American Diplomacy
Foreign Service Life

April 2004

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This is how it was— and is— done. The author, a member of the American Diplomacy Publishers Board of Directors, conveys in illustrative detail how he got his job accomplished abroad in Africa some forty years ago. It’s extremely likely that his initiatives were similar to those being undertaken in 2004. — Ed.

AID Education Efforts in East Africa, 1963-66

This is an account of people, events, and programs of four decades ago, but it begins more recently. In late 2003 I learned that teachers who had participated in the U. S. Agency for International Development-financed Teachers for East Africa project had formed an alumni association, had held two reunions in Washington, D.C., and London, and were planning to hold another in Kampala, Uganda in 2005. I contacted the man who sent out quarterly newsletters and received a twenty-four-page copy of the most recent one, each paragraph written by a different member telling of recent experiences or recent visits to East Africa. One noted that a publisher had accepted his history of the project and planned to publish it in 2005. He also expressed his hope that someone would write a history of the Teacher Education for East Africa project. Having been the primary responsible party for this second project, I informed him that I would write about its beginning stages. The following is the result, along with a description of a couple of other education projects.

In the spring of 1963, Art Howard, officer-in-charge of AID's East Africa desk, contacted me. He said current U. S. policy encouraged increased cooperation in East Africa, including possible confederation. He wanted me to put together an AID program to support such a policy. As a first step, he hoped I would agree to go to East Africa and develop something called an AID East Government strategy. I discussed the matter with Hollis Chenery, assistant administrator for Program Coordination, and my boss at the time. He encouraged me to go ahead.

In June I first flew to London to meet with Margery Belcher, an AID employee then serving as liaison to the British overseas development program. She filled me in on British programs in East Africa and the cooperation between those and our own programs. She also proved quite knowledgeable about the background of current events in East Africa and the moves toward increased cooperation and confederation.

On to Nairobi. Ted Rice, a USAID/Kenya employee, met me there at the Nairobi airport and informed me I was to leave that afternoon for Dar es Salaam. He first took me to meet Bill Wild, then the USAID/Kenya director whom I had met in 1956 when we served together on the team that developed the U.S. aid strategy for Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). During lunch Bill mentioned Dr. Winfield F. Niblo, Kenya mission education advisor with whom I would collaborate and befriend for many years to come.

Key AID people from Nairobi and Kampala also traveled to Dar es Salaam to help me get started in developing the regional strategy. There I also met Al Loren and Sam Butterfield, director and deputy director of the Tanganyika mission, and Mr. Jeffrey, director of the Kampala mission. Before completing my visit to East Africa, I also visited Kampala and made a longer stop in Nairobi, this time staying with Bill Wild.

The idea of a regional AID program had been hatching for a considerable period of time. Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika formed somewhat of a regional entity, having been governed until then by one colonial ruler, Great Britain. The three colonies had some regional institutions, e.g., the East African Common Services Organization, which contained some integrated services for cities of the three countries such as Posts and Telecommunications and income taxes. There also was East African Railways and Harbors with headquarters in Nairobi. I had a chance to develop projects with these agencies over the next three years.

It was expected that the three colonies would receive independence in 1963 and hopefully thereafter form an East African confederation. They were also forming a University of East Africa, which would integrate the existing university colleges of Makerere (Kampala), Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam. The British were keen on these developments taking place, believing that such would be in their own interest. Official U. S. policy supported confederation. Obviously, I was to be an instrument to that end by initiating development of a regional program to strengthen the regional institutions and assisting efforts in which the three countries agreed to cooperate..The British and the United States had already agreed to help the three countries on a regional project entitled Teachers for East Africa (TEA). The intent was to strengthen secondary education through temporary supply of secondary teachers from Britain and the United States. This project, negotiated during an earlier visit of an officer from AID's Africa Bureau, was constructed on a sound basis, hopefully leading to eventual manning of teaching positions by East Africans and their financing by the East African governments.

To support such a goal, the separate governments had agreed while still under British rule to finance transportation of all American and British teachers from London to East Africa, to supply them with African teacher housing with "hard furnishings," and to pay African teacher wages. Thus national budgets would automatically be available to carry on the work with African teachers when the foreign teachers completed their assignments. The only missing element would be trained African teachers—and the aid program paid the American teachers the difference between African and a minimum American salary, as well as paying their air passage from the United States to London.

