On 30 November, the East African Community celebrates EAC Day as provided for by the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC that was signed on that date in 1999.
This year, commemorations aimed at popularizing the EAC Day to the public through empowering the common Mwananchi with knowledge on the EAC integration process and raise awareness on the benefits of regional integration. Additionally, EAC and GIZ staff jointly undertook Corporate Social Responsibility activities focused on giving back to the society by contributing to improving maternal health and mitigating the effects of climate change.
In the early morning hours, EAC and GIZ colleagues assembled at the Kilombero Bus Stand in Arusha city centre to clean up the area. After almost two hours of work, all rubbish was removed, and cleaning material donated to Arusha Municipal as a sign of encouragement to keep the bus stand clean for the benefit of the citizens. Afterwards, staff moved on to the Levolosi Hospital. Here, the EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki led the handover of maternity kits that had been fundraised by EAC staff in an effort to support maternal health. Additionally, various fruit trees were planted at the hospital by EAC and GIZ members. In his remarks at the hospital, the Secretary General noted that the integration process is people-driven, therefore also EAC Day celebrations aimed at giving back to the people.
From midday, EAC organised an Open Day at the Secretariat, welcoming high-ranking guests as well as local citizens. Both EAC and GIZ presented on ongoing projects and benefits created on the ground via EAC integration. Opening the celebrations, Secretary General Hon. Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki highlighted the need for EAC Partner States to expedite the assent of the EAC Holidays Bill 2013, making 30th November an official holiday across all seven Partner States.
For GIZ, Mr. Burkard Kömm, Project Manager of Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region, stressed that GIZ, on behalf of the German Government, is working closely with EAC in creating sustainable benefits for citizens. He noted that since the establishment of the Community, Germany had funded activities worth over EUR 580,000,000 with a view on bringing long-lasting peace to the region. ‘As Germans, we have experienced two World Wars. This led us to the strong belief that regional integration is a key element in fostering cooperation, avoiding conflicts and lastly bringing prosperity. We experienced this in Europe and therefore want to contribute to the same successes of integration in East Africa.’
Lastly, the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon. Amb. Ezéchiel Nibigira, together with Mr. Burkard Kömm handed over 550 tree seedlings that had been fundraised by GIZ staff as a donation to the Pastoral Women Council (PWC) as contribution of the EAC and GIZ towards addressing the impacts of climate change in East Africa. PWC is a Non-Governmental Organization owned and led by women, with programmatic experience in implementing climate change initiatives including tree planting in the pastoralist communities in Northern Tanzania.