Kiswahili – a Key Tool in Regional Integration, says Chairperson of EAC Council of Ministers

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 07 September 2017:

Uganda’s 2nd Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of EAC Affairs and Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Rt Hon. Kirunda Ali Kivejinja, has reiterated the need for Kiswahili to be mass oriented and used as a tool for integrating the people of East Africa.

Rt Hon. Kivejinja said that it is only through the use of Kiswahili as a tool for integration that the region shall achieve the provision of Article 137 (2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, that provides for Kiswahili to be developed as a lingua franca of the Community.

The Minister, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) 1st International Conference in Zanzibar, Tanzania, said it was important that the language is made as simple and adoptive from the East African indigenous languages for ownership by a large section of the EAC population.

Rt Hon. Kivejinja underscored the commitment of the Community’s leadership in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tasked the EACK to generate proposals on how Kiswahili can be used in the achievement of these goals. ” I would like to therefore pledge the commitment of the Council of Ministers in taking forward the Conference resolutions. We appreciate the progress being made by the Commission and will continue to guide and enable it execute its mandate,” he added.

The Minister noted that with more than 460 different ethnic groups in Tanzania, Kiswahili was the most efficient and effective integration tool. “I would like to pay tribute to the founders of Tanzania for discovering an important tool in the foundation of the nation,” added Rt Hon. Kivejinja.

The EAKC Executive Secretary, Prof. Kenneth Simala informed the participants of the Conference that the Commission was working closely with regional Kiswahili associations in a bid to harmonize the activities of these association. He added that various activities are underway towards the implementation of Kiswahili as an official language of the EAC.

Convened from 6th to 8th September, 2017 at the Golden Tulip Boutique Hotel in Zanzibar, the Conference has brought together Kiswahili stakeholders from the region and beyond to deliberate on how the development and use of the language can creatively be used in deepening and widening EAC integration and contribute towards the realization of sustainable development in the region.

The participants of the Conference have put forward the need to fast-track the establishment of National Kiswahili Councils and National Kiswahili Associations in all Partner States; the introduction and use of Kiswahili at different levels of Education while making it examinable; the integration of Kiswahili into functional adult education programmes; and the promotion of Kiswahili research.

The Conference concludes tomorrow with an excursion to various historical and tourist sites in Zanzibar.

For more information, please contact:

Executive Secretary
East African Kiswahili Commission
Tel: +255 242 232 704
email: isimala [at] eachq.org

About the East African Kiswahili Commission:

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017. The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.

EAC Partner States urged to embrace Kiswahili as the Lingua Franca for the region

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 06 September 2017:

The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Samila Suluhu Hassan, has underscored the importance of the Kiswahili language in promoting development and regional integration in East Africa.

Ms. Hassan said Kiswahili has immense potential to unite the people of East Africa and should therefore be embraced by all East Africans as the lingua franca of the region, adding that the language could be an important tool in the pursuit of economic and social development in the region.

“It is my hope that the East African Kiswahili Commission will aid us in ensuring that the people of East Africa are not mere receivers of strategies for development, but active agents for change. Kiswahili should be promoted and used to enhance our ability to steer the development efforts,” said the Vice President.

Vice President Hassan disclosed that the United Republic of Tanzania would work with other East African Community (EAC) Partner States to promote Kiswahili as the lingua franca of the Community.

“Tanzania shall continue standing at the forefront of the promotion of Kiswahili, and is ready and willing to provide Kiswahili teachers to the rest of the region,” said the Vice President.

H.E. Samia Sahulu Hassan was addressing delegates at the official opening of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) 1st International Conference, under the theme: Transforming the East African Community through Kiswahili.

Convened from 6th to 8th September, 2017 at the Golden Tulip Botique Hotel in Zanzibar, the Conference has brought together Kiswahili stakeholders from the region and beyond to deliberate on how the development and use of the language can creatively be used in deepening and widening EAC integration and contribute towards the realization of sustainable development in the region.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of the EAC, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, said that the Commission was held in high regard and considered an integral and important institution of the Community.

“I would like to wish that existing cooperation between the Commission, the EAC Secretariat, and other EAC Organs and Institutions is intensified in all areas so as to use Kiswahili in ensuring active citizen participation in the development agenda of the Community,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.

