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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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Readers accessing books online

Shafiq Mpanja, co-founder of ISwapMyBooks.

Shafiq Mpanja, co-founder of ISwapMyBooks. PHOTO | FILE 

Paul Ramsey is a footballer who loves reading variety of books. Reading is his only addiction he is aware of, says the 19-year-old Rangers FC striker, a small football club at Magomeni, Dar es Salaam.

It can take Ramsey, a high school graduate from Azania, a week to finish reading a 1,000-page book. This means that in a month he is able to read up to four books. However, this has never been a case. Budget constrains do not match with his supersonic and admirable reading speed.

Ramsey is not a professional footballer and he doesn’t have a permanent job, which can guarantee him a monthly pay. He buys a book once in a while. His latest one, and which he has re-read more than thrice, is Donald Trump’s Think Big.

Ramsey would like to exchange the book with a fellow reader who can offer him a book of his interest. This, notwithstanding, has always proved difficult not only to find the person who would be willing to exchange the book but also to find a collection of his favorite genres.

Here’s a solution

Ramsey was introduced to a platform that would help him quench his thirst for reading. He became aware of the platform through a passer-by who was talking through the phone. The man, whom later became Ramsey’s friend, was telling a person on the phone about the platform that would let readers across the city exchange books amongst themselves. It’s called ISwapMyBooks.

On that very day, with his smartphone, Ramsey bought airtime from his service provider’s e-money service and subscribed to an internet bundle. He opened Google and searched for ISwapMyBooks. And it appeared as the first result of the 2,320 results on google.

Ramsey is happy as I can tell from his facial expression, filled with a smile. He follows the link provided by Google. Ready to Swap? It’s the first question Ramsey encounters on the website. Below he finds ‘Find a Book’ section which is followed by two bars: one would let Ramsey select a type of book that he would like to swap; academic, fiction and non-fiction, and the second bar would let him search a book that he would like to swap.

How one swaps

But Ramsey will not be able to swap a book unless he is a registered member. He thus will have to register using his e-mail or Facebook account. Ramsey will be required to complete his profile by offering the needed information like writing his phone number and identifying his location.

Thereafter, Ramsey will have to list at least five books he or she wants to swap with other members, which to him that’s not a problem at all, he has more than ten books that he no longer reads. He lists the five books including of the now US-president, Mr Trump.

For Ramsey to get a book, he browses a library in fiction, non-fiction or academic categories. Ramsey selects E.L James’ 50 Shades Darker and a request is automatically sent to the book owner. The book owner in turn chooses Trump’s Think Big from Ramsey’s collection and then accepts to swap.

The process is completed, and Ramsey receives contact information of the fellow book swapper and agree that anyone will get the book within the coming two days. Ramsey stares at me with a cheesy and gummy smile.

Motivated by reading

ISwapMyBooks, founded in May last year, is a platform that helps people across the country discover new readings and then get the books for free using their old books, or books that they no longer need. Registered members have free access to more than thousands of books. These involve fictitious, non-fictitious and academics books. Registered members can get any book for free by swapping them with other book owners.

“The idea came from our reading culture in our company in which everyone buys one book every month and having done reading we exchange,” says Shafiq Mpanja, 30, who co-founded the platform. “One day it came to my mind that the idea can be expanded to a platform in which not only my co-workers can have access to free books, but everyone who has internet access.”

There are currently more than a thousand books listed in the platform by members. Just a month after the launch, more than 150 books were swapped. Currently, there is an estimate of 500 swaps.

For students, parents

ISwapMyBooks can help parents and students save money on the soaring costs of buying textbooks and course materials. Mpanja, who is a General Manager of Prime Pixels, a digital marketing agency, says that during piloting, the platform was only for academic books.

“We noticed that there’s a huge demand of academic books, people really want to give away books they have and also to get other textbooks. We encourage parents and students to list books they no longer need hence others can benefit.” The feedback, too, from the readership community in the country, has been tremendous, says a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technologies Mr Mpanja. “Spending a lot of money every month on bookshops while there is a cheap and affordable means to reading somehow sounds thorny.”

A view from users

Jackson Fute, author and script writer based in Dar es Salaam is one of the hundred others from the readership community who benefits from ISwapMyBooks. The 28-year old writer and resident of Kinondoni says that he got to know of the platform since the early days of inception and has so far swapped five books.

“I use it oftentimes and I think it’s a game changer towards the country’s reading population,” speaks Fute to Success in a telephone interview. “It helped me acquire books that I never thought were available in the country before.”

The idea that most Tanzanians do not like to read books sounds made-up to Steven Moruo, another ardent beneficiary of ISwapMyBooks who dismisses the mostly held belief saying that people do love reading but budget doesn’t allow them.

“Once I was aware of the platform through Twitter, I immediately thought it was a great initiative,” says the 25-year-old tutor at Kigamboni City College who so far has gone up to three swaps. “I like hoary Swahili books which ISwapMyBooks has really helped me since in the past it was difficult to spot them even in the bookshops.”

Books exchanging, friendship making

But Moruo gets more than books from ISwapMyBooks. “I get to connect with people that I never knew before and make friendships with them.” According to him, the whole process of exchanging books in person enriches relations which is a highly sought ingredient for one’s prosperity.

“Reading books is still a problem in our country with a good reason that books are expensive,” says a writer and content creator Dorren Andrew. “ISwapMyBooks helps out on that problem in very affordable and convenient ways.” Ms Andrew, also a lawyer at the National Bank of Commerce, says she is glad that the platform is eventually here as she is now able to get new books on a daily basis.

Taking ISwapMyBooks to the region

The vision of ISwapMyBooks, according to Mpanja, is to promote the reading culture in the country where the culture is not so common to its people. Mpanja and his colleagues are looking forward expanding it to be accessible through mobile phones that have no internet access through USSD command.

“Various stakeholders have been making numerous calls to Tanzanians to embrace reading culture for their own and national betterment,” he says, “but the response has been repeatedly discouraging even among the educated elites using books expensiveness as a pretext. I think iSwapMyBooks offers a perfect solution.”

Mpanja highlights that plans are also underway of expanding and enabling the platform to serve the whole region of East Africa so that more members from the region’s reading community may benefit from it.     

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Inspiring people to love books



Author Shemeji Melayeki.

Author Shemeji Melayeki. 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza @TheCitizenTz etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

Shemeji Melayeki was born in Arusha region in a Maasai community Northern part of Tanzania. He got educated in the same locality from Primary to Secondary school, and went to Kibaha near Dar es Salaam for his advanced secondary education. He is a holder of B.Sc. Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness which he attained in 2012 at Sokoine University of Agriculture. He is passionate in public speaking.

In 2004, he started publicly speaking at various groups, including speaking to primary and secondary school children and women. He also inspires people to take charge of their own lives and beat their own records of success by securing proper information from trusted sources.

He has been teaching “the power of reading books” at various camps, seminars and schools to inspire Tanzanian children to love reading. By 2014 he started leading the great movement of readers in Tanzania, City Reading Champions with its powerful slogan ‘From Reading to Leading’. “I will cease the use of this saying that ‘If you want to hide something from an African, you will only need to put it in a book’ because time has come and the time is now, that Africans will take the lead in reading books,” he says.

In June, 2013 he published his first book, Principles of Growth: Discovering what it takes to climb the ladder of success followed by Principles for Greatness: Everybody is designed to be a superstar published in December 2014. He has also written The Power of Vision, The Power of Reading Books and The Power of taking the first step which were released in 2015. His current book is Nguzo za Siku: Msingi wa Kwanza, written in Kiswahili released in June 2016.

Here’s a Q and A with the author:

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book in 2012 and officially released it on 18th June, 2013 at the age of 28.

What books have most influenced your life?

The bible was the first book I finished reading when I was in primary school (I wasn’t even a Christian) and later I was influenced with numerous books of the leadership guru John Maxwell and Dr David Oyedepo’s. These are 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership, Becoming the person of Influence by John Maxwell and Anointing for Exploits by Dr David Oyedepo. Others are The Science of Being Great by Wallace D. Wattles, Goals by Brian Tracy.

You have written six books, can we have a summary of each of your books?

Principle of growth - inspires and teaches people how to grow into their visions alongside giving insights to develop them. It also describes some important character growths that are required.

Principles for greatness is mediocrity fighting book. It basically shows why and how it is possible for anyone to be great.

The power of vision - is the smallest book in hard copy that I have ever published. It simply describes why having vision is very important.

The power of reading books is a book that tells my inspiration on empowering people to read books. It explains why reading book (quality books) is vital.

The power of taking the first step tackles the major problem – wishing. A lot of people wish ‘one day’ they will do something.

In this book much is highlighted in this area using my personal testimony.

‘Nguzo za siku’ is a small book in Kiswahili that gives daily inspiration about life and success. It is a daily dose for empowerment.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

My books focus on real people. I don’t develop characters. I use stories of people around the world who are really inspiring for instance; I used more than 50 people to describe why you shouldn’t give up in Principles for Greatness. This requires research and everything is in my hands-internet.

What was the hardest part of writing your books?

Editing, any mistake published will twist the message. Editors are rare in Tanzania.

Which was your favourite book to write and why?

A principle for greatness is my favourite book simply because it is a book that inspired me to do a lot. Because it has stories from many people, every time I read I get a new inspiration.

Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?

We have to work hard to make writing pay in Tanzania that was what I got in the first instance. Actually, some people were preaching to me “Nobody will buy your books” and that is the reason I started City Reading Champions Movement to inspire people to read books and the results are tremendous.

What are your future project(s)?

To launch many projects on inspiring Tanzanians to read and nurturing young writers.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Inspirational Speaker and doing church work – which are my other current activities.

What does your family think of your writing?

Family members are very surprised of how I became a writer. My first five books were in English so they couldn’t read except the current one in Kiswahili which attracted them.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I had never thought that books will open many doors for me. I started writing as a passion but now it is a serious business.

As a child, what did you aspire to become?

I had mixed feelings, during my primary school; I wanted to be a businessman, during my Ordinary Level secondary school I wanted to be a doctor. At advanced secondary education I grew a strong fear of bruises and blood, I was even afraid to dissect a frog. I was very disappointed because that meant I couldn’t become a doctor. But later I started reading books about self-discovery and I got great help.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Face book page, or link(s)?

Facebook Page: Apostle Shemeji Melayeki

What do you think makes a good story?

I have a simple method when I write “Tackle real issues by bringing real solutions” I don’t want to write a book that will be irrelevant after ten years.     

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Prof Kaaya: Mloganzila health facility a game changer

 Professor Ephata Kaaya, the Vice Chancellor of

 Professor Ephata Kaaya, the Vice Chancellor of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences.. PHOTO | COURTESY OF CAMPIX PRODUCTION  

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Give us a brief history of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and what necessitated the construction of the new campus at Mloganzila?

Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) was established way back in 1963 as the Dar es Salaam School of Medicine, which was upgraded later on to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Dar es Salaam in 1968. But at the time of establishment, the faculty could only admit 50 medical students. Then over the years, the population of students grew and until 1997, the population had reached to the stage where the facilities could no longer accommodate all the students.

Therefore, there was the need for expansion of the facilities so that we could also expand enrolment of students. By 1997, the Faculty of Medicine was at that time admitting about 200 students in medicine but also we had other students in School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Dentistry and also students from the Allied Health Sciences.

Therefore, we had this idea that in order to be able to increase enrolment, we needed to expand the facilities but the campus at Muhimbili could not expand any further because it had a small area. And therefore the government gave us about 3,800 acres of land at Mloganzila in order to start a second campus which would be the main campus MUHAS, which was accredited to be a full-fledged university in the year 2007.

Where did the government obtain the funding for the construction of MUHAS Academic Medical Centre (MAMC)?

In 2006, negotiations between Tanzanian Government and its South Korean counterpart led to the granting of money as soft loan for construction of the facility. In 2010, the two governments signed a contract. The amount of money for construction of the hospital and installation of medical equipment at that time was $76,500,000 (around Sh171,283,500,000 on current exchange rate). At that time this was enough to construct the building and fully equip the hospital.

However, by the time we started the construction in 2012/2013, inflation had taken its toll and $76.5million could no longer construct the same building. This necessitated the government to top up by $18,040,000 making a total of $94,540,000 to construct the same building which we had planned in 2012/13. The soft loan the government received from South Korea will be paid after the interim period of 16 years and over a period of 45 years.

