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Democracy and Human Rights Grant Presentation

Remarks by Ambassador Mark Green | BAKWATA Offices | June 10, 2008

Asalam Aleykum

Habari za asubuhi?

Nimefurahi kuwa hapa leo!

Thank you for inviting me to hold this important presentation ceremony here today. We are gathered to honor BAKWATA–The National Muslim Council of Tanzania–as a recipient of a Democracy and Human Rights Fund grant from the Ambassador’s Community Grants program.

Each year, the American People provide grants totalling approximately $60,000 USD to Tanzanian community groups that work to strengthen democratic values and improve human, civil and political rights.

Today, the Ambassador’s Democracy and Human Rights Fund will provide BAKWATA with a grant for 30,000 US dollars to improve civic and voter education in the Lindi region. Later, the American Embassy will award the other half of our Democracy and Human Rights Fund to the Kagera Community Development Trust, who will implement a program to educate the people of Muleba, Kagera about women’s inheritance rights.

We are proud to support BAKWATA because of their long history – since 1968 - of supporting Tanzania’s social development by funding health, education, economic and media programs.

During the 2005 General Election, BAKWATA began their first civic education program. Through that experience, BAKWATA learned that many in the Muslim community, especially women and youth, lacked civic education and voting information. The purpose of BAKWATA’s grant request to the American Embassy was to help solve this problem.

In the Lindi Region, BAKWATA will hold training seminars for community leaders and residents using the United Nation’s Development Program curriculum for Civic and Voter Education.

The trained citizens will then take the United Nation’s Civic and Voter curriculum to all the citizens of Lindi–holding civic education seminars in the mosques following Friday prayers and collaborating with Ward Executive officers to reach Lindi’s non-Muslim citizens.

BAKWATA’s commitment to the strengthening of Tanzania’s democracy and human rights is the reason they have received this $30,000 USD grant from the American People. An open and active voting population will assure continued growth and stability in Tanzania. The actions of citizens’ groups like BAKWATA will assure that all Tanzanians benefit from the rewards of a democratic society.

Please join me in congratulating BAKWATA on their grant and wishing them great success in implementing their projects!

Thank you very much for coming and please feel free to ask me or my staff any questions you might have on the Democracy and Human Rights Fund.

Asanteni sana!