Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Tanzania's first president, dreamed of an Africa that was peaceful, stable, and just, and he wanted Tanzania to take the lead in making this dream come true. Two decades later, current president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, with the help of the United States, is following the example that Nyerere set by assisting in international peacekeeping efforts in places like Darfur and Somalia. On January 21, 2008, the United States government, through the African Contingency Operations and Training (ACOTA) program, began providing peacekeeping training and equipment to the first of three Tanzanian Peoples Defense Force (TPDF) Infantry battalions. The first TPDF battalion was scheduled to finish the ten-week core ACOTA training program at the end of March, 2008, with the second TPDF battalion training beginning in April, 2008. ACOTA also provides the TPDF with an equipment package that includes communications equipment, generators, field medical equipment, hand-held global positioning systems (GPS), and water purification equipment. In February, 2007, the TPDF sent a 77-strong Military Police company to Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. On December 7, 2007, 85 TPDF personnel trained under ACOTA graduated to replace their fellow soldiers in Lebanon. America and other nations are grateful to Tanzanians for their continued support of these efforts to bring peace and stability to these countries. The stabilizing presence of TPDF peacekeepers in Lebanon, and soon in Darfur and Somalia, will have a lasting affect on these war torn areas. The TPDF officers who receive ACOTA training are following in the noble tradition of peacekeeping. Africans now make up over one-third of all peacekeepers deployed globally. African peacekeepers have been doing a tremendous job in bringing calm across the continent and throughout the world. The United States will continue to support President Kikwete and other peace-loving African leaders in their push to strengthen the capacity for Africans to carry out peace support operations. Background on ACOTA Program ACOTA originated as a State Department program to assist African partner nations to effectively participate in multinational peace support operations (PSO). The program provides field training for African peacekeepers plus staff training and exercises for battalion, brigade, and multinational force headquarters personnel. One of the keystones of the ACOTA program is that all training and equipping is tailored to match an individual partnerrÃ¢?s needs and capabilities. Respect for international standards of human rights is a fundamental concept throughout the training. ACOTA stresses HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention training. An important ACOTA training tool is computer-assisted simulation, which targets command and staff elements. Simulation exercises help prepare a battalion or force headquarters staff to conduct effective peace support or humanitarian relief operations. The U.S. believes strongly in the ACOTA program. Since its inception, ACOTA has provided training to over 92,000 peacekeepers from African partner militaries and it is a U.S. goal to help train 228,000 peacekeepers by 2010. ACOTA has provided field training for African peacekeepers, plus command and staff training and exercises for battalion, brigade and multinational force headquarters personnel. Other ACOTA partners include Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. These partners have sent peacekeeping contingents to varied missions such as Sudan (AMIS and UNMIS), Sierra Leone (ECOWAS and UNAMLS), Congo (MONUC), Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic (MINURCA), Ethiopia -Eritrea (UNMEE), Cote ddÃ¢?Ivoire (ECOWAS and UNOCI), Liberia (ECOWAS and UNMIL), Burundi (OMIB and ONUB), Kosovo (UNMIK), Beirut (UNIFIL), Somalia (AMISOM) and humanitarian relief efforts in Mozambique.