The Shipping Dilemma: How to Transport Goods to and from Rural Tanzania

Men and women display their handmade products.

Men and women display their handmade products.

Working to solve the challenge of transporting goods across international boarders efficiently and cost effectively to increase the economic capacity in rural Tanzania.

Project description

Throughout villages in rural Tanzania, transportation is a fundamental challenge for economic growth and self-sufficiency with few viable options for shipping and receiving goods in a timely and affordable manner. In addition to limiting entrepreneurs, this problem also impacts community development projects that seek to empower women and vulnerable populations through handiwork and crafts. Through our various collaborative projects featured on this Portal, we are supporting a number of projects that engage local women and girls in batik and tailoring initiatives, reusable sanitary pad sewing, and bicycle repair (to name a few).

While these projects, individually and collectively, have great potential to lift individuals out of poverty, they all share the common problem of shipping goods and materials efficiently across borders. While in America we have the luxury of easily ordering through Amazon or a professional shipping company and receiving our packages within a day or two at no or minimal charge, this is far from the case in Tanzania and other developing countries, especially in rural villages that are far away from urban centers. The cost is often so high and the delivery time so slow, that it is virtually impossible to send or receive goods, preventing community organizations and programs from participating in global markets and exchanges that could greatly enhance their success and impact. This challenge of shipping is so significant that if it can be addressed or solved, it could dramatically change the lives of the young men and women who are creating beautiful goods that people around the world would like to purchase if they had the chance.

Project outcome

The project will result in an analysis of possible shipping methods and the development of innovative ideas and proposals for addressing shipping related challenges both to and from the Mara Region of Tanzania. The recommendations will be shared with partners and related projects (through portal) in an effort to support targeted initiatives and help create sustainable vehicles for support. Priority will be given to materials associated with ongoing projects.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Short (less than a semester, 0-2 months)
Start time Anytime
Level of collaboration To be determined by student/mentor
Benefits To be determined by student/mentor
Who is eligible To be determined by student/mentor
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.
Truman and Fulbright Scholarships

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Truman Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Core partners

  • Hope Children's Foundation
  • Musoma Girls Action Organization
  • Mugumu Safe House
  • Mogabiri Farm Extension Center
  • St. Justin Center for Kids and Disability
  • Children's Dignity Forum (Tarime office)
  • Deborah Amponsah, project originator and student collaborator

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Director of

Experiential Learning Network

Phone: (716) 829-2834



To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. 

To get started, contact the project mentor using the contact information above to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project:

  • Meet with Tanzania Study Abroad instructor, Mara Huber, using the contact information above.
  • Reading articles relevant to the challenges
  • Become familiar with Mara Tanzania and partnering organizations