The completion of the MUHAS Academic Medical Centre (MAMC) will definitely increase enrolment. How many students will MUHAS be able to accommodate?

When the hospital is fully functional and the campus is wholly constructed, MUHAS will be able to enroll about 15,000 students in total.

How would you describe the cooperation between South Korea’s Yonsei University and MUHAS?

Well, immediately after we started the construction of MAMC, we signed a memorandum of understanding between MUHAS and Yonsei University of South Korea through its severance hospital, which is the teaching hospital of the Yonsei University. The agreement between the two universities aims at helping MUHAS train sufficient teaching staff so that they can teach at MAMC and also offer the required health services. The training of staff has been ongoing since 2013 to 2017. We usually send staff from about eight faculties from MUHAS and other institutions like the Muhimbili National Hospital.

How do you allocate the doctors to MAMC as the new facility does not have doctors?

Well, we have already recruited human resource through the government. Some are newly recruited health professionals through the President’s Office, Public Services Management but others have been transferred from other facilities which are the same level as the MAMC. But also we have our own health personnel who are teaching at MUHAS because they are professionals, they have their own rights and therefore they will continue to work at MAMC.

We are going to operationalise the hospital in phases, focusing on critical departments which need to start and then eventually reach maximum functionality whereby we will recruit sufficient numbers of staff which is about 1,300 in total.

Do you have an attractive retention plan taking into consideration most Tanzanian doctors seek greener pasture abroad?

We always have doctors at MUHAS over the years since it was established in 1963. And we haven’t had a problem of migration of doctors to seek greener pastures abroad, because the remuneration packages which are offered at the university are attractive to teach but also the teaching environment attracts doctors and other medical staff to work at MUHAS.

Do you have a succession plan in place?

Yes, the university has a succession plan as required for all government institutions and therefore this is going to be observed and we have already prepared one which will cover not only the current campus but also the new campus including the MUHAS Academic Medical Centre.

To what extent do you think the newly built state-of-art teaching hospital will contribute towards intellectual life in Tanzania?

This is going to be the facility for training health professionals of all types including medical doctors, dentists, nurses allied sciences professionals as well as biomedical engineers. Therefore, the MUHAS and the newly built campus MAMC at Mloganzila is going to contribute significantly to the creation of the required human resource for health which at present is at scarcity.

Do you think the new Mloganzila campus will be a catalyst for research and to what extent?

Certainly it’s going to be a catalyst for research because we as the medical doctors but also as university staff are supposed to do research. The MUHAS Academic Medical Centre is a facility which is well equipped with modern equipment and of high technological advancement and this is going to be a catalyst for state of the art research in all medical fields.

Do you think doctors and medical practitioners teaching at the university would have enough time to engage themselves in research as most of the time they are occupied more with teaching and clinical care issues?

I don’t think there is a problem because most of us here are professors and we have been and we are still providing clinical care. So that is not a deterrent to doing research at all. It is actually a catalyst because you do research while providing care as well teaching.

What are your views on rural –urban disparities in terms of medical care as most medical practitioners are concentrated in urban centres. How do you plan to bridge the gap?

The rural urban disparity is not an easy problem to solve currently, and this is because highly qualified medical professionals will work mostly in the tertiary specialised facilities like Muhimbili National Hospital or MUHAS Academic Medical Centre because this is where they get facilities and job satisfaction.

However, the current training of medical professionals at MUHAS encourages people to go back to work at the periphery, that is in the rural areas. This is what we are doing. We do this through transforming the curriculum, which is relevant to rural areas and will attract people to work in rural areas.

Is there any deliberate plan or special packages as incentives to lure doctors to join and work at MAMC?

Well MUHAS is a government institution and we use a scheme of services, which has been prepared by the government specific for the MUHAS Medical Academic Centre and the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. These schemes provide some incentives but they are not very different from the rest of government institutions of this calibre.

On the other hand, usually incentive are created by doctors themselves when they are working and we are planning to be able to create motivation for doctors to join the teaching hospital as they start working own their own. But the scheme of service determines the entry level although it might be better in some of the hospitals but it is not sufficiently and so differently that we can attract all medical personnel from other institutions. After all, this is not the intension. We need to balance the work force across heaths facilities so that everybody has access to the required level of medical care.

Do you have future plans to have such kind of state-of-art teaching facility of the same status as MAMC in other regions in the country?

Certainly, there is that possibility in the future. Already there is the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital in Dodoma, which is also a good teaching hospital and I think more hospitals of that caliber will be built in the future.

However, as MUHAS, I think we need to focus our resources strategically.

We are not rushing to create these very expensive facilities like MAMC or Benjamin Mkapa teaching hospital all over the country. We need to strategically press them so that they can be accessible by all Tanzanians but without straining our resources because these are quite expensive facilities not only to construct but also to maintain.

How do you describe doctor-patient relations in public hospitals as there have been widespread notions that public trust to doctors at public hospitals is very minimal?

I’m not very sure that a public trust to doctors is minimal and I don’t know where such notion comes from. I think it depends on which facilities they are referring to. In most tertiary facilities the public trust is very high as they are offering very high quality services currently as is the case with the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute, the Muhimbili Orthopedic Institute, the Muhimbili National Hospital. These are reputable health care facilities and the public trust has never been eroded there.

How does the MAMC plan to use technology and ICT in teaching while at the same time providing clinical care to the public?

The new MUHAS Academic Medical Centre is a highly technical facility using modern technology both for teaching and medical care. There will be distant learning facilities which will be installed in various areas which will aim at providing learning even if students are not able to be present for example in operating theater they will be able to access teaching. The technology which has been installed is completely digitalised and this is what we need in a modern teaching facility to provide teaching even to distance remote areas.

Are there any other areas or projects in which MUHAS is working with the Koreans other than the Mloganzila project?

We have been working with Korea Foundation of International Health and the memorandum of understanding which we signed covers more than just the Mloganzila project, which is now completed. We are going to continue working together in exchange of students, exchange of staff and also in teaching and research.

Is MUHAS satisfied with this arrangement?

Well the donor fund we received is a real grant from Exim Bank of Korea, which is the government grant from South Korea. It is a good soft loan in the sense that it is very well managed by the EDCF at EXIM bank of Korea but also the mechanism of paying back is good for the country because we will pay after 16 years and over the period of 45 years, something which I think is good and we will be able to repay the loan.

We have also been working with Korea Foundation of International Health. They have been able to sponsor our specialists to undergo special training in South Korea at the Younsei University teaching hospital, the severance hospital and we are really happy with this arrangement because most of our students have gained quite a lot in terms of skills and competence required to be used in MAMC.

We still have collaboration with the Younsei University and we will continue working with them. We are happy with the arrangement.

Do you have plans to make the MAMC a referral hospital only?

MAMC is a tertiary care facility at referral specialised level and therefore we receive patients who are referred from other district and regional hospitals just like the current Muhimbili National Hospital where you only receive referred patients who have been seen in the regional hospitals. So the hospital is going to take care of conditions which cannot be treated at a referral hospital that is district and regional hospitals.

Will the current entire MUHAS medical school shift to the new Mloganzila campus?

No, the current MUHAS medical campus is not going to be shifted. What we are going to have is the main campus at Mloganzila and the second campus at Muhimbili. So we are going to admit students in both campuses and this will increase the number of students who are going to be admitted to do various health professional studies at MUHAS.

You have been at the helm of the major health university in the country for about five years now. What are the major challenges you have faced?

In life, challenges are always there but you have to be able to solve them. At MUHAS there are several challenges, among them is the number of students we have which is more than what we can accommodate, there is the issue of sponsorship for students and several other challenges. But I’m grateful that we are working closely with the government to address those challenges.

Well, what I can say Is we are happy that the government has been able to assist the construction of this modern health teaching facility at Mloganzila, which is going to be part of MUHAS.

When do you think the hospital will be officially opened?

We are aiming at commissioning the hospital soon. If everything goes well we still have few issues to take care of and that is finalise installations and testing of medical equipment.     

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

This is why big projects fail all the time

 

By Paul Owere @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

There are several projects that seem to have stalled and usually the quick assumption is that that the owners could have run out of cash.

Most hit in this category are the multinational organisations and government institutions that lose millions of dollars due to poor execution of tasks.

Contrary to that, those in the know say this ought not to be the case and it comes down to poor planning which makes execution of such projects a failure due to lack of qualified project managers at the helm of these projects.

It therefore comes as a little wonder that the US government passed a law in 2016 that will help improve project management in running Federal programs where over $150m was being lost for every $1billion spent annually.

Bwali Barnabas Ndyanabo is a C-Level international project management executive with over 16 years of experience, executing large-scale multimillion-dollar projects within telecommunications industry.

“I always loved being part of things that are meaningful and leave lasting impressions on people and organizations that I work with,” he says.

Speaking to Success, on his role he said, it is this desire and drive that led him to fall in love with project management after he realized that for most organizations and Governments Projects were run as routine operations and there was a massive skill gap in managing their Projects.

Project management, according to him, is one of the grey areas that are not viewed as a discipline that is critical to their performance and ultimately playing a crucial role in their success and service provision.

“On many occasions it is considered an administrative or technical specialty concerned with implementation rather than an integral part of accomplishing the organization’s strategies,” he says.

Ndyanabo who is a qualified telecom engineer has hugely specialized in delivering projects on time, budget, and quality requirements, with expertise in network evolution strategies and modernization initiatives for global companies.

His work in this industry has seen him work with in different capacities at Nokia networks Tanzania, also taking on tasks to modernize Vodacom Tanzania network, Tigo network and Build the Warid Telecom in Uganda from scratch.

At all these companies he has carried the Project Management portfolio as either Head of Project Management or Project Director like at his current station at Airtel Tanzania where he is the Project Director.

“When I first came to Tanzania in 2011 on one of the projects with Nokia Networks for the National Modernization of Vodacom Network, Tanzania as a country had only 15 PMP certified Project managers,” he says.

Thanks to his efforts with constant mentoring, this has since changed and there seems to be a silver lining in what was once a very dark cloud.

“I have managed to mentor over 10 people who have gone on to attain internationally sought after Project Management Professional (PMP) certification by Project Management Institute in the US therefore raising the numbers of qualified Project managers in Tanzania from 15 in 2011 to 47 in 2017 and hence attaining a PMI Chapter status,” he says.

His years in this trade has also seen him Provide project Management training for over 50 Directors and executives from top ranking companies in Tanzania who are interested in improving their skills and project delivery within their organisations.

But even with this achievement he believes it is one of those areas that is still very grey and will continue to be that way until radical steps are taken in the way projects are run.

His trade has taken him places plus earning him a slot on the East AfricaCom advisory board where he offers insight on regional specifics as an informed authority in the industry.

“I have been on the board since 2016 and we usually have a two-day conference in where as part of it I have to help in the event development for core conference themes and speaker selection process,” says Ndyanabo

At these conferences the panelists address diverse issues in the Telecom and Technology world with specific regard on how they can bring the world closer through telecom and technology within the East African countries.

“In the last conference some of the issues I discussed with my fellow Panelists included strategies for connecting the unconnected, digital transformation challenge to lead businesses, bringing much needed broadband capacity from the coast to inland regions of East Africa and enhancing fiber systems to meet traffic demand in Africa,” he says.

As a telecom engineer whose feet have traversed the African continent and beyond with major projects in Egypt, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Mozambique, South Africa, DRC and Tanzania he sees the future of telecom heading toward data as opposed to the traditional calls.

“The telecom world is changing quite fast, we are moving away from the voice to a lot of data usage but more interestingly even with the data we are graduating from just the use of social media and internet browsing and instead telecom companies are becoming more of innovators providing more services that are beyond the normal voice calls,” he says.

 

How did it begin?

According to Barnabas this was something that started off as a passion as a young boy despite having been born in rural Uganda where he first got to see an electric bulb at the age of 13.

“There was always that engineering boy in me, one who wanted to fix things that were sometimes beyond his grasp and that is how I ended up pursuing engineering,” he says.

He believes that for one to be successful at a certain career they have to love what you do and not otherwise.

“You must have a passion because this will always guide you even when times are hard, harness it, find the opportunity that will make you a better person,” he advises young people. There have been challenges too and to him some of these have only helped him grow as both a person and a professional.

