Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Impact of water scarcity on girls education

Girls carrying buckets of water in Ushora

Girls carrying buckets of water in Ushora village in Singida region. Water scarcity is affecting education of many girls across the country. PHOTO IESTHER KIBAKAYA 

By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Singida. It is break time and a group of young girls in their school uniforms have just reached the pond where many others have also come to fill their buckets with water. Since the class hours are not over yet, they fill their containers, and then places them on their heads for the walk back to school.

“We don’t have any source of water at school so we are supposed to fetch water in the nearby ponds or sometimes trek for hours to get water from the river so that we can use it in toilets or to clean the school, explains Mariam, a Standard Six pupil.

Fetching water during and after class hours has been part of life for many young girls such as Mariam and her fellow pupils in Iramba region.

For example, Subira Hassan, a 19-year-old mother of one, would walk lots of kilometres every day to get water and wait on queue for about two to three hours. When she finally gets home, her sick mother, her one-year-old daughter and her two younger siblings will be waiting for her to prepare them some meal.

“Water is a problem here, so we walk long distance to the river,” explains Subira who says she was forced to quit school because she was always helping her sick mother to take care of her younger siblings and with the house chores.

‘It is was always physically demanding and time consuming responsibility, as a pupil back then I had little time to concentrate on my studies since I was always out there looking for water, left with little time to go through my books because I was always tired from the long walks, explains Subira.

Subira’ s case represents a number of challenges that many young girls face because of acute water shortage both at home and school environment and the negative impact in has in their education. Stalato Japhet, a 15-year-old student from Ushora Secondary School says water has been a big problem particularly for girls because it is considered a job for girls. She says the situation is worse when they are at school.

“In our school there is place where we fetch water but it is not for free, they sell it from 50 shillings up to 200 shillings depending on the size of your container. However not all parents can afford to give their children this amount every day,” explains Stalato.

“This situation has placed some girls to fall into temptations from men who offer them money so that they can buy water needed in school. Also because of a long distance, it’s not possible to walk with water all the way from home to school, ” she says.

According to UNICEF, at any one time, close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering from health problems caused by poor water and sanitation.

Together, unclean water and poor sanitation are the world’s second biggest killer of children. It has been calculated that 443 million school days are lost each year to water-related illness.

Mary Israel, 19, a Form Four Student from the same school was sometimes forced to skip classes during her monthly periods because of shortage of water at her school. According to her, the toilets are available and in good condition however because the unavailability of clean water, she and other girls are sometimes forced to skip classes because they can’t keep themselves clean while in school during that time.

‘The toilets are there but we find it more safe to stay at home until our monthly periods are over instead of coming to school while there is no water to clean ourselves when we want to change the pads. Even the water we buy isn’t enough to meet our daily demands,’ she noted.

The case has been the same for Rehema Zablon, a student from Mgongo Secondary School. She lives in Kizonji village, a few kilometres away from her school. Because of shortage of water she always contract Urinary Track Infection(UTI) often. ‘Our parents cannot afford to buy us pads and therefore we are forced to use pieces of cloth during our menstruation. Because of water problem the situation becomes worse because we can’t change and wash often hence we end up getting the infection. Apart from that, once I get home the first thing I do is to look for water and do other chores leaving me worn out with no time to revise,” she laments.

Iddi Athumani, Ushora Secondary School Deputy headmaster admitted to the challenge facing student’s particularly girls especially when it comes to shortage of water saying that it becomes uncomfortable for them during their monthly periods.

As of 2006, one third of all nations suffered from clean water scarcity, but Sub-Saharan Africa had the largest number of water-stressed countries of any other place on the planet and of an estimated 800 million people who live in Africa, 300 million live in a water stressed environment according to UNICEF.

Julius Kiumu, Urughu ward executive officer said the situation of water hasn’t been favourable and consistent as most people depends on water ponds and dams .He said there has been a number of wells but most of them currently aren’t working

“This ward for instance has almost 4000 families and only 5 per cent have an access to reliable water meaning those who can at least spend less than 30 minutes to get water, the rest spends up to two hours finding water and women and girls are the ones bearing the responsibility which has direct impact on their educations. Like what the policy says, a woman should be able to access water within 100 meters, its high time those who are responsible allocate the resources,” he said.

Iramba District Executive Director Linno Mwageni said most school s; both primary and secondary have benefited from SEMA and WaterAid hygiene projects which have built toilets in schools and ensured that girls have good, clean and friendly environment especially when it comes to their monthly periods.

“We understand that girls have special needs and have done our best to ensure they get a clean and safe place to change. This has helped to keep them in school and boost their attendance because they have good toilets,” he said.

Reports show that the average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 kilometres. People lacking access to improved water in developing countries consume far less, partly because they have to carry it over long distances and water is heavy.

For the 884 million people or so people in the world who live more than 1 kilometre from a water source, water use is often less than 5 litres a day of unsafe water.

According to findings presented at the 2012 Conference on “Water Scarcity in Africa: Issues and Challenges”, it is estimated that by 2030, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will be living in areas of high water stress, which will likely displace anywhere between 24 million and 700 million people as conditions become increasingly unlivable.

UN says water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. It is estimated that 783 million people do not have access to clean water and over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.

On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

The Resolution calls upon States and international organisations to provide financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer to help countries, in particular developing countries, to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mentorship critical in education goals

 

By Jacqueline Mathaga

The United Nations unveiled in 2015 some 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), essentially comprising a set of global commitments to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

Education is critical in attaining these goals. It empowers people and communities to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and is a powerful catalyst for social change.

As Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

Moreover, education is a fundamental human right. Kenyafor instance has adopted several international treaties protecting the right to education. Similarly, the Constitution provides that every child has a right to free and compulsory basic education. Youth also have a right to education and training that is relevant to their life needs.

QUALITY EDUCATION

As noted by Unesco, education is “both a goal in itself and a means to attaining all other SDGs”. It is thus an enabler of development. Education is identified as one of the SDGs, No. 4, which aspires to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”.

Access to quality education is a key first step in transforming the lives of individuals and communities.

It simply means that every child attends school and has an equal opportunity to succeed. But education is not an end in itself; emphasis should be on creating “lifelong learning” opportunities. Education should aim for the full development of the human personality.

We must also strive to develop positive personal attributes such as discipline, honesty, empathy, resilience and self-reliance.

Promoting access to holistic learning opportunities for all is vital. As a nation, we have a duty to shape our children into adults who not only excel academically, but are also capable of imparting a positive legacy to society.

Role models

This requires creating opportunities skewed to nurturing positive aspects. It also entails equipping learners with life skills that are not necessarily taught in schools including financial literacy, decision-making, career planning and entrepreneurship.

Mentorship should be an integral component of our education system. It is, however, not just about exposing children to role models for inspiration.

The over-arching goal of mentorship should be to equip children with vital life skills. We must ensure that all our children and youth are equipped with relevant skills to shape them into well-rounded, versatile and responsible individuals.

This approach is evident in a scholarship and mentorship programme supported by the Family Group Foundation, an initiative of Family Bank and its affiliate companies.

The mentorship programme is aimed at nurturing model citizens capable of transforming communities. So far, over 400 young people from all the 47 counties have benefited from the programme.

The foundation has so far invested Sh238 million in the initiative.

The foundation plans to increase its financial commitment and pursue strategic partnerships with like-minded actors. We have set aside Sh300 million to support the mentorship programme over the next two years. We are keen on making a lasting contribution to Kenya’s quest to realise its commitments under the global SDG framework, especially in education.

We all need to support initiatives that propel us on the path to achieving quality, inclusive education for all, while also providing holistic learning opportunities as envisioned in SDG #4.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Students awarded for development projects

 

When students go to school, their ultimate goal is to succeed in life through the knowledge acquired from studying. Every school aims at instilling positive traits in their students, those that will do greater good in society thereby helping the entire nation develop.  

As these young minds are nurtured, practical lessons become part and parcel of the growing process. Through such realization, it was only fitting that last Saturday hundreds of students in Dar es Salaam had the opportunity to manifest their personal growth through taking part in different projects. 

More than 600 students celebrated personal and societal transformations they achieved through Uwezo Award project.  A project aimed at nurturing young minds. The ceremony brought together students from five Dar es Salaam districts, these  schools included Azania Airwing, Benjamin William Mkapa, Gerezani, Mchikichini, Aboud Jumbe,Kibada, Boko, Bunju, Ghomme, Turiani, Azimio, Buyuni, Charambe, Chang’ombe, Mbagala Kuu, St. Augustine, Temeke, Wailes, Kibamba, Manzese, Mbezi inn, Malamba mawili and Mugabe.

Leading up to the awards ceremony, the day started by students marching from the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioners Office to Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE). Students showcased their talents and passion, from traditional dances, singing, rap, imitating voices and much more. This made the day very colourful and interesting, honoured by Mboni Mhita, a Member of Parliament (special seat) from Songea.

 Acknowledging the hard work done by students and teachers, Noelle Mahuvi, Uwezo Awards project coordinator gave introductory remarks saying they are glad that this year they have had a great number of schools participating. 

“We are happy that the project has grown as we were able to reach 50 Secondary Schools from the entire 5 Municipalities in Dar es Salaam. Community Change Projects are amazing. This project has five objectives; to create a forum for the young generation to understand their potential and to acquire leadership skills. To raise a responsible young generation, to acknowledge Community Change Projects done by students and to mentor outstanding potential and talents. I am glad that I have seen most of these objectives in the projects,” she noted adding; “30 secondary schools were able to bring reports of their Community Change Projects, out of the 30 Secondary schools, 12 schools were recognised by getting trophies, with three of the schools receiving golden trophies.”

Mugabe Secondary School became the overall winner, as their students, through UN club, made some handcrafts (doormats) using scraps from tailors. They also did vegetable farming and the total amount of funds collected from their project was used to renovate and supply their neighbouring orphanage centre with some basic needs.

“I am proud of this project. It has made me do so many things that I never used to do before or even thought I could do. For the first time in my life I have done agriculture, maintaining a small garden, growing vegetables and selling them. Now I am sure if I get out of school, I can actively and successfully do this business. I am so proud of myself now that I have learnt this,”Godbless John from Mugabe Secondary School says.

The second position was attained by Temeke Secondary School, which received a Golden trophy. Their students, through UN Club, organised a bonanza and they collected funds for all classes that wanted to participate. In addition to that they also organised a business of selling ID cards holders to their fellow students and the total funds collected from their two projects was used to paint their school.

Expressing his joy, Mfaume Salehe from Temeke secondary school said despite of it being a tough task, he is glad that he has participated voluntarily on the project. “I was in charge of creating ID card holders and selling them to our fellow students. Now I know for sure entrepreneurship is my thing. I just love it,”Mfaume said. 

The third school which also received a golden trophy was Wailes Secondary School.  Wailes Students, through UN Club organised a farming project and a fundraising event, the fund collected was used in building the school fence.

Allen Kimambo, an entrepreneur passionate on environment conservation who also runs a recycling business, was invited as an inspirational speaker, to inspire students on using their ample time after classes to develop their talents. He insisted that, with the ongoing trend of youth unemployment, there is no doubt one would need to make sure they develop their potential to the fullest.

 “At your age you are very curious and you try hard to exercise your imagination in a lot of things. Projects like this can help you to absorb that energy constructively and brings impact to yourself and your community as well,” he advised. 

Expressing her happiness, the guest of honour said she was proud to see students’ efforts and that of their teachers even though they have had some hurdles at their workplace. “I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing for the nation.  I am where I am today because I set my long term goals long time ago and I have been able to achieve a lot. If you have long term goals, you should make a lot of efforts to make sure that they come true. I am glad that you don’t let go of your education, but you use your ample time to do project like these ones to nature your talents,” she expressed her appreciation.


Role model

After students’ recognition, the guest of honour gave an award to Master of ceremony Anthony Luvanda, a trophy to recognise him as Uwezo Award 2017 role model.  The MC was introduced as a man who has been very successful in using his talent and passion as a public speaker and professional mc and for not forsaking education. 

 “I appreciate the effort Great Hope Foundation is putting towards making this project a success. You may not fully understand it now, but later when you finalise school you shall appreciate. Today I am a very successful MC and probably among the most highly paid in the country. 

But I learnt all this while in school, when I was volunteered for free to be an MC. I believed school was more than books so I participated in a lot of extra curriculum activities,” MC Luvanda proudly explained, adding; “When I was in College, I started working for a Radio Station that also sharpened my public speaking skills. When I got employed, the money that I was paid for being an MC per day was equal to the salary I received for the whole month. That is when I decided to resign and be a full time MC and I have no regrets for making that decision.  Keep on with these efforts and trust me you shall be amazed at the outcome in the future.” 

Sharpening the skills of students cannot be done successfully without the full participation of teachers. They hone the skills of students and make them see the bigger picture in life. So it was only fitting that as the awards ceremony was coming to a close, the guest of honour took the opportunity to recognize the teachers from the twelve schools that did very well. She promised to top up $25 for every teacher, as a way of motivating them to do better next year. Other schools which participated and received a silver trophy included Ghomme, Mchanganyiko, Dar es Salaam, Malamba Mawili, Kibada, Airwing, St. Augustine, Charambe and Azimio

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Caring for children with chronic illness at school

 

 Alex Mubiru, 17, a Senior Four student in one of the schools in Masaka town had tried so hard to hide his HIV status from fellow students.

In his move to tightly mask his health status, he secretly took his daily Anti-retro viral (ARVs) drugs.

But he was unfortunate that one day, his fellow students broke into his suit case - perhaps looking for money - and landed on his tablets.

In fear of being stigmatised, Mubiru decided to throw the tablets away.

This grave decision nearly cost him his life after spending days without taking tablets, only resuming when he got back home for holidays.

Whereas some learners, may not have trouble at school due to a particular health condition, some have more substantial health concerns, which may call for significant assistance in school settings.

The notable ones are those with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, HIV/Aids, epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

According to Dr Sabrina Kitaka, a pediatric and adolescent health specialist at Makerere College of Health Sciences, to get the most out of the school going students with a chronic illness, an ongoing and coordinated support from their families and schools needs to be accorded.

She is concerned that with the increasing rise of non-communicable diseases among children, schools need to have a comprehensive health programme that caters for such students so as to enable them stay in school.

“Learners in that category need medical, psycho social and psychological support which should be given by well trained counselors rather than school nurses or teachers who may not have the expertise to deal with such learners,” Dr Kitaka notes.

As an advocate for this, she notes that although they have pestered schools to provide such services for students with chronic diseases, many schools are yet to comply, even those that may be considered as big schools.

She stresses that the Education, Gender and Health ministries, should work hand in hand to ensure that schools meet these standards.

“Education inspectors must look beyond sanitary and hygiene standards in schools, but also look at how schools are ready to help such learners so as to make them comfortable at school,” she says.  Such services must be set as pre- requisites for someone to start a school, she notes.


School health policy

A school health policy includes information on issues such as HIV /Aids, sanitation and hygiene, safety, medication, and offers information about where to seek help, but does not talk about the whole approach regarding efficient handling of students.

HIV fighting organisations note that the rising numbers of adolescents who skip and get off their medication are in schools, with those in boarding being the most pronounced, which is attributed absence of extra care to students.

Also, adolescents in schools may stop taking drugs because of drug fatigue; stigma due to absence of a safe and non-discriminatory environment in schools where they can adhere to their treatment.

Mr Livingstone Musoke, the adherence officer of Kalangala Comprehensive Public Health Project (KCPHP), says they recently lost a student who had developed meningitis, which is caused by inconsistent taking of HIV drugs. 

 “Others only come to us when their viral load has gone high and this mainly accrues due to irregular taking of drugs which mostly results from absence of care at school,” Mr Musoke notes. 

KCPHP is a community development group in Kalangala District that cares for people living with HIV. 


Storage of drugs

The drugs especially for HIV and largely any other ailment need to be stored well. But as some students try to keep their secret illnesses, they tend to hide the drugs in places that weaken their efficacy which is very dangerous, according to Dr Kitaka.

Asked how students with such illness are handled, Mr Jackson Sengendo, the head teacher Kako Secondary School in Masaka, said though they currently have minimum cases of such students, they have ensured they get a conducive environment. They have also kept their status a secret.

“We always ensure that they take their drugs on time and for safety reasons we store them (the drugs) and ensure they swallow them consistently,” Mr Sengendo shares.

“We also make sure we do not stigmatise the especially during assemblies.”

For those with asthma or any other such cases, he shares that they are allowed to put on cardigans especially in extra cold situations and are also exempted from sweeping classes to avoid them getting exposed to dust.

To render the deserved support, Ssengendo notes that the family and the school need to work together to establish and maintain good communication and cooperation.

“Everyone needs to understand what is needed and expected to support the child,” Mr Ssengendo says. 

Mr Musoke shares that the family and the school also needs to be clear about what can, and cannot be done so that everyone’s expectations are achievable and realistic.

“Make sure that relevant information is communicated to casual teachers and other staff who have occasional care of your child,” Mr Musoke says.

He adds: “Sharing information about chronic illness is prudent, and the parent, with the child should decide what information about the child should be shared with appropriate school staff and the school community”

However, Mr Musoke faults parents who do not to reveal their children’s status and further caution them never to reveal it before school teachers which he says it mounts to stigma among these learners. 

He emphasises that it is a must to keep up good communication.

Regular communication between the school and the family is the best way to monitor how your child is coping at school and at home (academically, socially, physically and emotionally). Student welfare coordinators may also be of good help.”

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Educating people on equal treatment of the vulnerable

Residents attending one of the seminars

Residents attending one of the seminars organised by DRS at Magu district. PHOTO | JONATHAN MUSA 

By Jonathan Musa

The word success has its meaning; the correct or desired result of acquired mission, no matter how different it may be defined, the end result is still an achievement.

In this modern world, almost every parent or guardian wishes his or her child a good and prosperous life in the future, especially after succeeding in education.

In Mwanza city, hails Esther Masawe, 35, at her age, she is already a company managing director. An achievement she’s grasped through hard work and dedication.

The mother of three says that what makes her be herself is a long story with determination at the apex.

Today, Esther, through her NGO Disability relief services (DRS), has helped hundreds of vulnerable people in society by providing them with much needed amenities and educating the public on equal perception of the disabled.

Background

Esther traces her early years at Kahama primary school where she received a Certificate of Primary Education in 1996 and managed to join Kahama Secondary now called John Paul II up to form four level in 2000, all in Shinyanga region.

She, however, joined ‘A’ level at Siha high school in Kilimanjaro region in 2003 before joining St Augustine University of Tanzania (Saut) in Mwanza to pursue a degree in mass communication.

“I managed to complete my degree level studies in 2006 and I’m now on the verge of accomplishing a master’s degree in project management at Open University of Tanzania,” she discloses.

Esther, the second born of six children began working at The National Institute for Medical Research Nimr, in Mwanza as a volunteer cleaner and a messenger in 2003 after finishing high school.

She says during this time she didn’t have much work at home to occupy her free time so she opted to join Nimr in order to avoid youthful temptations.

“I saw it better to work as a volunteer at Nimr rather than staying idle at home moving up and down, as a youth I stayed focused on achieving bigger things in life and the advice from my mom helped me maintain my course, I avoided a lot of indulgences in order to focus on my future,” she admits.

She says her aim while young was to rescue the vulnerable. This stems from the various incidents of albino killings that were being reported in Shinyanga region.  

Such a dedicated goal was easier said than done,  “It could not be achieved on a silver platter,” she puts it. There were challenges; being a young girl who did not even belong to the same community was an added weakness.

Esther says she grew up in Sukuma land in Kahama while her mother worked as a doctor at the district hospital and her father was a businessman, both her parents hailed from Kilimanjaro region.

 

Finding success

Immediately after she graduated from Saut in October 2006 with a degree in mass communication, she landed a job at Shaloom Care Center in Mwanza as a program officer.

Her responsibility was to oversee the development of the organization's programmes. This included staff development, project management, implementation and daily management of activities.

“Since this job was a bit standard and required keenness, I had to put more concentration in creating budgets for project costs and program expenditures,” she informs.

She served the same post until her resignation in April 2008 when she got a new job at Mkwawa University College of Education, Iringa, as a public relations officer.

She states that in all places she managed to work before her current position, she assured that her roles were well maintained and she never worked under supervision becuase she knew what she was doing.

 

Secret behind her determination

Esther, after only two years working at a busy learning institute as a public relations officer, decided to resign yet again resign from her position. All this happened because her childhood dream had not yet come true.

In September 2010, she got a new job with Forum Syd, a Swedish non-governmental member organization that works with people and people’s rights. She served as a program officer.

Forum Syd was launched in Mwanza and Magu. Ukerewe, Nyamagana and Karagwe served as the preliminary areas of concentration..

The young bright woman says while revolving in these jobs, she used to come across different people whom, she says have been a big support to what she does right now.

“Any office where I worked, I made sure that every staff and other people around got my services equally with no discrimination. This created a good reputation for me and made people me. I got different job offers from various companies without even applying for them, “Often times the interested party would just schedule a meeting with me,” she remembers.

 

 Becoming a director

In 2014, Esther, the daring woman decided to give a try at her own project. She established an organization, mainly meant to serve the vulnerable in society.

By then, this organization had no support and therefore it became so challenging to let it run on its own.

“My mission was to look for quicker means to help children, youth and women with disability, providing them with education and basic life necessities,” she says.

She strived, even borrowed her colleagues some cash to register the organization and put other issues in place.

In early 2016, Esther, as the head of the organization, Disability Relief Services, managed to get funds from abillis foundation, a Netherland organization which supports the activities of persons with disability in developing countries, mainly with grants.

“We were given Sh14million to facilitate women with disabilities and come up with projects which would make their lives better,” she says.

She adds that, since its launch in 2016 it was named Disability Relief Services, DRS, and has managed to reach more than 10,000 households within the Lake Zone and their aim for now is to eliminate the barrier which has prohibited people from mingling with disabled, especially ones with albinism.

“We provide education and deliver services to the needy. Our target is to let people perceive the vulnerable as normal people and erase the misconception that vulnerable cases are signs of curses,” Esther.

