All Politics is Local
10.07.2009 - 11.07.2009 85 °F
When we met with the District Commissioner of Karagwe, Tanzania we were unsure how he would answer our questions. Many of times those working within a government are reluctant to be completely truthful about the situation of the country. This was not the case, however. When asked about the problems his region and country face as a whole, instead of sugar coating the situation, he jumped straight into the issues. The first and arguably most daunting problem is that of early pregnancies. When a student becomes pregnant, she must leave school and is unable to return. Even with the many birth control campaigns, 98 students were pregnant in Karagwe this past year. This does nothing to end the cycle of poverty. Another major issue is while population growth stands at 4.9% annually, economic growth has slowed down to 2.9% annually. Also, illegal immigration from surrounding countries like Rwanda and Burundi have only exasperated the problem. They come looking for work, and according to the District Commissioner, they end up committing crimes. On the brighter side, the problems Albinos face in other areas of the country are not quite as prevalent in his region. Also, food seems to be plentiful, for the rainy season produces enough crops. On the other hand, there are not enough medical facilities and infrastructure is lacking. In terms of what we were working with, water, within the district, 34% of the population has access to safe, clean water. This was followed up by pointing out the area is surrounded by the Karagwe river.
All in all it was an incredible opportunity to sit down with the District Commissioner in his office and have the chance to ask him any question. We feel truly fortunate to have done such a thing, and it was an amazing learning experience.