Bakari Mtili (YES alumnus 2011-2012) is currently serving as the secretary of the Tanzania YES Alumni Association. He is also currently pursing his Bachelor Degree in wildlife management at the College of African Wildlife Management, in Mweka, Tanzania.
Mtili is a member of the Herpetological Society, which partners students from three of Tanzania’s top universities – the College of African Wildlife Management, the University of Dar-es-Salaam and Sokoine University of Agriculture – on a project to educate Tanzanians about reptiles and amphibians.
“Because of the size of the country and the size of the problem, I couldn’t achieve this alone. We are together working strongly to create a good network and try to reach the knowledge to even more people,” said Mtili. “All the colleges are located in different areas.”
Reptiles and amphibians are often misunderstood, and the goal of the project is to increase education in herpetology and encourage cooperation between amateur herpetologists and professions.
“The main aim of talk is to create an understanding by educating the people on snakes and other reptiles including their environments or conditions on homesteads,” said Mtili. “It’s my belief by doing so the negative interaction will be sorted out since people will know which snakes are poisonous and try to avoid them.”
The team, made up of students from the three universities, presents Herpetological Society Talks at secondary schools around Tanzania. The talks focus mostly on educating secondary students about snakes: dealing with snakes in a safe manner, snake encounters and first aid regarding snakebites.
“The program currently targets high schools with a belief of having a great multiplier effect,” said Mtili. “Visualize, One school, approximately 70 students, one day, 70 homes plus the school area which makes the total of 71 houses taught for one day.”
Over the next three months, Mtili and his team are targeting ten schools within each of three regions in Tanzania – the Kilimanjaro Region, where the College of African Wildlife Management is located; the Dar-es-Salaam Region, where the University of Dar-es_Salaam is located; and the Morogoro Region, where the Sokoine University of Agriculture is located.
“Families in America hosting students from all angles of the world are directly hosting and participate in building up future leaders and generations for the respective countries,” said Mtili.