“In 2008 I had this assignment where I was supposed to build a company from the scratch in Ivory Coast for the Warid Telecom Group and language was such a huge barrier given that Ivory Coast is French speaking and I am from Uganda and English speaking country. But at the end of the it was a success because a company was born,” he says

Barnabas who draws his inspiration from philanthropist Ibrahim Mo today sees himself as a brand because people rely on him to make sure their investments do not go to waste. He says the telecom revolution is one of the best things to have ever happened in Africa because it has expedited the growth of Africa’s economy tremendously.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Security app made by students

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Two form four students might soon enter into Tanzania’s history of innovators after designing affordable software called ‘automatic vibration lock system’ with aims at strengthening security to public.

Rickson Moshi and Christopher Wambura want to see their technology improve security in the country, but also to help the government in attaining its industrialisation economy agenda.

Like other innovators their dream is to become formidable forces in the world of tech and innovation in Tanzania and beyond in ten years’ time. “Innovation is everything. Industrialisation is only achievable with affordable and relevant innovation,” said Moshi, adding there are young people who are able to innovate various technologies but don’t know where to demonstrate their work.

Thanks to Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), two students travelled all the way from the school of St Jude in Arusha to Dar es Salaam to demonstrate their innovation.

The innovators mainly wanted to focus on a security system that is not easily vulnerable to hackers like the existing technological systems in Tanzania.

Security systems like CCT camera, access control at a domestic or industrial level and motion detection here sometimes susceptible to being hacked.

The two students from of St Jude Secondary School in Arusha recently travelled to Dar es Salaam to showcase their security system technology at the 12th Tanzania Commission of Universities (TCU) exhibitions held in July this year. Dr Janeth Marwa from NM-AIST School of Business, Studies and Humanities (Bush) said such exhibitions are good for young scientific innovators to display their innovations.

She said the science fair encourages and motivates young people to love science subjects as per the university motto. “We are confident to invest in future youth innovators,” said Dr Marwa.

The university usually celebrates the late Mandela’s birthday on every July 18 by organising a Nelson Mandela Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation Week, aimed at implementing the vision of Mandela who wanted to invest in the youth.

Secondary schools based in Arusha were invited to participate in the science fair and showcase their scientific innovations. Over 50 students from six schools were attended this year’s science fair.

“Our aim is to encourage and motivate youth to love science subjects which is the university motto, adding there are a number of students who are talented and can design things which may help the government in their development projects,” said Dr Marwa.

Producing more scientists is also a good sign of achieving the government‘s ambitious dream of industrialising the economy. At the exhibition, various technologies were displayed and they were very useful to solving various problems.

Affordable automatic vibration lock system by two students from the School of St Jude stood out of the others. Innovators received a certificate and Sh300, 000 as motivations.

Winning the Nelson Mandela Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation Week was a ticket for Rickson Moshi and Christopher Wambura’s jetting to Dar es Salaam for TCU exhibition.

“Our goal is to tell people that there are young innovators who have big ideas and if well nurtured can help solve problems that need scientific means,” she said.

She added that the impact of investing in young people is to create sustainability of scientists in coming years “The regime of President John Magufuli should continue investing in youth,” she notes.

It has been further noted that in order to achieve the agenda and sustainability of industries there’s a need to build a good foundation through the young generation who would run the machinery in the coming years.

How the journey of innovation started

According to Rickson, in 2014 he innovated a technology of producing electricity by using sweet potatoes; unfortunately his idea was not taken into consideration.

“Basically it was not easy as my father in the beginning ignored me. I remember after I introduced to him my idea he said I paid school fees so that you can study but you come here with potatoes,” he recounts.

But later his father started to understand him after the school administration invited him to participate in one of the science fairs which his innovation had made it to the top three.

It was different with Christopher whose father is an IT professional. He got support from his parents in terms of finance, encouragement and sometimes worked together with his father.

“Whenever I had an idea, my father worked with me to ensure it becomes successful,” he told Success. “We would like to acknowledge our science teachers at the School of St. Jude for providing space and resources fort this project,”

“We would like to acknowledge Mandela University faculty members for great support on how to improve our projects and providing an opportunity and support for us to attend TCU exhibitions,” they said

Last year, the two joined together by starting to design different technological things with focus on addressing social problems. One of the areas they found was security.

“On top of security system we designed, we have a number of ideas that we are planning to display to the public,” said Rickson.

The young innovators are now encouraging other students to take science subjects because there are more opportunities given the development of the field of science and technology.

“We thanked Mandela University for their support and financing our trip to the exhibitions,” they said adding they advise other innovators not to end up grabbing awards and money but rather develop their technologies.

They said during the holiday they spend most of their time at Christopher’s daddy office to develop their technologies.

How the technology operates

It’s simple to use and can be adaptive (customized depending on the user needs), it’s an alternative to existing technologies like password, biometric, eye retina detection, CCTV and access control. The knocking methods are simple to learn and use (could be done too fast, slowly or combination of both at any pace required...there is no fixed knocking time). The system can be connected to user mobile phone, email or CCTV.

Also the project can be developed and modified into a final product which can be used at a domestic or industrial level. If the user forgets the password the system can send massage through mobile or email or any other information system and provide a reminder.

The software is programed in simple language to interface the input and output computer system (Digital) to respond to real life signal (Analogy such as pressure, motion, vibrations)

Just as any other technology there might be limitations to this system, user memory of knocking pattern and pace and frequency. There is still a challenge to keep total cost of ownership low to allow as many people as possible to own the technology.

According to the innovators, the access pattern to the security system is one of its best features, adding the system cannot be hacked due to its function. “Other security systems, for example the signatory or fingerprint one can scan and use it,” said they innovators

According to them, the invention is very cheap and can be fixed. It is far more affordable than CCTV. Their software per one door can be fixed, the password costing between Sh80, 000 to Sh100, 000 depending on customer’s specifications.

“Currently we haven’t started yet as we are still concentrating on studies and there are some few things that need to be completed in that software,” said the two students

Benefit of using the system

No need to walk with the keys of the door. It reduces the inconvenience if you return home late and the people are asleep as just tapping the door will open.

It’s easy and friendly to all people even disabled because the software can be fixed at areas which are easily accessible.     

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

After the ban, what next for varsities?

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Last week, 19 colleges and universities including two Kenyan and Ugandan varsities whose campuses are located in Arusha and Dar es Salaam were banned by Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) from enrolling new students to any degree courses during the 2017/18 academic year. This was after a report blacklisted them for providing poor quality education. The commission also stopped the admission of students to 75 Bachelors degree programmes in this academic year from 22 universities and colleges, including the Universities of Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. The announcement which also highlighted several shortcomings in some of the varsities came at a time when university enrolment were about to start hence left thousands of students in confusion .

Nearly 33,000 candidates who sat their Form Six national examination in 2017 scored first and second division to qualify for direct entry into the university. Over 20,000 others with division three and below are also expected to seek for enrolment in colleges for training that correspond with their scores. According to the TCU acting executive secretary, Prof Eliuther Mwageni all institutions with flaws were given 14 days to correct and submit their reports to the commission for further review and that feedback was circulated to all colleges by July 1, this year. TCU decision doesn’t come as a shock to some universities since they usually conduct an evaluation of universities annually, scrutinise their systems and programmes offered to ensure the quality of courses offered.

In 2016, TCU banned two universities from admitting new students in the 2016/17 academic year for violating regulations. The affected institutes were St Joseph University of Science and Technology and International Medical and Technological University (IMTU).

The two universities were reportedly barred from admitting new students because it had no permanent buildings. According to TCU, the law requires higher learning institutions to have a good and conducive environment for students.

They were required to have permanent buildings and facilities such as laboratories in addition to having qualified lecturers. Earlier on the same year, TCU blacklisted some St Joseph University of Science and Technology campuses in Songea in Ruvuma Region from undertaking academic businesses for failing to meet required standards set by the commission.

The move affected 2,046 students who were transferred to other institutions in the country that offer same courses and no new enrolment were permitted at the two universities until TCU was satisfied that all shortcomings were fully addressed, however, students who had already been enrolled continued with their studies.

The TCU decision raises the issue of the quality of our universities and what can be done to ensure that these universities maintain the requirement by the authorities so as to offer the best education.

Thadeus Lekule, a lecturer from Tumaini University Makumira says there is no college or university that would be allowed to operate without meeting stipulated requirement. According to him most private institutions operating cost are high compared to public universities therefore even how they run their activities depend on the number of students they get.

Explaining if the fees paid by students is enough to cover the running costs incurred by the colleges and universities, he said the amount set by most universities can be afforded by many students and when it come to the quality offered by universities it depends on many factors because there are some colleges which are expensive but still they offer ordinary courses or even below the standard compared to those who charge the minimum fees and offer the best quality.

“The case can be different for private institutions, compared to public universities which depend on subsidies hence they can afford easily to run their activities. Most of them don’t depend on fees to run their business some they have projects and even sponsors who support them,’ he explains.

He advices the government not to forget that most of the private universities have been there for long to offer higher education and that our higher education have been highly supported and run by private and religious institutions therefore it should work with them closely to ensure that they offer the best service.

“Shutting down these universities at a time when students have already enrolled and paid their fees without giving them a warning at first is discouraging, even government has employed people who have attended these private institutions that shows how important there private institutions are.

The government can find a way to help private universities for instance in building laboratories or other facilities, he noted.

Lessons from abroad James Gachuki,Middlesex University East Africa region manager based in Kenya says there are few things that our local universities and colleges can learn however not everything that is practiced abroad can be relevant here because of our system.

“The system most universities and colleges have in foreign countries in particular UK are specifically designed for their market. Universities here in Tanzania are controlled and regulated by TCU and they know the problems associated with the education system back here and so even the regulations is within this particular system. ‘Am not saying the British system for instance is better than our education system and therefore we should scrap it off; no, this system in Tanzania is tailor made for this market and there are some thing’s done in UK which cannot work here.

He says one thing that most colleges and universities abroad have successfully achieved making the quality of their education stand out is because they do a lot of research especially on the courses they run.

‘The problem we have in most of African universities is that they run programs just for the sake of it. So you will find programs which have not been reviewed for years which were there ten to fifteen years ago are still being run probably not relevant to the market.”

‘However, the case is different for colleges and universities abroad since they do a lot of job and market research that’s why you will find a program lasting for a few years.

If it’s not relevant to the job market, they take it off, do their market survey and identify programs which are relevant to the job market,” explains Gachuki. He noted that since most of African colleges and universities don’t do such researches they end up having graduates with degrees which cannot bring value in the job market because they are obsolete, they have been overtaken by events.

That’s why for majority of students who study here in the country, it is important for TCU and respective universities boards to embrace market intelligence and understand the job market, for example Tanzania is well known for mining then perhaps they should have more programs in line with those particular job market and also try to understand which gaps are there in the job market.

On his part, Abdulmalik Mollel, managing director of Global Education Link which is an overseas educations agency says our local colleges and universities don’t have problem with quality of education except the previous admission system.

He says the system that was being used by TCU was of help to students since it made it easy for them thus reduced the pressure of finding universities , however the same system made some universities inactive, making them feel that everything is easy. “Anywhere you want to see an improvement then there must be competition because it brings efficiency demand and time frame in deliverance of service, quality and innovation.

Community needs to be offered with quality service providers so that they can choose the best they can get and afford and so if you cannot compete then nobody would come to your university.

Education is business and is not for free, therefore universities and colleges need to follow the ethics and other business procedures,’ he said.

He also stated that public universities need to be competitive enough so that they can survive for many years and offer quality education even if they get subsidies from the government.

With competition, everything come along including quality and facilities.

“I applaud the initiative taken by the government, this has opened a room for universities to compete and I am sure come next year things will be different. Every institution would ensure that they offer the best education. No one will want their college or university to be close down so they will improve their services,’ he says.

He says most colleges abroad offer quality service because of technology and competition so what we are going through would improve our education in the near future.     

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Young scientists given a boost

 

By Hellen Nachilongo

About nineteen students across the country have been given scholarship to study science courses in various universities, since the establishment Young Scientists Tanzania (YST) six years ago

Every year, YST organises a national exhibition and competition in which several schools, students come together to participate in the event, to generate ideas for their projects based on the realities facing their communities.

Several prizes are offered during competition however, the overall winner of the competition is at the end given a scholarship opportunity to study at any university in the country.

The organisation focuses on promoting young Tanzanians by providing a platform for young students from across all schools in the country to demonstrate their innovation and showcase their scientific talents.

