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Come with Me to Tanzania

Posted By Darren Rowse 18th of February 2011 ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

index.jpegBlogging has been very good to me.

Over almost nine years, it’s been a daily blessing in more ways that I can count:

  • new friends
  • new skills
  • new knowledge
  • the opportunity to travel
  • the ability to pay off a mortgage
  • business partnerships
  • the chance to do what I love (communicate and build communities) all day, every day—and get paid for it!

Blogging has been very good to me.

Can blogging be used to help others?

However I’ve always wanted blogging to be more than just good to me. I want it to benefit others, too.

The most obvious people I want it to benefit are those who read the blogs I publish. This is why pretty much everything I do has a “how to” or “advice” spin on it.

One of the most exciting things that happens to me each day is being thanked for achieving that goal—helping people improve in some area of their life.

However, I’ve always wanted blogging to be even more than that. Over the last few years, I’ve often found myself wondering how it could be used to make the world a better place in some bigger way.

With the opportunity to communicate to over 4 million people a month, surely I can find a way to do that.


The Tanzanian experiment

Next Thursday I’m going to experiment with doing just that—and I’d love you to join me.

On 25 February, I’m jumping on a plane (well, a series of them) for Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, East Africa.

I’ll be in the country for one week, to spend time observing—and reporting back to my social network on—an amazing project called Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). It’s a project of CBM, an international disability and development organization.

The trip is being organized by CBM Australia (you can read more about it here) with the goal of raising awareness of the issues that are faced every day by people with disabilities in developing countries.

The work that they do is amazing.

Last year alone, they performed over 10,530 surgeries and helped improve the lives of around 120,000 people with disabilities and their carers.

Their work focuses upon many areas, including working with sight-related disabilities, club foot, cleft lip/palate, and maternal health (among others).

ccbrt_portrait.jpeg Having spent time visiting a number of other projects in developing countries over the years, I know that this trip will be confronting. But I’m excited by the opportunity at hand to both be personally impacted by what I see, and to share the journey with you.

Throughout the week in Tanzania, I’ll be sharing what I see via blog posts, videos, and Tweets. We’ll be focusing mainly upon some the hospital’s work with maternal health issues (mainly fistula) and tracking some of the stories of the people that we meet.

This trip is not a money grab. The intent isn’t to create daily calls for you to donate. I’m sure CBM wouldn’t say no to donations (in fact, they’d go a long way to change lives), but my intent with this trip is to share stories, highlight needs, and show what an amazing organization and its people are doing to meet the needs around them.

My hope is that we’ll all come away from the experience with a better awareness of the issues, and the motivation to do something to make the world a better place (whether that be by supporting the work of CBM, or supporting another need you know of).

How can you join this trip?

index-1.jpegThe bulk of the blogging that I’ll be doing while away will be on CBM’s blog (there isn’t much there yet, but we’ll be adding to it and redoing to the template significantly in the coming days). I’ll be adding posts, videos, and images during the week that I’m on the ground, and in the weeks that follow.

I’ll probably do an update or two here on ProBlogger also, but I’m aware that this blog is about blogging and not Tanzania or issues facing Developing Countries, so we’ll keep it largely on CBM’s blog.

If you’d like to get those updates please subscribe to their blog here.

You can also follow the journey on Twitter by following CBM’s Twitter account. I’ll be making updates on that and also, from time to time, on the ProBlogger Twitter account.

Lastly – you can support this project by sharing news of it and the content we produce while in Tanzania. Please consider passing on the links to stories we share and helping word spread further about what we’re up to. Thanks!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Awesome project idea, I’ll tweet out the account… ;]

  2. Darren,

    With the world becoming more and more interconnected each day, it’s great to see others utilize technology/blogging in this manner: to draw attention to issues that go way beyond our own daily endeavors and schedules. My wife and I sponsor a child near Tanzania — the needs in Africa, in general, are incredibly pressing…and, probably always will be. I look forward to staying abreast on any updates that you provide! Hope you have safe travels.

  3. Way to go, Darren. Knowing a bit of your background I always figured you’d use your platform form something great like this. Praying for your trip :)

  4. What an incredible blessing for you to be able to help spread the word about such important programs like this. Looking forward to seeing your updates and tweets :)

  5. Wonderful! I will most definitely follow and pray for a safe, blessed trip.

  6. Darren, It sounds like a great project and a terrific adventure, good luck with your trip and I look forward to reading your updates as they become available.