“There is no doubt that Kiswahili is an important ingredient in the integration and sustainable development of the EAC. It is for this reason that Article 137 of the EAC Treaty recognizes its importance as a lingua franca. In an effort to give Kiswahili the force that it deserves to drive development in the Community, the East African Legislative Assembly in July 2016 resolved to make it one of the Official Languages of the Community. We promise that the Secretariat will do what it takes to ensure that this desire is realized,” added Amb. Mfumukeko.

Welcoming delegates to the Conference, the EAKC Executive Secretary , Prof. Kenneth Simala, said that the development of Kiswahili will provide the Community with an opportunity to survive and thrive in an ever-changing environment, characterized by innovation and transformation.

“We have convened this Conference in Zanzibar in an effort to appreciate and acknowledge the critical role that Zanzibar has played in the development of Kiswahili not only in East Africa but worldwide. We can not talk about the history of Kiswahili without acknowledging the role played by Zanzibar,” said Prof. Simala.

The EAKC’s 1st Internatinal Conference was marked with the official opening of the Commission’s offices along Maisara Road in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Also launched was the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022 which was developed in line with the aspirations of the EAC’s Vision 2050 and the African Union Agenda 2063./p>

Among the dignitaries attending the Conference are the former President of Tanzania, H.E Ali Hassan Mwinyi; Minister of Information, Culture, Artists and Sports, Tanzania, Hon. Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe; Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Hon. Amb. Augustine Mahiga; Ministers from the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar; Principal / Permanent Secretaries form the EAC Partner States and Heads of EAC Organs and Institutions.

For more information, please contact:

Executive Secretary
East African Kiswahili Commission
Tel: +255 242 232 704
email: isimala [at] eachq.org

About the East African Kiswahili Commission:

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017. The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.

Zanzibar to host the 1st International Kiswahili Conference from 6th to 8th September 2017

The East African Kiswahili Commission is set to host the 1st International Kiswahili Conference at the Golden Tulip Boutique Hotel in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The 6th to 8th September 2017 Conference themed ‘Transforming the East African Community through Kiswahili’, will be attended by various Kiswahili stakeholders, including policy makers, scholars, media owners and practitioners, as well as students from across the East African Community and beyond. Representatives from the EAC Partner States will also attend the Conference.

The Executive Secretary for the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof. Kenneth Simala, has noted that the overall objective of the Conference is to brainstorm on how the development and use of Kiswahili can stimulate new ideas, solve problems, and implement solutions to challenges of sustainable development in the EAC.

“The Conference will bring together Kiswahili stakeholders to discuss how the development and use of the language can creatively be used in deepening and widening EAC integration and contribute towards the realization of sustainable development in the region,” reiterated Prof. Simala.

The International Kiswahili Conference is premised in the logic that the post-2015 development agenda is bound to shape policies, programmes and projects worldwide for the next fifteen years. To this end, each and every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and target therefore provides an opportunity for Kiswahili to support communication. The goals and targets further present great avenues for Kiswahili to demonstrate shared values while contributing towards local, national and regional sustainable growth.

The Executive Secretary pointed out that the East African Community has the potential for growth and change through the adoption and implementation SDGs. This will provide the Community with an opportunity to survive and thrive in an ever-changing environment, characterized by innovation and transformation. He explained that creative, innovative and transformative development and use of Kiswahili have the potential for enhancing relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to tackle the challenges that come with implantation of the SDGs.

The Conference participants are expected to redefine the challenges and opportunities that come with SDGs; develop new, innovative responses and solutions; and make policy recommendations to Partner States on the actions that need to be taken in the development and use of Kiswahili.

The Commission will also launch the East African Kiswahili Commission Strategic Plan (2017-2022) during the Conference.

Kiswahili is a Strategic Resource in EAC Integration and Development

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) has been commended for actively contributing towards the East African Community (EAC) efforts of regional integration and sustainable development. Addressing an EAKC Expert Strategic Plan (2017-2022) Translation Quality Control Workshop held at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha on 12th-14th July, 2017, EAC Deputy Secretary General responsible for Political Federation, Mr. Charles Njoroge, underscored the importance of Kiswahili as a strategic communication tool necessary for deepening regional integration and sustainable development. Mr. Njoroge noted that as a common language of wider communication, Kiswahili is crucial for empowerment and necessary for active participation of citizens in EAC affairs. He further observed that EAC Partner States are doing a lot in the development and use of Kiswahili and urged the Commission to work closely with all stakeholders to complement those efforts.