The event also includes, tackling topics as wide ranging as nutrition, climate change, sustainable agriculture, gender inequality, disease, clean water and sustainable energy, all of which have major implications for the development of the Tanzanian economy and society.

This year’s event will be held between August 8 and 9, at Julius Nyerere Convention Center (JNCC) whereby it will bring together 100 teachers and 200 students from different secondary schools countrywide, with BG Tanzania, a Subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell as the main sponsor of YST.

During a two days exhibition, students will be given an opportunity to compete with others to represent their schools at the national competition.

YST co-founder, executive director Dr Gozibert Kamugisha told Success recently during a tour visit at Kibaha, Tumbi and Malamaba mawili secondary school that this year’s exhibition will be one of its kinds, because the exhibition goes concurrently with government slogan of industrialisation and medium income country by 2025.

Among other generated ideas to be presented at the upcoming exhibition include purification of water using solar system, Keep it cold or hot and how electricity is controlled by sound.

Explaining on solar purification of water idea, a form three student at Malama Mawili Secondary School, Violet Jakob said that they came up with such an idea in order to help the community access clean drinking water.

“One of the biggest national and world problem is finding clean water for domestic use, though in some areas you can find purified water due to the presence of technology however, in rural area people don’t have access to clean drinking water,” she said.

According to her, in rural areas most of the people use unpurified water due to lack of technology and skills therefore the problem can be solved by using simple method of distillation and purification.

She added that heavily contaminated water can be distilled to drinking water using solar heat to remove volatile solid impurities, microorganism but it is very disappointing that people still drink unpurified water due to lack of knowledge and skill.

She said that solar purification system is very important because it can be used in purifying water at house level using radiation with additional use of solar heating.

Dr Kamugisha explained that for a country to be developed there must be people who would be able to generate different type of ideas and such individuals are school going children with fresh mind.

“We encourage students to study science practically in order to help them try to solve the problems that occur in their community daily instead of waiting for the government to do everything for the community,” he said.

He said that students should not practice science of copy and paste but should conduct research in order to come up with new ideas and new innovations that would help uplift the advancement of technology and to boost the economy of the country.

Ms Patricia Mhondo, external relations manager at BG Tanzania, explained that they have been collaborating with YST to encourage students to learn science subjects, because they believe the fields of science rely on investing in young scientists.

“Most of the time, students get the wrong perception and shy away from learning science subjects, because they think science is difficult but it is an easy subject and the field gives high employment opportunity than other fields because a scientist can be anything he/she wants to be in life,” she said.

She said that since the country is blessed with natural gas there is need to have adequate science experts who will be able to compete globally, nationally.

In view of this, she added that by having competent scientists, Tanzanians will have a greater opportunity at getting employment than losing such posts to foreign employees.

Ms Mhondo explained that doing science makes someone become more productive and boasts thinking capacity beyond your imagination..

Coastal region coordinator of YST and a Kibaha secondary school teacher Mr Paul Balibate said the initiative to encourage students to study has helped the students record good pass marks so far.

In view of this, he explained that to teach children science subjects at an early age, will help the country innovate various projects therefore joint efforts by the government and stakeholders is needed to ensure that science subjects are regarded as national interest of the country.

“Ever since the school started participating in the exhibition in 2012, most students have been inspired to take science subjects which at times becomes difficult for the school authority to allow all students who pick an interest in science to enrol,” he said.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa recently granted permits for recruitment of 4,126 teachers for mathematics and science subjects, as among means of improving education standard in both primary and secondary schools in the country.

He told the National Assembly that the industrial economy largely requires highly competent human resources, especially in mathematics and science.

The premier said that like any other countries in Africa, Tanzania was facing challenges for her students not wishing to study mathematics and science subjects and thus, contributing to the poor performance in these subjects.

“It is obvious that our children will be compelled to depend on experts from aborad if empahisis isn’t put on mathematics and science subjects, a matter that will cause most Tanzanians to remain as observers,” he warned.

He said that currently government has taken measures, including encouraging students to like and take up science subjects at all levels of their studies.

Furthermore, he said the government continues with its plans of constructing laboratories in secondary schools and colleges.     

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Author who talks entrepreneurship

Author Ludger Mkemwa holding one of his books

Author Ludger Mkemwa holding one of his books PHOTO ||| ELIZABETH TUNGARAZA 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

It’s important to know the role that money plays in our life. We cannot deny the importance of money because it is at the helm of necessary things that we require in life.

Just like the way we need food to live, similarly we need money to survive. It is difficult to sustain our lives without money as it is considered to be a basic necessity.

Following that most people write about money and entrepreneurship, so does Ludger Mkemwa, who is the author of two books “UJASIRIAMALI WA KITANZANIA” (Tanzanian Entrepreneurship) and “FEDHA: MAISHA YAKO FEDHA YAKO.” (Money: Your life your money).

Ludger states that the way one thinks about money influences the things he/she does in their life.

The best thing is to know how money impacts someone’s life, how he/she creates it, how he/she manages it, and how can he/she free him/herself from its control.

Therefore it is important to have a proper balance between your expenses and money. Success magazine interviewed him about his books.

Please tell us about yourself; your education background.

I have a diploma in information and library science form Sokoine University of Agriculture. I attended many short courses. I am a married husband to a beautiful wife with two children.

I’m the author of two entrepreneurship books. I’ve always liked doing whatever it is that I want to do in life. This is perhaps one of the things that some people cannot do, taking that leap. I started writing back in 2013.

Where did you get information or ideas for your books?

I normally read many different books, I do a lot of research such as making inquiries from different people.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

My first manuscript was written in 2013, by then I was 30years. I managed to publish it in 2015.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like public speaking and engaging in business activities.

What impact has your books had to its readers?

I have helped many people through my books. Sometimes they call and share their appreciation; most of them confess to me that their business is doing much better and their lives have changed since reading the book.

You have two books? Which is your favourite and why?

My favourite book is “FEDHA”. Not because it has superior content to the other, they both have exceptional content, but I consider it my favourite because I wrote that book without having money to publish it, but I persevered and succeeded.

What was the hardest part of writing your books?

Writing is not difficult, but to write something that touches the lives of many people can become a challenge, especially when they follow what you convey through your work. I thank God I’ve managed to have a positive impact to many readers across the country.

What did you learn from writing your books?

I learnt a lot; one of the things I learnt is if you want to change people, first change yourself. Majority do say Africans are not readers, I said to myself if that is the case how could I change such notion? I changed it by reading many books myself, now I want them to read – in their own language to top it all, that’s why my books are in Swahili.

Any particular message in your books that you hope your readers will hold firm?

If you want to do anything, don’t compare yourself with anybody in this world because they are not you. Find a proper way to do it well. Don’t allow anybody to push you further down, believe in your abilities and you shall succeed.

What are your future projects?

I want to help anybody who likes to be an author. I have started with my friend Teodata Mamich. Her book is doing well in the market and my dream is to have my own publishing house which will help young authors.

If you weren’t an author, what would your other ideal career be?

Public speaker.

Your second book is purely about entrepreneurship, where did you get the idea to

write about entrepreneurship and money?

In the year 2016 the country faced a major economic challenge, it is from such financial catastrophe that stemmed the idea of writing about money. I did that in order to tackle that challenge.

What authors do you like to read? What book or books have influenced your writing?

I really enjoyed “My friend of mine”, Robert Kiyosaki and Richard Branson,

What’s your major aim of writing?

I normally write to help people get what they want in life without any fear. I believe that you can get whatever you want in life if you believe in yourself and desire what you are after.

You won’t get money if you hate it; you won’t get a good life if you don’t know what that it is. Don’t fear anything; do not even fear to learn from your failures. I wrote and I will continue writing that failing is a part of life so if you escape that you’re probably eliminating somehting from your life.     

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When students use one platform for academics

Given Edward winner of the Queen’s Young

Given Edward winner of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, a recognition to exceptional young people. He created a platform for students to discuss various subjects. PHOTO I COURTESY 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

When he was in Kibasila High School for his advanced level education, Given Edward wondered if students would have a discussion forum accessible to them no matter where they are.

The 23-year old Edward and winner of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, an award by Queen Elizabeth II to exceptional young people, narrates that by that time he was living in Tegeta, Kinondoni Municipal,Dar es Salaam almost 27 kilometres from his school.

Edward came up with MyElimu, a website that brings together students from all over Tanzania to discuss various subjects of both O and A levels plus other academic matters. And this is what earned him recognition by the Queen of England.

“I had already known enough about coding, a computer language which makes it possible for us to create software, apps and websites,” Edward tells Success from Mauritius where he is currently studying at African Leadership University (ALU).

“Initially the goal was to connect students but with time it has become bigger than that - into aiming to improve the quality of a secondary school student overall,” speaks the Founder and Director of MyElimu.

Given was born on August 5th, 1994 and was raised in an average extended Tanzanian family. He was born with a twin sister Gift whom he describes as his source of strength.

He did his O level education in Tegeta High School and A level in Kibasila Secondary School. He then went to the University of Dodoma for a year, before receiving a full scholarship to join African Leadership University (ALU) where he is currently studying Computer Science.

ALU is a non-traditional university with a mission to groom the next generation of African leaders, and it does this by identifying talents across Africa and giving them, in addition to normal degree programmes, students are also exposed to various leadership skills that would help them maximize their impact in the continent.

Edward’s vision is to help students become fit and ready for the 21st century kind of society and most specifically workforce.

“Almost 60 per cent of Tanzanian graduates are unemployable just because they are half-baked, this is what troubles me when it comes to education,” he says.

“So we know for sure the problem is not access to education, at least not for them.”

According to him, this may also translate to a logic that even if all children in the country get to go to school and get 100 per cent access to education, they’re still going to be half-baked and hence there’s still going to be challenges in realizing the set country targets and vision.

The current education model in the country, as Edward asserts, would be ideal 20-30 years ago, or even at the time of independence when Tanzania had only two engineers, and four doctors and education was aimed to create more and more of these kind of professionals.

“Students need not just to pass exams but also possess characters such as curiosity, be proactive, have social and cultural awareness plus persistence,” Edward points out.

“Now these cannot be taught in schools, they can only be influenced and equipped to them plus other set of competencies including critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication.”

According to Edward, these are critical skills that all employers desire in their employees and all successful entrepreneurs possess.

This is the reason why Edward had decided to set up a discussion platform at MyElimu.com where students can connect with others from different schools in different places and learn.

With this, Edward believes, they will be able to achieve two things: first, inspire collaboration among students, which is a skill they need to improve in school and in the workforce. And two, to make it easier for them to understand school content. This is based on the assumption that students learn best when they discuss with others.

“Our mission is to make learning content easier for students to access, understand and apply,” reiterates the young social activist. “Our flagship initiative MyElimu, is focused on making it easy for students to understand what they learn. Our next initiative, is to ease access to content.”

To use MyElimu.com, a student first visits myelimu.com or download the MyElimu app on their phone. On the homepage they will see a page where they can directly start a discussion. They will fill in the details of their discussion topic and subject and post it. When other students visit, they will see the discussion and participate.

A student can also just browse through the discussions to see what others have been discussing. On the homepage the discussions have been categorized by subject so it’s easier for students to find exactly the subject they want and discuss.

“On average, more than 15,000 users benefit from MyElimu every month. Our target is secondary school students in Tanzania, these if you exclude the visitors from outside the country,” says Edward on how the social enterprise has been effective in improving the country’s education sector especially to its target group.

The passionate social activist volunteered at the Tanzania Youth Vision Association (TYVA) and Youth of United Nations (YUNA) Tanzania where he was championing the agenda of youth development was among the recipients of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

He was given the award for his leadership journey and being the driving force behind MyElimu being acknowledged with the introduction of the new ways which students can use to learn better using the internet.

“It put me in a position where I’m able to impact and inspire more young people than before,” speaks Edward on the award. “On the other side it has also been a turning point for me in the aspect of how I conduct my activities and how I carry myself before the public.”

As a young social activist maintaining commitment and motivation paves a great challenge to Edward. “When you are just beginning, you don’t know as much about the field. So you dream big changes and take big swings,” he says. “The more you learn the more you realize there are a lot of moving pieces and that can be overwhelming to a point of thinking of giving up.”

But if it was easy, Edward talking to himself in such a situation, everyone would have done it. “So you need to keep going and not be that guy. The guy that gave up.”

Edward thinks that there are still areas for improvement in the country’s education advocacy with an emphasis focused on integrating tech in the education system though he acknowledges the efforts taken. He also insists on the skills that are highly demanded in the 21st century and which are on the demand list of all competent and first class employers.