With such a beginning, it was relatively simple to draft a regional AID strategy. The main themes were to strengthen regional cooperation and regional institutions and prepare the citizenry for self-government management of their own affairs through improved education at secondary and university levels. I succeeded in completing the strategy statement and getting approval from the three U. S. embassies in EA by the time I returned to the United States, about four weeks later.

The strategy was also approved in Washington. I spent several weeks there to finalize arrangements with Hollis Chenery, the Africa bureaus of AID and the State Department before returning, with my family, to East Africa.

EAST AFRICA 1963-1966
We had been booked on South African Airlines from Rome to Nairobi. Arriving in Rome, however, I was told the South African flight had been canceled. That was the beginning of a long period when many African governments prohibited South African Airlines to fly over their territories or land on their soil. We changed our schedules, stayed overnight at the airport and flew to Nairobi the next day. One blessing from the change is that we were given first class passage. In that section we met the man appointed to become the next U. S. consul general in South Africa, and his family.

The part of Nairobi I most often saw was a beautiful city with wide avenues. Coming in from the airport, we traveled by a smooth road lined with flowers. There were a few tall buildings, not over twelve or fifteen stories, in the middle of the city, and there was still plenty of empty space. We were taken to a hotel composed of several buildings surrounded by large yards and gardens.

Among people we met at the hotel were the Chidzeros. Bernard Chidzero was a Southern Rhodesian who had become the UN Technical Assistance Board representative in Kenya. Earlier, he had held the same position in Tanganyika, and had authored a book on the economic development of Tanganyika. He was married to a Canadian woman, and they had several children. In later years, after Southern Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe, Chidzero became its finance minister.

A Period of Change
By the time we arrived in Nairobi, Kenya had already been declared a self-governing country. By the end of the year, all three governments had not only become self-governing, but had taken charge of their foreign affairs. When I got there the chief U. S. representatives were consuls-general; by the end of the year they were replaced by ambassadors. When I first arrived one rarely saw Africans driving automobiles and those probably were chauffeurs. Within a few years, one commonly saw African drivers.

The Nairobi Office
USAID/Kenya was located in the Life Insurance of India building, only about two blocks from the American consulate general (a bit later the U. S. embassy), and not too far from the center of the city. It was a tall building, as buildings went in Nairobi, and I was given a room on the seventh floor, next to the Mission's Program Office. After being situated in that office for a couple of years, I was surprised to learn that P.N. Oza, whom I had known in India as Malcolm Orchard's assistant in agricultural information, had arrived as head of the Life Insurance Company of India. His office was several floors below my own. We resumed our friendship.

Mornings usually were fairly cool in my office, and sometimes I used an electric heater to keep warm. From my windows, I could easily observe Nairobi's supermarket located across the street. Occasionally, one saw a number of people runningthe result of a thief snatching a purse. Other Africans would let out a loud yell and a horde of people would chase the culprit until they caught him and beat him unmercifully. The culprit was lucky if the police arrived quickly.

I was known as the East African Regional Activities officer. I reported to all three mission directors in East Africa, who formed a council of advisors to me. I was like a fourth mission director, but initially without staff of my own, and my performance evaluations were signed by all three USAID directors. I was expected to rely on the executive officer, controller, and training officer in whatever country I happened to be. As for technical specialists, I needed the advice of all chief agriculturists and chief education officers, those who were concerned with regional projects in those fields in the three countries.

I always attended USAID/Kenya senior staff meetings and U.S. embassy country team meetings when in Nairobi. I also attended the USAID and country team meetings when visiting Dar es Salaam and Kampala. From my arrival in EA to my departure in late May 1966, I traveled almost every month. It probably was the most arduous job I had in my entire career; certainly it was the most challenging—and in terms of satisfaction, the most rewarding.

The following describes the projects as they developed, particularly the educational projects.

1. Teachers for East Africa. As noted earlier, this project had already been initiated. A contract had been signed with Columbia Teachers College, which had already recruited and assigned the first contingent of secondary teachers to schools throughout the three countries. The British had done likewise.

