MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Climate Action Network Tanzania is operating with various partners since 2011. After the establishment of this organization you worked without a team for many years. What was the reason for you to take the risk?
DR. SIXBERT MWANGA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CAN TZ
CAN TZ has come a long way. For me the challenges we were facing on a daily basis were a good reason for me to take those risks. The Global South is highly threatened by climate change impacts and I wanted to start addressing the issues here in Tanzania. But to achieve this, I had no shortcut but sacrifices and commitments without a salary. Most communities are dependent on climate sensitive activities, for example small farmers, pastoralists and fisher folks. Climate change is a difficult topic especially due to limited access to information. I am passionate about fighting climate change impacts and empowering my fellow Tanzanians in order to protect the country’s development, communities and their livelihoods.
Personally, my interest in climate change started when I experienced the impacts in my village. My village faced a lot of challenges due to a lack of fresh water access which was linked to droughts. During this time, I decided to study Geography and Chemistry in order to understand what we can do to address droughts and how we find ways to create sustainable water access as well as to examine how livelihoods can be diversified.
For me, information is the key. At CAN TZ we work to coordinate and provide a platform for everyone where climate data and sciences are shared and best practices for mitigations and adaptation methods are presented to the public.
This implies that networking is the main purpose of CAN TZ?
Mainly yes, but furthermore CAN TZ intends to capacitate and coordinate Tanzanian communities in order to establish a common understanding of climate change and amplify their voices at a local and international level. Bringing together voices from the grassroots is highly important for us in order to capture and share information and create a dialogue between the local and international community. Our network provides space for people who are not being heard for the sake of expanding their voices.
As you mentioned before, Climate Action Network Tanzania has come a long way. After you got support from volunteers, your team started to grow and now you count seven team members plus interns and volunteers who join the team on a regular base. How would you describe the development on CAN TZ?
Well, this is an interesting question. When the whole process started, CAN TZ was a loose organization which neither had a big vision nor human resources, but for the last eight years it has grown tremendously even though it was not given resources or infrastructure to evolve from. From no staff and resources, we developed a professionally operating organization with qualified staff members who are very passionate about their work. We are improving every day and striving for greatness. Right now, the organization is on a very good path towards sustainability and professionalism. I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments.
One can see the impacts CAN TZ is making and part of your vision is to contribute to the development of a sustainable Tanzanian economy. How do you see the future of your country in terms of wellbeing?
I would like to refer this to our work as an organization. We support the idea of growth in Tanzania. For us growth is aspired economically as well as socially. We would love to see a Tanzanian society that is climate resilient and well informed; not frustrated by the weather events but rather able to cope and grow to achieve a better income. We would love to see a utopia where the Tanzanian communities are embracing green growth and sustainable development, not a dystopia where we are suffering and remaining poor. Everyone can contribute to this country we want to live in, not only dream of a country which is more sustainable and has a free as well as striving economy.