“We need to encourage these to students and we can do that by embedding the current curriculum with content as well as a structure that fosters those characters.”

It may take time to change the status quo, says Edward meanwhile sharing his optimism that no matter how long it will take and how hard might it seem, he believes it can be done for the sake of the country’s present and coming generations.     

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Improving reading and writing skills

 

By Devotha John @TheCitizenTz djohn@tz.nationmedia.com

Reading, writing and arithmetic skill-building for early childhood learners as stipulated by the new reading curriculum is set to get a major boost through Tusome Pamoja project.

The program which is supported by USAID aims at supplementing the government’s efforts to ensure all early grade learners’ skills are improved by the end of project (2021). Previously, it was common for children to complete seven years of primary education without mastery in reading and writing skills. Teachers in Ruvuma Region are sharpening their skills in teaching reading, writing and counting (3Rs) skills.

They say the program is helping them improve the quality of teaching and learning instructions in early grades in all public schools in the region.

According to Ruvuma Reginal Education Officer (REO) Kinderu Gharama, since 2013, half of the pupils in Standard Three could not read, write and solve simple arithmetic.

He said teachers’ concerted efforts coupled with good strategic plans at the national and local levels, the academic performance in the region is likely to improve.

Mr Kinderu hinted that the government in collaboration with other stakeholders are working hard to deliver quality education in the region.

Mr Kinderu said in the past only teachers who were about to retire had enough skills on how to teach reading, writing and arithmetic but recently the government has decided to ensure even young teachers are motivated to teach children in these classes.

“Now through this project we succeed to see the pupils who enter grade three know how to read and write and count. We have enough teaching and learning materials in place. Teachers have no reason to cry for lack of teaching aids,” he said.

Teachers are also involved in effective engagement of parents and the community in Education through Parents and Teachers Partnership (PTP) so that they gety to know who are dealing with their children.

Initial areas of focus for parents and broader community are children’ welfare and parent support in ensuring success in 3Rs instructions together with supporting teachers as they work to improve teaching and learning environment.

REO is challenging teachers and pupils who benefits from this program to come up with impressive results in their national examinations. He said, despite the fact that some schools are lacking classrooms, plans are on the card to rectify the problem. “We have already noted this problem and we will construct enough classrooms according to the increased rate of enrolment,” he said.

However the Municipal Education Officer Editha Kagomba said despite having good plans to ensure children receives quality education, since 2013 there has been cases of some pupils completing Standard 7 without being able to read and write.

She said it the reason the Ministry of President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government and the concerned Non Governmental Organisations conducted teachers training on how to teach reading, writing and arithmetic. to 152 teachers from 76 schools.

“We are trying to solve this problem. Our target is to ensure that no child completes primary education without being able to read and write,” Ms Kagomba said.

How do teachers find the programme

Sarah Luambano, a Grade Two teacher from Mashujaa primary School said through the programme, she had seen dramatic improvement as a good number of students are beginning to read, write and count while at lower levels.

“I used to face a number of challenges in ensuring schoolchildren follow lessons. I can now see the light because I have enough skills which help me to ensure the slow learners achieve in my lesson,” she said adding…

“In those days I had not attained meaningful skills on how to teach 3Rs. I also commend the government for seeing the necessity of reducing the number of subjects at lower classes. This will make children to easily master the lessons, unlike in the past when they were being overworked.”

A Standard One teacher at Buma Primary School, Agnes Nicholas from said the training has been of immense value in sharpening her teaching skills.

“I now know that children are supposed to learn simple concepts of sounds before embarking on complex words by segmenting and blending simple sounds. I can competently handle even the slow learners, thanks to the training u,” said Ms Nicholas

Ms Nicholas said singing, vowels, word and consonant is one of the methods used in teaching. It helps a child to easily remember and grasp the concepts of sounds, especially as they learn how to read and write,” She says.

The Ruvuma USAID/ Tusome Pamoja Regional chief Advisor, Mr Steven Msabaha said the 5-year-old programme supports the improvement of
lifelong learning skills, defined as: mastery of early grade reading, writing and arithmetic.

He said the programme is conducted in four regions namely: Ruvuma, Mtwara, Iringa, Morogoro and Zanzibar.

The program aims at collaborating with the government in imparting teaching skills to teachers and availing them with teaching and learning materials in a fresh bid to improve the quality of education in the country.

“The programme focuses on ensuring that schoolchildren at lower levels are able to read for comprehension and be able to at least read simple sentences and solve simple arithmetic,” he said.

In Ruvuma Region, the programme had been implemented in eight municipal councils, including: Mbinga, Nyasa, Mbinga Town Council, Namtumbo, Songea, Madaba and Tunduru. They reach all 766 registered government schools

“The programme implemented in Namtumbo, which has 106 primary schools, Songea municipal 80, Songea district 69, Tunduru 149 Nyasa 106, Mbinga town 70 and Madaba which have 26,”said Mr Msabaha.

According to Mr Msabaha, under the programme, 766 teachers have been trained on how to teach 3Rs in lower classes. The 185 education officers had been trained on how to improve capacity building to their subordinates

He noted that about 2,445 teachers in Ruvuma region had benefited from the training.

“The aim is to support their national goals by ensuring meaningful learning in lower classes where reading, writing, and arithmetic are given much emphasis.

The training involve all municipal education officers with their groups, school leaders and local education officers

Meanwhile the Project’s Deputy Chief of Party Felix Mbogella said USAID/Tusome Pamoja is Working with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government (PO- RALG), Zanzibar Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) and Regional Secretariats in all 4 regions. USAID/ Tusome Pamoja targets more than 1.4 million children and 26,000 teachers in 4 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The project aims to further the national goal of an effective, programme of early grade reading, writing, and arithmetic. It identifies and takes forward existing initiatives in the area of pre-primary and 3Rs and further develops scalable, cost-effective interventions in its 5 target regions that will benefit the country as a whole.

In alignment with the various learning materials, a continuous professional development activity builds teachers’ knowledge and skills and application with a focus on school-based communities of practice.

In support of continuous professional development, school leaders and local education coordinators receive professional development capacity building to lead, facilitate and mentor school and cluster learning structures.     

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Taking bold steps towards success

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Youth across Africa have for many years been encouraged to take bold decisions when it comes to taking positions in various leadership roles within their countries.

Despite having a lot of challenges especially when it comes to employment and education, some young women and men have taken a step to advocate for youth empowerment.

One among the women is Lillian Madeje, who two years ago made history at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, where she was among 80 young Africans, representing 40 countries and 60 Global Shapers Community Hubs, which became the largest youth delegation to the meeting.

As a young Tanzanian woman who has more than 7 years of experience across different industries in Tanzania, from human resource to innovation, she has been working as a volunteer on the YALI East Africa online Mentorship program and oversaw a 6 month programme of coaching 5 Local Capacity Based organizations under Leadership Enhancement Action Programme (LEAP) .

In addition, she has served as Coordinator for Women Creating Wealth, a programme under the Grace Machel Trust Network that incubates women businesses for a period of one year. She has also been a member of the GoGlobal236 platform that is a Global Network of Women Mentors to StartUps.

Apart from having a privilege of working on various projects that link technology with development, she is also a co-founder and Managing Director of Ekihya, a consulting company that works hand in hand with businesses in building processes and systems to result in greater efficiency in their operation.

Like many of us, Lillian had a dream of her own when growing up and that is to be an environmental scientist; however that didn’t happen though she was fortunate to attend college in Park University located in a typical college town Parkville, Missouri in the US.

“In all honesty I had applied to many colleges and universities in Tanzania, such as Sokoine University of Agriculture(SUA), made applications in Canada and finally the US, with rejection letters pouring in from left, right and centre as I wanted to pursue a program in Environmental Science,” she says, adding, “I had finished my Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) combination at Shaaban Robert Secondary School and my results weren’t all that great, I share this not to shame myself but rather to show to others reading this that one’s journey is not determined by your high flying results at one point in time but rather a combination of many factors over a course of time.”

So from a dream of being an environmental scientist, she graduated with an International Business and Marketing degree and a minor in Economics in May of 2010. Having a growing passion about the power that entrepreneurs have in transforming the economies of nations, with an expertise in qualitative research she acquired from her degree course she decided to establish a strategy and management consulting company. That has offered her an opportunity of working with foreign investors who have been looking at entering the Tanzanian market and she provided them with research and on the ground presence.

Explaining more about her current job and what attracted her to it, Lilian who describes herself as a spontaneous, happy and an optimistic person says, “If anyone had ever told me that I would have my own company one day, I would have said they were mistaken. I saw entrepreneurship as a high risk job and I wanted something with security and stability.”

Speaking about what got her to where she is; Lilian says; “I cannot put my finger on that one thing that got me to where I am today but rather a couple of factors such as working under Modesta Lilian Mahiga, a renown inspirational speaker and for her starting to implant the seeds of leadership and confidence in my ability to be and do more than what I was delivering, to actually helping my best friend form a dream company called Ekihya, to me being here managing Ekihya.”

Explaining if her upbringing had any effect on who she is today she says she believes that one’s upbringing defines who they are but doesn’t determine what they become, that is a personal choice.

With three years of experience as the Managing Director of Ekihya, Lillian says one thing that is constant through all her pursuits of wanting to be something from back then was that she wanted to be in a position, do something that serves a purpose that is greater than her.

Lillian is currently pursuing her MBA in Leadership from the African Leadership School of Business, a first of its kind MBA delivered by an African University based in Kigali.     

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Importance of KPI in business

 

By Julius Bulili

Key performance indicators form an important part of the information required to determine and explain how a company progresses towards its business and marketing goals. However, many people are confused about what exactly constitutes a key performance indicator or KPI.

A key performance indicator is a quantifiable measure a company uses to determine how well it meets the set operational and strategic goals.

This means different businesses have different KPIs depending on their respective performance criteria or priorities. At the same time, the indicators usually follow industry-wide standards.

There is a subtle difference between key performance indicators and marketing metrics. An important point to remember is that KPIs are marketing metrics but not all marketing metrics are KPIs. A business must know how to determine which marketing metrics qualify as their key performance indicators. These indicators do not necessarily have to be financial but are important in steering marketing vehicles for management. Without these indicators and the guidance they provide to businesses, it’s nearly impossible for them to achieve their full potential.

The KPIs can be presented in the form of numbers. Also they integrate well with present company processes. They help to determine if a company is getting better or not and they can be put into practice to effect desired change.

Literally, a key performance indicator must be based on legitimate data and provide context that echoes business objectives. They must be defined in a way that factors beyond the control of a company cannot interfere with their fulfillment. Another key factor is that they have specific time-frame divided into key checkpoints.

An organization’s KPI is not the same as its goal. For example, a school may aim that all its students pass a course, but use its failure rate as a KPI to determine its position. On the other hand, a business may use the percentage of income it receives from the returning customers as its KPI.

In choosing KPIs, businesses should take a number of steps before choosing the best key performance indicators. They must have clearly defined their business processes. They need to have set their requirements for the business processes and have determined their qualitative and quantitative measurements of results. And at the end they must have determined variances and adjusted processes to meet their short-term objectives.

When choosing the right key performance indicators, a company should start by considering the factors management uses in managing the business. Then you must consider and identify whether these factors help in assessing the company’s progress against its stated strategies. Do they also allow those who read the reports to make similar assessments externally?

Although industry standards matter, companies do not necessarily have to choose similar KPIs to their business peers. What is more important is how relevant the indicators are to the business or its unit/division.

There is not a specific number of KPIs a company needs. In general, the number may be anywhere from four to ten for many types of businesses, and they must be crucial to the success of the business.

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

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tough decision awaits Form Six graduates

 

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

Results of National Form Six Examinations are out. They were released in Zanzibar over the weekend by the National Examination Council (Necta) with a total of 70,552 which is about 96 per cent of students who sat for their exams passing the exams.

Following the release of the results, the new college year for freshers is expected to begin in some few months to come. James Maro who completed Form Six this year is one among the students who have to make the toughest decision over the right course to choose.

Having hopes of one day becoming a pilot, James who majored in Physics, Geography and Mathematics scored division two and with such results he is thinking of applying for other courses. Even before the release of the examination results, he and his friends followed the traditional college path that is visiting various universities campuses and websites.