Achievement

As a director at DRS, Esther, together with her colleagues, has helped about 100 vulnerable children since they began. Apart from that, they have provided about 55 walking kits likes bicycles to 55 disabled women.

Esther is currently focused on providing counseling for different people in need of guidance.

She feels proud when she sees her plans yielding to positive outlooks in the surrounding community.

“Not only women but also old men can organize with my husband and meet me for a public debate on different matters affecting our community,” she says.

Through her hard work Esther has managed to build a modern house at Nyakato where she stays with her family.

 

On challenges

Being a wife and mother, Esther says at times it becomes hard for her to travel to different places to deliver certain required services. “As a wife, I’m not independent,” she says. But thanks to her husband understanding, he finally got to understand the kind of activities Esther does. 

“Initially, it was not easy. Most of my time is spent on field work, coming home has to be late in the evening or if am out of the region, I have to inform my husband in advance, he has faith in me,” Esther says.

Many people have become fond of her humility and benevolence. However, such a trait has its negative impact because Esther is expected to give all the time, even as she just walks by the street begging hands beckon her and people expect her to give the little that she has. 

Future plans

Her plan is to expand the services delivered by DRS to the national level and let youth get jobs through her initiatives.

“Am in discussion with another US organization, if all goes well then many vulnerable people will benefit from DRS as a non-governmental organization,” she concludes.

Her parting shots; Every jungle has its greenest part.  Everything is possible if only one is determined and focused towards his or her goals. There should always be sacrifice and commitment.

 

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Using animation to influence learning

Animators teach keen students on different

Animators teach keen students on different animation techniques in Dar es Salaam. PHOTO I ESTHER KIBAKAYA 

By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

 In recent years learning for school going children has been made more interactive and entertaining. From counting to writing, creative medium have been adopted to help students learn in a different way.

Some local TV channels for instance have been showing local educative animation programs for children using Kiswahili and the results have been positive. Students are able to relate more to these programmes.

All this creative change has been made possible by people who have been working diligently to ensure that both our culture and values are preserved and at the same time promoted in an innovative way.

James Kapondo, who works in animation, is one among those leading the creative learning path. When he started learning about animation five years ago, he was only doing it for fun; little did he know that his mere interest on the subject will turn out to be something big.

Today, like many other young animators across the world he has been taking the visual world by storm by using animation as a method of delivering everything from entertainment to information through an accessible medium.

And in recognising and celebrating such efforts, on 28 October each year, an annual International Animation Day is celebrated, it’s a day set to identify the people behind the industry and their efforts.

This year, as a way of raising public awareness on the local animation industry, a 4-day creative and technical event titled Swahili Animation Convention was organised and brought together digital artists, students, youth, film experts, parents and other stakeholders.

Themed Katuni Zetu. Utamaduni Wetu, the convention also aimed at promoting the use of animation films that express local culture and values.

“Animation has opened doors to many people, particularly youth who are struggling to look for job opportunities everyday. Animation is everywhere these days, and most children have been raised watching animation. Starting with cartoons to video games and movies, our view of the world has often been shaped by this amazing art form,” says James who is also a 3D lab manager.

However, the animator says in Tanzania the belief that animation is for entertain is still deeply embedded and it requires a lot of effort to convince an adult that animation programmes such as cartoons can educate, their perception over the years has been that cartoons are just cartoons meant for children to watch just for fun, they don’t believe that an older age group can watch animated cartoons with an educative message within the story line.

“This is why we have tried to be more creative when making our animations so that instead of our characters having funny exaggerated features, we use fruits and vegetable for instance as characters so that our animations become more educative for all,” he noted.

Using Swahili

To make it more informative and educative, Swahili language has been actively used when creating the animation programs and according to James the aim is to see that not only people, particularly children understand it well, but also to see that the language use grows hence promoting our culture

“We want to see that our language is given more value. Yes we could have decided to use another international language such as English but at this stage we want the students to become more familiar with their national language and maybe later English will be incorporated,” he says, adding; “We want to see children, particularly students take more interest in watching our local animation programs which are produced using the language they can understand better.”

He says the convention has opened new opportunities for animators like him because of the recognition it has started to receive, “there was a time when I thought of stopping doing animation and going into farming but now I see things are changing for the better because of the recognition we keep receiving,” James says.

He adds that the Ministry of Education for instance now understands that animation can play a big role in educating students. This gives animators hope that in the years to come children in Tanzania will be watching more local animated programs.

In five years to come, their target is to see that each household can have access to a locally produced children animation program, “we have done enough research and we understand what we need to do to ensure that children’s interest in our local animation programs grows. I always believe that if you want to make something good then it has to be genuine,” he says.

Explaining in detail what animation is all about, Anael Kihunrwa, the Chief Executive Officer of African Institute for Digital Innovation said animation is a process of creating moving images in quick succession.

“Each image differs from the previous image very slightly, and it is this difference that creates the movement in the sequence. Traditionally, animated sequences were created by pictures and paintings drawn by hand but today, thanks to technological advances it has been made possible for artists to create images directly on a computer,’’ explains the CEO.

Despite the bright future that lays ahead in the animation industry, there are a number of challenges that have been derailing the same. According to Anael, creativeness among animators has been an issue hence making it difficult for their programs to get the recognition they deserve

“This industry has a lot of opportunities for those who go the extra mile and become more creative and it can employ quite a number of people as well because it is the kind of job that doesn’t need a lot of infrastructure such as huge office space or lots of machines. A computer can be a studio for someone to learn and work in animation hence creating new job opportunities,” says Anaeli.

The expert adds that apart from the potential for growth projected in the animation industry, a lot of opportunities lie in this part of the world compared to Europe, but fully capitalizing on this potential will depend on how animation is used to communicate to people because a large population lives in rural areas, faced with so many challenges. “Through animation, such problems in rural areas can be used as a chance to come up with solutions to solving them. This can be done through educating people and raising awareness on different matters,’ Anaeli explains.

Negative perception

According to Anaeli, few families have invested in taking their children to learn about animation course because of the cost and the perception they have about it although he admits that the situation is changing with time.

“The community of animators isn’t that big, for instance since we started in 2004 we have trained around 60 students. However more are needed to meet the demands of customers. Sometimes the animators available in the industry produce the wrong material that doesn’t fit the demands of the market. We have a lot of TV stations which can use our work therefore its high time we do a lot of research and invest in generating good stories that will have positive impact,” he noted.

Sandra Martin, 12, a Standard Six pupil says she has been a great fan of local children programs because they are so educative.

“I always find time together with my younger sister to watch programs like Akili on the national broadcasting channel. We learn in a fun way a lot of things that we are taught in school,” explains Sandra.

Doreen Kazimoto, a graphics designer working with an advertisement company in town says time has changed and therefore women have a chance to make it big in the animation industry.

“There is a belief that this kind of job is meant for men only but I don’t think that is the case, we are capable of doing a lot if we get to learn the ins and outs of this field. Women understand better how other women feel, so if they master animation then they have an opportunity to create programs that will benefit their fellow women in areas such as health and parenting to mention a few,” Doreen explains.     

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A young man on a mission to inspire his peers

 

By Roger Braun rogerbraun@gmx.net

        Mussa Ramadhani is a 19 year-old Form Six student at Tambaza High School in Dar es Salaam. With a spirited personality, he is a dream of a student for every teacher. Whenever there is a task to do; his teacher would refer to him. When the school participated in the Marathon in Dar es Salaam, he would make sure that everybody is around when the pictures were taken. And when a journalist comes to Tambaza High School, it is up to him to show the visitor the class rooms.

Mussa is full of energy to make the world a better place. On his birthday last year, 6th of February, he created the organization “Youth Inspiration Team”. Together with about 50 peers who joined the organisation, he aims to inspire other young folks to succeed in their life. “Our main goal is to show the African youth that they can accomplish whatever they want if only they believe in themselves,” Mussa says. He sees too many young fellows giving up too quickly, because they lack of self-confidence.

“Our team wants to encourage them to have faith in their personalities and work hard to achieve their dreams.” Mussa and like-minded teenagers would go to different schools and talk about the importance of studying hard, being disciplined and speaking English. They also want to raise awareness for environment protection. Every last Saturday of the month, they convene to clean up public areas such as roundabouts, parks, hospitals or bus stops.

Mussa had not always been that ambitious in his life. In fact, he had to be inspired himself first before he could inspire others. It was in secondary school when a classmate of his received the opportunity to go to the United States for an exchange program. Mussa looked up to him and wanted to achieve the same. “He was something of a model to me,” he says. Mussa realized how important it is to speak proper English to excel in life. He joined the English club at his school where he met like-minded peers once a week to discuss various topics in English. He also joined the United Nations club where they discussed global issues like climate change, poverty or diplomacy, developing skills like public speaking, negotiating and writing essays. As he was the president of the school’s UN club, he was also able to participate at the Model United Nations in Arusha where they simulated the general assembly, trying to find ways to resolve conflicts and tackle worldwide challenges.

Privileged

Mussa feels privileged because he had all these opportunities, which is also the rationale behind the creation of the “Youth Inspiration Team”. He wants to give others the same chances as he had. “I wanted to share my experiences I was able to gain in these clubs,” he says. Sharing is something this young man likes to talk about. It surfaces regularly when he talks about this motivation. “Helping someone excites me,” he tries to explain. He says he feels uneasy when he sees someone struggling, while he has the key to the solution. And in some way, he will finally also benefit from sharing his knowledge. “By constantly creating a good environment around me, I will also have the means to move forward,” he says.

Mussa doesn’t even try to hide his ambitions. He talks about his goal of being a leader, doing something huge. “I want to make a difference in the world”, he says. In order to accomplish this undertaking, he is willing to work hard. Whereas other teenagers start going out, drinking beer and taking drugs when coming of age, Mussa abstains from these temptations. “This is not appropriate for me,” he says in a serious tone, adding, “I neither have the time nor the interest for these activities.” When asked if he has a girlfriend, he answers accordingly; “A girlfriend takes a lot of time; I focus on studying right now.”

This might sound a bit odd, and Mussa wouldn’t be the first model student that gets bullied by his classmates based out of envy. But Mussa doesn’t come across as a geek. His school mates in the class room seem to be eager to talk to him. When asked, they speak well about him. Mussa says he has never been mobbed for striving so hard. “I am always in a good mood and make other people laugh, this probably helps,” he says. It certainly also helped that he hadn’t been overly ambitious when he went to primary school, he adds.

Mussa’s hunger for success was not predetermined since he doesn’t originate from a privileged family. He grew up in Dar es Salaam in a very modest household. His mother didn’t make it further than primary school and has no professional training. His father left the family when Mussa was young. He is emotionally very attached to his mother. “She means everything to me,” he says.

On weekends he helps her to produce ice cubes for the water vendors on the street. He is grateful to her that she allows him to study despite her meager income. “Money is very tight in our household,” he says. The family does everything to keep the expenses down, to give Mussa the chance to study.

In the future, things should be better. Mussa will finish High School next year, presumably with good grades. Then he wants to go to university. Having focused on physics, geography and mathematics, engineering would be an obvious choice, he says. He is especially interested in aviation. But he is not sure yet, because there is also this other thought. “I always had the dream of being president of Tanzania,” he says. This would give him the opportunity to have a big impact in other’s lives and thereby improve the society. Mussa is reasonable enough to see that this is a job ambition that is filled with uncertainties. But he still has this thought in his mind. And didn’t President John Magufuli also study science in his youth?

The first thing Mussa would change in Tanzania is the educational system. “Today there are way too many students that drop out of school prematurely and thereby losing their self-confidence,” he says. Many of these people will find themselves unemployed. Mussa sees a lot of wasted talent. He wants them to stay longer in school and even those who drop out earlier should cherish what they have learned, he says. “Even after leaving school they should try to build upon their knowledge they have received,” he advises.

In the meantime, Mussa and his like-minded friends will do their best to inspire their compatriots to work hard and make it further than primary school. Right now, “Youth Inspiration Team” is seeking an official registration as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). This would allow the organization to step up their efforts. The public registration proves to be complicated though. Mussa is nonetheless optimistic that the organization will have an official status by the time he will have finished high school. Stating one of his guiding lines, he says: “Always be positive. Think of succeeding and not of failing, because the moment you say to yourself you can’t do it, you won’t do it.”     

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Multi-million business built from waste paper

Waste collection work in progress at his firm.

Waste collection work in progress at his firm. PHOTO S | JANET OTIENO-PROSPER  

By Janet Otieno-Prosper @JanetOtieno ajotieno@tz.nationmedia.com

Two weeks ago, I met 33-year-old Allen Kimambo, a Tanzanian entrepreneur and environmental activist in Lagos, Nigeria at the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum.

The engineering graduate from university of Dar es Salaam could be easily spotted from the crowd because of the huge Tanzanian flag he was carrying.

He was there to attend the third annual Entrepreneurship Forum, which was held at the Law School of Nigeria.

The TEF forum is an inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs, where over 54 countries represented meet with business leaders, established entrepreneurs and policy markers to forge partnerships, share insights and fashion Africa-made solutions to accelerate the transformation of Africa.

The gathering is a culmination of the TEF entrepreneurship forum’s initiator who is also a renowned philanthropist Tony Elumelu’s $100 million commitment to identifying, training, mentoring and empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs in 10 years.

Mr Kimambo walks Success through his social entrepreneurship and his story as the founder of Zaidi Enterprises Company based in Dar es Salaam which I visited last week.

At the warehouses in Ubungo off Mandela Road Express Highway, two men are busy piling up mountains of old cartons as they prepare to relocate to a new site.

From the look of things, Mr Kimambo can be rightfully called a garbage entrepreneur who has curved out a niche collecting cardboard paper waste from the streets, markets, factories, warehouses, ports, municipal disposal sites and offices.

“The papers are baled and later transported to Paper Mill for recycling,” he says.

Two years ago, Mr Kimambo saw paper waste being cleared at the Port of Dar es Salaam.

This prompted him into swift action giving birth to the idea of supplying cardboard paper waste to the largest paper factory in Tanzania – Paper Mill.

“I asked the clearing and forwarding agent where those papers were coming from and going to and he told me that they were imported from Dubai by Paper Mill for recycling. It was then that I asked myself why someone should import paper waste while we have a lot of it in Tanzania,” he narrates.

He then embarked on a small research on the availability of cardboard paper waste in Tanzania. He later contacted Paper Mill to notify them that he could be their supplier.

“I thank God that they gave me an opportunity to prove that I could supply the cardboard paper waste and I did not let them down,” he proudly states.

Currently, Zaidi Enterprises is the only local supplier to Paper Mill and has helped grow and deliver their targeted volume of good quality at an affordable price.

“So far, we have supplied 1.7 million kilos of baled cardboard paper waste and created more than 100 jobs across the country. This way, we have saved so many trees, saved energy, stopped paper landfill, generated revenue to the government by paying taxes and cleaning our environment,” he points out.

The project to collect cardboard paper waste started in Dar es Salaam and later expanded to Moshi, Arusha, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tanga, Mwanza and Kahama.

The company has established collection points in Arusha, Moshi and Dodoma.

So far his annual turnover is over Sh200 million and has employed two people on permanent basis and 100 more on casual basis across the country.

He has got 20 business partners in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi, Dodoma and Morogoro, and his company is touching lives of more than 100 families who are engaging in the collection, sorting, balling, loading and off loading paper waste.

“We have created more young entrepreneurs along this business through partnering. We work with people who are passionate about the environment and give them the idea, money to buy the papers, collection strategies and in return they get their margin as we buy back the materials from them,’” he states.

On his future plans, Mr Kimambo says his firm intends to use the same business model approach to expand its operations to other African countries starting with Zambia and Malawi. They are also planning to start exportation of other type of paper waste to India.

He is married to Esther Kimambo and is a father of two children Ethan and Myra. He has worked for Unilever in different positions in Tanzania and Kenya and is currently working for Bollore Logistics as a quality officer.

He says he has people he has employed and entrusted to help him run the company while he works at Bollore Logistics since his company is still at infancy stage. “I want to ensure that it is sustainable before I think of other things,” he states.

His desire to make a positive impact on the community did start at Zaidi Enterprises but way back in 2005 after completing his A-Level studies at Tosamaganga Secondary School in Iringa when he started teaching science subjects at Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) Moshi.

In 2006 he co-founded Masomoni Education Center at Majengo Moshi when he was in his first year in the university.

He used part of his student loan from the government to pay for the rent and collect unused home appliances including chairs, tables, blackboards, old computers to set up an office and classroom. The centre was very successful as it ended up producing some of the best candidates.

“One of the best candidates was my sister who is now a public figure Godlisten Malisa. Many Students in our first cohort of 2007 passed very well and we offered employment to youth as well,” he states.

Risk Taking

When he completed his engineering degree in 2009 he went back to Moshi to focus on improving Masomoni Center.

“ Things were not easy by then as the rent was close to Sh450,000 making it difficult to manage,” he recalls adding that his paternal uncle gave him Sh1,000,000 as a congratulatory token after completing his engineering degree in 2009. He used the money to make desks to improve learning environment.

“The reward I can boast from Masomoni Center is the lives that we have changed especially those students who needed to acquire and improve their grades,” he states.

Things, however, got tough at Masomoni as the cost of operations were skyrocketing forcing him to seek formal employment in 2010 at Unilever and use his salary to finance the center.

“After being employed, I joined Chai Saccos in the first month of employment and in the fourth moth I applied for a loan of Sh1.7m to boost the operations but this strategy failed,” he said.

Between 2011 to 2014 he ventured in several entrepreneurship activities including farming were he lost all his 20 acres of rice, didn’t succeed in trading business in Kariakoo’s famous Congo Street and Tandika, farming in Ruvu, quail poultry in Kongowe and so many other ventures which failed.

In 2015 he successfully ventured in motorcycle repairs services, which paved way for more opportunities.

In the same year he spotted the waste paper recycling opportunity which reminded him of his passion for the environment supported by two successful project at Unilever Tanzania - the envelope project which involved using waste paper and second project - smart packaging at Unilever Kenya aiming at reducing waste and uses of more packages.

And this background has come in handy in running his business at Zaidi Enterprises, which he started in Dar es Salaam but has expanded.

“We started in Dar es Salaam, but now have operations in six regions, with centres in Dodoma, Moshi and Arusha,” he says adding that his client base has also grown from Paper Mill to Tanpack Tissue paper and prospective clients are China Paper Moshi and India Paper Mills (Export).

He has also bagged some achievements; in 2009, he emerged the Best Student in the Environmental Engineering subject at the University of Dar es Salaam.

In 2017, he became Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur who received $5,000 grant channelled through the United Bank of Africa (UBA) with the project of recycling. African Entrepreneurship Award has also listed him among the top 60 out of 5300 business ideas in Africa this year.

He concludes by encouraging young people to go out and see the beauty of nature and take responsible action to preserve it guided by the value of integrity, belief in God, love for environment and entrepreneurship.     

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Girls taught on equality through art

Students from Jangwani Secondary school taking

Students from Jangwani Secondary school taking part in the Social Inclusion Drawing Competition. PHOTO|ERICKY BONIPHACE 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Old adage has it that a picture is worth a thousand words. This turned into reality during a recent outreach programme at Jangwani Secondary School in Dar es Salaam. Pictures drawn by 126 female students during a World Bank Competition gave the saying a richer meaning.

A 16-years-old student, Diana Mbele, drew a picture portraying a Maasai girl hiding under a tree, after running away from her family while escaping Female Genital Mutilation. Diana, who was among the six winners in the Social Inclusion Drawing Competition said most girls end up uneducated due to various outdated customs, which are still being practiced in our societies.

“Lack of access to education in turn excludes the girls from development processes in their communities as well as of their own welfare,” she noted.

What Diana and her schoolmates drew during the competition illustrates the girls’ views on social exclusion. They were asked to draw their minds on key drivers of social exclusion that kept people from taking part fully in processes that improves their lives and the wellbeing of their societies.

Naima Besta, social development specialist with World Bank Tanzania, said although ‘social inclusion’ was the central theme of the competition, understanding social exclusion was equally important for the students to be able to identify their key drivers.

“People have multiple intersecting identities, which to some extent are highly contextual,” she said, grouping such identities in form of age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and disability just to mention a few.

In the competition, students were told to draw what they think will illustrate social exclusion in order for them to build an understanding of social inclusion, which occurs when people are systematically involved in their societies.

“For example, students were asked to draw things they thought are the causes of poverty and how to reduce poverty. To draw what they thought promotes shared prosperity and improves individuals’ and groups’ ability for involvement in their society,” noted Naima.

Enhancing students’ understanding

Naima said the aim of the competition was to enhance students’ understanding on social inclusion phenomenon and what is been done as well to address and improve the situation.

According to her, social inclusion is about working actively to address the underlying causes that results in exclusion. “This will in turn help in full inclusion of the poor and vulnerable into the development process,” noted Naima.

“The students, as the young generation, should have an understanding that in our societies there are individuals and groups of people who are consciously or unconsciously excluded in various matters pertaining to their lives,” she explained.

“There are those who are impoverished, poor and voiceless; orphans, disabled, unemployed and uneducated; women and the youth,” added Naima.

According to her, what is crucial is how such individuals and groups of people can be actively included in the development process. “Is their ability to do something affected by the environment or by what others do and think about them? Do they have opportunities and equal chances for each of them to translate their capabilities into better wellbeing? Is their dignity respected and recognised? These are some of important questions the community should genuinely find answers to,” she said.

“Inclusion means the process of improving the terms under which individuals and groups of people can take part in the development process in their societies and they can equally share whatever comes out of those efforts in terms of benefits and outcomes,” she further elaborated.

Eumesta Siara, academic teacher at Jangwani Secondary School, is optimistic that the drawing competition has added useful knowledge to students about social inclusion. “The subject the organizers chose is a very powerful one. It is not so common to use fine art in such outreach programmes as the subject is not taught in most schools. However, fine art has the ability to present the message loud and clear,” noted Eumesta.

During the competition, organisers asked students to use their own skills and knowledge to draw the pictures that will illustrate the key message about social inclusion phenomenon. “Some drew pictures with a message about outdated traditions and customs, while others centred their key message on the plight of women,” she added.