The headquarters for this project was at Makerere University College in Kampala, where Columbia Teachers College maintained a chief of party, an eminent educator, and a small staff. Makerere made available office space and housing for these individuals.

As I visited the individual USAID missions, the education officers made comments which set me to thinking. For example, Dr. John Rensenbrink, chief education officer at USAID/Tanganyika, mentioned that the governments were continuing to build more secondary schools as we brought in more teachers. As a result, there would continue to be teacher shortages. I surmised that the governments actually had the interests of their citizens at heart, wishing as many of them as possible to receive an education. My reply to John was, "There's only one answer, John. Supply teacher trainers."

John agreed, and we worked on a note to AID/Washington to be signed by the mission director, Al Loren. The letter advised that we would be working on development of a regional teacher education project, and requested approval of this action by Washington.

Sometime later we arranged for all chief education advisors to attend a meeting in Nairobi which I chaired. We discussed both the TEA project and the proposed project, to be called TEEA (Teacher Education for East Africa). We calculated the numbers needed in each country, and the amounts the country budgets would have to supply, as well as costs of a necessary contract. We then secured the approval of all three mission directors, who had been in on earlier discussions.

2. Teacher Education for East Africa. Each year Teachers College staff conducted an East Africa three-day conference attended by representatives of the three ministries of education, as well as an education officer from AID/Washington's Africa Bureau and an officer from the UK Overseas Development Department. During my first appearance at such a conference, Robert Van Duyn attended from the Africa Bureau. His first remark to me was that AID/W had approved the TEEA project.

As the conference proceeded, it was marked by frequent comments of EA government representatives that something drastic had to be done about teacher training in their countries. During a recess I contacted the UK representative, told him of AID's approval of the teacher training project, and asked him, in view of the many comments indicating the priority need, whether the UK government would be in a position to cooperate. He answered in the affirmative.

At the next convenient moment in the conference, I spoke up. I said I had listened to the many comments regarding the need to expand and improve teacher training in East Africa. I had also talked to the UK representative, and we both wanted to assure the EA governments that we were ready to help to the extent possible, if the three EA governments would forward official requests to their respective USAID and British aid representatives.

The requests were not long in coming. As a result, AID signed another contract with Columbia Teachers College. My recollection is that the annual guaranteed salary, including both EA government salaries and AID "topping up," would amount to $7,500. As was true for the TEA project, the governments also provided housing with "hard" furniture and paid transportation of teacher trainers from London to East Africa. The project also contained an educational research component. Because the EA governments would now generate many more trained secondary teachers, we now found it possible to gradually phase out the older TEA project.

3. University of East Africa. The three governments had decided to form an integrated university to include the Makerere University College and the university colleges of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The British immediately posted a university chancellor. The Ford Foundation made arrangements to supply a planning officer, Bryant Kearl, from the University of Wisconsin. Upon arrival, Kearl called on me in Nairobi in the company of his university chancellor, Or. Clodius. The three of us sat down in the USAID conference room with Windy Niblo to discuss the University of East Africa and how USAID might be of help.

The Wisconsin people were particularly important in helping me think through a component that later became known as the John F. Kennedy Scholarship. We wished to help students study at the University, but the easiest way, in terns of AID regulations, was through the participant training program. Under these regulations, we found it difficult to finance an individual's training within the country of his origin, but could send him outside his country to study a subject for which training was not available in his own country.

The University College of Nairobi taught veterinary science and engineering, not available at the other colleges. University College Dar es Salaam had a law program not available at the others. Makerere had a medical school and a school of agriculture not contained in either of the others. These specialties formed the rationale for the participant training program, something Windy and I had already discussed. However, my new friends added a significant element.

The program scholars had no incentive to get a scholarship unless it contained something special. Since government practice in all three countries was to pay for all tuition and other expenses of university students, we would provide in our agreements that the governments would transfer to University coffers all budgetary funds not expended because of savings gained from the U. S. scholarships. But what would be special about the U. S. scholars? How would they understand their relationship to the aid program?