Assembly wants Kiswahili adopted as one of the official languages of the Community

East African Legislative Assembly; Arusha, Tanzania; 26 August 2016:

EALA is to push for recognition of Kiswahili as one of the official languages of the Community. Late yesterday, EALA passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the Community to provide for Kiswahili as one of the official Languages of the Community.

At the same time, the Council of Ministers should allocate adequate resources to EAC Kiswahili Commission to effectively carry out its mandate.The Resolution moved by Hon Abubakar Zein wants the Partner States to promote and allow the use of Kiswahili in official domains.

The Resolution which received wide acclaim, was seconded by Hon Shyrose Bhanji and Hon Abdullah Mwinyi. The Resolution appreciates that language is one of the most important aspects of human life by being a vessel of human philosophy, values, attitudes, identity and meaning of life. The Resolution states that Kiswahili is the fastest spreading African globe across the globe and that the African Union has made Kiswahili one of its official languages. Analysts contend that making Kiswahili one of the official languages of the Community is one way to deepen and widen the integration process.

According to Hon Zein, embracing the Kiswahili language is also bound to increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the Affairs of the Community as well as promote African culture. Kiswahili is flexible and has its root in the bantu language which constitute more than 50 per cent of African population. The regional legislators commended the Resolution saying its passage would enable the immediate negation of the perception that the Assembly is for the elitist population and instead embrace the principle of a people-centred Community. Several legislators supported the Resolution terming it as timely.

Hon Kessy Nderakindo said the use of Kiswahili would boost education and give confidence to the students. Hon Martin Ngoga said that Kiswahili brought people together since it was widely spoken. “I really should have contributed to this debate in Kiswahili,” the legislator said to the amusement of the Assembly Members. On his part, Hon Joseph Kiangoi said it was time for East Africans to be proud of their culture. “Let us embrace Kiswahili, it is part of our culture”, he said. Hon Abdullah Mwinyi noted that Kiswahili was key as a common language. He said the United Republic of Tanzania which embraced diversity in culture embraced Kiswahili as a uniting factor. Hon Adam Kimbisa said Kiswahili was indeed the “lingua franca” of the Community while Hon Mike Sebalu said the Assembly also should embrace Kiswahili for its richness.

Hon Shyrose Bhanji, who seconded the Motion said the language would unite the region and help to create an east African spirit. Hon Dora Byamukama hailed the move as positive for the region. “The Assembly also needs to be practical to acknowledge that there are some Partner States such as Uganda have a large population that does not speak Kiswahili and in the Treaty there is a provision for development as a lingua franca”, she said. “There is need to do more to develop Kiswahili in the country,” she said.

On her part, Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo called for the establishment of a Kiswahili Learning Centre to enable staff, Members an all stakeholders involved in the integration process to fully comprehend the language.

Kiswahili is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the East African Community and the Great Lakes region. According to the wikipedia, the closely related Comorian language, (Shikomor), also spoken in Mayote Island (Shimaore) is closely related to Kiswahili.

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For more information, please contact:
Mr Bobi Odiko
Senior Public Relations Officer
East African Legislative Assembly
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255-27-2508240
Fax: +255-27-2503103
Cell: +255-787-870945, +254-733-718036
Email: BOdiko [at] eachq.org
Web: www.eala.org

About the East African Legislative Assembly:

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is the Legislative Organ of the Community and has a cardinal function to further EAC objectives, through its Legislative, Representative and Oversight mandate. It was established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

East African Kiswahili Commission Discusses Strategy Implementation Plan

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 20 March 2017: From the 15th-17th March 2017, the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) convened a three-day strategy implementation forum at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, in Entebbe, Uganda. The meeting brought together stakeholders from EAC Partner States, Kiswahili Associations and the Media to build a common understanding and shared ownership and to facilitate a consensus on the implementation approach to the Commission’s Strategic Plan (2017-2022). The forum articulated a sequence of investments and activities needed to achieve the mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in regional integration and sustainable development of the East African Community.

