Tanzania: Aid projects in a difficult environment

Hygiene at the vocational school in Mbeya, Tanzania; thanks to specially designed hand washing facilities. Photo: Gad Lwinga/zVg

The effects of the pandemic in Tanzania are slowly becoming visible, says Johannes Klemm in an interview with reformiert.info editor Cornelia Krause. The government initially denied the Corona pandemic. Now the deaths of celebrities are increasing. Severe courses of the disease are becoming known.

The churches, which at first acted very cautiously, would now address the issue more openly. But they are doing so cautiously. On the one hand, the churches represent a large part of the population and are very important players in the country. "On the other hand, they are also very dependent on the government. They maintain hospitals, schools and run social projects in which they cooperate closely with the state," Klemm says. But overall, they would now appear more self-confident, draw attention to overburdened hospitals or demand hygiene funds.

Aid projects are adapted

The support projects of Mission in Tanzania have been adapted to the situation: "We are in the fortunate position of having a country office with a coordinator on the ground who maintains personal contact with our project leaders and partners," Klemm emphasizes. For example, donations could be used to purchase hygiene products and oxygen concentrators for hospitals.

At the partner church's vocational school in Mbeya, operations ran almost normally except for a lockdown lasting several weeks. "I am happy about the open schools, at least when hygiene measures are implemented," says Klemm. That's because many students don't have access to cell phones or computers at home, so they would otherwise be left behind in their learning development.

The head of the vocational school has adapted his work to the pandemic situation. For example, he had to check that all employees and students were wearing the mask correctly. "But he has also shown a lot of initiative: He has developed a hand-washing system especially for the classes." In conversation, Johannes Klemm is pleased that it was possible to respond well to the situation. But in order to better support the partner churches on site in the fight against the pandemic, more funds are needed.

► Read full interview online

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