“Some 126 students, who took part in the competition, drew very nice pictures with the key message. It was a tough task for the organisers to pick the best six pictures,” said Eumesta.

Nasra Ramadhani, who is a student with disability, emerged the winner in the drawing competition. She drew a picture of a person with disability being helped by other able persons. “With the picture, I want to communicate a message of extending a helping hand. Also to show my appreciation to people who treat well persons with disabilities, including me,” said Nasra.

Naima, the social development specialist with the World Bank Tanzania, was quick to comment on the aspect, saying in most cases, some parents have the tendency of hiding their children with disabilities, denying them access to education. “In most public buildings, facilities are not friendly to people with disabilities,” she noted.

Women are not involved in decision making both at a household and community levels in most African countries. “Patriarch system is very dominant in most of these societies where male dominance over women is very high, hence women are left out of the whole decision making process,” said Naima.

Diana, a Form Three student whose picture’s message was centred on female genital mutilation, hopes that communities that still practice the outdated tradition will abandon the shameful act if members of the community become educated about the effects of the female cut. She urged the organisers to take such outreach programmes to as many schools as possible, saying it is a better way to change the perception of the youth about various issues concerning social exclusion.

According to Naima, street children are the most vulnerable group that is excluded in almost everything concerning their lives and wellbeing. “They end up in streets without access to education and healthcare services. At the end of the day, they are left out of the development process,” said Naima.

Outdated beliefs that fuels albino killings forces people with albinism out of development process. “They are excluded by the society as they become the target for the killings. In this case, they cannot participate in decision making process in their communities or take part in development process without fear of being killed,” said Naima.

Taking into consideration that youth make a great number of the population, the unemployment rate among them is very high. “Youth can to a great extent contribute considerably towards development. However, with no employment and little access to entrepreneurial process, they are left out of the development process,” she added.     

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ASK TEACHER OWERE: She is eight but still wets her bed

 

Hi, I am a mother of three, the eldest is Eight almost turning Nine, but what baffles me is that she still wets her bed. Though not routinely, it is an embarrassment that I really don’t know how to deal with especially when we visit our relatives’ homes upcountry.

Most often children wet the bed because their bodies are not yet physically capable of nighttime dryness. Unless your child has other symptoms, bed-wetting is almost always normal.

The important thing to remember is that bed-wetting is completely involuntary – your child can’t control it. Why children wet the bed is not fully understood. For most children, bed-wetting is a normal developmental stage and likely related to certain factors.

Your child’s body is still developing. It’s likely she wets the bed because her bladder, nervous system, and brain are still maturing. You can’t rush the physical development needed for nighttime dryness any more than you can rush a first tooth coming in. About 90 per cent of children outgrow bed-wetting on their own by the age of Seven, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. That’s why most doctors don’t routinely suggest bed-wetting treatments, such as a bed-wetting alarm, for children younger than seven years old. It can take some trial and error to figure out what nighttime protection works best for your child, and you may need to adjust as she grows.

Look at your child’s sleeping environment. Is the bathroom a long way from her room, or in an area of the house that she finds scary at night? Ask her gently if there’s any reason why she doesn’t want to go to the bathroom at night. If she’s afraid of the dark, let her know it’s okay to wake you if she needs to go. You can also put a nightlight by her bed or leave a hallway light on. Keep an eye on your child’s fluid intake. It’s important that kids drink enough water. The amount of fluids they need depends on things like weather, what they’ve eaten, and how active they are. It’s a myth that restricting fluids will make it less likely that she’ll wet the bed. But you can encourage her to drink more early in the day and see if that helps. Aim for roughly 40 per cent of her fluid intake in the morning, 40 percent in the afternoon and 20 per cent in the evening. Make a bathroom stop part of the bedtime routine. Make sure she goes to the bathroom right before bed, and if she wakes up during the night, ask if she’d like to use the bathroom. Offer to go with her if she’s reluctant. However, research shows that waking up a child deliberately to go to the bathroom or carrying her to the bathroom while she’s asleep won’t cure bed-wetting.

Monitor daytime bathroom breaks. Your child should be going to the bathroom regularly, about four to seven times, throughout the day.

If you have a burning question, send it to: powere@tz.nationmedia.com     

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

JOBS & CAREER: Social media marketing manager

Lucy Makoy, Social media manager. PHOTO I

Lucy Makoy, Social media manager. PHOTO I COURTESY 

By Devotha John

Lucy James Makoye, 25, is a Social Media Marketing manager at Smart Tanzania; she is a modest woman in the communications industry who’s trying to achieve steady growth in her career.

Lucy went to Academic Primary School before joining Shabaan Robert Secondary School for further studies and then went on to pursue a Bachelor degree in Mass Communication at Open University in Dar es Salaam in 2013.

Lucy believes in thinking positively and that hardships are a part of life. She’s of the philosophy that everyone has a calling and we should all look for a purpose in life. She advises people to keep fighting for what they need and deserve and make the most of their time on earth.

As a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Smart Tanzania how does your day begin?

My day as a social media manager usually begins when I touch my phone daily. I respond and engage with our customers on social media and I try to as fast as possible to solve all their queries by giving them the best service.

Why did you choose Social Media industry?

My passion was in writing, production and PR, thus taking Mass Communication studies in university so as soon as I got my first job, they gave me an opportunity to write and manage their communication online i.e. website, blog, create media content (images, videos) of events and other relevant things and thus I realized digital platform helped me do what I want and I enjoy it all. I’ve never turned back ever since.

What’s the mission of your organization?

Mission of Smart Tanzania is to be the highest quality Telecom service provider delivering Innovative Solutions with a social impact that empowers and improves lives of all communities

How would you add value to our social media department?

I would look in to the newspaper business to get news to customers faster and not one day late. As we know, it is the instant news that everyone is craving through the internet. I would act as a middle woman, helping to reach people closer, engage with them and get feedback to help improve our product.

How do you use social media as a tool for customer service? What is the most important thing a social media marketer should be doing?

Social media is used mostly to connect and it has helped bring companies closer to their customers and audiences. It can be used as a tool for customer service by increasing customer loyalty. This is done by talking to customers and informing them of new products and listening to their feedback.

What is the most important task of social media marketing?

The most important task of social media is to provide a personalized experience of communication. Providing content that your audience will enjoy to see and in turn inquire, order or buy.

Tell me about a successful social media campaign you’ve run from beginning to end. Which social media channels do you recommend for businesses and why?

In social media every business should have a website and connect social media pages like Facebook, twitter and instagram (choose platforms according to what type of content your audience like). Successful campaigns that I have run include using online advertising to boost and show ads to gain more customers and also the use of influencers and bloggers (online connections) to help boost and bring traffic to a page.

What strategies would you use to generate leads?

The use of online forms, we get lots of leads of interested customers’ details and call them and some share the form on our social media platforms and website.

How do you deal with negative comments or a brand reputation crisis?

Carefully and politely. When someone posts a negative comment it means they are upset so I use my PR diplomatic skills to calm them down, understand the issue by asking and helping them. I usually ask for their details and location so we can deal with problems accordingly with the IT department.

What social sites do you use personally? Why? Do you have experience with Google Analytics?

I use almost all social media sites, some I tried and stopped using. Yes I’ve used analytics. It is very insightful and helps you understand your viewers and also helps you know where your traffic comes from and helps analyze what things work and what don’t.

What’s the difference between targeted and large audiences? Which is better? Why?

Targeted audience is specifically chosen people that you know are most likely to like and enjoy what you’re advertising online (you can target people, ages, places where they visit most etc.) Large audience is just lots of random people. As you see, it’s obvious targeting is the better technique to get the right people.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I have won very few awards in my life but the day I graduated from university which was mostly self-taught with discussions with students (the Open University of Tanzania), thus fulfilling my mum’s dream aand making her proud is one thing that makes me feel most proud of myself.

It made me believe in myself and know that I can do anything I put my mind to. Graduating gave me the confidence and enabled me to give up on negative thinking.

Which social media brand strategy has inspired you? Why?

I liked a certain Coca-Cola campaign, it shows on YouTube, google ads that just pop up when you are watching certain videos, websites. Basically the Ads only go to a certain group of people who will enjoy the advert and in turn add value to your business. For me I like how paid advertising and analytics can help you reach lots of people and know exactly where they are and how they reacted to your advert.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about learning, it doesn’t have to be in school kind of literacy but learning what is right and wrong, why things are the way they are, how to know what your calling is in life and sharing, spreading knowledge that will help other people grow and be better and in turn to have a great world where everyone is happy and at peace. I’m the kind of person that believes we are all here for a reason, be it for one person or many.

Where do you see yourself in three to five years?

I see myself as someone who will know more about many things, be more confident and reliable to people around me and I see myself making a difference and inspiring people to be better and growing to be better.

What do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy blogging, my blog talks about things “I like, love and agree with” It’s called kwinoja and I consult for oriflame beauty products to get a little extra income on the side.

I also enjoy watching movies, going to the beach and hanging out with my friends.     

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How poverty shattered their education dreams

Even with free education, their are many other

Even with free education, their are many other necessities that parents cannot afford, hence curtailing their children’s chances of acquiring an education. PHOTO I ESTHER KIBAKAYA 

By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

Sara David would have loved to continue with school and fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher so that she could help her community at Nkonkilangi village in Ntwike ward, which is found 88 kilometres from Iramba District, Singida region.

However, that dream was shattered as soon as the 15-year-old completed her Standard Seven in 2016 and was forced to look for a job to support her poor family. “When the results were out my grades weren’t good so my parents took me to a private school outside the region but since we could not afford the school fees, I had no option but to start working at the Sekenke mining site to support my family,” explains Sara, the eldest of three siblings.

Human Right Watch report 2017 titled “I Had A Dream to Finish School’’ shows that many children are barred because they fail the compulsory primary school leaving exam. This is because those who fail are not allowed to retake the exam, failing it once typically ends their school years. Since 2012, exam results have affected approximately 1.6 million children’s access to secondary education. Most have not been allowed to repeat Standard 7, the final year of primary school. Once out of school, many adolescents lack realistic options to complete basic education or pursue vocational training.

This has been the case for Sara, who is extremely aggrieved to see other girls of her age going to school as she works at the mining site. “I see my dreams shattered, unable to go to school because of poverty. I want to study and become a teacher or a scientist,” she comments adding that she works for more than eight hours a day, “I stop working in the evening because this place is not safe for girls to stay up until dark, I earn less than Sh7000 per day by doing different types of jobs around the mining site including cleaning the sand mine, this amount helps out at home to buy food, she explains with a sad expression on her face.

Sara’s case is one among many cases facing young girls especially in the developing world. Many researches have shown that during adolescence, factors such as menstruation, gender-based violence, and early pregnancy and marriage force many girls to drop out of school. Other obstacles prevent girls from even making it to school in the first place, including poverty, disability, and cultural practices.

The case is the same for Evelyn Mushi*, 19, a mother of one who was forced to stay out of school at the age of 13 because of extreme poverty that existed in her family. Being the first born in a family of five, Evelyn spent most of her teen years caring for her siblings and her family including finding jobs near the lake shore to earn money to support her family.

Meeting her for the first time at her home village in Doromoni which is located at Tulya ward in Iramba District, Evelyn looked older than her age, a sign that she has worked hard to make a living in the toughest way possible..

“Life hasn’t been easy for me and my family, because of poverty. I couldn’t continue with school since my family and I had to work hard to earn a living. Poverty has seen many of my friends move to town to look for jobs, but for me, I had to come and work here at lake shore which I have been doing for years. I was born in a poor family that could sometimes go without food although I was lucky to attend primary school, I didn’t continue with school because my parents couldn’t afford some school expenses and my parents didn’t see the importance of education saying they would marry me off,” she sadly explained.

Evelyn adds that she has been working on the shores of the lake by scrapping fish scales for customers who have come to buy fish from the shore. “I don’t earn much but it’s enough for me to support my family and my two-year-old child whose father abandoned me. The little I earn takes us through the day but it is not sufficient,” she says as she picks fish from the canoe.

Sara and Evelyn are among many girls who are forced to drop out of school because of poverty which has prevented them from getting education because of the need to work to boost their families’ income and their parents cannot afford to pay extra costs such as uniforms, books and transport.

High cost of education

The recent Human Right Watch report also shows that until recently, many families did not enrol their children in secondary school because they could not afford school fees and related expenses, often costing more than Sh100,000 (roughly $50) per year. But in December 2015, Tanzania’s new government took a crucial step; it abolished all school fees and contributions plus additional charges by schools to pay for the schools’ running costs, previously required to enter lower-secondary schools in the country.

According to the report, two in five adolescents are out of school in Tanzania, even though the country has declared education a national priority and abolished school fees and financial contributions. Lack of money is mentioned to be one of the reasons why education ends after primary school for so many young people. Barriers include exams that limit access to secondary schools, long distances to schools, and outdated policies.

It is estimated that a total of 5.1 million children aged 7 to 17 are out of school, including nearly 1.5 million of lower secondary school age. Instead of enrolling in school, many children resort to child labour, often in exploitative, abusive, or hazardous conditions, in violation of Tanzanian law, to supplement their family’s income. Girls also face many challenges on account of their gender.

Elly Sylvester, Shelui Secondary school head master said poverty has been the greatest barrier to accessing an education particularly for girls. He said most parents, because of poverty are not highly motivated to take their children to school and instead allow them to engage in doing business to make a living.

“The financial burden of education for those living in poverty includes the direct costs such as school fees, uniforms, shoes, books, transportation, and the cost of a child being in school. Due to the location of the school (located along the high way) hence there are lots of business opportunities, what happens is most of these young girls and boys are forced to go and do business so that they can help contribute to the household income. Even if tuition is free, most families earn less for them to afford all the other expenses,” he explains.

In order to help out poor girls stay in school, a number of interventions are needed to make it happen and Janet Mawinza, a gender activist based in Dar es Salaam is of the opinion that any plan to promote education for girls must consider a number of things on how to reduce extreme poverty at the family level.

“To come up with a plan which will look deeply on solutions that will support families who are struggling to survive hence affect girls education, we have to critically think on how to defeat poverty starting at the family level because it holds so many girls back,” says the activist, adding, “some of the interventions that I see can help the poorest girls stay in school include incentive programs, which give financial support to cover school costs, and school feeding programs.”     

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The big debate about pre-Form One course

Many parents and other stakeholders in the

Many parents and other stakeholders in the education sector have been left wondering why children no longer have time to rest even during the holidays. PHOTO I FILE 

By Salome Gregory @TheCitizenTz sgregory@tz.nationmedia.com

After seven years of primary education back in the 1990s,pupils would spend some few months waiting for the examination results by doing various things.

Majority of the primary school graduates would stay at home helping their parents or visit relatives.

Currently, things have changed as many pupils have to join some secondary schools for pre Form I classes while others has to attend some camps meant to train them on life skills.

Many parents and other stakeholders in the education sector have been left wondering why children no longer have time to rest. Some have raised concerns about the importance of having pre-Form I classes as well as life skill camps.

Derek Rutinisa is a teacher at Tabata Secondary School. He says pre-Form I classes are meant to prepare pupils to start secondary education with at least an introduction of what he or she will be expected to learn at that level.

He says, in most government schools, pupils learn all the subjects in Kiswahili so they are gradually introduced to English at this point. He says the introduction of pre-Form I classes came as a way of boosting education standards in the country, however at some point, others considered it as a way of making money as most of the schools charge parents for this service.

“Swahili language being a major language of communication in public primary schools, the pre-Form I classes came as a way of introducing them to English,” says Rutinisa.

He says parents have to part with some money since the schools have to pay teachers who are offering such services and buy other learning materials. People fail to differentiate between fee free education and paying for the education to support the production costs of the private schools as they end up believing pre-Form I classes is a source of only generating income while it is not.

‘‘Parents and teachers need to sit and discuss together the importance of pre-Form I classes as this will clear the doubts of parents being conned by some schools offering the pre-Form I idea,’’ he adds.

Available information from Grace Inc, a local firm that deals with organizing summer boot camp programmes for children from age 5 up to 21 years shows the camps aims at equipping them to face the challenges of today and live what they love.

The modules include etiquette and manners, confidence building, financial management, presentation, prioritisation, decision making and dealing with bullying and peer pressure, etc.

These modules are age appropriate for 5-6, 7-9, 10-13, 14-17, 18-21 years. This trainings take place during the holidays and fees charged is Sh200,000/- per child for 10 days.

Elizabeth Masinde,42, is a mother of two children and a banker. She strongly objects the pre-Form I idea and boot camps though both her children went through the pre-Form I classes.

She had no choice than to let her children be enrolled for pre-Form I classes as she wanted the best schools for her children. But if she had another option, she wouldn’t have paid such amount of money for just four months.

She says, it is a parent’s duty to train his or her children on everything. She believes in the process of training children to be responsible adults, they create a bond and get unique experience of what it takes to become a better parent.

“Our parents groomed us on everything. Back then we knew nothing about boot camps or even pre-Form I. It created a room for parents to raise their own children and teach them on how they should live their lives in future,” says Elizabeth.

She adds that parents have become too busy to raise their own children to a point where they leave it to paid for programmes to take in their children not knowing exactly what they are taught in these boot camps.

Unlike Elizabeth, Justus Buregi, 45, supports the idea of pre-Form I classes and boot camps.

He says, if parents are too busy to get enough time for their children, then they should pay the organisations offering boot camps to take in these children with their development.

“I am not saying that parents should run away from their parenting jobs but they should be given time to work and bring food on the table dedicate the limited time they have for their children,” says Buregi.

Adding to that he says, a parent has to make sure he or she is satisfied with the level of professionalism of where the child will be enrolled for such programmes. He states that Grace Inc offers a special package for Standard VII at Sh250,000 and among other things they train on communication and use of social media, emotional intelligence, moodiness, stress, depression and anger management.

The programme also train on relationships with parents, friends, siblings and setting boundaries on the kinds of relationships to have.

Mary Ndoba,32, is a medical doctor who went through pre-Form I classes. She says although she was not happy to be involved with the pre Form I classes soon after she competed her primary education, it helped her to sharpen her understanding compared to the rest who joined her class without going through pre-Form I classes.

“I had planned to visit my relatives soon after my Standard VII examinations but I had no choice than to join pre-Form I class as my parents enrolled me,” says Mary.

An official from HakiElimu who sought anonymity since he is not the official spokesperson said the practise has positive impact however at the same time it is money consuming for parents and brings a bad feeling for the parents who cannot afford such fee for their children.

He says that, it makes it easy for the pupils to understand what to expect when they resume classes. But the question is, are the teachers teaching with the same pace as required when these pupils officially start their Form I classes.

Fees for pre-Form I pupils differs from school to school however majority of the pupils go for three months. Some schools charge Sh150,000 per month while some charge Sh200,000.

Efforts to get comments from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training was not fruitful however the government does not recognise the availability of the practice.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Teaching kit for science students

 

By Devotha John

Innovation has inspired youth to realise their dreams, as the adage goes the sky is the limit, even when it comes to thinking of ideas.

Ernest Maranya, 33, is an upcoming innovator who has embarked on making a teaching aid kit for outer space bodies and atomic particles in his bid to enable science students get full knowledge about wonders of the world.

The equipment has been very handy in making geography and other science subjects an easy lesson. It is a solar system kit for use as teaching aid in the laboratory.

“This equipment will enable students to understand different issues like: rotation of the earth, solar system, axis, solar eclipse and tides,” says Maranya adding that it will enable students to relate theory and practice by merging their prior experiences with the texts and illustrations.

Maranya notes that students from primary school and secondary school from Form One to Six and the ones who pursue science subjects including geography, chemistry and physics are set to benefit from his innovation.

“In physics, students will be in a position to learn astronomical topics and gravitational force. In Geography, they will benefit from learning solar system while in chemistry they will learn atoms and their variegated functions,” says Maranya, adding that his kit has been tested and is 100 per cent efficient.

“The aim of this technology is to make students learn by doing. It will make teachers get away with mundane teaching style which embraced rote learning,” he says adding, further stating, “To get practical knowledge will enable students to investigate how the sun and planets affect mankind.”

He notes that due to this technology students will learn different issues, including Summer Season, moon eclipse, night-and-day, sources of planetary relations and planets and how they affect atmospheric tensions, stars and astronomy as a whole.

Mr Maranya has it that putting theory into practice enables students to retain permanent knowledge unlike in the past where teachers lacked enough tools to facilitate meaningful learning.

Maranya says he came up with this innovation after learning much about solar system and how magnetic field work in line with solar power.

History

Maranya, who is deaf, says he came up with the idea in 1997 when he was in Grade Six at Ukonga Primary School in Dar-es Salaam.

He says his quest to understand astronomy while at school; particularly solar system had immense value in his innovation.

“I had it in mind since when I was young that I would one day come up with an idea on how students can easily understand the earth and solar system,” says Maranya adding that he was always eager to know how planets affect each other, their relationships and why do they not fall on the earth.

He notes that while in primary school he had failed to bridge the gap between what he believed and what he was taught.

“I always wanted to know how planets affect each other, especially how the earth rotates around the sun without causing any harm to living organisms,” he recalls.

Maranya says he assumed that the planet is so heavy and too big, adding that when people said that there is a force and tension between the sun and the planet he could not imagine how possible was it that a variety of images were created without compromising the planets’ swimming in the sky.

Maranya notes after passing primary education with flying colours he was selected to join Benjamin Mkapa Secondary school in 2002, but unfortunately he did not pass for Advanced Secondary Education, he then opted for training in welding in 2004 at Vocational Training Authority (Veta).

“I had an opportunity to get scholarship at Veta after my innovation was televised live. I was demonstrating how a water pumping machine works,” said Maranya.

Veta in Dar es Salaam contacted me and showered good news that I had qualified for vocational training scholarship.

Maranya says he had undergone a course in welding apart from being able to improve his solar system innovation, thanks to Veta for recognizing his talent.

How the idea emerged

Maranya says in 2006 the country was facing power woes. He says there was incessant power rationing countrywide.

As a result he had to come up with the idea to innovate solar power in a bid to avert the problem.

He notes that he invented equipment which runs itself in the air and generates power.