“My friends and I have visited a number of campuses and tried to have our options open in a number of colleges and universities including Institute of Finance Management as am thinking of applying for a Bachelor degree in Computer Science or Accounts since I have a good background in mathematics,” says James.

James, who now has two months to select the college where he will spend the next three years, with his parents expected to foot the fees and other expenses in case he fails to get student loan, making a right career decision is still a challenge.

But experts says the selection process doesn’t need to be stressful for students or parents but rather it can even be an enjoyable experience only if both parents and students could effectively use the tips from college officials and counsellors to find the right college.

“One thing I would advise students is to never set a limit in their abilities as they need to believe that they could be and do anything they set their minds into,” says Lillian Madeje from Global shapers community which specialises in youth development.

“It’s a huge commitment to choose a course that would determine your future career and one may even begin to question whether they’re making the right decision or not. How active one can grow beyond what they learn while in college or university,” she says.

“Not everyone will have an opportunity to choose the course they want and if it happens that is not the case, then they need to understand that they can still make a huge impact in the future based on course they choose today because what matters is the attitude towards work. One needs to see what the economy of our country needs and learn to fit well,’” explains the human resource expert.

According to Isaack Legonda, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam College of Engineering and Technology (COET), students who wish to enrol in a course should have the interest to pursue that particular course.

He said anyone could pursue their dream course but for one to fit and excel he or she needs to ensure that they have interest.

“One needs to asks how interested and competent they are to join a course of their dream because without asking such question they would end up studying something that will be a burden during their college years and even in their future career,” advised the engineer.

Commenting about the application procedure where students can now apply directly to the universities like it used to be back in the years before the central application system was implemented, he said this would be more helpful since students would be able to get a course of their first choice, “the central admission system that was used had limit, some students were even allocated in colleges or universities that they had less interest in attending , this had led to a number of students who had to change the courses few weeks after admission. But now since they will choose the courses of their choice directly then most of them will fit in,” he says.

On his part, an assistant lecturer from department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics at the University of Dar es Salaam,Faraja Kristomus said apart from having an interest in a course, one should enrol, students need to have the academic competence in the course of their interests.

“Some courses are very demanding hence one will need to be competent enough to enjoy the course and at the end of the day they pass well will good grades. Another thing for students to take into consideration when choosing for the course of their interests is to look for the general trend of the course in the job market. By having an observation on how certain types of jobs are demanding, then it will give a clear picture on what to do. There are jobs which have a lot of graduates in the market hence they are very competitive, this can prepare someone to know what awaits him or her once they complete their course,” explains the lecturer.

Explaining on the benefit universities and students will gain from the direct admission system, he said it will open the room for universities to fairly compete in getting the type of students they want, “universities will have a fair competition and apart from that ,it will give a room for students to apply in universities and colleges that they can afford both academically and financially.”

“Institutions will also have an opportunity to screen the type of students they think would meet the standards they require academically particularly in public universities because before there were some complains that Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) allocated some students who didn’t have enough criteria to join certain universities hence caused standards to drop,” he noted.

He went further saying the fact that several parents pay for their children school fees, having an option to choose the type of universities they can afford to take their children to could be of help.

“I understand that it’s important for children to have exposure and going to universities which are located in various regions but on the other hand, that cannot be the case because it can be very expensive for some parents to afford. However the case now is different since they can now make the right choice based on how much they can afford to spend on education of their children. Through the central admission system, students were allocated universities that were far and expensive for their parents to afford in case they fail to get the students loans,” says the lecturer.

Goodluck Macha an IT expert based in Dar es Salaam, says like many college students who went through a lot of decision making dilemma when it came to choosing the right course ha sthis to say.

“Just because you have scored high in your exams shouldn’t make you choose a course that is hard, you should avoid doing that just because you know you’ll get in. For example when someone decides to opt for a degree in medicine simply because she or he has gotten the right marks will quickly make them lose that call in the field especially if they are not passionate about helping people,” explains Godluck.     

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nurturing the young generation

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

It is always good to cultivate skills among the young generation in order for them to master different ways of navigating through life and their surroundings when they become adults. Nurturing job and entrepreneurial skills to youth helps them become competent and helps them make right choices in the future on which career path they would want to take and in turn succeed in achieving whatever goals they have in mind.

This vision is shared by Junior Achievement Tanzania (JAT), a non-governmental organization under their programme dubbed “ITS TYME”- Immersion Training Strategies Targeting Young Marginalised Youth. In partnership with CitiBank, JAT has managed to impart entrepreneurial and financial skills to 500 youth in Iringa Region.

Founded by CitiBank Foundation, the four-month programme, which was launched in February this year, aims at reaching youth groups in Iringa rural that engage in farming (Mushroom cultivation) and small and medium scale enterprises like manufacturing paper charcoal, clay stoves, candles by using wax, making leather shoes and flower vessels plus table mats, washing powder, without forgetting batik cloths as well as bee keeping activities.

It provides an opportunity to participants to exhibit their innovations. Youth with good business ideas were not left behind. They were helped with different ways to expand their ideas.

Christine Mfyate, one of the beneficiaries of the programme expressed her optimism that skills which participants learnt, including how to plan, prepare and look for marketing and record keeping, would have a very positive impact in their day to day work as young entrepreneurs.

“During the programme, our group came up with a yoghurt business. We competed against other groups and we won and were awarded Sh450, 000. Since then, we have been making yoghurt and selling it at Sh500 a cup. We make Sh30,000 per day. Apart from the group business, I managed to establish my own petty business, selling fruits,” said Christine from Ismani village.

Elizabeth Ngewe, also a participant from Kaning’ombe village said since she joined “ITS TYME” programme, she has leant how to navigate into her vulnerable life in order to stay safe and successful. According to her, the trainings have helped her to find position as a youth in bringing development to her community.

“Now I know what to do and value my time instead of just staying at home. I also leant about entrepreneurship, skills which helped me identify and explore several opportunities in my village that I can utilise and earn money. Apart from that I learnt about having discipline in spending money and the importance of saving. For a start, we have two businesses in our group, we make Batik and produce baskets,” she added.

Another participant Alfred Mafuga said he learnt how to find a suitable business idea, how to raise capital for his business and how to keep savings for future use. “This programme has broadened my thinking capacity in business and social life. I learnt how to work in a team/group. Not only that but also I know how to address my challenges in a good way. Above all I have managed to have my own business, I supply soft drinks and I will make sure my business grows,” he said.

Youth can experience fulfillment if given the opportunity to make an important impact in their community. Through these training and activities, youth have recognised the role they play in making the society a better place.

For Aron Thomas, one of the beneficiaries and a chairman of JA Tanzania club at Kaning’ombe Village, Masaka Ward, he said before he joined the programme, he used to stay at home doing nothing. But since he joined JA classes, he realised his potential.

“The trainings helped me and of course through the training I see many and different opportunities in my village,” he noted.

Iringa District Commissioner Richard Kasesela highly praised the youth for being part of the important programme which goes along with the national strategy on youth empowerment, employment creation and poverty eradication among Tanzanian youth.

“Youth are given ownership of their enterprise and the opportunity to make their own decisions on sales, promotion and marketing, how they farm, and on business ethics. Above all those who participated in this programme are offered training to become entrepreneurs,” he said when addressing a brief graduation ceremony for the participants at Siasa ni Kilimo Hall in Iringa recently.

He also commended Citi Bank for supporting JA Tanzania, which eventually reached such a considerable number of youth in Iringa. The DC urged Citi Bank Tanzania Director to continue funding such programmes to support the government initiative in improving the well being of its people.

He also urged public institutions such as the Small Industries Development Organization (Sido), Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) and Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to develop such a programme in order to help youth improve their products so that they can meet international standards and reach foreign markets.

On the other hand, Citi Bank Tanzania managing director Joseph Carosso, said working with the Iringa District authorities as partner has made it possible for the organisation to provide training to 500 youth (30 groups), formation and registration of 132 new business, 315 business improved and formation of 100 active saving groups.

“Some 65 youth owned business have emerged, four village government have set aside 20 hectares each for youth projects and about Sh2, 592,000 was mobilised by the youth as a start-up capital to their business ideas. All these became possible due to the programme. This is a remarkable achievement and our company will continue funding youth initiatives in partnership with JA Tanzania,” he said.

JA Tanzania executive director Hamis Kasongo said the youth training had five stages, which together contributes towards the greater achievement accomplished under the programme.

According to him, the programme involves training 13 community development officers from Iringa rural who became facilitators to support the training. Through them, he said 23 villages were reached, and 33 youth registered group were formed.

“This achievement went hand in hand with JA Global slogans of “empowering young people to own their economic success”, he added.

He commended Sido for accepting the youth in the programme to do their practical training at their facilities in Iringa. “This process added value to the programme and to the youth themselves,” he noted.

He said that as they complete first phase of the training, it gives them an opportunity to reach 300 other youth in the next phase that is expected to start this month (July) and ends in December.

Challenges

According to Kasongo, despite of the benefits the youth have received from the organisation, they face a myriad of challenges. “For the past three months it was rainy season in Iringa. This was a period where participants spent most of their time in farming activities. We faced difficulties in nearly all villages we passed through.

We were supposed to wait for the participants to mobilise themselves so that we can start the training and this took more than one hour. To make the programme, more convenient we are planning to start the training during dry seasons,” added Kasongo.

Apart from that the two monitoring days for the JA staffs were not enough and sufficient to do thorough monitoring since it is a very short time so it’s been recommend that they increase more days to monitor youth.     

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sister Annette Farell’s take on TZ education

Sister Annette Farell calls for more investment

Sister Annette Farell calls for more investment in both primary and secondary education to ensure quality education. PHOTO | KHALIFA SAID 

By Khalifa Said


Can you please tell about yourself?

I am Sister Annette Farrel, a Holy Union Sister from Ireland. I have been working in Tanzania’s education sector since September 1983. I’m currently the Director of the Holy Union Sisters Debrabant High School in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam.

How did you come in Tanzania and what was the reason behind it?

There was a Bishop in Moshi Diocese who was interested in education so he applied to our congregation in Ireland for sisters who could come and help improve the standard of education in catholic schools.

So I started working at some of the diocese institutions, which later came to be among the best performing schools in the country.

I then went to Dar es Salaam and worked in Tegeta Secondary School after having worked in two schools in Kilimanjaro Region for a period of ten years.

Then I was asked to head St Gasper Vocational Training Centre at Kunduchi in Dar es Salaam which I did for a period of six years.

Then after that our congregation started receiving Tanzanian candidates who wanted to be sisters. So we needed to set up our own place and that’s when we moved here at Mbagala in 2000.

And I have been here for all that time until we were able to establish this school which basically came out of our thinking of how we can expand quality secondary education in the area.

Although the school currently takes students from different corners of the country but initially was intended to only for needy children of this area.

 

From your perspective, how do you assess Tanzania’s education sector?

I can say the country’s education sector is growing in quantity but not universally improving in quality. This is due to the fact that there are a lot of students but not sufficient planning and investment.

For example, you have one teacher doing the work of three.

This is not uncommon, go to any school and you will see for yourself. We were hoping that schools would get more teachers, but that is not the case.

 

What do you think is wrong with the country’s education system?

There is one big issue in the education system today but I don’t hear anybody talking about this, except myself.

When I came to Tanzania in 1980s, the secondary section was very tiny only seminary and handful of public schools had secondary schools, but there were very good academic programmes.

The programmes suited the people who were chosen to be in secondary schools at that time, the youngsters prepared to be the crème de la crème.

They had to have high academic ability as well as good character and then when they get into seminary they had excellent programs from the department of education and they had books, electricity, good diet, football and all other things that suits learning. This was not only the seminary, but also to the government schools which were very excellent as well.

But today, there is only one programme for everybody.

So children who have no ability in mathematics and no interest are forced to do the same exam like their counterparts brilliant in the subject.

It’s like every child who gets into secondary school is preparing to go to the university.

This one programme could perhaps only suit about 10 per cent and neglects the other 90 per cent.  I ask myself, what are the curriculum planners doing in Tanzania?

We need comparative education system with various programmes to suit different levels of abilities. In any society, you have a small fraction of people who are geniuses and a fraction of average and below average but are good at other skills  which should be developed.

But in our schools today, there is no regards to drama, arts, music, little regard for sports, and it’s all cramming.

 

What can be the implications then of this one-programme-suits-all system in the country’s education sector?

This system is a disaster in the country’s quality education dream as we are sacrificing the majority for the few.

