Wednesday, June 22, 2011



I Bernard Elia Kihiyo, the Executive Director of Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS); would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the CI, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC) for paving the way for my organization to attend the 19th CI World Congress (CIWC) in Hong Kong. Personally I felt honored to have been selected for this sponsorship and profoundly humbled to meet Consumer leaders from over 700 delegates from more than 60 countries.
The generosity of the host (HKCC) and the dedication to train, support and empower professionals in the field of “Empowering Tomorrow’s Consumers’’ by all facilitators were beyond compare, to me the experience at CIWC is fantastic!, so powerful, so growthful in-me, in a way it is indescribable and hard to compare to other experiences I had on consumer movement since TCAS was established in July.2007.

For instance I attended various hot topics/fringe sessions/key addresses/ plenary/sub plenary; and I learned so much from observing and being a part of a wide variety of discussions as per below;-

1. Empowering consumers in the green economy
2. Sustainable Consumption - Time for action
3. National campaigning workshop on junk food
4. Should all roads lead to Rio 2012?
5. Consumer rights and corporate responsibility
6. Safe and nutritious food for all
7. Food safety: defining our campaign targets
8. The role of standards in providing consumer protection
9. How ISO 26000 can be used by consumer groups
10. The fight for fair financial services
11. Consumer over-indebtedness: the search for effective solutions
12. Consumer rights in the digital world: privacy, access and activism
13. CIWC Gala dinner

Since this was my first CIWC I thought I didn’t know more of what to expect, but maybe I should have guessed because CIWC defies expectation and that is “Empowering Tomorrow’s Consumers’’ and truly, It proved to be a learning experience I could have never predicted, with this I can proudly say I have been empowered hence I will transform/share the same to TCAS’s staff, put the same into day to day engagements and campaigns; definitely tomorrow consumers in Tanzania will be empowered too.
Throughout the CIWC-Hong Kong I met unique individuals from all over the world with various perspectives and ideas different than my own, pushing me to think and feel in ways unforeseen. For instance the unforgotten keynote addresses from the former CI’s president Samuel Ochieng, the current CI President Jim Guest, and CEO of Consumers Union of USA, M/s Connie Lau the CEO of Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC), Acting Director General – M/S Helen McCallum, speech by Anthony Cheung - HKCC Chairman, speech by Chief Executive Hon Donald Tsang of HK SAR, the video address by the French Finance Minister and chair of the G20 finance ministers in 2011, Christine Lagarde, Susan L. Rutledge-Consumer Protection WB, Norma McCormick, Chair of COPOLCO, Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency, Former CI President Anwar Fazal, and many others the list is too long.

The price of the CIWC is quantifiable, yet my time in Hong Kong could not be so well defined, I believe the value is beyond the time and the dollars that were typically associated with the Congress. The former CI President Anwar Fazal said "train new people or you will have no future," Thank you for sharing your experience at Congress; this does not go unnoticed or unappreciated; because of this opportunity I will look back upon my adulthood as an old man grateful to you for making me the person I wanted to become a better consumer activist in Tanzania and the world at large.

While CI, Consumers Union of USA, and CHOICE -Australia are 50years and beyond, SNNC – Sweden is 100 years old while TCAS is approaching 5 years old in 12th.July.2011 in TCAS, we still have a feeling that we will never get these types of opportunity in Tanzania, Africa, Europe, America or elsewhere than under the parasol of CI; please accept our utmost gratitude for the opportunity given and for accepting TCAS into CI affiliate membership; TCAS management is working so hard to qualify for a full CI’s membership.

Kindly continue to be essential partners and supporters for TCAS for years to come hopeful, ‘’Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society’’ will celebrate 50 years in consumer movement in year 2057.

Bernard E. Kihiyo

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you

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