Independence Day and Republic Day in Tanzania falls on the 9th of December, typically a day off work with many people gathering at the National Stadium to watch parades match in front of the President. Dances are performed and a torch is carried up Mount Kilimanjaro, symbolising liberty and self-determination of the nations in Africa. However, in 2015, for the first time, the day will be celebrated in a very different way.
Recently elected, President Magufuli declared that celebrations of Independence Day and Republic Day would be a chance for all citizens of the country to clean their local environment, from offices to schools, streets to homes. With support from all Government departments & agencies, many private organisations and non-governmental organisations also participated in the efforts – including Ramani Huria! The efforts were named #HapaUsafiTu (Here is just cleaning), reflecting the slogan of the recently elected president, ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ (Here is just work).
Ramani Huria volunteers participated in #HapaUsafiTu in several of the wards we have conducted mapping, including the wards of Ndugumbi, Tandale, Vingunguti, Manzese, Mzimini, Kigogo, Mwanayamala, Buguruni, Magomeni, Manzese.
As well as cleaning activities, including bus stands such as Chama in Buguruni, the volunteers engaged with residents of the wards on the importance of sanitation. Recently Dar es Salaam and several areas of Tanzania has seen outbreaks of Cholera so the cleaning efforts could not come at a more important time. With many wards of Dar es Salaam being highly populated and unplanned, much of the population is it a high risk for the outbreak of disease, especially in the rainy season. The volunteers discussed with community members how best to maintain the cleanliness of areas, specifically clearing rubbish and keeping waterways and drains free of blockages.
After a day of intensive cleaning, it was apparent that this day of work had had a big impact on the city of Dar es Salaam. Through the discussions we had with community members, many people felt that there should be similar days in the future and had plans to request from the local administration that there be additional cleaning activities. Ramani Huria and the volunteers from Red Cross and HOT were all pleased to be able to continue to support the wards we have been actively mapping.