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Community Health Nature Renewal Project, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Tanzania)
The Community Health Nature Renewal Project began in 2016 when the Community Education Committee of the University Student Nursing Association of Tanzania (UNSATA) visited the head of the Department of Community Health Nursing at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Committee was searching for ways to engage with the community in order to improve public health. At that time, the president of the United Republic of Tanzania was urging all citizens to take responsibility for enhancing their immediate environment by planting trees and cleaning. Together, the Department of Community Health Nursing and the students decided to act on the president’s countrywide initiative in Ilala District, in which MUHAS is located. We knew that actively engaging with this initiative could improve the health and well-being of the people living and working in the vicinity of MUHAS.
The Community Health Nature Renewal Project is supported by the Department of Community Health Nursing in the School of Nursing and is largely implemented by UNSATA, which is carrying out the project in a way that enables students from all schools and institutes of the university to take part in project activities.
The goal of the project is to improve the health of Tanzania’s people by caring for and strengthening the environment in which we live. The project also is part of a greater effort to rejuvenate the Swahilian ecosystem of which Dar es Salaam is a part. This is important because the Swahilian ecosystem is a biodiversity hotspot of worldwide importance, yet tragically, 90% of it has been destroyed. Therefore, our specific objectives are to create an environment clean of human waste, and to weave the native trees and plants back into the gardens, school grounds, roadsides, and byways of Ilala District.