Just look at the results, it can tell that current system is not working.  It needs a relook and appropriate measures be taken so that the system can work out well for all.

 

May be the government sees the expansion of programmes as expensive, what do you think?

That’s wrong, it won’t make any sense at all to be paying so many teachers throughout the country to produce the kind of results we find in Form Four.

That’s really a waste of money, which is the expensive in itself.

The children in our schools deserve better and not constantly tortured by programmes that are beyond them and that they are not going to succeed in.

 

There was a debate in recent years on what language should be used as a medium of instruction between English and Kiswahili, what was your stance on the debate?

I was for both. I strongly believe that there are some subjects which could be taught well in Kiswahili and others in English.

We find so many students are battling and struggling with English and it’s like a fighter fighting with one hand behind our back.

When I was working at the vocational training school in Kunduchi, the language was Kiswahili and it was such a joy to teach, the children knew what they were learning, we didn’t have to translate everything.

I’m not saying that English is not important, English is equally important; it’s the language of higher education and will remain so for a long time to come.

 

It’s said that the reason why Kiswahili is not used as a full medium of instruction is due to the fact that it is not sufficient in terms of vocabulary, particularly, for science subjects. What do you think?

It’s not true. Because much of the actual teaching is done in Kiswahili, anywhere, up to university level, most of the conversations and discussions are carried in Kiswahili.

Then if you will ask me why people are raising this point or why that’s not the case, I think it’s a matter of political will and there is always two different sides on every issue. But as far as I know, a child in Germany will be comfortable to learn in German, so do the children in France, Portugal and others.

How do you assess the country’s curriculum?

I see Tanzanian children the same as children of any other country with huge ability in music, sports, drama, computer, and other talents apart from specialist subjects.

I reiterate that the curriculum must be as broad to cover other skill based subjects and debunk the current stereotype that they don’t matter.

May be you will tell me that the time will come, but these subjects were there before.

Every primary school had sports day, but very few do that now.

Students can forget what they learnt in History or Biology but will remember what they learnt in a play and who they were with and how they were applauded something that earn them confidence.

 

If given an opportunity to recommend how better the country can plan and develop curriculum, what would you say?

We need to give alternatives.

For example, in my own country (Ireland), you have the system of two levels, let’s take a subject like history and take the First World War as a topic.

Those who have a low ability, they will learn what happened, what were the causes, what were the results, some of the main people, one or two of the maps, and that’s about it and they will be expected to know that inside out and will be examined on that amount. The same course, will be given with a lot more detail to those who are more clever, they will be expected to know all the people concerned, many maps, many consequences and a lot of other details including to compare the war with another war and what is going on in the world today. There is no stigma with this, the students learn happily at their level and do very well.

 

What is your view on free fee education launched by the fifth phase government under President John Magufuli?

There is no such a thing as free education.  When people talk about free education, they are talking about government-sponsored education.

The government sponsors the education through the taxes that the parent pay, the workers are paying high taxes, and you pay very high taxes on everything you buy, even food.

So it’s not free the way people think, its people who fund the education through their government. espite the fact that it is people who fund the education, they are not getting what they should be getting.

You all the time get tired of the lack of good planning.  You have seven thousand students in one school, what is that about?

 

Can the free fee education offer a solution to universal quality education?

We have good staffing in both primary and secondary schools but they are not given enough resources nor are they given the freedom.

In any country that I know, you don’t discourage parents from helping the schools.

If the government provides you with the primary school or secondary school, in a normal situation the parents of that area needs to be proud and privileged to assist their school through their parents association which does whatever can be done to improve that school.

Can you imagine a school with 7, 000 students, even if the parents will contribute Sh1, 000 each, how much money would have been collected per month?

Discouraging the parents that they should pay nothing because the government has announced basic education to be free does not make sense.

There is one headmaster I know at Charambe, a very excellent one, who used to have a system of the teachers and the parents whose small contributions would help him to employ maybe half a dozen part time teachers who were willing to do the extra work to make the school improve in performance.

But since the announcement of free fee education, that system died and he is handicapped by the government order asking school heads to stop demanding contributions from parents.

 

So from your perspective, is free fee education a blessing or a curse?

Any education is better than none, but I think the system itself is misunderstood. Its government sponsored through the taxes of the people.

My advice on free fee education is that the system is not to postpone, but it requires a huge investment for it to succeed.

 

What is your opinion about the single book model?

We have books from the Tanzania Institute of Education in our libraries here and nobody use them. I spent a lot of money on them but they are not user-friendly and have a lot of mistakes.  Nowadays, there is a great choice.

 

How do you assess the government’s efforts towards inclusive education?

I think there are been very good examples here and there of the government sponsoring people with special needs and helping the deaf, the blind and the likes.

The government is doing great on that.

 

If you have an opportunity to meet Education Minister Joyce Ndalichako, what would you tell her?

She has done great in sorting out the long existing problems in the country’s education sector.

But she should strive for more investment in both primary and secondary education to ensurequality education. She also needs to encourage parents to contribute to the schools’ development for quality education. their children can get from schools.

 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The revolution of online advertising

Advertising online has become a lifeline to

Advertising online has become a lifeline to many businesses 

By Edwin Bruno


Online advertising is the new gold rush for startups and businesses online. Many companies need to advertise online and advertising technology companies are ready to help businesses do this. Google and Facebook have taken the lion’s share, but advertising networks are catching up due to how much they are helping businesses reach consumers.  Take a look at how online advertising has been growing:

The power of local banner ads: Local advertising banners act like outdoor advertising except it is online. They are excellent in how they target people as well because you can choose areas within the cities you want to target. Local ad banners are powerful because if a consumer is reading a blog post about Dar-es-Salaam news, they will see your advertisement.

Digital advertisements are targeted: Targeting is absolutely critical if you are going to succeed in online advertising. Digital advertisements can be targeted in a sharp and concise way that other types of advertising cannot do. Online of the largest digital advertising networks, for example, KWANZA (www.kwanza.co.tz) can help businesses get expertly targeted advertisements.

Reports are available: Digital advertisement networks can give clients reports of how their advertisements are performing based on the date and time, device type, and locations.

Digital advertisements are responsive: The reason why online advertisements are so powerful is because they are responsive based on the devices that users are using. Whether they are on their mobiles, tablets or laptops, online advertisements work instantly for users. Users are able to see advertisements and make a decision on whether they want to engage with advertisements.

Online advertising is a powerful tool for businesses, corporate clients and stakeholders to be seen by Tanzanian users and around the globe. You need to know how to create digital advertisements and advertising networks like KWANZA can definitely help you and your marketing team achieve this.

Are advertising networks the future of online advertising? Tell me how you would answer this question. 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The revolution of online advertising

Advertising online has become a lifeline to

Advertising online has become a lifeline to many businesses 

By Edwin Bruno


Online advertising is the new gold rush for startups and businesses online. Many companies need to advertise online and advertising technology companies are ready to help businesses do this. Google and Facebook have taken the lion’s share, but advertising networks are catching up due to how much they are helping businesses reach consumers.  Take a look at how online advertising has been growing:

The power of local banner ads: Local advertising banners act like outdoor advertising except it is online. They are excellent in how they target people as well because you can choose areas within the cities you want to target. Local ad banners are powerful because if a consumer is reading a blog post about Dar-es-Salaam news, they will see your advertisement.

Digital advertisements are targeted: Targeting is absolutely critical if you are going to succeed in online advertising. Digital advertisements can be targeted in a sharp and concise way that other types of advertising cannot do. Online of the largest digital advertising networks, for example, KWANZA (www.kwanza.co.tz) can help businesses get expertly targeted advertisements.

Reports are available: Digital advertisement networks can give clients reports of how their advertisements are performing based on the date and time, device type, and locations.

Digital advertisements are responsive: The reason why online advertisements are so powerful is because they are responsive based on the devices that users are using. Whether they are on their mobiles, tablets or laptops, online advertisements work instantly for users. Users are able to see advertisements and make a decision on whether they want to engage with advertisements.

Online advertising is a powerful tool for businesses, corporate clients and stakeholders to be seen by Tanzanian users and around the globe. You need to know how to create digital advertisements and advertising networks like KWANZA can definitely help you and your marketing team achieve this.

Are advertising networks the future of online advertising? Tell me how you would answer this question. 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Gentle Art of ‘No’



Miranda Naiman

Miranda Naiman 

By Miranda Naiman


Too often we are guilty of overextending ourselves and effectively ‘spreading ourselves too thin’ when it comes to juggling the various pillars of life. If you were raised well, you will conduct yourself with decorum and the desire to do right by those around you. You will possess a set of guiding principles (be they religious or fundamental ethics) that determine how you treat others. Rarely are we taught the power of ‘No’ – when put into context and expressed respectfully, a simple ‘no’ can bring about balance and serenity in your life.


Our teachers, parents and elders have instilled the importance of putting ourselves second to all else; to put yourself first is often considered selfish or even egocentric. As we grow and experience life, we inevitably learn that accepting all the demands placed upon us is not feasible, necessary or healthy for our peace-of-mind. Managing the expectations of others is a core skill we develop over time, and often struggle with for fear of being judged or letting others down. Take heed; knowing where to draw a line in the sand to protect your own wellbeing is challenging and will require you to be mindful of what you really want while finding a respectful way to articulate these needs. Having boundaries in life is critical to living a balanced and happy life.


The power of (a polite, respectful and dignified) ‘No’ will liberate you from the emotional torment of guilt and allow you to live a more balanced life. So how do you do it? Let’s consider some common situations from each of the five pillars of life:

Health – “Your no-alcohol detox has been going on for 6 weeks now, come on, have a drink with us!” – your personal choices for detoxing are yours and yours alone. If you have made a commitment to a health goal, stick it out even when tempted to cheat. A simple “Not today guys!” will suffice.

Family – “My car is currently at the garage being fixed after a minor incident with a bajaj; can


I borrow yours for a couple of days?” – a tough request to decline, but clearly your family member is capable of denting your car too, which would put strain on your relationship. If you have time, offer to give them a lift to work or help them sign up on Uber!

Work – “I know it’s your birthday, but I’m going to need you to work late tonight.” – You know that your job will occasionally demand you to work beyond the stipulated hours but in this instance your entire family and friends are waiting to celebrate with you. You could (1) offer to come in early the next day (2) compromise by staying an extra hour on the condition you can get to your party at 7pm or (3) find a colleague who would be willing to step in for you on the condition you return the favour for them in future.


Money – “I know it’s a bad time financially for you, but my sister is getting married next weekend and we are counting on you to contribute towards the wedding.” – you just paid school fees for your kids and your rent is due in a couple of weeks; financially you are tight this month and have no reason to feel guilty about not being able to contribute. If it is a close friend offer to give a little something the following month.

Friends – “Everyone is going to be there, you’re definitely going to miss out!” – You’ve had an insane week at work and feel exhausted; the last thing you feel like doing is partying, irrespective of who will be there. That’s ok; you’re too old to be driven by peer pressure anyway. Think about how satisfied you will be relaxing at home and waking up fresh the next day as your friends nurse a hangover.


By no means am I condoning a self-centered existence, but rather challenging you to maintain balance and be mindful of your needs. A mere push in the wrong direction can tip the scales out of your favour and set you tumbling into a world of fatigue, isolation and discontent. And then what use would you be?


Miranda is the Founder & Managing Director of Empower and a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. AskMiranda@empower.co.tz

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Keep Your Business Financially Sustainable

The rule of thumb for every business is that they should never run out of cash. Therefore, all the business transactions you make need to have a clear purpose and a tangible financial backup.

Due to the dynamic nature of contemporary business, keeping your finances in order is more of a rocky road than a bed of roses. In this article I have prepared a set of crucial nuts and bolts that will help business owners run their ventures as successfully as possible and stay financially afloat and strive in the market place.

From one point of view, it’s better for an inexperienced entrepreneur not to succeed to fast. If you have to struggle to make ends meet for some time, you’ll learn to appreciate both your work and your earnings. However, if you’re unlucky/lucky – depending on the perspective –to achieve your goals quickly, you need to bring clear austerity measures to keep your budget under control.

Among other strictness measures, allow for only essential purchases – only essential business items should be bought.

Also depending on business size, you should limit recruitment and payroll – initially you must avoid long-term employment contracts. Go for outsourcing and freelancers instead. Strive to reduce overheads where necessary.

When your budget is reserved only for necessary business transactions, you’ll always have enough assets for your operations.

