unearthing nature and impact of  small arms proliferation on the region.

The journalism practitioners, actively involved in the investigation include Mathias Byabato, Phinias Bashaya, Lilian Lugakingira, Theonestina Juma Prudence Kibuka and Joas Kaijage, all of whom are also members of KPC.

The practitioners selected among 15 KPC members, carried out the investigation in Ngara, Biharamulo and Karagwe, which had long received notoriety for the arms proliferation, the three districts having shared borders with war-torn neighboring Burundi and Rwanda.

The investigators, under direct close supervision of Joas Kaijage as their peer mentor, deduced incidences of extra- judicial practices, border infiltrations and bomb explosions which have caused a score of fatal body mutilations so far.

Such a worrisome situation, according to the findings, is exacerbated largely by existence of small-scale arms manufacturing industries and general laxity on the part of law-enforcing organs.

The six-month investigation, whose chief mentor is Islam Mbaraka, is a result of a contract into which TMF and UTPC had entered, under which the latter had accepted to take responsibility to manage the project (ends).

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