Disability Community of Mwanza, Tanzania

July 15, 2013

  • The GDRL project sent two eGranary Digital Libraries to the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance in Tanzania (CHRAGG), one of which was installed in their headquarters office in Dar es Salaam the other of which was installed in their Mwanza office.  This has enabled users at both locations to use the GDRL.
  • Msafiri Msedi at the Mwanza office shared news with USICD about the local disability community. 
  • He tells us, “Since I started to use the GDRL, I was inspired to mobilize my colleagues to establish a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities.”  Founded earlier in 2013, the new organization is called Tusaidiane Disabilities Resources and Charity Organization of Tanzania (TDRCT).  The Swahili word, Tusaidiane, means “let’s help each other”.  TDRCT is already registered to operate at the national level in Tanzania.  In this organization, Msafiri Msedi works as the Executive Secretary and his colleague, Michael Nyamlanga Lwakatare, is the chairperson.
  • Msafiri says that one of the biggest challenges for the disability community in Tanzania is in translating policy to action: “What is written in policy does not correspond with the ‘on the ground’ reality.” 
  • For example, despite national law and policy, Msafiri reports that people with disabilities in Mwanza and elsewhere in Tanzania have difficulty accessing public transportation.  He says, “There are no fixed procedures for identifying and resolving transportation problems.” He says that this has led to incidents such as passengers with disabilities being stranded at bus stops, or vehicle designs failing to accommodate wheelchair users.
  • In more positive news, Msafiri says that people in Tanzania who previously had viewed people with disabilities as a “burden” are starting to regard them, instead, as valuable and contributing members of society with crucial input to provide on disability policy.