- Published on Thursday, 13 September 2012 01:25
- Written by A Correspondent in Moshi
- Hits: 1441
POVERTY and environmental degradation are twins and their parent is ignorance. The efforts made by the government and non governmental organizations are meaningless if the Tanzanians themselves will not take part in the fight against environmental degradation.
Despite the fact that the government of Tanzania through the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) has been advocating environmental preservation, most Tanzanians are doing the contrary. Tanzanians ought to understand that environmental degradation has negative consequences such as food shortages.
Crops provide good yields depending on the availability of reliable rainfall, good irrigation and use of acceptable and quality
manure, among other factors. Forests and bushes attract rainfall which is a key factor in supporting agricultural activities. In Kilimanjaro Region, the government and other environmental stakeholders including NGOs, CBOs, and some companies in collaboration with the Kilimanjaro National park (KINAPA) have made so many efforts to conserve the environment in the region targeting Mt. Kilimanjaro ‘buffer zone’.
One of the Institutions which participated in the environmental conservation in the region is Zara Tanzania Adventures. Commenting on the Mt. Kilimanjaro conservation, the Managing Director of Zara Tanzania Adventures Ms. Zainab Ansell said that, her company has started a programme of planting trees in different parties of Kilimanjaro Region under its charity organization called ‘Zara Charity (ZCO) to protect the environment.
“As you know; environmental protection is a practice of protecting the environment, on individual, organizational or governmental levels, for the benefit of the natural environment and (or) humans. Due to the pressures of population and technology, the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently...” she explained adding that; “This has been recognized, and governments have begun placing restraints on activities that cause environmental degradation, and we Zara Tours Company through our organization Zara Charity, join the government’s efforts of environmental conservation by planting trees in different parts of the region in collaboration with other institution like schools, churches, mosques etc.. ,” Ms Ansell explained.
Ms Ansell, is one of Great Woman Entrepreneurs in Tanzania who attended the Global Report on Women in Tourism (GRWT) conference, a joint with United Nations World Tourism Organizations (UNWTO) last year marking a new era for tackling gender issues in the tourism sector. It provides detailed statistical information on women’s role andstatus in the tourism industry, offering recommendations on how to improve the current situation.
UNWTO and UN women believe that tourism can be a vehicle for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Yet, much work needs to be done in order for this potential to be realized. Ms Ansell who runs today, proudly, one of the biggest tourism companies in Tanzania called, Zara Tours Company (Zara Tanzanian Adventures) was among the three women who attended UNWTO event held in London, United Kingdom (UK) early November last year.
The event debated among other issues, tourism’s potential for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment while at the same time examining current challenges and gaps to gender equality in the sector. Other invited panelists were; Ms. Liz Cramer Campos, the National Secretary of Tourism, Paraguay, and Ms. Angela Hajipateras, the member of the Foundation for the Development of Zambezia, Mozambique who was representative of Civil Society.
During an interview, Ms Ansell, advised her fellow women that, they should not have to justify why they want to open a business and not stay at home, societies and families need to understand that this will benefit its communities, and will help them out of poverty. “It took a lot of will and courage to reach the point where I am today because women in Tanzania or in any developing country, face great challenges when starting companies and becoming entrepreneurs….” Says Ansell.
She continues, ‘An African belief is women are supposed to stay at home and take care of children. At times, society even does not expect you contribute to public life or to benefit the economy.” she went on explaining. Speaking with the ‘Woman Magazine’ recently at her office located at Pasua area, suburb Moshi Municipality, Ms. Ansell said that, she pursued her dream of becoming an Entrepreneur and had to overcome many barriers.
One of them, she said, was access to credit. “Women usually do not ask for loans and it was hard to convince the loan officer to grant me a loan to start my business..” she explained. According to Ms Ansell, even to get licenses from the government was even harder than usual task precisely because she is a woman. “Public servants were reluctant to give me the licenses I needed to start my own business. However, it was perseverance and resilience that kept me going when facing these barriers.” The Founder and Director of Zara Tanzania Adventures explained.
She added that, her determination grew in the early 1980’s while working for the Tanzanian National Airline Carrier, “Air Tanzania (ATC)”, in the department of reservation and sales. “Working with ATC created a dream; I wanted to open my own Travel Agency, and to move up from clerical position, which is often the place where women stay, not advancing to professional or leadership positions. “In the spring of 1984, I used my savings and ‘Zara International Travel Agency’ was registered and opened in Moshi, in Kilimanjaro region.
The dream began…” Ms. Ansell enlightened. She went on saying that, it took a great deal of hard work to become an established agent. Learning by experience and participating in relevant courses run by different airlines was the key to her success. “After only about 18 months I applied the membership of IATA (the International Air Transport Association) and was given approval for this title. This seal of approval gave the agency credibility and sales improved.” she explicated.
The license to operate the travel agency, she added, was quite expensive and I noticed the license also included in its rate the business of Mountain Climbing and Safaris. “As I was paying for the license, I decided to give mountain climbing and safari trips a try, learning again by trial and error. It took about 6 years of hard work dealing with airline bookings, ticketing, safari trips and mountain expeditions on Mt. Kilimanjaro to achieve recognition…” Ms. Ansell explained.
Finally, she added, in 1990 things were going well and a second office was opened. Proper planning was a vital part of the business and “On several occasions upon meeting representatives form foreign companies I noticed that many were a little surprised by their facial expressions to see a woman running a Tanzanian Travel business. It became necessary to prove myself a competent and reliable person, running an experienced and reliable company.” she pointed out adding that it was from that determination that she achieved a lot, with her company growing from strength to strength to where it is today.