EAC Partner States directed to formulate National Kiswahili Language Policies

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 07 April 2017: The 35th Meeting of the East African Community Council of Ministers took place from 30th March to 4th April 2017 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. Among other highlights was the key resolution of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on promoting the use of Kiswahili and adopting it as one of the official languages of the Community. The Council considered amendment of Article 137 of the EAC Treaty to include Kiswahili as one of the Official Languages of the Community and directed Partner States to formulate National Kiswahili Language Policies and enhance the use of Kiswahili in official domains as well as initiate the process of institutionalization of Kiswahili as one of the EAC Official Languages through the establishment of National Kiswahili Councils and National Kiswahili Associations. In August 2016, EALA passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community to provide for Kiswahili as one of the official Languages of the Community.In January 2017, the resolution sailed through at the 4th Meeting-5th Session of the 3rd Assembly held in Kampala, Uganda during which, the lawmakers underscored the need to elevate Kiswahili as one of the official languages of EAC from its current status of lingua franca. Article 119 of the EAC Treaty, provides for the development and promotion of indigenous languages especially Kiswahili as a lingua franca of the region. Kiswahili is not only recognized as a unifying language spoken by East Africans but it is rich in dialect and expression. This therefore means that Kiswahili will soon be adopted as an official language within the Community as soon as the EAC Summit of Heads of State amend the treaty to accommodate the new resolution. After amendment, Partner States are expected to facilitate adoption of the language at the national level. Adopting Kiswahili as the second official language within the region will therefore mean a step towards uniting the people of the region. It will also deepen and widen integration within the region. Embracing the language at the regional level will increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the affairs of the community. – ENDS – For more information, please contact: Mr Owora Richard Othieno Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department EAC Secretariat Arusha, Tanzania Tel: +255 784 835021 Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org About the East African Community Secretariat: The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.  

Assembly passes report on Sensitization, calls for promotion of Kiswahili in the region

East African Legislative Assembly; Arusha, Tanzania; 25 August 2016:EALA late yesterday passed a key report of its outreach and sensitisation activities and with it, called for more awareness among the people on the benefits of EAC integration.

The Assembly further wants the specific interest groups including youth, women, civil and co-operative societies to be fully involved in the integration process and the pillars of integration including the Political Federation, fast tracked.

American Teachers on a working visit to the East African Kiswahili Commission in Zanzibar

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 14 July 2016:A group of seventeen teachers from across the United States of America visited the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) in Zanzibar on Friday, 8th July, 2016. Under the ‘Summer Oman-Zanzibar Curriculum Development Program’ funded by Fulbright-Hays and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, the teachers of different subjects in US primary and secondary schools and universities were at the Commission to get first hand facts about its work. The program provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. In search of Facts on Kiswahili Led by Prof. Lisa Adeli, the Director of Educational Outreach for the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern, and Prof. Scott Reese, a historian of Islamic Africa at Northern Arizona University, the teachers were on a one-week academic tour of Zanzibar after visiting Oman. Their Zanzibar visit was part of a series of short-term seminars, curriculum development, group research, and advanced intensive Kiswahili language programs. The purpose of the visit was for the teachers to be provided with accurate information on Kiswahili, professional development opportunities, and materials that educators can use in their classrooms. Upon return to the US, the teachers are expected to design and develop integrated international studies curriculum into their institution’s or school system’s general curriculum. The project shall strengthen the capability and performance of American education in Kiswahili language and in area and international studies. Need for Innovative Reforms and Collaborations Addressing the teachers, the Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof. Kenneth Simala, said that the East African Kiswahili Commission has a broad mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in East African Partner States and beyond. Focusing specifically on Kiswahili Teacher Education, Prof. Simala explained that the Commission is working with stakeholders in addressing the urgent need for Kiswahili Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at all levels of education in the region. Prof. Simala lauded the teachers for their choice of Kiswahili as their preferred modern language of training, research, and curriculum development. Saying that Kiswahili is the most popular African language of study in the US, the Executive Secretary called for collaboration and partnerships in areas of staff and student exchange programmes, research, publication and dissemination. Singling out the Fulbright-Hays and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center sponsorship of the study tour, Prof. Simala implored the organisers and sponsors to consider `working with the East African Kiswahili Commission in educating a new generation of culturally sensitive and knowledgeable citizens of the United States, Oman and East Africa about the breadth and richness of their cultures. He informed the teachers that the history of Kiswahili is closely interwoven with that of the Middle East, especially Oman.
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For more information, please contact: Executive Secretary East African Kiswahili Commission Tel: +255 242 232 704 email: isimala [at] eachq.org   About the East African Kiswahili Commission: The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017.  The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.  