  7. That sounds like the trip of a lifetime and the chance to help a lot of people. Have as much fun as you can :)

  8. As an artist, I firmly believe that a professional approach can be beneficial to charity. Last year I supported the Painted Dog Conservation Inc. http://www.painteddogconservation.iinet.net.au/ by donating my own limited edition print of a painted dog to help raise money at an auction. I didn’t make any money myself in this case, but I did get some publicity. So I enjoyed helping the charity and I also got some personal/professional benefit. This may sound selfish, but I was even more motivated to help out because of this extra benefit to myself.

    I’ve organised charity auctions of artworks myself. And I have always insisted that the participating artists get decent remuneration from the sale of their artwork, even though the point of the auction was to raise money for charity. This is simply because I believe that in the end more money is raised for the charity: the artists are happier to enter better quality and higher value works. This in turn attracts more and better clients, who are then more willing to bid better money. Everybody is a winner.

    There’s now a big movement to promote awareness of bees, especially because of Colony Collapse Disorder which is seemingly threatening the survival of the honeybee. Bees in Art is my business, but because I’m professional I spend an awful lot of time talking about bees, painting bees and pushing my bee related business. I’ve got friends who push bee awareness as a hobby and definitely not for profit – but I’m the one who’s blogging about bee awareness right now, and have been for most of the day, week, month, year. I just happen to be profiting from my passion.

  9. neat! If you get a chance, try to visit some of the communities where the organization for which I work is transforming lives. Here is a link for more info: http://www.crwrc.org/pages/crwrc_esamt_tanzania.cfm

  10. Darren, may you learn as much from them as they will from you. Blessings to you.

  11. I’ll be happy to spread the word. I’ll do tweet, retweets, and likes until the fingers on this one hand give out.

  12. Darren, good luck for your trip, hope it goes well for you.

    It is good to see people that do well, invest some of their energies and good fortunes into noble causes. I hope you leave Tanzania a better place.

    Gerry @ YourLawnAndGarden

  13. Thumbs way, way up, Darren. Have a great trip.

  14. Your Tanzania trip and ‘doing what you do best for the benefit of others’ really resonates with me especially for those that are less fortunate than ourselves. However it takes awareness to recognize the issues that many people face on a day-to-day basis.

    I recently designed a website for a Fundraiser and in support of the Nceduluntu Sanctuary Trust. This South African Charity, also known as Mama Lumka is an inspiring story of hope and determination. Mama Lumka has made a huge difference to the many lives of underprivileged children, many of who are HIV positive or have been abandoned by their families.

    I plan to visit Mama and the children in April and hope to follow, learn and be inspired by what you do and your experience there.

    I will certainly be following your blog, as I hope to learn along the way. I intend

  15. That is a great project. I will mos def be tweeting and linking to this one. Look forward to reading about your experience.

  16. Good luck. Sounds like a great project. Hope you get a few days to enjoy Zanzibar, since you will be right there.

  17. Darren,

    Looks like a great trip and to interact with so many people. Its really good to see that you are taking yourself higher from just blogging.

    Have a good and safe jounery. My prayers will be with you.


  18. Wonderful! I’m inspired

  19. If businesses have Corporate Social Responsibility, then it’s high time we have Blogging Social Responsibility.

    Way to go Darren!

  20. Tanzania is good country Darren, in terms of sight seeing, wildlife and all that! You can try mountain climbing too- on the great Serengeti. I wish you well in your CBM mission there.
    You can also step by Kenya and have and have some ‘madafu’ haha..will be honored to help you with the tour

  21. Wonderful idea!
    Good luck in your humanitarian business there!

  22. Sounds like a worthy endeavor Darren….have a great trip

  23. Hi Darren,

    Awesome to learn about your field trip and field blogging project for CBM. I’d not heard of them before seeing your tweet about it. Your words ‘social media for social good’ are what grabbed my attention as I scrolled through my recent tweet stream.

    I’m always interested to see what language causes messages to stand out for me, or resonates with me, as another poster described it.

    I’ve been talking and thinking about social media a lot lately, in the context of business, but it’s equally, if not more important ultimately for humanity, to use these great technologies with a focus on social good, not just profit.

    Thank you for sharing about such an inspirational cause and project.

    warm regards,


  24. Have a safe trip and enjoy the journey. I will be following you on this one!

  25. This sounds great. Best to you on your journey.

  26. Hemraj Sapkota says: 02/20/2011 at 1:46 pm

    Great move to help to those who are suffering and in needs.

    Have a successful trip. Enjoy the wild Africa too.

  27. Nicole Rivera says: 02/20/2011 at 3:39 pm

    Mr. Rowse, for quite a little while now you have been my blogging hero. I had no idea of your involvement in ventures of this type before. Congratulations, you have been upgraded from just blogging hero to full-blown in real life hero as well!

