The American Take on Tanzania

After two days of travel, one overnight layover in Johannesburg, South Africa and two hours of organized chaos at the visa stand, we finally made it to Dar es Salaam. First order of business: meeting with U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt. We would have photos and a video interview with this post but security is tight around the compound and all of our equipment was taken away.... instead we have this "great" iPhone shot of the embassy's sign... After the security checkpoint, the familiar faces of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry greeted us as we entered the lobby and went through yet another security checkpoint....it sure felt like home! Two experts from USAID, who specialize in food security, joined our meeting with the ambassador. The conversation highlighted how America's assistance is helping Tanzania better utilize their natural resources. Here are a few ways we do this: - Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)- This organization is an innovative and independent US agency that helps the US target how our money is being spent. By creating compacts with the country receiving aid, the US works with locals to set goals related to their specific need-based projects.Tanzania receives over $700 million dollars in US aid and is currently working to add more citizens to their power grid. MCC allows the US to 'check-in' on these projects and in order keep funding, Tanzania (as well as others) have to meet their project goals. - Big Results Now- This focuses on the projects in Tanzania that are deemed most important for development. These include power, health, education and food security. Energy and power are speculated topics President Obama will focus on with his visit to Tanzania at the end of this month. - USAID's "Feeding the Future" initiative- Food security is what we are here to talk about and lucky for us, it is a US priority too. This initiative aims to work with small-hold farmers to make sure they can grow, sell, and store their crops successfully. While Tanzania currently has just under 45 million people, geographers are predicting that by 2025 there will be an additional 20 million people. And most Tanzanian's live on roughly $1.60 a day. With such a small income, it would seem that many citizens in this nation only get one meal a day. The good news for Tanzania, according to the ambassador, is that they have plenty of resources but little knowledge on how to use what they've got. So, now the question is how is Tanzania going to feed their population? And that's just what we are here to find out. Stay with us as we uncover the ways Tanzania is going to help feed the planet. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @pfexplorers for the latest updates! - Gabriella Demczuk and Sara Snyder

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