He notes that this comes after examining how the solar system works and discovering the magnetic field of the solar energy which is able to fit the planet while in the sky and around.

“So I crafted my ideas, put them into words and gave them to the panel at the Ministry of Science and Technology,” he says, adding, “they found my idea very handy and encouraged me to put it into use,” but it wasn’t advanced further because the problem was solved.”

One of the panelists at the ministry advised him to think of another teaching kit, equipment that would be used as a teaching aid in Tanzanian schools.

After receiving the advice he started making a teaching aid kit for outer space bodies and atomic particles.

Maranya says he ordered some instruments, including magnets from China in 2010 and others were a donation by Veta so as to facilitate his mission.

He notes that, with some help from Veta he had been able to get accreditation in 2014, adding that this year he had already been evaluated by the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE).

TIE had advised him to improve a few things in his innovation before embarking on seeking property rights.

“I’m now looking for support to reach my targets as I strive to improve the areas suggested by TIE,” he says.

Challenges

Maranya says he works day and night to make his project a success, adding that he sometimes misses free time to socialize.

He says Confederation of Science and Technology (COSTECH) is to blame for not empowering him to realise his dreams.

“Since 2013, I expected a lot from Costech in disseminating this technology to a wider range and in fact, to a good number of community members but unfortunately they have been paying lip service with little or no practical realities in place,” he says adding: “It was during President Jakaya Kikwete’s era when Prof Makame Mbarawa was minister of Science and Technology that upcoming innovators were encouraged to be certified and even got special recognition, but unfortunately the minister’s subordinates didn’t do much to help us further.”

He, however, thinks that in collaboration with Tanzania Institute of Education and Vocational Training Authority and since the Minister for Education knows what is at stake, things will work as planned in the foreseeable future.

However Maranya says he still needs money to finish his work, asking the Government and non-government organizations to help him to finish what he has established.

Way forward

Maranya is optimistic since the Minister for Education Science and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako has promised to work on his lofty ideas.

“The Minister has advised me to work closely with Veta and come up with something which will benefit a good number of Tanzanians. She actually knows and appreciates my innovation,” the joyous Maranya says.

He appeals to the Minister to continue helping him accomplish his task as he is nearly reaching his innovation targets.

Maranya also appeals to President John Magufuli to devise a viable mechanism of recognising upcoming innovators.

“I really wish I could be given ample time to have a talk with the President. I have quite a lot to share with him, especially matters pertaining to science and technology as Tanzania struggles to be an industrialized country by 2025,” says Maranya.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Turning Potential Customers into Happy Customers

By Julius Bulili

Sales is too scary for many small business owners, they think there is always a challenge into turning a “no” to “yes” in sales. But if you can figure out how to turn your sales fear into sales courage, you will change the game in your business. However, the gap between getting a prospect and turning that prospect into a customer can become shorter and shorter with only a few steps.

As a sales person, you need to know who your Target Customers are. On this you need to know; who they listen to, where they hang out both online and offline, what the one problem or challenge is that keeps them up at night and most importantly, what their sense of humor is. 

You are supposed to tighten up your Business Brand. Design your signature content and your business around your ideal customer. Use the lingo of your ideal customer. Mimic the style of the experts they pay attention to. Create Facebook posts based on what they like to see from businesses similar to yours. Create a brand image with attractive logos, tag lines, and clear messaging about who you are as a business, where you are going, and who you’d like to come with you. Note: A blog is a great place to make this step a reality; you can create, nurture, and control well into the future. 

You also need to review your previous Sales Cycle. Ask yourself how long it took to go from prospect to sale with all of your products — even if it was one sale of one product or service. You need this as research for how to cut down on time — and extra steps — in the sales process. 

Another step you should take is to give a boost to your Brand Awareness. Use what you’ve learned about the length of time and the steps necessary to close a sale. Did your ideal customers in those past sales convert faster than customers who were not in your ideal target audience? Most likely the answer is yes. Solution: Beef up your brand awareness. Consider using one social media platform more to draw your target customer to your website. 

Make your ideal clients testify to your greatness. When you have strong brand awareness around your business, sales that normally take one year shrink to six months or less.Sometimes you can close up in 10 minutes with one phone call. The key is to get your ideal clients to say amazing things about you — and record them! Video testimonials are the Holy Grail, and they’re just as tough to get, too. Start out with written testimonials on trusted platforms such as LinkedIn or Yelp. The more of these you have, the shorter the steps in your sales conversion cycle and the more your sales funnel are filled with highly qualified prospects. 

Putting these steps to work will confidently shorten the gap between meeting a prospect and closing the sale and hence ending up with a happy customer. 

 Email: lucbulili@yahoo.com or jullybulili@gmail.com

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Making teaching aid kit for outer space bodies

Ernest Maranya works on his teaching aid kit

Ernest Maranya works on his teaching aid kit for outer space bodies. PHOTO | DEVOTHA JOHN 

By Devotha John

Innovation has inspired youth to realise their dreams, as the adage goes the sky is the limit, even when it comes to thinking of ideas.

 Ernest Maranya, 33, is an upcoming innovator who has embarked on making a teaching aid kit for outer space bodies and atomic particles in his bid to enable science students get full knowledge about wonders of the world.

The equipment has been very handy in making geography and other science subjects an easy lesson. It is a solar system kit for use as teaching aid in the laboratory.

“This equipment will enable students to understand different issues like: rotation of the earth, solar system, axis, solar eclipse and tides,” says Maranya adding that it will enable students to relate theory and practice by merging their prior experiences with the texts and illustrations. 

Maranya notes that students from primary school and secondary school from Form One to Six   and the ones who pursue science subjects including geography, chemistry and physics are set to benefit from  his innovation. 

“In physics, students will be in a position to learn astronomical topics and gravitational force. In Geography, they will benefit from learning solar system while in chemistry they will learn atoms and their variegated functions,” says Maranya, adding that his kit has been tested and is 100 per cent efficient.

“The aim of this technology is to make students learn by doing. It will make teachers get away with mundane teaching style which embraced rote learning,” he says adding, further stating,  “To get practical knowledge will enable students to investigate how the sun and planets affect mankind.”

He notes that due to this technology students will learn different issues, including Summer Season, moon eclipse, night-and-day, sources of planetary relations and planets and how they affect atmospheric tensions, stars and astronomy as a whole.

Mr Maranya has it that putting theory into practice enables students to retain permanent knowledge unlike in the past where teachers lacked enough tools to facilitate meaningful learning.

Maranya says he came up with this innovation after learning much about solar system and how magnetic field work in line with solar power.


History 

  Maranya, who is deaf, says he came up with the idea in 1997 when he was in Grade Six at Ukonga Primary School in Dar-es Salaam.

      He says his quest to understand astronomy while at school; particularly solar system had immense value in his innovation.

“I had it in mind since when I was young that I would one day come up with an idea on how students can easily understand the earth and solar system,” says Maranya adding that he was always eager to know how planets affect each other, their relationships and why do they not fall on the earth.

He notes that while in primary school he had failed to bridge the gap between what he believed and what he was taught.

“I always wanted to know how planets affect each other, especially how the earth rotates around the sun without causing any harm to living organisms,” he recalls.

Maranya says he assumed that the planet is so heavy and too big, adding that when people said that there is a force and tension between the sun and the planet he could not imagine how possible was it that a variety of images were created without compromising the planets’ swimming in the sky.

Maranya notes after passing primary education with flying colours he was selected to join Benjamin Mkapa Secondary school in 2002, but unfortunately he did not pass for Advanced Secondary Education, he then opted for training in welding in 2004 at Vocational Training Authority (Veta).

“I had an opportunity to get scholarship at Veta after my innovation was televised live. I was demonstrating how a water pumping machine works,” said Maranya.

Veta in Dar es Salaam contacted me and showered good news that I had qualified for vocational training scholarship.

Maranya says he had undergone a course in welding apart from being able to improve his solar system innovation, thanks to Veta for recognizing his talent. 


How the idea emerged 

Maranya says in 2006 the country was facing power woes. He says there was incessant power rationing countrywide.

 As a result he had to come up with the idea to innovate solar power in a bid to avert the problem.   

He notes that he invented equipment which runs itself in the air and generates power.                                    

He notes that this comes after examining how the solar system works and discovering the magnetic field of the solar energy which is able to fit the planet while in the sky and around.

“So I crafted my ideas, put them into words and gave them to the panel at the Ministry of Science and Technology,” he says, adding, “they found my idea very handy and encouraged me to put it into use,” but it wasn’t advanced further because the problem was solved.” 

One of the panelists at the ministry advised him to think of another teaching kit, equipment that would be used as a teaching aid in Tanzanian schools.

After receiving the advice he started making a teaching aid kit for outer space bodies and atomic particles.

Maranya says he ordered some instruments, including magnets from China in 2010 and others were a donation by Veta so as to facilitate his mission.

He notes that, with some help from Veta he had been able to get accreditation in 2014, adding that this year he had already been evaluated by the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE).

TIE had advised him to improve a few things in his innovation before embarking on seeking property rights.

“I’m now looking for support to reach my targets as I strive to improve the areas suggested by TIE,” he says.


Challenges

Maranya says he works day and night to make his project a success, adding that he sometimes misses free time to socialize. 

He says Confederation of Science and Technology (COSTECH) is to blame for not empowering him to realise his dreams. 

“Since 2013, I expected a lot from Costech in disseminating this technology to a wider range and in fact, to a good number of community members but unfortunately they have been paying lip service with little or no practical realities in place,” he says adding: “It was during President Jakaya Kikwete’s era when Prof Makame Mbarawa was minister of Science and Technology that upcoming innovators were encouraged to be certified and even got special recognition, but unfortunately the minister’s subordinates didn’t do much to help us further.” 

      He, however, thinks that in collaboration with Tanzania Institute of Education and Vocational Training Authority and since the Minister for Education knows what is at stake, things will work as planned in the foreseeable future.   

      However Maranya says he still needs money to finish his work, asking the Government and non-government organizations to help him to finish what he has established.


Way forward 

Maranya is optimistic since the Minister for Education Science and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako has promised to work on his lofty ideas.

“The Minister has advised me to work closely with Veta and come up with something which will benefit a good number of Tanzanians. She actually knows and appreciates my innovation,” the joyous Maranya says. 

He appeals to the Minister to continue helping him accomplish his task as he is nearly reaching his innovation targets.

Maranya also appeals to President John Magufuli to devise a viable mechanism of recognising upcoming innovators.

 “I really wish I could be given ample time to have a talk with the President. I have quite a lot to share with him, especially matters pertaining to science and technology as Tanzania struggles to be an industrialized country by 2025,” says Maranya.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pre Form One

Many children are not given time to rest even

Many children are not given time to rest even during holidays. PHOTO | FILE 

By Salome Gregory

After seven years of primary education back in the 1990s,pupils would spend some few months waiting for the examination results by doing various things.

Majority of the primary school graduates would stay at home helping their parents or visit relatives.

Currently, things have changed as many pupils have to join some secondary schools for pre Form I classes while others has to attend some camps  meant to train them on life skills. 

Many parents and other stakeholders in the education sector have been left wondering  why children no longer have time to rest. Some have raised concerns about the importance of having pre-Form I classes as well as life skill camps.

Derek Rutinisa is a teacher at Tabata Secondary School. He says pre-Form I classes are meant to prepare pupils to start secondary education with at least an introduction of what he or she will be expected to learn at that level. 

He says, in most government schools, pupils learn all the subjects in Kiswahili  so they are gradually introduced to English at this point. He says the introduction of pre-Form I classes came as a way of boosting education standards in the country, however at some point, others considered it as a way of making money as most of the schools charge parents for this service.

“Swahili language being a major language of communication in public primary schools, the pre-Form I classes came as a way of introducing them to English,” says Rutinisa.

He says parents have to part with some money since the schools have to pay teachers who are offering such services and buy other  learning materials. People fail to differentiate between fee free education and paying for the education to support the production costs of the private schools as they end up believing pre-Form I classes is a source of only generating income  while it is not.

‘‘Parents and teachers need to sit and discuss together the importance of pre-Form I classes as this will clear the doubts of parents being conned by some schools offering the pre-Form I idea,’’ he adds.

Available information from Grace Inc, a local firm that deals with organizing summer boot camp programmes for children from age 5 up to 21 years shows the camps aims at equipping them to face the challenges of today and live what they love.

The modules include etiquette and manners, confidence building, financial management, presentation, prioritisation, decision making and dealing with bullying and peer pressure, etc.

These modules are age appropriate for  5-6, 7-9, 10-13, 14-17, 18-21 years. This trainings take place during the holidays and fees charged is Sh200,000/- per child for 10 days.

Elizabeth Masinde,42, is a mother of two children and a banker. She strongly objects the pre-Form I idea and boot camps though both her children went through the pre-Form I classes.

She had no choice than to let her children be enrolled for pre-Form I classes as she wanted the best schools for her children. But if she had another option, she wouldn’t have paid such amount of money for just four months. 

She says, it is a parent’s duty to train his or her children on everything.  She believes in the process of training children to be responsible adults, they create a bond and get unique experience of what it takes to become a better parent.

“Our parents groomed us on everything. Back then we knew nothing about boot camps or even pre-Form I. It created a room for parents to raise their own children and teach them on how they should live their lives in future,” says Elizabeth. 

She adds that parents have become too busy to raise their own children to  a point where they leave it to paid for programmes to take in their children not knowing exactly what they are taught in these boot camps. 

Unlike Elizabeth, Justus Buregi, 45, supports the idea of pre-Form I classes and boot camps.

He says, if parents are too busy to get enough time for their children, then they should pay the organisations offering boot camps to take in these children with their development.

“I am not saying that parents should run away from their parenting jobs but they should be given time to work and bring food on the table dedicate the limited time they have for their children,” says Buregi.

Adding to that he says, a parent has to make sure he or she is satisfied with the level of professionalism of where the child will be enrolled for such programmes. He states that Grace Inc offers a special package for Standard VII at Sh250,000 and among other things they train on communication and use of social media, emotional intelligence, moodiness, stress, depression and anger management.

The programme also train on relationships with parents, friends, siblings and setting boundaries on the kinds of relationships to have.

Mary Ndoba,32, is a medical doctor who went through pre-Form I classes. She says although she was not happy to be involved with the pre Form I classes soon after she competed her primary education, it helped her to sharpen her understanding compared to the rest who joined her class without going through pre-Form I classes. 

“I had planned to visit my relatives soon after my Standard VII examinations but I had no choice than to join pre-Form I class as my parents enrolled me,” says Mary.

An official from HakiElimu who sought anonymity since he is not the official spokesperson said the practise has positive impact however at the same time it is money consuming for parents and brings a bad feeling for the parents who cannot afford such fee for their children.

He says that, it makes it easy for the pupils to understand what to expect when they resume classes. But the question is, are the teachers teaching with the same pace as required when these pupils officially start their Form I classes.

Fees for pre-Form I pupils differs from school to school however majority of the pupils go for three months. Some schools charge Sh150,000 per month while some charge Sh200,000.

Efforts to get comments from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training was not fruitful however the government does not recognise the availability of the practice.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Youth-led project that turns waste into gas

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Last week, I visited municipal sewer at Vingunguti, one of the densely populated areas in Dar es Salaam city. Anyone visiting the area is usually  welcomed by the strong stench  of sewage coming from waste ponds surrounding the area.

This stench had become part and parcel of life of Magreth Jeremiah and her family who has lived in the area for the last 15 years. 

The mother of two admits that poor sewage system caused a lot of inconvenience for her family and neighbours, until some two years ago when some few youth came up with a sanitation solution under the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) project.

“Sewage water flooding to our houses during rainy season had become a normal thing since this is a densely populated area,” explains the petite woman. 

However for the last two years, things have changed for her family and some of her neighbours because they now have a sanitation solution to problems posed by widespread use of pit latrines with waste ending in open sewage ponds. 

Thanks to students from the University of Cambridge (UK), Ardhi University and Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Sciences who came up with an innovative project to help these residents.

Elisante Julius, the project coordinator says they have been trying to come up with innovative ideas to see how they can turn the waste from the pit latrines around the area into gas and reduce the amount of waste from the municipal ponds.

“Since we started in 2014, more than 450 families have benefited from the project. Unlike other sewerage systems,  these ones connect household latrines to a municipal sewer, which drains into a nearby waste stabilisation pond. From there it goes straight into our gas system which later on can be used to generate gas for home consumption,” he explains.

He added that through the system they have created, even the water that comes from the waste can be evaporated by boiling it using sun light. He hopes that with this system the waste ponds would become a thing of the past. Elisante said living too close to the waste ponds is risky since they pollute the air and can cause a lot of diseases through the air people breathe. He said this kind of innovation can be a big solution since it can help reduce such effects to the community.  

Rahim Ghasi, a leader at Mji mpya street at Mnyamani ward, Vingunguti said such an innovative program  has opened new hope to his community which has struggled to maintain a healthy environment.

‘‘This area is located in the valley, the sewer system wasn’t well established, but now things have changed since water used for domestic purpose can be dispose of in a well-established system which currently goes directly to the municipal sewer system. 

“Before, things were different as I kept receiving lots of complaints from people living around this area. There were also cases of water and air borne diseases reported frequently but since the project was established, such cases have dropped,” explains the chairman.

He added that having such an innovative idea of turning the sewage into gas can be a big lifesaving mission because of the impact the municipal sewer has in the community health.

“They used to treat these ponds but I don’t think it used to be done properly because one cannot touch let alone tolerate the strong smell that comes from the waste ponds. If these were well treated no smell could be coming out of them,” he said.

“Toxic fumes that come from the ponds can’t be detected at once, it takes years for the impact to be noticed because it slowly affects you. Even houses which are closely located near the damp, the iron sheets rust easily, this shows how dangerous the area is,” says Rahim.         

Fiona Conlon, a health project volunteer at Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI), says the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) projects are being conductied to provide sanitation solution to the problems posed by the widespread use of pit latrines in peri-urban areas. 

“This objective has been achieved in Mnyamani through the installation of a simplified sewerage network, which acts as a cheap alternative to conventional systems,” she says adding that pipes laid at shallow depths and gradients connect household latrines to a municipal sewer, which drains into a nearby waste stabilisation pond. Using this method, CDI have connected 450 people to a working sewerage system since 2014, and are expanding the network to serve a further 100 people in 2017.” 

According to her the health benefits associated with good-quality sanitation infrastructure are evident like  direct transportation of sewage away from houses, limiting contact with faecal matter, resulting in cleaner toilets, cleaner streets and improved hygiene behaviour.

 In a recent survey of their initiative  network, 97 per cent of households agreed or strongly agreed that the network had improved the overall health of the community.

 “Moreover, our approach is one of participatory development, and thus the project is fundamentally a community-led venture. A Sanitation Users Association (SUA) is established for each of the routes comprising the network. This is a committee made up of the beneficiaries of the network, who are responsible for the construction, payments and maintenance of the system,” 

The SUAs also include the position of a Health Ambassador, who promotes positive hygiene behaviour such as handwashing and correct latrine usage. Additionally, this forthcoming year the group will be running handwashing, toothbrushing and latrine management training sessions as well as a 24 month series of workshops on community bonding, entrepreneurial skills and life skills in conjunction with two local Non Governmental Organizations.

 Meanwhile, CDI’s Health team is continuing its innovative work in Vingunguti. Working in collaboration with local citizens and stakeholders, the programme seeks to design, implement, and evaluate health-based projects within Vingunguti.

 As a new initiative this year, we have been planning and running a series of workshops focused on women’s health, designed and delivered in collaboration with community health workers and Childbirth Survival International (CSI). During a focus group this August, the community health workers told us that the single most important need for women in Vingunguti is education; equipping them with knowledge that will allow them to have greater control over the course of their lives. 

Addressing this need, topics tackled in our workshops include maternal health, cancer, contraception and sexual health. This year, we are also working closely with Waterscope, a start-up from Cambridge in the UK which is 3D-printed microscopes that can test water quality or test for malaria. We are running workshops with children from the community and in collaboration with Ifakara Health Institute to collect user feedback on Waterscope’s microscope prototypes, with a long-term goal of making accurate microscopy diagnosis more accessible to local communities.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to create a social media marketing content plan

 

Want to connect more with your target audience? Wondering how to deliver relevant social media content consistently?

Planning your social media content delivery keeps your marketing on-message, making it more likely that you’ll reach your business goals.

Understand how your ideal customer moves from awareness to conversion

Whether you’ve been in business for 24 hours or 10 years, defining your target customer is a crucial part of your journey. You may be thinking it’s easy to define your target customer based on the usual demographics, age, gender, etc.

However, you need to go beyond simply identifying your target customer’s marital status, where they live, or what their hobbies are. In the era of the “experience,” you have to give your customers an experience they’ll fall in love with. For example, Uber and Airbnb have grown to be successful companies because they provide a great customer experience while fulfilling a need.

Put yourself in your target customers’ shoes. What is their first thought when researching a product? How do they progress from there? Most importantly, what’s the final question they ask before making a purchase?

Decide why you’ll use social media for business, and identify KPIs: Defining a goal for your social media efforts is crucial. Without a goal, you can’t assess the success or failure of your plan.

Increase brand awareness: The biggest reason marketers use social media is to build brand awareness. The average person will spend close to two hours a day on social media, which is why brand awareness is a key goal for businesses.

Boost engagement: Engagement is the second most important metric businesses use to measure social media success. Boosting engagement helps you build brand trust, recommendations, and perception online. Engagement is particularly important on Facebook and Instagram because they prioritize posts with higher engagement, showing them in the feed before posts with less engagement.

Choose the right social network to engage your audience: Targeting every social network without looking at each platform’s demographics won’t provide the results you’re looking for. Before deciding which platforms to invest your time in, you need to do some research to find out which social networks attract your target customer. Focus on two key areas: network demographics and reciprocity across platforms.

Research content topics: Once you’ve decided which social networks to focus on, it’s time to plan your content. The content you create needs to be specific, relevant, and unique, and not all about “you” as a business.

If your goal is to create content that’s either the next big thing or a viral sensation, that’s not realistic and the wrong approach to content creation. Instead, focus your efforts on creating content that will engage your target audience.

