Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Tanzania Commemorated WCRD on 15th.March.2008 for the first time

Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) is a newly established Non Governmental Consumer Organization which has made it possible to commemorate for the first time World Consumer Rights Day in Tanzania; apart from the event been cerebrated by other countries in the world including African countries some times ago.

In doing this; It was not an easy task for us as it was a new line, venture, and it was difficulty for people to grasp single line of a message all over a sudden as people’s mind-set was far behind the concept.
TCAS Chairman Mr Daimon Jim Mwakyembe addressed to the event; He is a retired Director General of Tanzania Bureau of Standards where he worked for 17 years up to 2006

TCAS chairman in his speech amongst other things he stressed for ‘’Sustainable consumption includes meeting the needs of present and future generations for foods, goods and services in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable’’.

We had to have a mix of messages on the consumers’ rights and a bit of messages on other years WCRD themes to find a level ground, however more focus was given to this year theme ‘’Junk food generation-stop the marketing of unhealthy food especially to children’’

Tanzania Consumers on the peaceful rally to commemorate WCRD on 15th.March.2008 in Dar es Salaam.

MEDIA Involvement
TCAS do understand that there is no advocacy without involvement of media, in order to acquire the intended results. The campaign in Tanzania focused on a wide range of media adverts such as: Television, radio, and newspapers adverts;

Based on this background we got in touch with four television stations, five popular radio stations, six English and six Swahili newspapers- respective news editors of these media houses where sent with a letter about the day; its theme and some participated on TCAS’s press realise event about WCRD on 7th.March.2008.

As we involved the media the general public (consumers) were addressed with information which we believe will turn around the scourge of junk food and drinks, as consumers were associated with lack of awareness on junk foods and drinks.

To this end; we had a very good support from two television stations, two popular radio stations, different ranges of newspapers produced 8 articles on Swahili and English about the day and the campaign. For more information; follow these links.

Other stakeholders Involvement
TCAS do understand the war against ‘’Junk food generation-stop the marketing of unhealthy food especially to children’’ is not a one man show; it requires strong partnership with relevant partners in order to attain positive results.

Group picture of some of stakeholders who participated on commemorating WCRD in Tanzania

To this end TCAS invited several members of government; NGOs such as National Organization for Legal Assistance (NOLA), Marie Stopes Tanzania (MST), professional bodies like Medical Doctors, Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) to talk about effects and efforts to curb Junk food Generation and to determine a way forward for this campaign.

The Way forward;
Majority of the stakeholders recommended that the campaign should focus to pupils in the primary schools who are more vulnerable to junk foods; as majority of primary school pupils are between the ages five to fourteen years old.

Young, old, Youth men and women were there to participate and lessen to the message on the WCRD-2008. During the rally we had children and youth participants however it’s in TCAS agenda to extend this campaign further to most of the primary school pupils in the country through intensive use of media.

Leaflets were shared amongst participants during commemoration of World Consumer Rights Day at Mnazi Mmoja Ground, more to be shared during future TCAS campaigns on the same.

Follow this link for Consumers International member action during WCRD 2008

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