Health Australia & Tanzania (HAT) Inc was founded in 2005 to support community-initiated development projects in Tanzania. It was founded by Anne Adams, a return volunteer who had spent time with rural communities in Tanzania. In 1999 Anne Adams went to Tanzania with a British charity to experience community development first hand. In 2001 she discovered the charity she went with had shut down, she helped resurrect it as an international internet based organisation, Volunteer Africa, and became it’s one of the first volunteer selectors. In 2002 she travelled to Tanzania to assist with volunteers.
Due to her career in health she took an interest in the services available and visited health centres and hospitals all over Tanzania during her travels. She sat with people suffering from AIDS, witnessed childbirths and visited rural primary health care centres. In one hospital she took a picture of Saidi, a young boy, who was unconscious with malaria, at the request of his family. An hour later Saidi has passed away. She asked the hospital staff what could have saved this child and was told that the child lived far from a doctor and could have been saved if he had been given the drug Larium. The drug is a malaria prophylaxis and also in the treatment of chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria, which is the most common strain of malaria. Anne was horrified because she was taking Larium herself as a preventive measure. On her return to Australia she approached Stuart Rowley, then CEO of Mercy Hospital for Women Melbourne and he agreed to allow her to undertake a fundraising campaign. Seven members of staff were selected to work with her and travel to Tanzania to build a health care centre in 2003, and in 2004 another group of volunteers repeated the project.
Foundation of HAT
Anne decided to formalise the fundraising work and set up a charity. The first person she approached was Peter Constable, the CFO at Mercy Hospital for Women. Peter had been assisting the Mercy groups with financial issues and was the biggest supporter of the group’s work in the hospital. This led to many long nights over dinner where Anne, Peter and Carolina (Peter’s wife) discussed how to go about this huge task.
On the 9th February 2005 the charity had its first official meeting around a dinner table. The inaugural committee members were Anne Adams, Peter Constable, Carolina Constable, and Jackie Chanzi. HAT’s first fundraising partner was the Coburg Harriers, who organised the first Run for Tanzania. By the 25th February the name HAT was decided following a long discussion.
In April fundraising kicked up a gear - proceeds were handed over from a “Holy Sweep” where a sweepstakes was run so that people could guess on the new pope!
In July 2005 the first newsletter was sent to supporters and in August 2005 a bank account was opened.
On 6th September 2005, Peter Larter joined the management committee. Peter had also recently seen development projects in Tanzania and was so inspired that he decided to volunteer for HAT on his return.
Anne left the committee after three and a half years of service as inaugural President but remains an enthusiastic HAT member. Peter Constable is currently Treasurer and Peter Larter the current President.
On 31st December 2005 HAT’s first website went live and all committee members now had HAT e-mail addresses.
18 February 2006 the first strategic planning weekend was held, with facilitator Sean Chamberlain volunteering his skills through the Oxfam Skills Share program. The committee were so impressed with his support that they elected him HAT’s first honorary member.
On 5th March 2006 Rhythm of the Drums was run by a volunteer Patricia Mattia raising $1,700. The Chef de Mission of the Tanzanian Commonwealth Games Team attended and gave an inspiring speech. He also became HAT’s first international member.
In 2014, Hat became a registered charity, making donations of $2 or more tax deductible for donors.