Plan Your Content Calendar: After you’ve done your research, you’re ready to create content for your blog. First, decide which target customer the content is designed for and then choose a topic. Get specific with topics in your industry.

Next, choose a blog article title. Look at three types of keywords: transactional, informational, and navigational. A transactional keyword attracts people who are looking for the best or cheapest. An informational keyword touches on the “what” and “how,” while establishing you as an expert. A navigational keyword helps people find what they’re looking for and usually includes a brand name.

Source: socialmediaexaminer.com

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Writing for youth with goals in life

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Elihuruma Maruma is a husband, father, author, speaker and a young entrepreneur. He was raised in a single-parent family by his mother Janeth Kisanga. At the moment, he is the Founder and National Director of an NGO called Youth Shaping and Sharpening Movement (YSSM) headquartered in Arusha but operating nationwide.

Maruma has a Technician Certificate in Wildlife Management, Diploma in Office Administration and Human Resource Management. Apart from that he is pursuing a Bachelor in Christian Evangelism and Bachelor of Science in Bioethics in progress.

Success sat down with him for a one-on-one

Everyone has something unique to say which can be translated into a book, but not many people write or publish books. Why is that?

When you take into consideration how many people in our country read books you will never be motivated to write a book. It takes real encouragement and aggressiveness to write a book, something which many people lack. Also, many people are not ready to take risk and invest their time and money in book writing and publishing.

Who are you targeting with this book?

Most of my books are read by youth. I write my books for youth who have got dreams and vision and they really need direction to take a step towards accomplishing their dreams, these are the youth ranging from 14 – 35 yrs old. Most of them are those in Secondary school, ordinary colleges, universities and few at work.

Why should people read your book?

Most of my books are inspirational and motivational books; these are the kind of books that influence one’s thinking and shape the way we take action. So, people should read my books because they have got breakthrough steps, self-awareness, and encouragement towards accomplishment of vision and dreams. These are the books written in a very simple language with practical guidelines everyone can take.

Let’s talk about why you’re writing the book.

First of all, my parents taught me to read books at a very young age. They really motivated me and influenced my reading culture. Since then I realised the power of reading books, and I do know practically how one book can totally change somebody’s life. I do believe that when I put my practical ideas into writing, many people’s lives can be changed, that’s why I will never stop writing.

How are you going to help people?

As a speaker at different youth events, I do use my time while speaking to motivate youth on reading books. I am a real living testimony of who I am today as a result of reading books. I write my books with a very simple attractive language, mixing Swahili and English so that people can read and understand easily. With my YSSM team, we organize events and social network groups on books reading. Sometimes I distribute free books on both hard and soft copies so that youth can read access them.

What is it in your book that will enable people to be better off as a result? What advice do you bring; what guidance, what counsel?

Most of my books deal with a real and genuine life, what I always do is make sure people understand who they are, what amazing potential they have. Guide them to move from lower self-esteem and self-image to a higher one, raising their self-confidence, plan smartly and at the end taking a step to live their dreams while unleashing their potential in fullness.

Getting people’s attention, especially getting full attention to get them to read a book is very hard. What’s your plan?

I always start with a very attractive book title, front cover appearance, and the book contents and contexts. The way I mix up languages in most of my books whereby Kiswahili covers about 8 percent while the rest is English, helps a lot. Also, sometimes I write special books for a specific gender, for example, my book called “A noble girl of nowdays” and “Makosa makubwa 21 wanayofanya wasichana wengi” are special for girls, while “Before you touch her body” is special for boys. Therefore, these are the ways and techniques that I am using to capture or get their attention.

What is it that readers will learn?

The reader will learn the following

- Who they are and what they should do on earth. (Purpose)

- The abilities, capabilities, talents, gifts and creativeness they have (potential)

- How to think and talk properly (of Mind and Words) - How to live with right people and ignore toxic people.

- How to deal with their past and problems they are passing through.

- How youth can avoid pre-marital sex and peer pressure.

- How to achieve their dreams, vision, and attain their goals.

What are the specific things you will impart?

- A sense of purpose (a reason for existence)

- How to unleash potential in fullness.

- How important is passion on taking a step in dream achievement.

- Raising self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence.

- Realizing the difference between male and female and how to deal with them in a relationship.

- Enhancing their intimate relationship with God.

- Self-preparation on motherhood and fatherhood (parenting).

Who are the audiences for your book?

- Primary school pupils who I have started working with on training and workshops.

- Secondary school students that I have been speaking and writing to for almost 10 years now.

- College and university students who are my major platform for the time being.

- Job places and church, youth who left their colleges and secondary few years ago.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

The general end – product/result idea grasped from the book context should be what I am struggling with at that particular moment in my life. In short, the theme should be who I am practically.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

It’s my passionate commitment and calling to see people live happy meaningful lives while impacting other people’s lives positively and having better relationship with their creator (God). I write both life coaching (motivational) and spiritual books and I do balance in as far as number of fields per year is concerned.

What projects are you working on at present?

I am now working on a boys’ book called “Before you touch her body” and a girl’s book called “O mileage” and also a success motivational small book called “Upenyo”

What do your plans for future projects include?

It’s all about writing books that will deal with filling a gap that hinders youth from accomplishing their dreams and unleashing their potential.

I’m initiating and establishing BMS (body, mind, and spirit) clubs all over the country that will help youth on sharpening themselves in body, mind, and spirit, including at least reading one book per month.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Drama as Kizito and Alphayo fight

 

When I predicted here that Kizito would lose in the General Election, no one took me seriously. If you remember, Kizito, a close friend of my brother, left a relatively well-paying job in Nairobi to contest for an MCA’s seat. But what really happened depends on whom you are listening to.

“I realised the MCA is an important seat that needed serious people like me to come and pull our people out of poverty,” he told me one day. “This job requires a seriously educated person with high morals and integrity.”

While his education was in no doubt, there are question marks about his morals and integrity. The marriages he is accused to have broken during the campaign season are many. Sources will tell you that Kizito did not resign from his job. He stole some money from his employer then ran to come hide in the village. No wonder he can never go back to Nairobi.

“He never wanted to contest but after he found himself with quite some idle money, he decided to contest,” said Saphire. At the time, I could not comment for I was a beneficiary of the funds as I was helping him register voters,.

That was earlier in the year. Kizito was generous and used to treat us well. He would give money to church harambees, buy drinks at Hitler’s and would help anyone in distress. But his opponents came in just before the nominations, with real money. With more money, most of his opponents outsmarted and outwitted him. Most voters could not remember the many times Kizito had helped them, but compared what he was giving – usually Sh50 – with the Sh200 his main challenger was giving.

And you will all remember the day he kept teachers waiting at Kasuku Hotel for hours, only to come late and complain that the teachers had eaten more that he had budgeted for, and never gave anything except for a few t-shirts. That is the day he lost the teachers’ vote. Needless to say, Kizito lost the nominations, but still went ahead to vie as an independent candidate.

“I was rigged in the nominations but I can assure you the people are with me,” he told anyone who cared to listen. But there was one problem – he did not have money. To raise money, he started selling whatever he could. Earlier in the year, he had bought four motorcycles which he had given to some boda boda boys to run on his behalf. He also bought an old Probox that he was using for campaigns, and a plot at the market.

He started selling these to raise money for campaigns. A week to elections, he had even sold the car, and only one motorcycle remained. Were it not for the intervention of my brother Pius, he was planning to sell the plot at the market centre to Lutta. He also wanted to sell his posho mill but never got anyone to buy it.

You do not need a calculator to know that Kizito lost with a landslide at the General Election. Despite the confidence he had, he did not manage even 20 votes. Obviously, he was quite upset as his agents alone were over 25; and he spent long hours in his house brooding and crying and sleeping.

He seemed to have gotten over the loss a few days later, and when we met at Hitler’s, he was in high spirits.

“Don’t worry about me,” he said after a few drinks. “Sisi tumejipanga.” When he was challenged to say more, he informed us that he would be nominated to the county assembly.

“Lots of parties want to nominate me so that I can help the county make good laws as no one is as educated as I am here,” he said.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Franchising opportunities in business

 

By Julius Bulili

As we look forward to current economic changeover in the country, many business owners are considering expanding their business. One option for expansion is franchising.

Franchising is a system for expanding a business and distributing goods and services to meet higher consumer demand. It’s based on a relationship between the brand owner and the local operator to skillfully and successfully extend one’s established business system.

Franchising offers many benefits, which include capital for expansion, a franchisee with a vested interest in the success of the business, local market knowledge, as a franchisee you become an independent businessperson and responsible for the ultimate performance of your business and so many other benefits that you can mention.

Legally, anyone can become a franchisor. All that is required to be able to offer a franchise is the preparation of documents in compliance with the FCA Rule and adherence to the additional legal and registration requirements of the Nation.

The more important question, however, is not can a business be franchised but, rather, should a business be franchised? To answer the question of whether a business should be franchised requires a careful examination of the concept, the economics of the business, the marketplace(s) in which the concept will be offered, and the business culture and temperament of the business management.

Franchising should only be used if it is the most efficient means of reaching the objectives of the company.

Even if franchising is an effective means of meeting a company’s objectives, not all businesses are ready to franchise. The better prepared and positioned a company is to expand through franchising, the better the chance of establishing a solid network of franchisees and protecting the brand.

Below are some criteria to consider if you are thinking about franchising your business.

Consumer demand for the products – the Company’s products and services must have adequate consumer appeal and demand to foster the anticipated network growth. If the product can be adapted to regional or targeted audiences, the overall appeal is widened.

Recognizable brand name and registered trademark, or a trademark that can be registered - Having a registered trademark ensures that a franchisor will be able to protect their brand name from imitators as they build their franchise network.

Business climate and regulatory requirements – The business must be able to be operated within regulatory requirements at the federal, state and local levels. Are there any significant regulatory barriers or personnel licensing requirements that would prohibit or limit the development of franchises?

Systemization of the business operations – The business must operate according to established policies and procedures that produce consistent results. Is the business based upon a set of refined and unified operating processes that have been tested and proven in actual operating locations?

Skill transfer – The franchisor must be able to train the franchisee and their staff to operate the business within a reasonable period of time and to achieve a consistent customer experience and meet brand standards from business to business.

Business economics and financial performance – Both the franchisor and the franchisee must be able to achieve an acceptable return on their investment. There must be reason to believe that the financial results will be sustainable in the long term.

Franchisor culture, experience and management - The franchisor must have the willingness and ability to invest in developing an infrastructure and programs to support the franchise network. The franchisor must be able to foster the corporate culture necessary to manage a network of franchisees within the constraints of the franchise relationship.

Marketability of the franchise - The franchise offering must be marketable against competitive franchise offerings, as well as other investment and career opportunities. The universe of potential franchisees must be of sufficient size to enable the franchisor to achieve reasonable growth goals.

These criteria can help a business determine whether they should franchise; they are a primary indication of whether the examination process should be taken to the next level. The next level includes a closer look at the system, the economics of the business, and the culture of the parent company; if these three elements are not in place and cannot be put in place, then it is unlikely that franchising is the correct method of distribution for the business.

…follow through my next consultative message By Julius Landu Bulili – M.Sc. (Economics &Econometrics); CPM, S.A.| Business Coach| Business plans & Project Proposals writer| Email: lucbulili@yahoo.com or jullybulili@gmail.com

 

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My boy’s weight is worrying

 

Hi, I am a parent of an almost teenage boy in the later years of his primary education. Lately, I have realised that his eating habits have come with extra weight which has made him add almost 20 kilos. He is increasingly getting lazy and this brings a fear that he might eat himself into trouble if we don’t do something, the trouble is how do we do it!

The percentage of overweight children is growing at an alarming rate in most developing countries.

Many children spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-games.

And today’s busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy is the reality for many people.

Preventing children from becoming overweight means adapting the way your family eats and exercises, and how you spend time together.

Helping children lead healthy lifestyles begins with parents who lead by example. In young children, often all that is required to stabilise weight are a few key changes: controlling portion sizes at mealtimes, choosing healthy snacks, making family takeaway dinners a rare treat and getting enough daily exercise to get “a little bit sweaty and out of breath”.

Among teenagers, breaking the weight cycle can be tougher, so short-term goals are best.

For those 12 and over, parents can effectively broach the issue with reasoned questions such as: “Do you really like those foods?

How do you know a child is overweight? Body mass index testing - a calculation that adjusts weight for height - is less useful because the index charts are based on research on adults and projected back for children.

Dr Matt Sabin suggests using a tape to measure a child’s waist circumference - but, again, do it sensitively. As a rule of thumb, “anyone’s waist should be no more than half the value of their height”. Measure everyone in the household, rather than single out a child. And do it no more than fortnightly or, preferably, monthly.

It’s important not to be too strict, Sabin says, because that can make them give up. Children and teens shouldn’t be encouraged to follow commercial diets, especially during puberty. Parents sometimes worry that tackling obesity in childhood will lead to eating disorders later in life but Sabin says there’s no real evidence to suggest a link.

One in 100 obese children referred to specialist services such Sabin’s has an underlying medical, genetic or hormonal cause for weight gain.

But sometimes, parents simply need help with their overweight children.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Circle of Trust

 

By By Miranada Naiman

Trust is the most important factor in human connection; in both business and personal relationships. If you can’t trust someone how can you expect to work towards common goals? There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to trust: on one extreme, there are people who can build almost immediate and uninhibited trust and on the opposite end of the continuum; those that are incapable of trusting others at all. Both cases can be detrimental to a balanced mental state – the first situation presents ample opportunity for disappointment and the second scenario causes an overwhelming feeling of isolation. Most of us reside somewhere in-between these two cases; and use a combination of intuition and experience to navigate the development of meaningful relationships.

The fragility of trust shouldn’t be underestimated as one minor blunder can cause irreparable damage. The ‘Three C’s of Trust’ will help you maximise your ability to be trusted by others and inevitably create a Circle of Trust within your family, workplace and beyond.

1. Competence – Do you instill credibility in others? Do you have the necessary skills and talent to do your job effectively? Are you renowned for setting the bar high and for holding others to account? Have you purposely and strategically invested time/money/energy in honing your craft with the intention of creating maximum impact in all you do? One of the core components of trust-building is not only knowing your craft but executing with precision to demonstrate your competence. Working with a steely sense of professionalism unmistakably communicates that you are a capable and dependable person to those around you.

In the workplace, you can edge closer towards the circle of trust by being devoted to results and simultaneously delivering an exceptional service-experience. When you focus on maintaining the highest levels of professionalism throughout your career you will undoubtedly build lasting connections centered on trust.

2. Character – Does your moral compass point you in the right direction? Are you an authentic human-being? Are your private and public personas aligned or do you suffer from Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde-complex? The combination of your essence (internal) and the way you conduct yourself (external) can be defined as your character. Trust is built when you are a person others can count on – lending support; sharing learning and genuinely showing interest all strengthen the circle of trust. Conduct yourself as someone worthy and – more importantly – deserving of peoples’ trust by treating people as you wish to be treated.

In the workplace, this means having a sense of integrity and the resolve to avert temptation or alignment to the wrong people. Your line manager will trust you more when you genuinely engage in your work by seeking ways to improve the department/business.

Positively representing the organisation (even outside working hours) works wonders and always comes full-circle as you stand out in the broader community as a trustworthy person of substance.

3. Consistency – Can people depend on you to deliver without fail? Are there inconsistencies in your character that cause you to act unpredictably? Are there noticeable gaps in your knowledge that may affect your proficiency at work? Being a competent, upstanding citizen isn’t sufficient; trust is truly built when you can consistently sustain your professionalism over time. If you want to play a game of tennis, you need to keep thrashing the ball back over the net – one expert shot simply won’t cut the mustard if your goal is to win.

In the workplace, this means you will have developed a positive reputation that precedes you – an irrefutable beacon for high standards and a winning attitude accompanied with a progressive mindset.

Trust is built and maintained by many small actions over time – it is not a matter of technique, tricks or tools but of character. At the end of the day we are trusted because of our way of being, not because of our polished exteriors or our expertly crafted communications. Start today with a concerted effort to cultivate, earn and build trust, and discover the incredible difference it can make in your life.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tanzania staying ahead in e-education system

Faraja Nyalandu has been at the forefront of

Faraja Nyalandu has been at the forefront of e-education in Tanzania 

By Hellen Nachilongo

By Hellen Nachilongo


Throughout the world, there’s been a rise in the number of students who opt to study courses online. Online learning has been deemed as the greatest revolution in contemporary education system. This is because the traditional system of education is still full of challenges. Even as the government strive to make strides by establishing free education, there are still loopholes. However, e-learning has made great changes to the education system and opened great opportunities for everyone who wants to learn.


One among such online education platforms in Tanzania is Shule Direct. Ever since its establishment in 2013, Shule Direct, a social enterprise that provides digital study tools for Tanzanian secondary students has benefited about 1.1 million students and teachers through its online platform.

Some of the best teachers in the country are involved to create digitized notes, tutorials, quizzes, podcasts and videos, while developing technological solutions to deliver to students across the country.

Since its establishment students have been able to access different subjects and textbooks through mobile phone.

The move was not to replace formal school education but to support students with special learning needs who need flexibility in learning or students with physical disabilities that restrict their access to school material; this technology meets their learning demands.

Its founder and Chief Executive Officer Ms Faraja Nyalandu explained she never thought her idea of starting an online platform would grow, though she pursued her masters in law through online studies.

 

Ease access to education

According to the founder of the online platform, the idea of technology was to help students, teachers, expectant mothers and mothers to access educational material wherever they are without any inconvenience.

“As a wife, I got my first and second pregnancy during my masters course, as a result it was not easy to fully attend classes but through online technology, I was able to access and exchange learning materials with fellow students and was also able to write my course work and submit to my lecturers while looking after my two children and performing home duties, “she said.

The need to provide students with another alternative of accessing school materials led to the establishment of the online feature. Through mobile technology several students have been provided with educational information wherever they are. The problem of lack of access to learning material still persists to a larger extent for majority of students in Tanzania. Many students still have to go to the library in search of textbooks, while some cannot access any reading materials at all.

Ms Nyalandu believes that the provision of mobile technology in education has the potential to overcome several barriers experienced in the sector and it also enhances the learning environment. “Mobile learning if well harnessed can contribute to the improvement of the quality of education provided to students,” she says.

Tanzania’s education system is facing its share of challenges, 67 per cent of assigned teachers in public schools are not teaching due to various reasons. There is a current annual demand of 26,000 Science and Mathematics teachers with an output of only 1000 teachers per year.

She says her organisation is working to change this by creating the best content from qualified teachers that can be accessed via an online educational repository. The organisation is giving an opportunity to children in Tanzania to learn and realize their full potential.

So far they have created a cloud-based repository with content organized and mapped to the local curriculum. It can hold varied content from text based notes and quizzes, to engaging podcasts and fully animated videos, in order to cater for every learning need. It has an Application Programmer’s Interface (API) that provides a unified interface to pull appropriate content to different devices and platforms.

The subjects include core mandatory subjects of Biology, Mathematics, History, Geography, English, Civics and Kiswahili and two Science subjects of Physics and Chemistry that even though they are not compulsory, these subjects suffer from a combination of a lack of qualified teachers, qualified resources, and minimal students’ interest.

“Qualified, accessible educational content is every child’s right and not a privilege, we believe a lot of people will join the movement and be a catalyst to ensure that students access education material anytime and anywhere,” she said.

She says through mobile technology students are able to ask teacher and get  response on different academic and student support matters by using text message (sms) through an ‘ask Ticha Kidevu’ feature.

“Therefore, for our content map, the teachers have developed learning notes, revision quizzes, bilingual science concepts and mock exams,” she explains. This is the initial level of content that must be developed before it can be digitally developed into other formats such as audio or audiovisual.

Ms Nyalandu said they have built the educational content repository, testing and restructuring the API as content is being built, “our developers develop and design web portals such as the Open Educational Resource and the Learning Management System and mobile applications and services that pull content from the repository via the API,” she notes, adding, “We are building apps for SMS, smartphones, web and even Facebook, so students can access content from our repository on whatever devices they have. These applications will feed student data back, so that the whole system adapts to each student’s needs.”

 

Learning better

Twiga hosting Limited (THL) co-founder Jacob Urasa, said children with access to safe internet learn better, gain self-confidence and are able to retain what they search for much longer than what they gain through traditional learning. “Though if misused mobile platforms could be harmful, but when used well act as good learning tools.”

According to him, science and technology plays a vital role in today’s lives and several fields such as health, transport, education, business, finance, entrepreneurship, production and manufacturing therefore if students embrace innovation well it gives them room to perform better in class and access learning materials without any inconvenience.

He said his online platform is used as educational and assessment tool for secondary school students.

“Students get Free Online educational assessment tools, which is the same as doing online exams, quizzes or tests. The system is capable of marking and providing results and solutions. One review paper can be released daily for 30 days,” said Urasa. THL was established to enable Tanzania stay ahead of e-education game in Africa and globally, more than ever before.

Martha Nelson, 16, a Form Four student at one of the schools in Kinondoni region said accessing educational materials online has been helpful to her especially during free time because she doesn’t  have to go to the library.

“Sometimes one might go to the library but he/she might not find the textbook they want to read, another scenarios include finding the book you want to read at the library, but find a few pages missing from the book,” she said.

Martha explained that using mobile or any other digital technology to access material or is very convenient and has helped her perform better during exams.

 

Bridging the knowledge and skills gap

Shule Direct is keen to develop a youth capacity building program to bridge the knowledge and skills gap between education and careers. They are currently piloting it and it will be underway in December this year.

Ms Nyalandu said they want to provide on demand market responsive courses for young learners to facilitate their career growth in either employment or entrepreneurship and unleash their potential.

“Our next goal is to create high quality, detailed videos of secondary school subjects with a special focus on science practical experiments for biology, physics and chemistry,” she said.

These videos can be delivered to students via various channels including Shule Direct’s online web platform, pre-installation on educational devices, streaming to web-enabled devices and television broadcast.

In Tanzania for example, many students never get the chance to enter a science laboratory or perform a single science experiment before their national exams, this situation is mirrored in other African nations.

