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Michael Baruti | ​Tanzania

What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?

In Tanzania I work as a journalist. I am a senior producer for BBC Media Action. I run a Governance radio show called Haba Na Haba, ‘Beat by Beat’ if translated. The show promotes good governance and accountability. I think it is the biggest radio show, broadcasted by 32 radio stations and the national radio station. It creates a platform for leaders and citizens to come together to talk about issues such as employment, health and infrastructure education. We look at these issues from different perspectives and then we also bring in the government so they can give a perspective. If both community, and government play a role there is more of a chance for Tanzania to progress.

We have a lot of community radios back home, all of the things that we need to do is to empower these community radios and give them their capacity to work on their own governance. I will use the skills I picked up in the fellowship to try to make this happen. I think that the community is the starting ground and for change to occur it needs to happen on the ground. So we are looking to empower them to create their own governance programs as well as hold leaders accountable. But also, most of these radios do not have enough funding to hire high skilled people. Because of that they end up with people who are not qualified journalists. So my question is, how can I go and empower these journalists? They should know that through their programming and production they have a better chance for people in the community to actually grieve their grievances. So I hope I get to do that when I come back.

What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?

The people. Tanzania is so friendly, people really know how to say please and thank you. Please may I get to see the doctor, and afterwards they say thank you. In Philly you don't get that everywhere you go. The people are so kind so loving.

What I love about Philly? Oh man. Philadelphia, the diversity. You can really feel diversity here. I feel like compared to where I'm from and where I've been Philadelphia is very diverse. Inclusion is real out here. People do not judge you for who you are or what you are or what you do. Inclusion. The food is not so good. Weather. Unpredictable.

Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?

I enjoy watching a lot of football. I talk a lot. I’m into social media. And I love reading fictional novels.

If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?

Zege. Locally made. It's more like when you have an omelet in bread. But now back home we don't use bread, we use french fries. Then you flip the egg. Then you put some salad. What we call Kachumbari.