The three colleges of UEA (University of East Africa) had no experience with research assistants. Drs. Clodius and Kearl conceived a method by which to introduce the subject and the category. The Scholars would be given a special grant to help faculty with research. They would also get a title, e.g., John F. Kennedy Scholars. I had actually conceived of this title after the President's tragic assassination in November 1963, believing he would have agreed fully with the the principles involved. I also envisioned that the U. S. ambassador in each country would preside at a special annual tea party to honor the Scholars, and so dignify the awards.

As a result, I had three chores to perform. I had to get clearance from the three colleges (Bryant Kearl assisted). I needed to cable AID/W to ask officers there to obtain Kennedy family consent for the designation, and also to get the ambassadors to agree to a new tea party tradition. All tasks were completed and consent was received on all counts. In addition, I called a meeting of the chief agriculturists and chief education advisors to help draft and hold an open discussion on all components of the aid plans for the University of East Africa. This was a necessary prelude to getting approval from the University, the three USAID missions and AID/W. The various components were as follows:

  • John F. Kennedy Scholars, as discussed above. One of the U. S. ambassadors involved did not remember, when speaking at the first annual tea party, that he was talking to students from the two other EA countries, not from the one in which he was standing.
    I won’t embarrass him by revealing which ambassador it was. The scholarship element was planned over a five-year period beginning with 120 such awards, then 240 and 360 at the peak before decreasing to 240 and 120.
  • Veterinary Science Faculty at University College, Nairobi. Veterinary Science was an important field of study for all of East Africa. The faculty had been in existence for some time, and its dean was still an Englishman. It was desired that an African should take over this post, but no one wished to dismiss the Englishman. A solution was found when the Ford Foundation made a long-term study and travel grant available to the dean in question. This sent him on his way in a dignified manner, and he was replaced by the ranking East African. The main assistance was through a contract with Colorado State University which provided teaching for certain subjects, pending availability of qualified Africans, as well as advising on equipment needs and other plans of the Faculty.
  • Engineering Faculty of University College, Nairobi. This project required considerable discussion with the principal of the Nairobi University College, Dr. Porter, a native of Sierra Leone, and a review of plans by the USAID Regional Engineer. Expansion necessitated new construction, as the Faculty had until then shared space with science faculties. We ultimately made available a development loan to the University, both for construction and new equipment. I can't recall the exact figure, but it was about $1 million.
  • Faculty of Agriculture, Makerere University College. This component required the most work before we were able to finalize plans. The dean of agriculture insisted that faculty facilities required major expansion. I noted, however, in walking through the halls, that the classes meeting in some of the existing rooms were quite small, and some classrooms were empty. Finally, we secured the services of two officers from the University of Minnesota to review space requirements. They found that the faculty could get by with a very small addition to existing space. The difference in their findings and the plans of existing staff was that the English dean and instructors had no experience with centralized scheduling of space. The dean had given each professor control over a certain number of rooms, those he estimated he would need over an academic year. The result was that certain rooms belonged to an individual professor, whether or not students occupied the space on a particular day or hour. When the Minnesota visitors convinced the dean of their findings, we agreed to provide a loan to add the modicum of additional space required.

During discussions at Makerere, I became acquainted with Dr. Lule, the principal, who in later years became president of Uganda for a short while. He appreciated my help with the Agriculture Faculty. However, he wanted me to help Makerere with faculty housing. l told him that AID principles did not permit that. He then complained that the Teachers College staff in charge of the TEA and TEEA projects were living in Makerere staff housing. I commented that Makerere had agreed to that when the TEA project was initiated. He then said, in an effort to change my mind or the rules of AID, that he would have to evict the Teachers College staff if we could not help him with staff housing. I did not give in; I said I would have to look into other alternatives.

Later I talked to Dr. Porter at Nairobi. Could he accommodate the TEA headquarters staff and furnish them with housing? Dr. Porter said he would be happy to do so. The next time I met with Dr. Lule, I informed him that we were now in a position to move the TEA headquarters staff to Nairobi where we had been promised office space and housing. I never heard anything more about this delicate matter from him.