Many students resort to memorizing experimental procedures and results, but having never performed or seen the experiments, they lack fundamental understanding of the science concepts involved and the chance to apply the theoretical knowledge that they have gained in reading and classroom lectures.

With the rise of technology, it is becoming more convenient for students to access different reading materials online. Online platforms help fill in the gaps left by traditional learning tools which are filled with multiple challenges. The government should therefore enhance easy access to technology as an alternative way of helping solve some of the problems experienced in the education sector.

 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Setting and achieving life goals

Despite what everyone around might say, there is always hope of achieving life goals if one tries hard enough and works towards the same.

Benedict Johnson, 28, is one among those who dared to try. 

Born in Nyanshini village, Magu district in Mwanza region, Ben is a role model for many youth.

He repeated Standard Seven for three consecutive years (2009/2010/2011) but never managed to get the required points to join Form One. Johnson was eager to proceed with studies, but his performance in class proved a hard battle to overcome.

 “Since I attended various primary schools within Mwanza region, I could not get a good grade, all were below average,” he revealed.

He says, during his entire time in primary school, he was forced to find other means of making it in class; this included asking one of his bright friends to help him get the required marks. He did this for several years. 

His father made efforts towards his education in a bid to boost his performance, but nothing worked.

“In 2012, I did my Certificate of Primary Education (CPE), I was the last person among 43 candidates at Alliance  Primary School in Mwanza city. My parents encouraged me to re-sit for the fourth time but this time I declined,” he says adding that he told them to save that money to educate the rest of his siblings.

It was then that he decided Benedict his future will not be  judged based on education but on other fields which were yet to be discovered.

He says he had nothing to hide from his parents as they knew his potential and as well, pitied him for trying and failing multiple times.

He confirmed to Success that his mother never took it lightly lwhen he decided to drop out of school as he had a key role in the entire family – being the firstborn.

“My mother never agreed to my decision at once, I just pleaded with her to accept my request. It was not my wish but I just had to try something different,” he said.

In the middle of 2013 when he was just nineteen, his father called him to ask him about the plans he had for the future if given another chance. He said all he wanted was Sh100, 000 to start his own business. He never told his parents what he exactly wanted to do.

“My dad handed the money to me, he was quite sure that his money had gone to waste and therefore there was no reason to bother himself asking me in the evening when we met over my progress or what I had done with the money,” Benedict says.

 

How he spent the money

   Benedict says during his young age in the village, he learnt some activities which, according to him, were the best projects to start with and would easily make him money.

     “I began buying chicken from the village and took them to town and made little profit, some months later, I managed to have reliable orders from big restaurants in Magu town and therefore increased the number of chicken which I delivered,” he explains.

Two years later, Benedict is succeeding in life irrespective of his poor academic background.

Apart from performing poorly on most subjects, Benedict is able to balance his business records to counter-check for profit made on a daily basis.

Benedict reveals that towards the end of 2013, when he was almost turning 20, he decided to join Nyakato Vocational Training Institute, Mwanza, the following year where he trained as a driver.

Still with his parents in the rural village of Nyanshini, Magu district, Benedict’s business expanded gradually. After establishing a business that was doing fairly well, on March 2014, Benedict got married at the age of twenty. After three months, the couple had to move from home and rent a elsewhere and try living independently.

However his shift from the  village to urban affected his chicken business thereby losing his customers.

 

New venture

    Bearing in mind that Mwanza is a growing city with daily construction activities; in December 2015, Benedict used his savings from chicken supply to buy a brick-making machine. “I hired some four to five men who did this job.

I could see the profit from the business. After doing calculations on the expenditure involved, such as buying cement, sand, water and paying the workers, I was still left with some profit,” he says adding that he collects Sh700,000 depending on the flow of custumers. 

    Benedict, now a father of two used savings from the brick making business to buy two second hand cars which he uses as taxis. He is the owner of Ben Taxi 1 and 2, in Mwanza city besisedes owning his personal car. He makes Sh100, 00 per week from the taxis and says that after realizing that he wasn’t going to make in the traditional academic system, he had go look for a niche where he could thrive. “I knew I couldn’t pass the ionic equations in chemistry, reproduction in biology and other complicated subjects in secondary schools,” he confesses.

 

Future plans

Ben says for now he has his own home at Buhongwa, Mwanza city suburb together with his two Carina taxi cars. He says back in the village he has managed to buy some piece of land which he intends to plant cypress trees and he knows one day he will sell them and make good money.

“In the morning, I hand over the keys to my two drivers who operate my cars in the city. They present their daily ‘earning’ in the evening plus the keys. All vehicles spend the night in my compound. The brick-making machine is located in Kirumba in Ilemela district and I make money on a  weekly basis,” he says.

His plan is to relocate his parents from the village life move them closer to town. He also intends to start an affordable education academy. “All children facing challenges in life and at school will be taught free of charge,” he reveals.

 

Parting shot

   Benedict does not advice anybody to follow his path in life, he advises the youth to concentrate on studies, but also says that if someone is keen on starting a business, then they should have a clear strategy on how to execute their plan.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rescue collaborative platform

 

By By Abigail Arunga @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Sallinder Nyawira, 28, is a single mother to a one year old boy and the key Accounts Manager for SAFISHA, a range of detergents and cleaning equipment.

She is also the marketer and founder of Rescuebnb, which is a collaborative organisation trying to connect those seeking hosts and rescue facing the unforeseen challenge of displacement and/or violence after the recently concluded elections.

Sallinder is passionate about helping others and making this country the kind of place she’d like to be proud to call home.

1. Tell us what RescueBnb is, and what made you want to start it.

I would not say start it – it came to be after I shared a Tweet on Saturday the 12th of August, offering to help those who had been affected by violence following the just concluded 2017 Elections. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from friends online about what was happening in their neighbourhoods.

Everyone who I thought could do something was silent. Some people reached out to me, as passionate about helping others as I was. 24 hours later, we had created what is now known as RescueBnB. We are a group of normal people with full time 8-5 jobs and families who believe in doing what we can.

It is a collaborative platform which connects those facing an unprecedented challenge in their lives, to those with the ability to offer assistance.

We do this primarily by providing a process for individuals and organisations to host (offer temporary shelter) and rescue (provide in-kind or monetary assistance or support).

Our interventions, such as the one we are currently on, last 45 days. We will therefore be continuing our host and rescue activities until the 30th of September, and ask all those with an ability to assist to go to our website or send an email. On this project, we are partnering with Sendy, Pawa245, Octopizzo Foundation, Nailab, Dandora Hip Hop City, Ghetto Foundation, Skyline Designs, and Blessed Minds. Our mission is to enable people all over the world to Connect, Share and Love!

2. What are some of the challenges you faced, having people in your house, people calling you all the time, running out of supplies etc.?

With regards to hosting, I haven’t faced any major challenges because of our support system. Our only other active host was a pastor and the lady has since left the home. We vet and verify everyone who needs temporary shelter – although I did not when I jumped into action that Saturday! We are offering the family in my house counselling, because I noticed the child in particular was very traumatized by what she had faced. We now have a team in place to deal with this process and limit the hosting period to a maximum of 21 days as we seek the next course of action.

We have a policy in place, which prepares potential volunteer hosts and those who require temporary shelter. We are pleasantly surprised by the care and love which Kenyans have for each other. While it was initially difficult to get bigger organisations to come on board, individuals, community based organisations and small scale businesses have been outstanding! One of our major challenges is transport for the volunteers, because we aspire to keep administration costs close low, to ensure maximum impact. We have however worked with Sendy and now Pawa254, to facilitate transfer of items shared.

3. What do you think is the long term solution for our constant political upheaval in Kenya?

That’s a tough one! However, from what we are experiencing – understanding that everyone is like you and deserves to be respected is important. There are people who live in this country who feel completely hopeless and in all honesty, are left out of what people like maybe you and me experience. Things like hope, togetherness, security.

We’ve decided to create a series of interventions which will connect people and offer people from different communities, social backgrounds and economic backgrounds, an opportunity to interact and grow.

4. What is the way forward now for some of these families who were in the line of violence after elections?

It’s a long-term engagement. We are meeting people who never received counselling after the election violence in 2007. After we finish with this 45-day emergency intervention on the 30th of September, we intend to continue with counselling activities and encourage conversations around life as it is

5. How do you think people who want to make a difference can, if they don’t have the same resources you do at your disposal, or if they want to help

Everyone the ability to do something, and RescueBnB is proof of this. Our core volunteers are running this process using their own finances, literally.

Our professional and general service volunteers use their own time and even transport to go to Kawangware 56, Dandora, Nyalenda, Manyatta, Mathare, Siaya and Kibra.

Ordinary Kenyans continue to send flour, toys, crayons, sugar or send in amounts to our M-Changa Account! Literally sharing what they can.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Opportunities through outsourcing

 

By Julius Bulili

You may be able to start a small business to fulfill a need for a larger business that is looking to outsource in a particular niche. In a recession, large companies are looking to cut costs in every area of their business. They look for the cheapest way to keep their business lean and mean and afloat. Sometimes, that means outsourcing rather than paying high salaries and benefits hiring employees for their firm.

Thinking of outsourcing, we tend to think of large companies outsourcing to other countries. Large companies also outsource to small businesses around the corner. Your business could be that small business. All you have to do is provide a needed product or service to larger companies that you can provide more cheaply, with high quality, than they can get from their own staff

Possible Business is; suppose you live in a small town or even a larger city and you’re an accountant or a bookkeeper. Some of the smaller businesses in your area may not want to pay for the services of a CPA to keep their books or do their taxes.

They may seek a more cost effective method of managing their bookkeeping and accounting and wish to outsource their work to a bookkeeper.

There is a perfect opportunity for you to market your services. If you’ve been laid off and want to start your own business, you can market your services to those small businesses and save them money that they would otherwise have to spend on a CPA.

Take advantage of outsourcing opportunities around you!!! Of course all this depends on your skills. If you are a financial type, you want to go that route. If you have training in web design, there’s your idea for a small business. You get the idea. Play to your skills and come up with an idea for a small business that fills a niche where you think businesses may outsource.

If you already operate a small business, consider trying to expand your customer base by taking advantage of outsourcing opportunities.

Are there small or large businesses in your local geographic area that have tasks they are outsourcing or would like to outsource? How do you find out? Whatever your area of expertise or small business, call the director of that area of the businesses in your local area. Prepare a pitch before you call them. Find out what they need.

If you can supply it, let them know. Have price quotes ready.

There may be lots of online businesses that would like to utilize your services if they knew you existed. Use social networking sites like. However, the online bidding sites where you can offer your work for sale have gotten so competitive that it is almost impossible to earn a decent wage so I am not going to recommend them at this time.

In order to sell yourself as a viable outsourcing source, you must have professional-level marketing materials available for potential clients.

If you can find a niche in your area of business where companies typically like to outsource their work, you can either start a new business during the recession and do quite well or you can add to your existing business.

…follow through my next consultative message By Julius Landu Bulili – M.Sc. (Economics &Econometrics); CPM, S.A.| Small & Medium Enterprises Coach| Business plans & Project Proposals writer|, assisting Small Businesses refocus their efforts in order to increase revenue. Email: lucbulili@yahoo.com or jullybulili@gmail.com

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Youth given platform to pitch ideas

 

By By Esther Kibakaya ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

University students last week had an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges and the winner had a chance to receive a prize following their best ideas submitted. Prizes included investment and an opportunity for incubation.

The participants showcased their ideas and were asked one-on-one questions.

The event which brought together various professionals, government officials, friends and family of the participants, and other investors was organised by Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI). They collaborated with University of Dar es salaam in a project called DAREnterprisers course targeting brightest young Tanzanian entrepreneurs for business and entrepreneurship. They take them for eight weeks training, then give them opportunity to pitch ideas. They then present their ideas at the Investment Conference, a platform they use to leap into transforming Tanzania.

This year’s conference theme was ‘TengenezaTanzania Together’ loosely translated to Building Tanzania together which reflected the expectations of the course which is to inspire fundamental change and innovation for the whole nation.

A team of four graduates named Regina Kwisakwani, Evans Songa, Nelson Villema and Mapesa Luhasile took home $1000 following their exceptional business idea this year.

Focused on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene category, their idea aimed at providing solution to plastic bags waste which has become one of the biggest environmental problems in big cities across the world.

Their business ideas which is under Revol-Age Company Ltd , introduced eco–friendly, health and biodegradable paper bags of varying sizes.

Their idea is expected to provide an alternative means of packaging to the existing solution therefore reducing the amount of plastic waste scattered in cities.

The program brought together students from University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Ardhi University, University of Arusha and National Institute of Transportation (NIT).

This years’ conference focused on the positive change young entrepreneurs can have in Tanzania. It challenges participants of DAREnterprisers, to tackle community problems within Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Off-grid energy, and Manufacturing & Urban Living.

Ruge Mutahaba from Clouds Media Group, who was the guest speaker said such programs aimed to bring out innovative ideas from young super innovators in Tanzania. One of the biggest challenges that youth need to face and tackle is that they need to look at the local challenges in a global perspective so that they can come up with innovative global solutions to solve such challenges.

I have been going around the country for the past five years to talk about opportunities and things that young people can do and try to connect the dots in different areas. But one thing I would love to advice the youth is that, they need to understand the market ,what the world wants and what the world is currently try to solve.

If you find solutions to global problems then you can proudly find being part of the people who help in the society we live in and this programme is the right way to go,” he advices.

He went further saying more efforts are needed to encourage youth to come up with ways to stimulate the economy by coming up with more ideas that can create more employment opportunities.

He said the only way to become the middle class income nation is by making youth business owners instead of waiting for the government to do everything.

On her part, Regina Kwisakwani, a University of Dar es Salaam graduate in Bachelor of science in Chemical processing engineering said her engagement to program has helped her showcase her abilities in making different programs and innovate various products using technology.

“The experience has been great because at first, I didn’t know that I could make paper bags through recycling materials, this is impressive and am very proud that am part of initiative to preserve our environment by helping getting rid of plastic bags.”

This is one of the greatest opportunity for young men and women out there to create a way of employing themselves using something that their hands are capable of making. You cannot recognise the power that you have unless you train your mind to think more on what you can do with your ability,” explains Regina.

Mapesa Kamisa, also a university of Dar es Salaam graduate said he applied for the course and so far it has been a fruitful training especially for him as a graduate because since there is unemployment crisis in our country. He said the training gave him an opportunity to learn things that he was not able to learn while in college.

“Apart from acquiring new skills and practicing them, and also meeting new people and a team of incubators who have mentored us creatively, this program actually showed us the reality of what is happening in our society and how to turn challenges into opportunities. I wish more youth out there would be given opportunity to benefit from program such as this one,” he noted.

Engineer Kalumuna Benedicto, from Small Industrial Development Organisation (SIDO) said having program such as these one can help shape people’s mind particular youth psychologically.

“It prepares them psychologically than to start an industry, you don’t need people to come from abroad who have a lot of money to do that, instead youth can start while they are still in school to start their own business projects and the good thing is they can come up with ideas that reflect their environment and most of these projects can last for a long time. Its high time that the government start to invest by finding better ways in assisting in loans because someone might have a good idea but he or she can fail to implement it since they don’t have capital,” advises the engineer.

Glory Nyengela who was the program director said the eight week training that university students met at the University of Dar es Salaam and learnt about entrepreneurship targeted active students with business acumen, allocate seed funding, and support them and their businesses throughout and after the completion of the course.

“We aimed at helping participants develop transferable skills, build confidence and provide them with a worthwhile experience that sets them up for future career opportunities. We achieved these goals through classroom sessions taught by Cambridge and Tanzanian students, as well as peer-to-peer learning, and mentorship and collaboration with local incubators and investors,” she said.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dealing with selfish friends hurts a lot!

 

Hi my name is Alice I love being around people, but for some reason some of my close friends are very selfish. I am always there for them when they need me but unfortunately this is not the case when I am faced with some small crisis.

I mean when I reach out to them for help, they are totally uncaring and think I am too sensitive but the reality is that they are selfish and I have to live with it, so how can I make it easier on myself?

Friends are supposed to be goood people who satndby you in your times of need and happiness too. But that is just as far as the narrative may just go because on most occassions the reality is that people that we assume to be our friends arent at all!

You may have the same pet peeve that I do - selfish people. You know the type, all they do is think about themselves and if something doesn’t have to do with them or something they like, they don’t care.

This means that if it’s a family member or friend, you can hardly get him or her to help you unless it ends up being some sort of benefit to your loved one.

If it’s a classmate, you may try your hardest to stay away because the person will rarely do anything to help you unless it benefits him or her directly.

Since the world is full of this type of people, it may be useful to understand how you can deal with them while still keeping them around in your life.

Play the same game as the person is playing. When the person is in a long drawn out discussion of him or herself, take every opportunity to revert the conversation back to yourself.

Take a tiny bit of whatever the person says and relate it your own life. Make sure to make your stories just as drawn out.

If you believe the selfish friend is not paying attention to you while you are speaking, wrap up the conversation quickly and move on. If the person tries to keep you around by starting a new discussion about him or herself, tell the person you have to do something or be somewhere and will get back to him or her later on.

Limit contact with the person as much as possible while still keeping him or her in your life. Chances are, the person will not even realise that you are avoiding him or her and would never think someone wouldn’t want to be around the person.

If you have a good rapport with the person tell the person he or she needs to stop thinking about only him or herself. Some people have lived a life of the world only revolving around them for so long that they don’t even realise they are compromising relationships.

Be gentle with this because you are criticising the person’s personality.

As a last resort, if you just can’t stand how selfish the person is, end the relationship. This may not be as easy if it is a family member or a classmate you have to see every day but you can again, keep your distance.

Fill your life with people who make you happy and this includes people who don’t only want one sided friendships.

Surround yourself with people who care as much about you as you do for them.

If you have a burning question, send it to: powere@tz.nationmedia.com

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How,unemployment,affecting,education

 

By By Rodgers Raphael rodgersraphael@gmail.com

The high level of unemployment in the country has affected the education sector in many ways. From graduates having to settle with jobs that are out of their professional qualifications, to students juggling between work and studies just to get ahead of hard times that await them after graduation, all these are consequences of an unreliable job market.

Thousands of graduates who graduate from various universities in the country enter the job market each year. But disappointingly, most of them end up unemployed where as many fail to do what they were trained at their institutions.

Mr Jonas Kaguo, who graduated with a Diploma in clinical medicine from Kampala International University Dar-es-salaam campus had to settle with selling clinical equipment after facing a tough time searching for a job in the medical field. “It has been a year since I graduated, I thought securing a job would be easy since I went for a marketable course, he said, adding, “I went to an office and I was asked if I had experience of three or more years. I failed to meet such requirement and thus did not get the job,” he narrates.

A network marketing dealer, Mr Wilson Kowero, said that many scholars find themselves doing things they never studied for. “I feel like I wasted time in school, all the years I spent, money and a lot of effort but at the end I found myself doomed, doing things I never studied for,” said Kowero.

He further added that he has many friends “who studied law, human resources management and many other fields but none is doing what he/she studied for.”

Unemployment is now posing a risk to aspiring graduates and prospective employees. Because of the uncertainty in the job market, many students are now venturing into side businesses to earn some decent living. They also do this to gain stability after graduation since jobs have become scarce. This, in the long run, has affected their education.

Such is the story of Mr Brighton Minja who is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Information System Management at Ardhi University Dar-es-salaam.

He decided to venture into photography to meet some of his demands where apart from having good support from his family, he still earns money through his work and he is sure to survive any eventuality in the job market after graduation with this backup plan.

“I am proud of myself, at least I earn something from the work I do and it doesn’t affect my academic life,” he said.

The risk to his academic advancement is less according to him.

Many graduates who studied professional courses such as education, medicine, law, human resource, among others, end up in entrepreneurship.

Even those absorbed in the employment market complain of salaries that fail to reach their demands. It is for such reasons that some find it prudent to venture into different business activities while also studying.

This sentiment is shared by Mr Mathias Banzi, a student at Tanzania Institute of Accountancy (TIA)

“I have guardians and siblings and they all look up to me. At times I am overwhelmed with many expenses,” he says.

Banzi is both student and businessman who sells male and female apparels. Due to tight schedules, balancing work and studies has become difficult.

Self-employment

The government and private institutions have tried their level best to emphasize to the youth to venture into self-employment.

According to Minja, things became more critical in 2016 where terms and conditions for one to secure a loan for their higher learning education were tightened.

The changes became vastly different in comparison to the previous administration since many scholars were offered loans.

“Students now fully depend on their families and sponsors for their education and accommodation expenses. This has caused many students to engage in more than one activity, that is to say education is not the main thing they do,” Minja commented.

Another student from TIA Rachel Omary shared her story with Success saying that she is a student, a model and an ambassador at Maisha basement.

She is influenced to do modelling because it is a hobby to her and though her family doesn’t support her 100 per cent with what she is doing, she still holds on to what she believes will hold her up after graduating.

“What I believe in is that working hard will take me somewhere. I have many things to do so as to be a great model,” she said.

But as these scholars do extra activities for a positive outlook out on the future, there are setbacks that arise and in one way interfere with their academic endeavours.

According to Ms Omary, extra activities haven’t had a negative effect on her academic progress.

There are some who face various challenges but according to Mr Thomas Faraja who also juggles different activities to make ends meet, states that; “Sometimes I miss classes or not get to class on time, depending on my work schedule. I might have sessions to attend and at the same time I have classes.”

Having extra activities to do so as to secure a better future for yourself due to the uncertainty of the job market once one graduates has led to a disruption of academic performance.

But despite the challenges, most students are able to find success in other ventures.

On the other hand, there are students, who despite of high unemployment rate in the country, do not engage in other ventures, but instead focus solely on attaining their degree.

Among such people is Mr Christian Kulwa, who is pursuing a degree in political science and public administration at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).

Mr Kulwa said he is not in a hurry, for there is time for everything and the moment for his employment will come.

“Right now my focus is on studying and preparing for life after graduating. People say there are no employment opportunities, but I know employment is there for those with undeterred commitment,” Kulwa says.

When Success contacted a lecturer at UDSM, he had various things to say in relation to the matter.