East Africa Kiswahili Commission holds strategic meetings in Nairobi

East African Kiswahili Commission; Nairobi, Kenya; 28 June 2016:The Principal Secretary (PS), State Department of East African Community Integration, Ministry of EAC, Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kenya Ms. Betty Maina has lauded Kiswahili stakeholders in East Africa for championing the development and use of the language in regional integration. Addressing participants at the official opening of a two-day Validation Workshop for the Strategic Plan of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) on Thursday, 23rd June 2016 at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, Ms. Maina commended delegates drawn from all the EAC Partner States for using Kiswahili to sensitize the citizenry on the integration process and progress. Noting that Kiswahili is an integral part of the integration project and sustainable development for the region, the PS called for concerted efforts to support the Commission. The PS called on the stakeholders to distil specific actionable areas that would have visible and tangible results that will be applicable and presentable to the public and other stakeholders. She challenged the stakeholders to brainstorm on possible sources of alternative funding to facilitate and enhance staff expansion and infrastructural development. She reminded the Commission that while considering request for supplementary budget, it should go beyond traditional funding and think about alternative resource mobilization. The Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof Kenneth Simala assured participants of the Commission’s commitment to executing its mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in East Africa and the diaspora, where Kiswahili is the fastest spreading African language. The Validation Workshop was closed on Friday 24th June, 2016 by Mr. Joe Okudo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Arts and Culture; Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts who noted that Kiswahili is quickly becoming a Pan-African language of identity. He urged stakeholders to take the lead in promoting the development and use of Kiswahili. The Validation Workshop was the third in a week-long series of meetings organized by the EAKC to discuss effective operationalization and implementation of its mandate. The workshops were attended by over 143 delegates from across the Community.   University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange Programme The first workshop on Monday, 20th June, 2016 was on the theme ‘University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange in the EAC and Beyond’ and was attended by Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili and Graduate Students from both public and private universities. Specific objectives of the Workshop were: To initiate linkages for students and staff exchange Programmes among East African Universities and beyond. A second objective was to establish stakeholders associations at national and regional levels as drivers of the first goal.   On Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation On 21st – 22nd June, 2016, EAKC in partnership with DAAD Regional Office in Nairobi held a workshop on ‘Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at Universities in East Africa’. Facilitated by distinguished scholars from across the region, the workshop also had presentations made by teachers of Kiswahili, media practitioners, government officials and DAAD alumni from EAC Partner States. Sharing experiences and learning from best practices, stakeholders at the workshop observed that the fast pace of globalization and regionalization has resulted in internalization of education and the need for staff and student mobility in East Africa and beyond. Among the key milestones of the workshop are: a Report; Mentorship Programme of DAAD Alumni for Kiswahili Scholars and Students; Roadmap on East African University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange Programme; National Associations of University Departments of Kiswahili; Association of East African Kiswahili media Practitioners.   Milestones and deliverables At the end of the Workshop, the following milestones were achieved:
  1. Draft Policy on University Kiswahili Staff-Student Exchange Programme in East Africa and beyond;
  2. Linkages initiated between staff and students of Kiswahili in East African Universities;
  3. National Associations of Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili in East African Universities;
  4. East African Association of Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili at Universities;
  5. National Associations of Kiswahili Media Operators in East Africa;
  6. East African Association of Kiswahili Media Operators;
  7. Workshop Report on ‘Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at Universities in East Africa’.
  8. Workshop Proceedings from Facilitators (to be edited into a ten-chapter book)
  9. Validated EAKC Strategic Plan (2016/7 -2020/1);
  10. Report of the Validation Workshop.
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For more information, please contact: Executive Secretary East African Kiswahili Commission; Tel: +255 242 232 704; email: isimala [at] eachq.org;   About the East African Kiswahili Commission: The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

East African Kiswahili Commission
Maisara Street
P.O. Box 600
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tel: +255 024 2232704/
+255 024  2232722
katibumtendaji@kiswacom.org
katibu.tume@kiswacom.org