Tanzania Program History
In 2001 we moved our East Africa program from Kenya to Tanzania and launched our HIV/AIDS and Sustainable Agriculture programs in Arusha, Tanzania. During the first three years of our program in Tanzania, GSC staff and volunteers trained approximately 3,000 youth and community members.
In 2004 GSC launched the SOS (Seeds of Sustenance) Fellowship program. The purpose of the program was to provide US Fellows to gain international development experience by partnering with Tanzania Fellows and their local NGO organization. The US and Tanzanian Fellows received three weeks of training in Arusha in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. For the ensuing three years we recruited 12 US Tanzania Fellow pairs and along with GSC volunteers provided training to 26,536 youth and community members in Tanzania and Malawi.
2007 marked an important development for GSC in Tanzania as we welcomed Erwin Kinsey as our Tanzania Director of Operations. Erwin had recently retired after 30 years in Tanzania with Heifer International as the Tanzania Country Director and more recently Africa Development Director. With his many years of experience in Tanzania and Africa, Erwin’s work expands and diversifies GSC’s reach and provides GSC programs and participants significant professional international development expertise. GSC‘s office in Tanzania expanded to provided ample space for all staff members, including a conference-training room. This facility provided a lovely space to welcome volunteers and community members alike.
Programmatically, the Tanzania summer youth day camp program expanded to include year-round peer education programs. The HIV/AIDS program continued to expand providing prevention training, counseling and testing to rural populations. In collaboration with local partners, GSC’s International Health Program also expanded to include a telemedicine project where GSC participants lend support to area hospitals working with this new technology. And the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program began a program to assist its trained farmers groups in marketing by helping initiate an organic certification program in the Arusha area. During 2007 – 2008, GSC volunteers and staff provided training to 2427 community youth and adults.
In 2009, GSC significantly expanded its food security and HIV/AIDS prevention work in Tanzania through a three-year community development project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture managed by Partners for Development. GSC’s programs in Tanzania now had the resources to provide trainings not only to groups in Arusha, but to the most underserved rural populations. This funding also allowed GSC to launch the “Catch A Chicken” project which focused on vaccinating chickens against Newcastle Disease. Each year in Tanzania Newcastle disease kills approximately 70% of the chicken population, which has an especially significant impact on poor households that rely on chickens for food and income generation. The goal of this project was to ultimately increase the nutrition and income of the most vulnerable, whose livelihood comes from chickens.
During the three years of this project, GSC staff and volunteers also provided training and assisted rural households to establish home gardens, improve family nutrition, construct fruit and vegetable dryers, establish rainwater collection tanks, build grain storage units, immunize cattle against East Coast Fever, plant tree nurseries, and establish conservation agriculture methods. These training and implementation of these activities were accomplished through primarily rural trainings in schools, village gatherings, Farmer Field Schools and community health workers training.
In 2010, through an additional three-year Mennonite Central Committee sub-grant from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, GSC continued its rural development trainings in HIV/AIDS awareness and food security. GSC’s Tanzania office moved to a larger facility in Arusha to accommodate the increased predominantly Tanzanian staff. The surrounding fertile land served as the space for three demonstration plots, which were used to train volunteers on the newest sustainable agriculture techniques.
In 2011 a 15-week 15-credit semester program was launched in Tanzania, in collaboration with GSC’s long-standing academic partner UAlbany SUNY (State University of New York).
In 2012, after five years leading the GSC-Tanzania Program Erwin Kinsey moved on to pursue other interests. In April, Max Church became the new GSC-Tanzania Country Director. Max was born in Africa of American missionary, and worked in Tanzania for the previous 12 years as the Country Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Between 2008 and 2012, GSC trained and additional 17,926 mostly rural youth and adult community members.
In September of 2015, GSC concluded its work of 14 years in Tanzania between 2001 – 2014. During this time GSC provided service-learning experiences for 674 volunteers, interns, students and fellows and provided training to 60,975 Tanzania and Malawi community members. At the conclusion of its work, GSC-Tanzania provided support to a group of GSC-Tanzania managers to carry on the work under a new local NGO.
You can read more extensively about GSC's work in Tanzania by reading our Annual Reports, found here:
Follow the links below to request more information about our programs and ask any questions you may have, learn about our program's start dates and current rates, read about the application process, and start an application.