Mr Faraja Kristhomus, a lecturer at UDSM teaching Foreign language and linguistic studies is of the view that students who engage in doing multiple things at the same time while pursuing studies could find it hard to perform well in class.

“A student can be affected academically if he/she engages in work and school at the same time. One may miss classes, handouts and assignments given by their lecturers if he/she fails to attend lectures,” he notes, adding that most lecturers use lecture time to get to know their students better and find different ways to help them academically.

He also went further saying that our education system doesn’t favour a student to work and study at the same time unlike systems adopted in developed countries, which allow one to work and study without affecting their academic progress.

There are some universities that offer evening classes which accord time to those working to be able to have opportunity to study as well.

However, such evening classes have some drawbacks. Kopweh Kahigi, a former student at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCo) says that during his pursuit for a degree, he often found it hard coping with lessons even though he took evening classes at his campus.

“Those who studied during the day had enough time to interact with lecturers and have a deeper understanding of different academic matters. Unfortunately for us who took evening lessons, time wasn’t on our side and so we grasped what we could,” he says.

Alphonce Dennis, a student at TUDARCo who would be happy to have a job to do while studying had this to share with Success; “I have searched for a job to do while studying, and if I manage to secure one, I would definitely move to evening lessons.”

Unemployment is brought about by many factors such as rise of technology and high numbers of graduates entering the job market each year. It’s effects in the education sector is felt in different ways.

Mr Peter Mathias is a businessman based in Kariakoo. He suggests that one of the ways to curb unemployment, and also improve our education system, is through increased teaching of science and technology to students right from a tender age. Such a system will nurture students who are tech savvy and ready to move with changing times.

Unemployment Rate in Tanzania is expected to be 10.11 per cent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysis expectations.

In the long-term, the Tanzania unemployment Rate is projected to trend around 9.05 per cent in 2020, according to the same model.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Long and risky walk to school

 

By By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Few minutes before classes start, 15-year-old Nshoma Mpelano, a Standard Seven pupil can be seen hastily walking inside her classroom after almost two hours journey by foot to school. Tired and dirty, she places her black school bag on the desk and starts wiping her legs which are covered with dust.

It has been seven years long and risky journey for Nshoma, who is determined to get education, and when Success visited Urughu Primary school, it was business as usual. Nshoma lives in Mang’ole village in Iramba District, Singida Region located 7 kilometers away from her school.

It’s Monday morning, all pupils are expected to look neat in their school uniforms, however the case is different for Nshoma, who is wearing a torn white blouse and blue skirt covered with dust.

It wasn’t until lunch break when I had an opportunity to talk to Nshoma and her friends. They had nothing to eat since they could not go for lunch like the rest because of the long distance.

As I walked towards her, I could see her thin shoulders hidden underneath a torn blouse that was stitched with black thread. It took minutes before she became comfortable to talk.

Long distance

“I live far from here that’s why I can’t go back home to have lunch like other pupils, I will eat in the evening when I get back home,” explained Nshoma when asked why she wasn’t having anything to eat for lunch at that particular time.

Nshoma and her friends who live in the same village are forced to walk a long distance every day to school. To make it on time, they are supposed to wake up as early as 4 or 5 am.

“We live in a farming land surrounded by a forest, to make it to school on time we have to take the route which through the forest, we are always told to be extra careful because often times we trek on our own,” explained Nshoma in a downcast tone.

Because they always leave home early, they never get a chance to have breakfast; instead they depend on the supper they had the night before to help them endure the next day. “I don’t eat anything in the morning or afternoon, most of us who live far usually have one meal per day which we have in the evening after we get home from school,” she explains.

Our conversation was cut short by the school bell alerting them about the next lesson. It took another three hours until the classes for the day came to an end. I joined Nshoma and her friend Njama Mlayunga, 14, as they embarked on the journey back home from school.

Our journey started off slowly at 4pm, in the burning heat of the dry season, surrounded by clouds of dust blown by the wind. “When the rain season starts, these roads sometimes become impassable because of mud, it becomes difficult for us to go to school,” noted Njama when asked how they managed to go to school during the rainy season.

As we continued with our journey, I noticed the village houses gradually disappearing from our sight, with bushes and dry forests now encompassing the environs. It was just the three of us passing in a quiet dirt road between the trees, at times we came across men cycling their bicycles carrying local brew or wood. For these two girls, everything seemed okay as they kept talking while steadily walking.

“We don’t have any other option but to use this same road every day, we are used to it because there are other pupils who use the same road too, so it’s much safer. Even though I don’t enjoy the journey, and sometimes find it very scary, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get to school,” Njama said.

After almost two hours of walking, we eventually sight Nshoma’s home, which was a traditional Sukuma ranch, with dozens of livestock in the area. Nshoma disappeared into one of the huts, ready to take over some of the house chores before having supper and going to sleep.

Her grandmother who introduced herself as Magdalena, expressed her worries towards her grandchild’s long walk to school and the danger she faces. “I understand it is not safe for young girls to walk such a distance but we don’t have any other way out,” lamented the old woman, adding, “before, she used to wake up at 4 am, but we stopped her, we reasoned that it was okay for her to be punished at school for being late than let her walk early in the dark. We went and explained to her teachers her situation and they understood, they don’t punish her anymore. She is a young child and she has a right to education.”

Tough time for students

Attending school in many parts of the developing world has remained a very hard task for many pupils and Nshoma’s story portrays the challenges that many girls living in rural areas continue to face today just to get an education, with many of them facing dangers or violence along the way to school.

A recent visit to Iramba District in Singida region revealed the reality of what many girls living in rural areas go through in search of education. Because some schools are located far from the villages, students are forced to walk long hours and along the way are faced with many challenges.

Mr Amadeus Kidumu, the headmaster of Mgongo Secondary school in Iramba District, said the issue of distance has become one of the biggest challenges that many girls face in their bid to attain education.

“Most students come from pastoralist families, therefore are forced to walk 6 to 10 kilometres and others up to 17 kilometres per day to come to school. Their school attendance isn’t constant and it’s not because they don’t love coming to school but distance is the problem,” explained Mr Kidumu, adding,

“We have done a trial of letting those who live far from school to come and stay near the school and the results are good, their school performance improved, this was after we met with their parents and tried to look for immediate solutions to the problem and that is to look for nearby hostels and houses for them.”

According to him, his school is in the initial stages of starting to build hostels with support from their Member of Parliament Mwigulu Nchemba and parents.

Kurwa Kiyenze, 17, a form two student from Urughu Secondary School said before she moved to the school hostels she was forced to wake up very early in the morning if she wanted to make it to school early.

“I live in Masimba village which is 6 kilometres away from our school, and to make it to school on time my friends used to wake up at 4 am and arrive at school at 7, it was scary because we had to pass some bushes on our way to school but there was nothing else we could do, “explains Kurwa.

She too was forced to spend the day in school on an empty stomach until she reached home in the evening, “because we used to wake up early in the morning there was no time for us to prepare breakfast and therefore we would come to school with on empty stomach. We waited until the time we got back home in the evening,”

But ever since she started living in some of the empty classrooms which have been turned into temporary hostels for girls, life has become much easier for her and other girls who also come from far-flung villages.

“We feel safer and happy now that we don’t have to walk for long distances to school, we were always exhausted. Also, there were some men who were always willing to give us lifts on their motorcycles (bodaboda), some who had ill motives and would sometimes follow us up to where we lived but now the situation has changed, we can concentrate more on our studies,” she states.

While students like Kurwa are more at peace now that they live close to school, the case is different for students like Kundi Geni, 15, a student from Mgongo Secondary School.

According to her, walking for two to three hours every morning is tiring and she wishes that something can be done to make her school life easier.

“I come from Malendi village, and I usually leave home every morning at 6 am and arrive at school at 8 am, always exhausted from the long walk to the point that I can’t clearly concentrate in class. I have asked my parents to let me stay close to school like some of my friends but they have refused, fearing that I might become a prostitute,” she sadly explains.

District Secondary Education Officer, Elizabeth Lusingu, said the government has taken some measures to ensure that secondary school girls in her district learn in a friendlier environment.

“We understand that there are girls who are forced to walk long distances to school, something which puts them at risk. We have a programme of constructing hostels in our schools and each school is working hard to ensure that we succeed. Parents and the community as a whole have been contributing their resources and manpower to support the projects,” she says.

According to her, the district has 22 public secondary schools and 1 private school, “One school which has an A level has a hostel for the students, also there are other 2 secondary schools which have hostels and parents contribute food for their children,” she explains.

On his part, Iramba District Executive Director (DED) Linno Mwageni highlighted the measures the government has taken to overcome the challenge of students having to walk long distance to school. “Among the entire 20 wards we have, 15 of them have already taken the plan from the municipal offices which will direct them on how to build the hostels, and so far most of them are at different stages,” Mwageni speaks, adding, “Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) and our education stakeholders have helped us to build a hostel in Lulumba Secondary School. All these initiatives show how we are determined to create a better learning environment for our children, particularly girls,” explains the Director.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Author talks about her love for writing

 

By By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya is a writer from Matobo, Southern Zimbabwe. She is also a mother, a town planner by profession and a real estate consultant. She operates Town Planning Consultancy in Harare. Success Magazine interviewed her about her love of books, one of them is the novel titled ‘Yesterday Footprints.’

Can you tell us a little bit about your books?

I started writing in 2009 after the fading of the Zimbabwean dollar, as we waited for the introduction of multi-currency system. There was nothing to do all day as operating a business had become impossible. Naturally I read a lot. I wrote the title story ‘The Fifty Rand Note’ and three other stories in my collection from my real estate office which was located in Harare Central Business District. As I wrote on paper I gave my secretary each complete page to type but instead, she read the stories with other colleagues secretly. When I discovered what was happening and the fact that they were waiting for the next page, that alone gave me the courage to continue writing. I wrote and wrote. That was the beginning of my career in writing.

Why do you write?

Writing is a hobby to me, it is a past time as much as reading is, and gardening. I write also to vent out anger and frustration. When I find myself in an uncomfortable space I write but what I would write in most cases would have nothing to do with the situation which has made me angry or uncomfortable.

Which novelist do you admire? Any East African writer you admire?

Yes, I admire Ngugi wa Thiongo, Agoro Anduru, Ismael Mbise, Penina Mlama, Binwell Sinyangwe and Mark Behr.

Binwell gives hope to a seemingly hopeless situation in ‘Cowrie of Hope’, really moving story of hardship and corruption, an African festering wound at the moment. Tanzanian born Mark Behr’s ‘Smell of Apples’ shows that we cannot always impose our beliefs on those who look up to us . The character in the story is an 11-year-old Marnus Erasmus who refuses to accept that black people are bad because he has not seen it, his encounter with bad people has been positive. Mark Behr displays a fearless approach in his narration despite his pigment of skin, which is one of the things we require as writers, honesty.

Ngugi remains one of my most admired writers, he observes life in microscopic lenses, ‘Petals of Blood’ made me see the injustices suffered by African people in their respective countries are almost similar.

I also admire Yvonne Vera, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Zukiswa, Wanner, Dambudzo Marechera, Charles Mungoshi, Bessie Head, Sibusiso Nyembezi and many others.

How many books have you written – novels, short stories and poems?

I have two published books but two of the short stories were already published by University of South Africa Journal (Imbizo) in their first and second edition respectively in 2014. I have two novels in English, ‘Yesterday Footprints’ to be published next year and another the following year.

Also, I have two complete manuscripts of Ndebele novels awaiting publication. I wrote collection poetry in 2012, ‘Silent Drumbeat from Ematojeni’ some of the poems have been published in different platforms in Zimbabwe.

Where can someone get a copy of your work? Do you supply the East Africa readers?

My first novel ‘Izinyawo Zayizolo’, a Ndebele novel was published in Harare in 2016, because of its language it is limited to the local readers and some parts of South Africa. The novel is only available in Zimbabwe, in local bookstores. ‘The Fifty Rand Note’ was published in July 2017. We are still supplying bookshops across the continent and the world as a whole. Yes, Tanzania will be supplied too before the end of year and all other East African countries. It will be also be available online before end of the year.

Describe your normal working day

To me, a normal working day is a day I can count my achievements for the day. I am a person who does not want time to get by without any production.

As an author what else do you do connected to your books and other activities?

I engage myself in writing issues, discuss books with other writers and readers, sometimes I read to pupils, encouraging them to read. I also attend writing workshops, public reading tents and other events associated with books and writing.

What is the next step in your writing career?

My next step in my writing career would be to teach Creative writing, but because I studied Civil Engineering, I also want to study English and Literature first.

How can a new writer get started?

A new writer can get started by starting to write. It is sad and unfortunate to know that we have many authors who move with the world changing stories in their hearts and minds.

What inspired you to write short stories?

I wanted to tell stories with many different themes but could not really craft them into one book. So I decided I would write short stories.

Do you have any advice for authors looking to stand out from the crowd?

Write what you know because we all have different stories to tell. Write what you see and how you see it. Also our stories must be convincing, fiction is the truth told with different setting and change of names. I believe there is no story which can be complete fiction. Also our style of writing counts, we must try and be creative.

Writers often have to face rejection before getting published. Did you? If so, how did you cope with it?

Yes, I faced rejection many times, but because I knew my stories were worth telling I did not give up. I kept on sending my manuscripts to different publishing houses. I also read my stories to writers and scholars and we discuss the characters and plots. By so doing my work improves.

Finally, what is one piece of advice you would like to share with other writers?

Writers, write. Let’s share what we see and hear. Let us share what we feel about what we see and hear with the world.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Careful when giving credit to customers

 

By By Julius Bulili

Extending credits to customers can increase sales whilst at the same time you need to play it carefully in order to protect your business bottom line.

As business owner, it is good to know that when you decide to venture into the business world, you are taking a very huge risk with your finances.

Of course, every business owner’s aim is to make a profit but at times engaging or having a poor credit policy may lead to suffering from unpaid invoices from customers which eventually may lead to business failure. You might aim at creating a good relation with your customers, but it is your business which might suffer in the end.

Prior to extending credit, it is essential to have a strict yet flexible credit policy for business prosperity. A policy that is too strict will definitely chase away customers, but on the other hand, a policy that is too lenient will make customers default in payments. Thus, you need to have a credit policy that will make you retain customers and at the same time get all your debts repaid on time. It might seem tough to balance the two, but it is vital for the survival of your business.

Your business credit policy should have credit limits set for each customer. In business, there is always different categories of customers who come to purchase different products.

As the law of nature states, individuals can never be equal and this also applies to customers since they have different buying habits, varied purchasing power and behaviors.

These should give guidance on the amount of credit limits to set for each customer that qualifies. You should be anle to identify who among your customers can pay their credit debts on time, and who can’t.

The point is, don’t offer credit to every customer that applies. Doing so could land you in unforeseen financial crisis. It is therefore important for you to be very selective when it comes to granting any amount of credit to customers. If you do not take this in to consideration, you will find yourself with a huge debt that is unpaid by some of your customers.

Your credit policy should have the proper terms of sale listed on the agreement. There are two options from which you can choose from; to begin with, open credit does not require any form of down payment such as net 30 accounts.

Secondly, revolving credit involves the customer paying a certain amount of interest on goods given on credit.

The former is best suited to customers that pay all their debts on time. For instance, the net 30 account should be repaid within a 30 day period and has some discounts such as 2% discount if the customer pays within 10 days and so forth. Having discount incentives on products purchased on net terms will encourage customers to pay earlier which ultimately increases your cash inflow.

Commit your policies to writing. It is very unfortunate that many business owners start offering credit terms to customers without setting up the proper terms and conditions that guide or hold together both the business owner and the customer. For any business to be successful there has to be rules and regulations that play a very crucial role towards propelling the investment to higher levels.

Have policies that dictate who qualifies to purchase your company’s goods on credit. This will help you avoid extending credit to anyone that approaches you.

If the customer doesn’t meet the rules and guidelines, then just tell them why they do not qualify and explain to them what they are supposed to do to qualify. This is a good way of having potential borrowers in waiting that can boost your sales in future.

In order to properly have a good credit term policy, the business needs to have a debt collecting plan that will be used to collect money from those customers that default in payment. As stated above, have it in written form and let every customer sign the agreement.

In case a customer fails to repay for the goods purchased on credit, you may decide to either hire a debt collection agency that can collect the debt on behalf of your business or the policy could state that anyone that fails to honor invoices should be sued or in other cases penalties should apply.

While keeping customers that have been with you since day one is essential, there are times when adjustments must be made for even your best customers. The reality is that at times loyal customers are hit by harsh economic times which force them to delay in making their payments.

To avoid disputes with customers when it comes to payment of their invoices, there is a need for you to remind them to make their payments in due course. This will keep them on their toes to clear their balance owed and use their credit line for additional purchases.

If you have a business that deals in extending credit to customers, drafting a policy with the above measures will definitely improve the success rate of your business.By Julius Bulili. Email: lucbulili@yahoo.com or jullybulili@gmail.com

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Keeping schools free from accidents

 

School is meant to be a place where children enjoy their learning on a daily basis but this sometimes is not the case as children come home complaining of one injury or another.

Keeping a school full of children and staff members safe and accident free is a priority of every school but as we all know it is no easy task.

A small water spill in the hallway or a pothole on the playground can cause major injury and possibly open the school to unwanted attention if not addressed immediately.

To avoid accidents at school, it is important to generate a clear set of safety guidelines and keep an eagle eye on facilities.

Train staff and students on ways to prevent accidents from happening and what to do if someone does get hurt.

Repair all unsafe areas within the school. Refer to your list of hazardous areas and make repairs an immediate priority. For example, if there are potholes on the playground or a classroom door that slams closed, ask the school custodian or grounds man to place those repairs at the top of his list.

Design a set of safety rules that all pupils and staff must follow. Using your list from the safety committee, create a set of school-wide safety rules. Rules could include telling the custodian about all spills on the floor immediately to no running in the hall.

Furnish a copy of the safety rules to all students and staff members and then create large posters that list the safety rules. Hang safety posters in common areas such as the office, near the restrooms and in the front hallway.

Invite safety experts such as firefighters, Red Cross workers and health workers to school to hold discussions about how to avoid accidents and keep students safe

Conduct monthly inspections of playground equipment and facilities. Ask safety committee members to conduct routine checks of designated “unsafe” or hazardous areas. Supply the group with a checklist to assist with the monthly review.

Repair or address any broken equipment or unsafe areas immediately after the monthly inspection and re-address any areas that are a habitual problem. For example, if a piece of playground equipment continues to break, remove the entire piece of playground equipment

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Online job application benefiting our youth

 

By Devotha John @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

The job market today is increasingly becoming a field that has limited opportunities for the high number of graduates who aspire to garner jobs in different corporations. Some men and women have no choice but to toil all over the city in search for jobs. The physical effect that such a quest has on the body can be quite brutal. With the searing heat in the big city of Dar es Salaam, or the dilapidated roads up country, job aspirants are facing a hard time.

However, the upsurge of technology has brought many changes in our lives. One among them is easing the search for possible job vacancies. Instead of door to door search for jobs, or having to read posters and newspapers, now someone in need of a job can log for an application online, and only be required to physically go to the workplace for an interview once his\her application is successful.

But that’s not the only spark that comes with online platform for job applications. One is also able to peruse through the hundreds of job opportunities on offer, and specifically choose one that suits him basing on qualification.

Juma Omary is among many youth hunting for opportunities on websites. After graduating with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, the one thing he was looking forward to is getting a slot out of the numerous advertised job opportunities.

“There are different recruitment and employment job websites that I used to visit now and then. Sometimes I could send applications online or write job application letters on hard copies through post office mail,” the young graduate says.

After trying many times, Omary finally got a break and managed to secure an interview with a local company. He was successful at the interview and managed to get employment.

“Of recent, many professional human resource managers use email to handle applications, notwithstanding cluttered inbox and inefficient processes,” says Omary.

Nonetheless, many employers note that unsuitable applicants are those who do not meet the criteria specified in the job description.

But the use of online application, the employer centre, allows employers to centrally manage the recruitment process end-to-end: reject, review, shortlist, offer, hire.

Easy to use

Building upon database of jobseeker profiles, easy-to-use online tool makes it faster and easier to post job ads. Then employers can reject, review, shortlist, offer and hire candidates - solving the issue of having to sort through too many applications for open positions.

Human resources manager at Cortex, Dar es Salaam, Ricard Alphonce, said: “Most youth use online platforms that’s why they are encouraged to visit online websites to search for jobs,” he says, adding, “Many youth nowadays use social media to get information so through the use of online job advertisements, many young people will be easily reached.”

The top issue that many employers face is how to effectively manage the number of applications that come in for popular jobs.

However, Alphonce noted that unsuitable applicants often apply for roles but do not meet the criteria specified in the job description so through online application it becomes easier to shortlist candidates who have qualification.

Speaking about the false adverts on websites, Alphonce noted that they (false ads) lower the company’s reputation because people will lose faith and fail to apply next time when genuine adverts are posted.

“Nowadays you will see at the end of an advertisement a statement saying avoid scam, never pay to have your CV/Application pushed forward and any job vacancy requesting payment for any reason is a scam,” Alphonce speaks.

Youth benefited

Joshua Naiman, Head of Recruitment and Operation at Empower, while commenting about how the website benefits youth says the website’s focus is to be a vital link between talent and available opportunities in the market, adding that they interact with job seekers and employers to offer support via various channels.

“Job seekers form the larger part of Tanzanian youth, so they have the opportunity to send applications to genuine and vetted employers for entry, mid and executive positions. On average, we post no less than two hundred jobs per month,” says Naiman, adding, “This means, more than two hundred Tanzanians have been matched to the right opportunity via the website.” He notes that as a company, they have made a lot of effort to access those who are Internet enabled.

“This has been possible through various campaigns on radio and TV. Additionally, we receive very good support from different media houses and print companies. We also partner with Facebook through its platform Internet.org, enables mobile users’ access to our website without data,” Naiman says.

Brighter Monday Director, Ms Mili Rughani opines that through online platform, the improved recruitment mode has helped to streamline the hiring process, saving 40 per cent on recruitment time.

