The US government yesterday (18th September) awarded a $106,000 grant to a Tanzanian NGO to restore and preserve the historic Bwanga House in Pangani.
The grant, which falls under the US Department of State’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) programme, was presented to Uzima kwa Sanaa (UZIKWASA) director Dr Vera Pieroth at the American embassy.
US Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt praised the community involvement in the plans to renovate Bwanga house.
“Working in partnership with the government of Tanzania and UZIKWASA we are supporting the restoration of the 19th century Bwanga House which was a major coastal trade hub, into a mixed-use space for tourism and economic activity in Pangani,” he said.
The Ambassador went on to comment on the important role culture plays in reminding people of their origins and the importance of promoting cultural pride among Tanzanians.
“As I travel throughout all parts of this country, I never cease to be amazed at the history, culture, and people of Tanzania,” said Mr Lenhardt.
“That is why today’s programme has special meaning for me, because the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation gives us opportunities to demonstrate the American peoples respect for Tanzania’s unique cultural and historical treasures,” he continued.
The project aims to fully restore the Bwanga House – which was placed on the 2010 World Monuments Watch List of Endangered Sites – and promote tourism to the region, boosting the number of Tanzania holidays booked each year.
The project also aims to raise awareness of the cultural preservation of Tanzania’s national treasures. The sum represents the largest yet received for the project.
Dr Pieroth explained the future plans for the site, “Once the restoration works have been finalised, UZIKWASA intends to partner with GOIG, a training institution with special expertise in cultural vocational training for quality culture industry production.”