4. College of African Wildlife Management. This really was not an East African regional project, but was intended to serve all of English-speaking Africa. It had begun prior to my arrival, and was located at Mweka, on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, not far from Moshi in Tanganyika, with help from the UK, West Germany, the United States and the African Leadership Foundation. Much more assistance was needed after the original impetus, however.

I visited the College several times and met with the principal, Hugh Lamprey, and other staff. The first students started in mid-1963. I was quite impressed with the program. The requirements for entrance were high school graduation, an English language ability and the recommendation of the sending African wildlife department. The principal guaranteed that all graduates of a two-year course would be qualified to be assistant game or park wardens in their own countries. Completion of the program also qualified graduates to enter the Masterts program in Mammalian Ecology at University College, Nairobi.

Not only were the students well trained in the classroom and laboratory, but they also were taken on extensive safaris. Among other things Hugh hoped to get from the United States was a light two-seated aircraft. He was a qualified pilot who hoped to fly the aircraft and locate particularly interesting teachable situations. He then would radio to the students below, cruising around in German-built lorries, so they could drive in the correct direction to find an ivory poacher or a large herd of wildebeest. In addition, Hugh expected that the aircraft could prove useful when climbers became marooned on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

To help the case for building space, I got a regional AID engineer to visit Mweka to review and approve the plans. Eventually, I forwarded the plans to AID for the buildings and the aircraft. I understood questions were asked about the aircraft. However, both requests were approved.

Hugh also requested two instructors. He was particularly anxious to obtain Patrick Hemingway, son of Ernest Hemingway, whom he considered to be extremely well qualified. He believe the other needed experience in the use of a range for feeding both domestic and wild animals. I sent an airgram to Washington describing the principal's requirements, adding that he did not know the present whereabouts of Hemingway. I requested anyone reading the airgram, and knowing the whereabouts of Patrick Hemingway, should contact me or the EA Desk in AID/W. As usual, when communicating with AID/W on regional matters, I sent copies to the USAID directors in all three EA countries. I soon got a long distance call from an American secretary in Kampala. She didn't know his whereabouts, but gave me the address of his aunt. This enabled AID/W contact with, and subsequent assignment of, Patrick Hemingway to the College of African Wildlife Management. I met him and a daughter there some months later. The other required instructor was recruited from Colorado State University.

As a result of my associations with the College, I was named to serve on its governing body, and I attended its meetings. Another member was judge Russell Train, president of the African Leadership Foundation, and later the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration. When visiting Nairobi, he was a guest of Ambassador William Atwood, at which time I was also invited to the Atwood household.

Another member of the governing body was Achieng, head of the Wildlife Department of Kenya, who had attended the University of Washington. His wife, Mary, was employed in the USAID/Kenya Training Office. We became good friends, sometimes had dinner together, and traveled together to Mweka. In later years, when working in Thailand, I met the deputy director of the Thai Fisheries Department who had also attended the University of Washington, and had taught there for awhile. When I mentioned Achieng, he said he had been one of Achieng's teachers.

In early 1966, prior to my departure from East Africa, Hugh Lamprey visited me in Nairobi and informed me that the aircraft had crashed. No one was hurt. "Don't worry, Carl. It was insured. We have ordered a replacement. "

I have felt happy about my work in East Africa, particularly because of the program's educational benefits. On one occasion, in the 1990's, when meeting an East African in North Carolina, I mentioned TEA, and he said his father had benefited from that program. On another occasion, after speaking at a program known as the Center for the World Environment, held at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, a young lady walked up to me and asked, "Were you talking about the school at Mweka?" I replied that indeed I was. She then remarked that she had visited the College the past summer, that it was doing an excellent job, and was doing particularly well with women students.

Quite a different encounter was experienced earlier in 1968 when, as deputy director for Eastern and Southern Africa in AID/Washington, I was visited by two foreign aid inspectors who had just returned from East Africa. They were particularly obsessed about the airplane provided to the College of Wildlife Management. We had trouble finding it. The inspectors had relegated it to a hangar at the Moshi airport because it didn't have an AID insignia.

