The Gertrude Mongella University of Georgia Initiative was signed by President Michael Adams in November 2005. Subsequently, a task force was established to facilitate the communications and planning for implementing activities for the initiative. In February 2006 Ambassador Mongella visited the University of Georgia to articulate her vision for the Initiative and for the improvement of living conditions in her District. Vice President Art Dunning (Public Service and Outreach) agreed to provide initial support for a team of two UGA faculty to visit Tanzania to conduct a feasibility assignment. The Ukerewe District comprises of 38 islands with a total of 6400 km2, 10% of which is land. People inhabit 15 of the islands, but 23 islands have temporary fishing villages. This presents interesting economic, environmental, and health issues for the community, especially women and children.
The priorities of the Initiative include: Women’s Economic Development, Girls’ Educational and Social Development, Environmental Issues, Maternal and Infant Health, and Cross-cutting/Interrelated Issues.