A simple solution is the employer centre’s filters. It sorts out candidates by education, years’ experience, current position and other key factors against the candidate’s profile.

“For those who do meet the hiring criteria, its one click to preview or download their CV, before using the employer center’s in-built email functionality to contact candidates to invite them for interviews or send other targeted communication,” she says.

Rughani says while job websites today allow recruiters to reach a larger pool of talent than that available in their personal networks, the process of posting a job ad initially was cumbersome. “It is for this reason, rigorous user-experience testing went into posting processes for the new employer center, where HR professionals can now add, edit, extend and expire job ads with ease, ” says the CEO.

She notes that, the website can control their ads and access detailed performance statistics 24/7 from their employer accounts.

Ms Rughani says since the establishment of their company in the country; a lot has been done to translate the dream of providing practical solutions for the job market into reality.

With the youth in Tanzania facing a hard time when trying to find jobs, a solution was needed to be put forth to help ease the whole job seeking process.

“We sought to become solution providers to the problems Tanzania faced in employment. Before establishing Brighter Monday, we conducted market research and understood the pain points in the job market, and then started creating tailor-made solutions,” Rughani says, adding, “We engage both job seekers and employers through various channels, including social media platforms and offline events like trade fairs, exhibitions and career fairs. Online and in person interactions help us ensure we continue learning and improving our platform for the user.”

Positive reaction from youth

Online job application has been on an increase. For example, a company like Brighter Monday gets up to 6000+ applications in a month during a slow recruitment season.

Rughani says most applications are from youth aged between 24 - 30 years seeking entry level and mid-level jobs as it is estimated that around 9,150 individuals graduate from tertiary institutions as per statistics of 2016.

“Another reason why young applicants dominate the demographics on our site is that this age group is the most tech savvy with easier access to the internet and knowledge of its use. We have another channel of reaching out to executives and top level candidates who rarely visit websites but make use of their networks to move higher in their careers,” she says.

Challenges

With online job advertisements, there comes a number of drawbacks, among them include fake job advertisement. These often require one to send sensitive information such as bank details, or some directly request for monetary compensation so as to give you assurance of attaining the position you have applied.

Through social media youth have to be careful not to fall victim to fake employment advertisements.

Director of CV people Africa Naike Mushi said according to a research they conducted recently, 75 per cent of the youth apply for jobs online. This age ranges between 20 to 35 years old.

“We advertise different jobs online, such a platform accords equal opportunity to all to be able to submit their CVs and upon completion of the vetting process, those who are lucky to get shortlisted progress to the next stage in their journey to getting employment,” she says.

Online job application is convenient for prompt response. Unlike other forms of job application where often time individuals do not get feedback from the prospective employers, with online job application feedback is swift.

Talking about the challenges they have face in the online job application business, Mushi says people at times choose jobs whose criteria for selection is beyond their qualification. “Those who apply for jobs online need to be very careful when logging in their applications. Make sure that you meet all necessary qualifications,” she advises.

Mushi further elaborated that out of 100 applications, you will find that only 15 meet the right qualifications.

Through this challenge, Mushi said those looking for jobs online need to be educated on different requisites which must be met for one to even be considered for the job.

Rughani says most job seekers have very little knowledge about job search etiquette and what is expected of them by employers, adding that, some tend to have one CV for all jobs while others do not know how to optimise their resume.

“We offer assistance by publishing tips and advice on CV writing, interviews, career growth as well as workplace issues,” she says.

Rughani repudiates the claims that some websites advertise jobs whose shortlisted applicants have already been identified by the companies so; job seekers find the advert to have been put in the web as a formality.

“We have legitimate employers with a genuine need to fill positions within their companies. However, the competition for existing positions by qualified candidates is tough so each position inevitably results in many unsuccessful candidates,” she says adding, “To help solve this issue, we have included SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) onsite as they comprise of almost 70% of Tanzania’s labour market to increase the number of jobs on our site and help more candidates.”

When asked on how the process of applying for jobs is unnecessarily time consuming, the CEO says they believe every process is necessary.

“As job seekers search and apply for jobs online, the information they provide helps build a professional online profile for them that employers can quickly glance at and make a hiring decision,” she clarifies and further adds; “Being employers, we need to ensure that they are legitimate and genuine so we ask for all the necessary information. This is to protect job seekers from scammers.”

Advice to job seekers

Khalfan Lugendo, a marketing manager in Dar es Salaam calls upon job seekers to be ready for relocation to any country provided they have skills and capabilities required.

“With the East African Common Market in mind, it is an opportune time for higher learning institutions to design courses and programmes that are valuable in the international labour market. Job seekers should equally prepare themselves to be open to international opportunities and learning experiences,” he says.

Clarifying on how employers perceive the role of online job advertising websites, he says: “Online platforms are one stop centre for all recruitment needs. Since most, like Brighter Monday, don’t believe in “one size fits all” approach, services are tailor made based on the employer’s needs.”

The projected growth of internet penetration in Tanzania means that there will be a higher number of people seeking for job opportunities online. This provides a great avenue for websites to march with the increasing demand. 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Employment through youth led enterprise

Out of the many business ideas that were formed

Out of the many business ideas that were formed in OYE’s third year of implementation, 30 youth-led enterprises were selected to fine tune their business plans and compete against other OYE youth, in front of an expert jury, for start-up kits and overall recognition. PHOTO |FILE 

By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Tanzania like the rest of many African nations has the youngest population and each year 800,000 to 1,200,000 million of its young people are believed to enter into the workforce with many of them left with little or no success at all. While this is considered to be the great challenge on the other hand it has been seen by many as an opportunity for the youth to do transformation in our economy particularly in agribusiness enterprises.

However many youth are faced with difficulty in trying to earn a living from self employment opportunities available such as in agribusiness since they most lack financial power with limited access to credit and even a range of skills necessary for them to excel in the agribusiness.

As a result, attractive training projects which are believed to have a huge influence upon the employment of youth have been developed to offer opportunities to them and to challenge their mind sets through building self-confidence for their development.

Haika Izack, is one among many youth who have benefited from such training projects offered across the country. She was recently among the 30 young women and men who participated in a business challenge titled Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) and took home Sh800,000 following her successful pitching of their business skills in front of the panel on behalf of her group which is based in Monduli District.

It never crossed her mind that, such an opportunity will have an impact in building her self confidence she never imagined having, “ Being connected with a group of young and creative men and women has taught me a lot about myself. I never imagined that I could confidently speak in front of people and convince them that what we are doing is of benefit to our society but I leant a lot. This project has opened my eyes and realized that youth have so much potential if they are given opportunities and that we shouldn’t underestimate ourselves,” explains Haika confidently.

Haika believes she is going to be one of the good ambassadors to her fellow youth particularly when it comes to encouraging them about self employment, “I have friends back home still searching for job opportunities because they think that entrepreneurship is for certain people, I am going to be their role model that everything is possible if they set their mind into it and that they shouldn’t wait for someone to change their lives on their behalf,” says Haika.

Christina Herman, from Kisarawe District took home Sh1,000,000 million following her well presented business skills and knowledge in renewable energy, “One thing I have leant in life is to never be afraid to try ,even if you fail that shouldn’t be the end of your dreams.

Youth have so many challenges particular when it comes to employment but participating in projects as this one can open a lot of opportunities. And I can be witness to that because I am who I am today because of my activeness and fearless. I am not well educated but I didn’t take it as a way of stopping me being who I wanted to be today,’” she proudly explained.

Safari Fungo, a business consultant and expert said there are lots of opportunities for youth today, however for them to succeeded they need to have faith and courage that they can make it big,’ ‘ everything good we see today started as an idea. Each society has their own challenges so you need to come up with ideas that can generate solutions to such challenges,” he advised.

As a business expert he found projects such as OYE to be a rare chance that can open many doors to young men and women out there .”As we all know each year more than a million youth enter into job market however the same job market can only accommodate few of them. This is a problem especially on the fact that 60 up to 75 per cent of Tanzanian are youth that is two third of our population don’t have employment.”

“Therefore having this form of forums and initiatives helps youth to come up with creative ideas that can open doors to self employment and also opportunity to employ their fellow youth. My advice to them is to never give up there is always a chance and there shouldn’t be a room for any regrets in case they feel that there are things they fail to accomplish over a certain period of time. Its better for them to join in groups and used opportunities that comes their way to as they can create employment opportunities and run their daily lives,” Christina.

Haika and Christina were among the youth who participated in Opportunity for Youth Employment Bootcamp challenges and business competition which had offered a 3-day comprehensive program, designed for young Tanzanian entrepreneurs that wanted to catapult their business and increase their income.

Out of the many business ideas that were formed in OYE’s third year of implementation, 30 youth-led enterprises were selected to fine tune their business plans and compete against other OYE youth, in front of an expert jury, for start-up kits and overall recognition.

Coming from Mbeya, Arusha, Dodoma and Mwanza,these youth were challenged in presenting different skills required in running a business including showing their books of records, pitching their business skills in front of the panel and showing some of the negotiating skills they practise in their businesses include elaborated on what means they use to acquire customers as well as find their market outside of their villages.

Faustine Msangira, a business adviser working with SNV,a Netherland based non-profit International development organisation said the project aimed to stimulate Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) in Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique, connecting rural youth aged between 18-30 years to growing agribusiness and renewable energy sectors, as employees, entrepreneurs and commercial farmers.

‘We wanted to sharpen skills and capacity development of youth and also to link youth to market opportunities for employment and small enterprise development. We judged them based on their success within their group and businesses since they acquired OYE trainings, their confidence to stand in front of a panel and sell their plans for funding,” says Faustine.

According to him, they are targeting to reach out to 6,500 youth for two and a half years.”Our project aims to reach out to 18,500 youth across the country. This means we have so far reached up to 90 per cent of our target by reaching up to up to 12,000 youth whom majority of them have managed to start their own businesses,’ e elaborated.

The business adviser said so far they have 200 businesses which have been established by the youth in the central zone alone , “One of the biggest success we are proud to see is the fact that youth have been able to get employment opportunities both self employment through youth lead enterprises and being employed in various Institutions and companies which are working close with OYE project to look for various human power from the youth.

This companies have so far being able to employ more than 300 youth. We are also working close with the local government authority that have recognised the existence of these youth and they have so far offered loans from the Municipal to 50 business projects run by the youth.     

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Encouraging young scientists to invent

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza @TheCitizenTz etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

The science of today is the technology of tomorrow, this phrase was well translated by the young secondary school students of the country who took part in the science exhibition earlier this month. The two-day event, organised by Young Scientists Tanzania [a unique programme in Africa encouraging practical training] witnessed 80 secondary schools taking part from 26 regions of Tanzania who showcased their talents in science disciplines.

The project that stood out

Prosper Gasper and Eric Simon’s project, titled, ‘The use of mobile network as a fire alarm system’ became the most talked about presentation during the two-day event. “Our project aims at improving people’s lives as it boosts their security against fire, the disaster that has cost families and the nation billions of shillings in damage,” Eric explained in an interview with Success.

Prosper and Eric used a mobile phone network as a trigger of a fire alert system, which they attached to a security system alarm. According to both the boys who represented St Jude Secondary School in Arusha, they combined the knowledge they have on electronic devices and mobile phone to construct something that can save people’s lives. “We applied some electronic skills that we had to tackle a problem that face our societies. We used mobile phone, smoke sensors and other electronic instruments to make a fire alert system,” said Prosper.

On further explaining about their project that caught visitors’ eyes during the exhibition, the boys told Success that the communication innovation of a mobile phone itself served more purpose than just sending short text messages or phone calls.

“The system that we created works very. The smoke sensor plays the role of distributing signals to a mobile phone handset in case a fire breaks. When the signals strike into the mobile phone handset, it converts them immediately and makes a call to fire-fighters and the owner of the facility that caught fire. Also a smoke detector sends signals to the emergency exit door automatically. All this happens simultaneously,” explained Prosper.

The innovation by Prosper and Eric emerged the overall winner of the exhibition. The boys scooped the ‘Young Scientists Tanzania of the year trophy’, worth Sh1,350,000 and Karimjee Jivanjee Education Scholarship that will cover winners’ higher [university] studies. They will also represent the country in the Eskom Expo International Science Fair scheduled in October this year in Johannesburg, South Africa. “We are overjoyed. We finally did it,” exclaimed the young scientists commending the organisers of the exhibition, saying the forum shows the growth of technology in Tanzania.

The young innovators left a footprint

Education stakeholders in Tanzania see such an exhibition as an important one as students get an opportunity and a platform to explain about their innovations and concepts. Professor Simon Msanjila, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology encourages both primary and secondary schools to cultivate the tendency of frequently staging science exhibitions.

This equips and boosts students’ public speaking skills and confidence as they present, explain and defend their innovation models in front of a panel of judges, fellow students, teachers, parents and other visitors.

During the award giving ceremony at the end of this year’s Young Scientists Tanzania exhibition, Prof Msanjila said, “I urge students to love and make a relationship with science.” Stephano Chacha and Naima Mohamed from Vingunguti Secondary School in Dar es Salaam were also the receivers of Karimjee Jivanjee Foundation scholarship for their creation called ‘Free Energy Farming Tool.’

Their project, which is environment-friendly, converts solar energy into motion energy aids in rotation of the blades attached to a motor designed to dig the soil. “It can be used anywhere provided that there are sun rays. One just needs to have the panel that converts solar power into energy,” added Stephano.

“As you press a button to switch on the machine, the blades rotate. The rotation speed and strength of the blades depends on the amount of energy the machine gets from the solar battery. The more the input power the stronger the speed of the blades,” Stephano further explained the simple science behind their creation.

The tool is important as it helps farmers to minimise the time they spend in preparing their farms. Naima adds,“Also the tool can help farmers during weeding. If the plants are in the rows, they can use the tool to cut off weeds which are in between the rows.” The multi-purpose farming tool can also help farmers to cover fertilizer with the soil hence minimising the loss of fertilizer.

The basic idea is to minimise cost and time of production and maximise profit for farmers since few workers can prepare the large piece of land in a short period of time. The design is very good for small scale farmers who are engaging in agro-business, according to the creators.

Benitho Sutta, their teacher, commended his students for the innovation, saying that the machine will help farmers to cuts labour force and time one can use in production.

“Through this tool, a farmer can employ only one person who can operate the machine, which is environment-friendly. It produces no exhausted fumes or any other harmful smoke,” noted the Physics teacher who teaches Form Four and Form Two classes at Vingunguti Secondary School.

According to him, the idea behind the construction of such a tool was to help small scale farmers ease their work and abandon the hand hoe. “I think my students have achieved their goal. The machine uses solar energy which is free for farmers to improve their production,” he said. Both Naima and Stephano expressed their joy for being selected one among the winners who were awarded scholarship.

Budding of self-confident innovators

Young Scientists Tanzania exhibition is the place for students to build up their inner self confidence, the thought coinciding with Hudhaifat Hamdan and Abdul Banisheyba from Suza Secondary School in Zanzibar.

The two students who had exhibited their project titled, ‘En Route for Edible Bug Juice’, told Success that apart from competing for prizes with other participating students, the exhibition has exposed them to what other students are capable of doing when it comes to innovation.

“Events like this make me to believe in myself. Now I know that there is no such a thing as a small idea. Whenever an idea comes up in my mind, I will have to write it down so that I can work on it in future,” noted Abdul. Abdul and Hudhaifat said that their idea was centred on making pesticide by using raw materials, which can easily be obtained and are available in our surroundings such as lantana leaves, garlic, cloves and lemon grass. “We came up with the idea after observing how most people use pesticides, believed that they contain manufactured chemicals harmful to human beings and the environment at large. We think what we have created can replace pesticides, which are not environment and health-friendly,” noted Hudhaifat.

“During trials of pesticides we made, we proved that clove oil kills termites while garlic also kills houseflies. The two substances can also be used to repel houseflies, cockroaches and termites,” said Abdul.

The education stakeholders present at the Young Scientists Tanzania exhibition commended the initiative that it was an impressive event and a success as it provides a forum for students to tackle various challenges and find some scientific solution to solve them.     

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

‘Top in’ to help students, teachers

 

By Khalifa Said

Quality education is a basic need for the development of any country, this is an undeniable fact. Tanzania, as a country vying for an industrial middle-income economy, is of no exception. In this ever-changing world, pupils need to acquire the essential competences that can turn the country’s vision 2025 into a reality.

In order for that to happen, stakeholders in the education sector have been continuously and tirelessly highlighting, and teaching materials that meet the social, national and international needs, which are of paramount importance.

Motivated to help

This is the motivation behind the Oxford University Press (OUP), Tanzania’s publication of a new series of books that will be helpful to both teachers and pupils of primary schools in the country as part of the university’s efforts of furthering excellence of education in the country. The publications were made in partnership with local authors and researchers.

The launch of the brand new series was written for the new syllabus, the updated English language Syllabus for English Medium Primary Schools, and aimed at meeting the needs of English medium schools.

Top in, a name of the new series of books, is designed to improve the reading and writing capability of learners, from standard one to four and is written by a team of experienced teachers and language specialists. Subjects in the series currently include Reading, Writing, Mathematics, English and Kiswahili.

“We are committed to enriching and developing young minds and future leaders who are the driving force behind our operations,” speaks Fatma Shangazi, a country manager for Tanzania with the world’s largest university press with the widest global presence, OUP.

The Oxford University Press, familiar to millions through a diverse publishing program that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, published the competence-based series as a part of Oxford Regional Business in Africa-ORBIA.

“ORBIA is essentially a home of local curriculum publishing that we are doing in various countries in the continent,” says Marion De Vries, OUP’s Marketing Coordinator. This, Vries expounds, is a part and parcel of the publisher’s continuous commitment to “the growth of Africa and its people through the provision of excellent educational materials and support.”

A golden anniversary

The Top in series launch took place on Tuesday last week at the National Museum of Tanzania in a coincidence with the department of the Oxford University’s 50th anniversary since it set up office in the country’s commercial capital more than five decades ago.

Shangazi describes the celebration as “golden anniversary” and that she feels “privileged to have touched the lives of millions of Tanzanian learners” through the publisher’s local publications.

OUP Tanzania has been operating in the country since 1967 and has published locally created high quality education materials when it started publishing local curriculum more than 25 years ago, according to Shangazi. It started as a distribution office for other OUP’s products, like dictionary.

There’s a total of 250, 000 Tanzanian titles approved for the use in primary and secondary schools so far according to the available statistics at the publisher, both in paperback and digital formats.

“We are committed to supporting the government’s efforts of improving education through provision of well researched teaching and learning materials and teacher developments programs,” she adds. Since the technological changes are in stake, Shangazi offers, the publisher will be doing a lot of digital-based materials.

By Tanzanians, for Tanzanians

Lindsay Norman, a lead publisher at OUP South Africa, describes the new series as “developed by Tanzanians for Tanzanians” and that it will help a child to be top in English, mathematics and Kiswahili, thus the name Top in.

“We were very determined to make the series appropriate to the country’s diversity in terms of culture and values,” she shares.

Norman, familiar with the country and its education system, says that when they were developing the books, they took into consideration that children learn best when actively engaged and made creative along the way.

“One of the things I noticed in many schools which I visited here was the level of energy in the class rooms,” says Norman, showing an excitement of the country’s education system while singing a song she remembers hearing in one of the schools she visited. “I absolutely loved it, you walk into a classroom and there isn’t silence but a lot of noise and laughter, pupils chanting and singing, something of which I don’t see in South African schools and I wish they would do. So we have tried to reflect that in the books.”

Responding to the century’s needs

Speaking of the updated English language Syllabus for English Medium Primary Schools in the country, Wendy Walton, a lead author with the OUP South Africa, says that it was designed to coincide with the 21st century research studies which have shown that every child has a potential for learning once there’s a participatory environment along the way.

“In this kind of learning, the learners become the centres of the learning process and that the teacher assumes the role as a facilitator instead of being a source of knowledge,” she shares.

Ms Walton, who has never been in the country and impressed with the traffic jams saying that they let her ‘absorb the country’s familiarity,’ points out that the content and methodologies used in the books reflect the objectives and competence of the new designed curriculum.

“So skills like problem solving, communication, interactive learning, and learning in contexts are all embedded in the content and methodology in the books,” she says confidently highlighting in the PowerPoint slides of how the skills have been featured in the books.

Freddy Schizia, a retired teacher and a co-author of Top in Mathematics standard one and two says that they spent a total of eight months preparing and writing the books in partnerships with the OUP Tanzania.

What they strongly considered during the preparation of the publication, Schizia says in an interview with Success, is that the book’s applicability with Tanzania’s environment and make sure that they meet all demands stipulated in the new curriculum.

“They are books that a child can enjoy using and learn in practice,” he describes the series.

Purity Mbiti, a primary school teacher with the Hope and Joy Secondary School in Dar es Salaam shares her appreciation of the new syllabus saying it is helpful in the learning and teaching process as it describes in steps how a child can be helped with the ability to read, write and do arithmetic.

“Once I started using this book my experience improved and have really simplified the teaching and learning exercise,” explains Ms Mbiti who co-authored the Top in English with excitement. “There were pupils who found it so hard to make it in the three skills but they are now improving thanks to the new books.”

Zero tolerance to frauds, bribery

Shangazi says that all materials produced are designed to fulfill the local curriculum and are written by local authors who are knowledgeable in the country’s context and environment.

She points out that OUP Tanzania is committed to support education in the country through publishing high-quality, well-researched learning and teaching materials.

How about fraudulence? “We have zero tolerance to bribery and frauds and committed in conducting our business in line with the highest degrees of integrity and in accordance with the local and international legislation,” she says.

The books, Shangazi cautions, were not just produced to meet business demands but also as service to the nation and this was made possible through well-researches undertaken and partnering with local teachers in preparing them.

Mr Habibu Fentu is a Seating Director General at the Tanzania Institute of Education who says that the updated English language Syllabus for English Medium Primary Schools started to be used in 2015. He states that they have now stopped issuing books as they are doing some of the improvements of the existing one.

Accredited

“We, however, give accreditation to other publishers, like the Oxford, so that they can publish books relevant to the syllabus,’ Mr Fentu told Success in a telephone interview recently.     

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