For some years AID and predecessor agencies had required that all goods supplied under the aid program bear an insignia showing clasped hands. I protested at the inspectors' insinuation, saying they had not seen the original aircraft supplied by AID, but an aircraft purchased by the College from insurance funds. They strongly disagreed, saying, "No, Mr. Fritz, we know our investigative techniques. We were trained by the FBI." I temporarily dropped the matter, while we discussed other issues. All of a sudden, however, I remembered something.

"Gentlemen, you are wrong. The aircraft you saw was not the aircraft we furnished the College. I rode in the original on June 15, 1965, the day of the first graduation at the College. It had the AID insignia. If you do not believe me, I invite you to my house to see pictures of it." The inspectors then relented, "We believe you, Mr. Fritz."

When assigned to Kampala, I first stayed at a hotel. Thereafter, a number of people invited me to stay with them. On several visits I stayed with Bryant and Ruth Kearl. On one occasion I was surprised to find Horace Holmes knocking on their door. I had known him when he was chief agriculturist with Point Four in India. He had retired to Florida, but currently was traveling on behalf of the Ford Foundation. Ed Hogan and his wife also hosted me when in Kampala. During the 1980s he visited me in Indonesia, where I was serving as a consultant. I also stayed with Ned Mason and his German wife in Kampala. They had met when Ned had worked with the Marshall Plan in Germany. I also stayed at times with Joe Mason, the Uganda mission's education officer.

About to take a trip to Kampala on one occasion, I was told by Bill Wild that a new assistant program officer was on the way from Mogadishu to Kampala and had stayed overnight at the Nairobi airport. When I reached the airport, I kept an eye open for an American, and thus met Bill Lefes, his wife, Sue, and a couple of children on their way to Kampala.

As Uganda had no embassy in Mogadishu, the Lefes family had no visas for Uganda. Luckily, I was armed as usual with a small red booklet known as an interterritorial pass. Wlhen we got to Entebbe, the international airport in Uganda, I tried to be helpful, and went to the head of the line with Bill. I showed my interterritorial pass, and explained that my friends were going to Kampala for a two-year assignment with USAID. The immigration officer allowed the Lefes family to proceed.

After that time Bill served as a USAID director in Africa, and as a U. S. government employee assigned to the Asian Development Bank. After retirement, he served as president of the Triangle chapter of the Society for International Development, no doubt the reason I found—on returning to the Triangle from Bangladesh in l990—that I had been elected as vice president. After that I served as president for six years. Thats what old friendships really mean.

On another occasion I visited a Masai secondary school in the Rift Valley, where both Ambassador Atwood and I made speeches. Later, in 1968, I met Karl Manone, head of the Teacher College team in East Africa. Still later, in the early 1970s, while serving as assistant director for program in Thailand, I had a chance to recommend Karl for the education program in Thailand. Imagine my surprise on a visit to his house to find the former Masai high school principal visiting Karl's house. At that point he was serving as ambassador to a number of southeastern Asian nations!

On an early visit to Kampala, I was invited to a large cocktail party in the garden of Mr. Jeffley, the mission director. An American woman commented to me, "Wait here just a moment, my husband will be very interested in what you are talking about." Minutes later she showed up with one of my professors at Columbia, the one who lectured on "Executive and Legislative Organization for the Conduct of Foreign Affairs." He was most interested in what I had to say because he had come to East Africa to study what was happening in the regionalization of the three countries. We arranged for him to call on me later in my Nairobi office. I had never visualized myself as being potentially useful to my old professors!

The front terrace of the New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi was a favorite place to have tea, beer or a snack with friends and acquaintances in the late afternoon. On one occasion, I happened to look down the street and saw an elderly couple, the male of which looked, from a distance, as if he might be Schuyler Wallace, the director of the Columbia School of International Affairs when I had studied there. It was indeed Schuyler Wallace, and we had an interesting conversation over afternoon tea.

All of this proves once again—that the world indeed is a small place!.

After serving in Asia during World War II, Carl Fritz earned his M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University before embarking on a twenty-five year career with U.S. foreign aid agencies in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, and East Africa. In 1976, he retired as Director of Program Planning and Research Utilization in AID's Technical Assistance Bureau. He served the next twelve years as a private consultant in Indonesia and Bangladesh. Mr. Fritz is a member of the board of directors of American Diplomacy Publishers.

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