Tanzanian Transformation

Mount Holyoke alumna Caroline Crosbie ’80, senior vice president at Pathfinder International, and Mustafa Kudrati, a Pathfinder country representative, will discuss a groundbreaking approach to community health, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability in the Mahale region of Tanzania on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium.

The panel discussion, “Mahale: Healthy Families, Sustainable Fisheries, and Abundant Forests in Western Tanzania,” will focus on the collaboration between community members living on the banks of Lake Tanganyika and three global organizations, Pathfinder International, the Nature Conservancy, and the Frankfurt Zoological Society. Through their cooperative work, this group seeks to address issues of health and environmental sustainability.

Last December, representatives of Pathfinder International and the Nature Conservancy traveled to Tanzania to investigate the needs of several small communities facing rapid growth and escalating environmental degradation, says Catherine Manegold, visiting senior lecturer in English and one of the event’s organizers. The goal was to explore—with village leaders—ways these communities could move toward sustainable growth.

“Overpopulation, inadequate reproductive health services, HIV and AIDS, over-fishing, water pollution, deforestation, and a host of human health and environmental concerns are among the difficulties these communities face,” Manegold says. Despite these major concerns, she argues the future does not have to be bleak.

Crosbie and Kudrati will discuss how collaborating with leaders in reproductive health and conservation can effectively target existing community needs. This integrated approach will help the community adapt to the impacts of population growth and climate change through village land-use planning, cooperative fisheries management, education campaigns, and improved governance.

“This panel will be a terrific opportunity to hear about groundbreaking work from two gifted and profoundly committed individuals with years of field experience,” says Manegold.

Crosbie has worked on issues of sexual and reproductive health around the world for 30 years. She currently oversees Pathfinder's work in 25 countries from its headquarters in Watertown, Massachusetts. Kudrati, a native Tanzanian, runs the Tanzania programs for Pathfinder. He is a lead member of the team launching the work in the Mahale region.

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by African American and African Studies; the Miller Worley Center for the Environment; the Five College African Studies Council; the Departments of English, International Relations, and Gender Studies; and the Office of the President.