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Engineering Innovation and Sustainability in Tanzania


Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, Tanzania

Program Description

This project-based program focuses on exploring innovative ideas and processes for tackling sustainable development challenges in Tanzania. It is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary engineering challenges and solutions occurring in an international setting. The project focus will be on developing and implementing innovative sustainable human centered design solutions in a developing country. Towards this end, students will explore practical participatory and user center design tools that involve communities in the design process, as well as current and emerging appropriate technologies. JMU students will work in teams with engineering students at the University of Dar es Salaam. Engineering students will have the opportunity to work on their capstone projects while engaging real life stakeholders. In addition, we will explore sustainable development challenges in the local economies of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar island and Arusha as we also investigate opportunities for innovation and the role of technology in development. At the end of this program, you will: 

  • understand the processes involved in sustainable development in developing communities
  • apply human-centered design principles to design challenges
  • develop appropriate technology design solutions in collaboration with local partners
  • develop sustainable implementation plans that include monitoring and evaluation, as well as mechanisms for response to needed changes
  • explore existing as well as alternative technical solutions to sustainable development problems in real life contexts
  • develop frameworks for conceptualizing complex, open system problems, and the inter-relationship of environmental, energy, economic, health, technological, and cultural factors

Location Description

Tanzania is a country that is representative of much of sub-Saharan Africa. In this East African nation of approximately 54 million people, a rich cultural history includes oral traditions, music, traditional ceremonies, intercontinental trade, colonialism, slavery, and exotic wildlife. As with many African nations, Tanzania is a melting pot of many ethnic groups, languages and cultures. Tanzania is also home to many impressive national parks and conservation areas that welcome tourists on Safari all year round. Africa’s tallest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania and offers many opportunities for the adventurous climber.

Dar es Salaam is one of the largest cities in Africa and is the technological and commercial hub of Tanzania. This is where we will start and where much of our project work will be done.

Known as the spice island, Zanzibar is a well-known destination for her cultural diversity, beautiful beaches and coral reefs. We will travel to Zanzibar from Dar to explore the role and challenges of tourism and related activities on sustainable development as well as opportunities for innovative practices. 

The Arusha region is home to the Ngorongoro crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Adjacent to the Serengeti, it contains a rich diversity of wildlife and exceptional safari experiences. This will be our final destination as we study the struggle between economic opportunities, conservation efforts and local pastoral culture.


Bayo Ogundipe | | Engineering


Accommodation will be provided throughout the entire program duration. While working on projects at the University of Dar es Salaam, students will have the opportunity to experience daily life in Tanzania by living on campus with with host families of University of Dar es Salaam faculty members. Accommodation will be provided in hotels and lodges during the rest of the trip while traveling in Zanzibar and during safari. Internet access is typically through mobile phone data packages. 

In general, most meals will be provided as part of the program. Students are expected to have breakfast and dinner with their host families. Dietary needs can be easily accommodated. In addition, meal stipends will be allocated weekly to supplement.

Additional Items to Consider

Immunizations and anti-malarial medications are required; see for details.

Visas ($100) and study permits ($250) are required for Tanzania.

Sim cards with local phone/data plans will be provided.

Applicant Criteria

Open to Engineering and ISAT students

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:
  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Resume 
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students.
Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ENGR 480: Advanced Projects in Engineering: Project work in Tanzania (3 credits)

ENGR 498: Advanced Topics in Engineering: Innovation and Sustainability in Tanzania (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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