These workshops are part of the SLF’s recently awarded contract to support sustainability improvement of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) under the SIPS Project.

The first workshop, which was held in Dodoma on June 6, was attended by 45 representatives from national and local government, leather manufacturers and footwear manufacturers.

After presentations, the group discussed key challenges and opportunities for the country, including the need to retain high quality raw material in the domestic supply chain (instead of exporting it or sending to waste).

The second workshop took place in Mwanza on June 8 and was attended by 37 representatives from local abattoirs and hide collectors. This workshop was focused on specific training included flaying and preservation.

The SLF will follow these workshops with visits to Namibia at the end of July and Angola in the first week of August, returning to Tanzania in late August. Other involved countries include Botswana, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

Deborah Taylor, Managing Director of the SLF said: “This was the first on-the-ground visit to Africa for the SLF and it was an important, successful start towards building relationships and trust with key stakeholders. Understanding the challenges and opportunities that are prevalent in the SADC is vital to success and some of the feedback already received indicates that the problem lies in lack of consistent implementation and support. There have been many projects previously in Africa, all well-intended and valuable, but unless we create local knowledge and resource, then things invariably lack the drive and momentum for lasting and meaningful change.

“Tanzania has the fourth largest livestock production in Africa and the second largest in the SADC region, so it is a country with the potential to re-grow its leather industry for domestic and international markets. Following this first week, we are even more determined to have a positive impact in the region and we are encouraged by the enthusiasm of the stakeholders we have already met.”