The East African country of Tanzania is a remarkable place, home to Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater and (for the volcanologists reading this) Ol Doinyo Lengai. It was also visits to communities in the Kagera region of Tanzania in 2009 and 2010 that resulted in GfGD getting off the ground soon afterwards. Since then, Tanzania has been a place closely linked with our progress. In 2013 the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tanzania, Jeremy Lefroy MP, opened our first National Conference at the Geological Society of London. In today’s post, Joel Gill (GfGD Founder and Director) writes about his upcoming return to Tanzania…
In less than two weeks time the YES (Young Earth Scientists) Network will be holding their third congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This three day event will explore topics such as geoscience for society, geology and mineral resources, tectonics and geohazards and hydrogeology. There will also be an excellent range of plenary talks, on topics such as ‘Benefit of the Nations – from Artisanal Mining to Sustainable Mining’, ‘Earth Resources and Africa Development’ and ‘Climate Change Impacts and Adaptive Capacity in Africa: Water and Food Security and Human Development’.
The YES Congress will be followed by the 25th Colloquium of African Geology, gathering people from across Africa and beyond to explore key issues around the theme ‘Earth Sciences for Improving Livelihood in Africa’.
In the words of Hon. Professor Sospeter Muhungo (Minister, Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Tanzania)…
“Both events focus on the need of achieving sustainable development of our nation by promoting sustainable management and utilization of Earth resources equitably both in economic growth as well as creating wide opportunities for all.”
To have the opportunity to attend both of these conferences is brilliant – I don’t think I have ever seen a conference programme before that has brought me such excitement. Their themes are so closely connected with the breadth of our work, and they offer us an important chance to learn a lot.
GfGD have also been the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the proceedings of the YES Congress. I will be giving an invited talk on our work, vision and future in the Geoscience for Society session, and delivering a one-day workshop on ‘Skills for Sustainability – Effectively Applying Geoscience to Development’. This workshop will explore key skills and knowledge sets that must be developed to undertake effective development work – skills such as cross-cultural communication, diplomacy, public engagement and working in a multi-disciplinary environment. The aim of the workshop is not simply to help those participating to understand these skills – but to show them practical ways they can train others (in universities and industry) in them.
This is a great opportunity to help shape geoeducation and skills development outside of the United Kingdom, serving development work across many nations. We will be focusing on a similar theme at our 2nd Annual Conference in September – these skills can make or break a development project, it is our responsibility to take them seriously. If you are attending the YES Congress do let me know (www.gfgd.org/contact-gfgd), it would be great to meet you. You are very welcome at the workshop, taking place all-day on Wednesday 13th August.
The two events run in succession from 11-16th August (full details here). The YES Network Congress can be monitored on twitter using #YESCongress2014. I am very grateful to the Geological Society of London and Geological Society of America for their financial support, making it possible that GfGD can contribute to these events. I am also grateful to Amel Barich (YES Network) for her encouragement and invitation to participate! Read more about other aspects of this trip to Tanzania in our blog tomorrow…