Our work in Tanzania began in June 2008 when we learned it was losing huge tracts of forest to feed the international demand for cheap timber, a cost ultimately borne by communities dependent on the forests for their livelihoods in a country ranked as one of the world’s poorest.
Following our successes in Indonesia and Papua, EIA embarked on a three-year project to train grassroots communities and activists in Tanzania in the use of visual media to document environmental destruction and other injustices.
In the process, EIA discovered its know-how was just as useful to groups working on social issues such as human rights, women’s rights and HIV as to those working on the environment.
Our training delivered practical and technical skills along with equipment to 102 individuals from 72 organisations, from all parts of Tanzania – most of whom had never used a camera nor had access to any visual documentation equipment.
The courses included using cameras to capture documentary evidence, editing, conducting research, writing press releases and reports, accessing the media and campaigning.
The project has created an unprecedented national cross-sector network of grass roots communities, activists and organisations in Tanzania; in addition, it has resulted in the creation of a website for the people of Tanzania called Sauti Zetu: Our Voices , as well as several films on a range of issues including natural resources, HIV, gender, forests and rights, some of which have been used to challenge government decisions and successfully influence decision-making processes.