    Thank you for using your amazing talents to not only help those of us – your eager students – every day to learn about the big bad world of blogging, but now helping those whose issues are far greater.

    I look forward to following this project,spreading the word around, and reaching the point in my life where I, too, can pay it forward with such a grand gesture.

    ~Nicole :)

  28. This is very nice of you to do this. I hope I can do the same and help the less developing countries. You are such an inspiration. :)

  29. Hi Darren,
    I’ve been reading your blog since 2005 and hearing you are visiting my country, Tanzania, I feel proud. I wish I were there.

    The weather is hot right now, it’s a rainy season in many parts of the country, just left Tz on the 15th of February, I was there (home) for a month on vacation. I hope you enjoy your stay (pretty sure you had this info beforehand, nevertheless), thanks for taking your time visiting Tanzania.
    You are one of the best bloggers out there!

  30. It’s very great of you that you are being a good example to other pro-bloggers by taking up these kind of tasks.

    Wish you a safe and fruitful journey. And yes, we support!.

  31. Darren, I read your post about Africa with great interest and shall return again to reread more deeply, and further check out the comments..
    I’m very interested in the use of the internet in the developing world.
    You may know or be interested in the Rapid SMS project( from Unicef) which I find especially interesting, as it uses the ubiquity of SMS to enhance delivery of nursing and nutritional assistance in remote areas. The server-side technology is based on Django, and the system has seen many interesting appllications in the field.

    From SMS, micro-blogs, blogs and social networks to Revolution.
    11/2/11 will be remembered not least as the culmination of the first internet-mediated campaign of public action.

    You are also no doubt aware of the amazing possibilities opened up by micro-finance initiatives. It’s a dream of mine to set-up a mechanism whereby( comparitivly) wealthy subscribers in the developed world are able to collateralize micro-finance initiatives by pledging a modest sum.

    I found my way from a blogger buzz link to Problogger amd your excellent articles about the Amazon API.
    Comments there seemed to be closed so here I am on one of your recent posts to thank you for your articles
    Indispensable information for using Amazon links and Amazon Site Stripe for Easy links.
    Both are great posts with very clear information.

    I hope you and readers may be interested in my website. I am making a project called Delimon – Delicatessen Mondiale, to collect, and hopefully offer for sale, all the special delicacies of every place( also spices and artisanat).
    Apart from the people, beautiful landscapes and climate, of the countries I have visited, I love the food..
    I’m new to blogging and affiliate links, coming from a production and programming background.

    My main project sites are Ice Factory- not for profit Internet based collaboration for real-world projects and Delicatessen Mondiale – speciality foods, drinks, spices and artisanat from around the world ( to be populated in coming months) and Image Pump is my personal home page.

    Thank you for those articles and the work you are undertaking in Tanzania.
    All the best for your trip which I shall follow with great interest.

  32. I wish you a safe trip and look forward to hearing your stories when you return :)

  33. My wife and I took a group from our church to Tanzania a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. So glad you are able to go to make an impact as well as be impacted.

  34. Great Darren. Thanks for helping those who are in need. Am in Kenya and have been a big follower of your blog.

  35. Awesome Darren, I will follow your efforts with great interest.
    Best and kind regards,

  36. This is an incredible one which you are doing. Making use of blogging in a useful way to help people is an achievement. This should be your lifetime trip and God bless you.

  37. While I applaud every effort by any person on the planet to reach out and share their gifts with others in developing countries, I would encourage everyone equally to take the time to contribute locally to their own community in every way possible. Any action of gratitude, service or sharing can be magnified at the local level, and built upon in practical, every-day ways.

  38. Hi Darren,

    What a great guy you are! I’ve been following your blogging tips for so long, it feels like I know you now. But now you are adding further inspiration with this Tanzania trip. You will be in my prayers and I look forward to following your progress.

    Take care!

  39. You are such a sweetheart Darren

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  41. “My hope is that we’ll all come away from the experience with a better awareness of the issues, and the motivation to do something to make the world a better place (whether that be by supporting the work of CBM, or supporting another need you know of).”

    No better hope. It’s great to see bloggers making a difference. I’m involved in similar work and it really matters and seriously makes a difference.

    “This trip is not a money grab. The intent isn’t to create daily calls for you to donate. I’m sure CBM wouldn’t say no to donations (in fact, they’d go a long way to change lives), but my intent with this trip is to share stories, highlight needs, and show what an amazing organization and its people are doing to meet the needs around them.”

    Debunking some of the media-created myths surrounding development projects, especially in Africa, is an excellent use of a blogger’s position and reach! Go for it!

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