You need to open separate accounts. Using the business budget for personal expenditure is the biggest temptation new business owners face. Some entrepreneurs make this mistake due to a lack of experience. However, others simply relax and start spending their business assets for private purposes. If you adopt such a lifestyle, you’ll have a wide range of problems. Your business will be in the red and it will take a lot of time to put it back in the black again.

To avoid this you need to have two separate accounts. One of them should be registered on your company and used solely for business transactions. On the other hand, your personal account will serve your private purposes. As for the amount of money you will take from your company monthly as a salary, study several different options to find the best one for your business’ long-term financial health.

Also, if you want to manage your assets efficiently, tracking your payments is of greatest importance. Nowadays, banks offer cutting-edge tech solutions that improve payment tracking. That way, you can ask your personal banker to make your own e-banking business account. This package includes receiving a text message upon a payment, access to all your accounts on the Internet, and making online payments. As a result, you will have a clear record of all the payments made to and from your business account. Through this also you can be able to log in and check your balance.

In this day and age, businesspeople can sort out their financial obligations in many different ways. What you should avoid at all costs (literally) is spending cash.

You might not see why paying with cash is different from paying with other means. The key reason for this is the fact that every single business tries to keep their cash as long as possible. Some business owners use it to make another cycle of investments and earn some money along the way. Others just like to have it in case of emergency. This is why business entities should collaborate via invoices, modern payments solutions and barter agreements.

You also need to pay taxes on time. Once in a while, Albert Einstein uttered - the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. It is clear that, paying taxes is a must; it’s not always easy to understand what exactly the tax authorities want from you. As a matter of fact, an inexperienced business owner might even want to pay all the due taxes and still get a penalty, just because they don’t understand how to do it. Luckily, today you can contact and hire experienced accountants from different parts of your country and the world to take care of your tax return. Even better, you can negotiate the terms and take the offer that suits your budget best.

Financial sustainability is the key quality of every modern business. Therefore, if you want to grow your business, you need to nip your ostentatious spending habits in the bud and avoid unreasonable business decisions. These should be replaced by hard work, proper asset management and, above all, clever use of software business solutions.

By Julius Landu Bulili, Business Coach, jullybulili@gmail.com

 

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TEEN MOTHERS EDUCATION: Kwimba school gives teen mothers another chance

Students at Archbishop Mayala Girls Secondary

Students at Archbishop Mayala Girls Secondary School in Kwimba District during break time recently, the school gives a second chance to girls who got pregnant. PHOTO|GEOFFREY KIMANI 

By Geofrey Kimani @thecitizenkim1 news@tz.nationmedia.com

Kwimba. The schoolgirls chatter, compare homework and shuffle to class just like other teens, but there is something, which make them different.

Most of them became pregnant and were offered a chance to continue with their education at Archbishop Mayala Secondary School in Ibindo village, Ngundu ward in Kwimba District.

The school was established in 2010 by Rev Fr Ibrahim Ngassa under Nyambiti Parish to offer a second chance to schoolgirls who dropped out due to pregnancy.

During the period, the school enrolled 65 students in Form One.

The school’s acting head teacher, Shija Mayenga says that Fr Ibrahim realised that many impregnated schoolgirls around the area failed to continue with their education after giving birth.

The school also support learning for children coming from poor families.

He says most of those who get pregnant twice according to Fr Ibrahim were neglected by the society and not offered a second chance to continue with their education.

According to him, most girls who got pregnant and enrolled at the school are from poor families and never chose to get pregnant adding that some were even raped.

“Most of the girls are lured or even bribed to have sex with immoral men,” he said.

“Most of the teen mothers at the school are orphans, or with single parents or from divorced families,” he said

“But the move to accommodate pregnant teens does not mean that Fr Ibrahim did condone early pregnancy,” he said adding that…

“The teen mothers are monitored and those identified to be immoral are sent away,” he said

He explained that many of the teens are forced to get married early or join prostitution due to poverty after giving birth.

He noted that the aim of the school is to ensure that the teen mothers do not miss out on education just because they got pregnant and never got a chance to continue with their education after birth.

He says that the school offer the teen mothers an environment where they can learn without being prejudiced.

However, he said that the school later started enrolling students who have not given birth and that the school currently have 576 students.

According to him, not all teen mothers are supported with education freely but basing on the economic status of the family.

For his part, the first teen mothers were enrolled in 2010 and most of them passed their Form Four exams in 2013.

About 31 students managed to sit for the Form Four national examination out of 65 who enrolled in Form One and 19 of them passed their examinations where I student attained Division 2, 5 got Division 111 and 14 got Division 4.

During the year 2014, 38 students sat for the Form Four national examination where 38 passed their national examination where 1 student attained Division 1, 10 Division 11, 10 Division 111 and 16 Division IV.

The year 2015, 42 students sat for the Form Four examinations and they all passed.

Mr Mayenga noted that during 2015, 2 students attained Division 1, 9 Division 2, 27 Division 3 and 6 Division 4.

However, he says that he is opposed to the idea of exclusive schooling for pregnant girls, saying it does not provide a solution to the problem.

Just last week, President John Magufuli said that schoolgirls who become pregnant would not be allowed back in public schools after giving birth.

He warned Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) advocating for teen mothers education.

Reacting to the President’s remarks, the school’s academic master Leonard Matovu says that teen student mothers feel comfortable while with other teen mothers at school.

“They feel they are of the same category and with similar experiences, a condition that makes them comfortable at school,” he said.

Case study

Commenting on the learning behaviour of the teen mothers, he says that they are attentive and hardworking because they know that they have a child to take care for.

He gives a case study of his kin who was impregnated while in Form Two who was earlier denied the chance to go back to school.

After several counselling, the girl was taken back to school in 2010 and she excelled in her education and is currently is a nursing officer.

Meanwhile, he said that the government should improve the country’s education system to ensure girls enjoy equal access to quality education.

Agneta James, 25 from Maligisu village in Kwimba district got pregnant while in form four at Maligisu Secondary School in 2007.

After giving birth in 2008, her could not afford to take her back to school.

Agneta later got pregnant during 2012 while still at home and she gave birth in 2013.

She says that her uncle who was paying for her school fees stopped.

“My father was not able to pay for my school fees and I had to stay back at home,” she says

But she said that her father learnt about Archbishop Mayala School and luckily secured a chance.

She told Success that she decided to start afresh in Form One in 2014.

“My dreams of becoming a nurse are now valid because education is the key to success and women who are educated are always active family members,” she said

For her, the opportunity to continue with her education has made a huge impact in her life.

“The rejection that came with getting pregnant and the immediate end of my school and poverty had marked an end to my future,” she said.

She says that the government should introduce a re-entry policy that requires all schools to grant girls maternity leave and readmit them to facilitate girl’s education.     

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TEEN MOTHERS EDUCATION: Teenage mothers reaching their full potential

Sarah Kihongo teaches weaving at the centre, an

Sarah Kihongo teaches weaving at the centre, an independent mother and mentors young girls. PHOTO| TASNEEM HASSANALI 

At the age of 16, Sarah Kihongo’s life was not like other teenagers. She was a victim of neglect and abuse, who lost her parents at a very tender age. The trauma to get pregnant as a schoolgirl in Tanzania, Sarah, now 37, knows too well. Not only was she forced to drop out of school, but was also was pushed in a dark hole of stigma. Sarah takes deep breaths and long pauses as she recalls how her life changed 20 years ago.

At 16, she arrived at Matumaini centre in Iringa with her six-month-old baby. This was the only place that was willing to receive her with open arms.

Some girls like Sarah are denied education either due to failure or poor condition of the family, parents send them away to relatives because they cannot afford to raise them, some molested by relatives, they have to endure poor nutrition, no life skills and certainly no care.

Today, in Tanzania, all these groups are at an increased risk of neglect, abuse and stigmatisation.

Following the President John Magufuli’s decision on schoolgirls who become pregnant would not be allowed to finish their studies in public schools after giving birth, added to one more factor where girls like Sarah will be denied education and will continue to remain victims of neglect.

As she recollects her story, Sarah continues.

“Life was difficult bearing a child at that age – not physically but psychologically. I felt sick every single day stigmatized by my neighbours and relatives. I lost my parents when I was a kid and my grandmother took me up. It was difficult for her to raise me, we used to eat from the little money she made selling alcohol,” Sarah stopped.

After a minute’s pause she continued that Matumaini gave her hope to believe in determination. She graduated from Matumaini in the year 2000, and has never looked back. The 36-year old mother, teacher and a mentor has a full time job at Matumaini.

“I want other girls to know, who are going through such neglect, that pregnancy should not be an end to education. Those who can afford to study, they need to work harder and not take a single day for granted and for those girls who have dropped in life like the way I did, they need to get back on their feet and fight harder.”

Matumaini Centre in Iringa, a town in Southern highlands of Tanzania, is making efforts in restoring faith and hope by making a difference to their lives. The centre is identifying such group of girls and creating an environment safe enough for them to integrate into the society by giving them an identity, profession and dignity. Sister Ceny San Pedro from the Philippines founded the centre in 1990, and Hellen Nkunda currently directs the NGO. Hellen said, “The centre initially began working with adolescent mothers in Tanzania because Sister Ceny witnessed that they are neglected members of the society and most of them fall pregnant through ignorance of reproductive issues and society is usually unsympathetic towards them.” The centre now recognises orphaned children, girls abandoned by parents and relatives, victimised teenagers and girls who cannot continue their education due to varied reasons.

Since 1990, the centre has been able to help 640 girls and currently manages to support 28 girls of ages between 34 – 14. Hellen adds that the centre encourages girls to become independent where they provide a two-year vocational training program that includes tailoring, weaving, pottery, knitting, Kiswahili and English as business languages, mathematics, computer skills and practise good health care.

Stories of abandoned teenagers

Despite pregnancy, Hidaya Nasibu sets as a role model for many victimised girls. She advanced herself with determination. “The first child who I came with, I was 18. The child passed away. I got married and was blessed with two more children. During the second child, my husband abandoned me. I was scared initially but not broken. Today as a single mother, I managed to put both my children in school and I am a full time working mother,” added the 41 years old mother. Hidaya finds an unexplainable comfort at the centre and now works at the centre making handbags, laptop bags, wallets, table mats and so on.

Rachel Kasuva who will graduate this year from Matumaini is known for her tailoring skills at the centre. The 18 years old failed standard 7 and could not go for further secondary education. The parents lost hope and had zilch means to enrol her into a private school. In fact, they sent her away to the relatives because they could no more afford to raise a girl. But Rachel was determined to get back to track. In a small district in Iringa called Pawaga, a pastor at her local church informed her about the centre where she joined the vocational program two years back and is determined to make bigger changes. “I have decided to help other destitute girls in becoming responsible citizens. I meet young girls from all walks of life with problems that sadden you, some stories unbearable to hear. But you learn from ignorance,” Rachel said. Currently, Rachel gets her pocket money from the batik she makes and sells, and also has a good number of clientele who are impressed by her tailoring skills.

In learning more about these girls, Hellen added, “After falling pregnant, these girls become frustrated. The parents disregard them. When they come to the centre, they get to understand that their attitude needs to change and we help these girls shape into a better character.”

The teenage mothers and abandoned girls were in a pathetic condition when they first came to the centre, some undernourished. The care and support provided by this centre is done at no cost and they rely on donations from sponsors. Now, the girls at the centre dress well, talk obediently, have a better sense of life and moreover, are educated.

The centre’s consultant Bovan Mwakyambiki has been working since 2011 and has seen little or none government involvement. “Despite a loan of 1 million in 10 years, which we paid back with great difficulty, I have seen no support from the local government.

The officials need to understand what this centre does – it is tough work to remould a girl into a responsible citizen, the centre is playing a big role to eradicate any misdeeds conducted by these neglected girls. Matumaini identifies them and nurtures them. The local government should play a bigger part financially, professionally and make necessary follow-ups to address challenges,” he expressed.     

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The seven qualities of a super employee

 

By By Miranda Naiman

Have you ever worked alongside someone who is consistently composed, meticulous and focused on driving results? If so, I can only hope some of their star-dust has rubbed off on you… In my years of observing change-makers and trailblazers that I’ve had the fortune to meet, 7 key qualities stand out (and define) what I like to call a ‘SuperStar Employee.’

1. Tenacity – Your attitude and general demeanor contribute a huge proportion to the impact you have on those around you. A tenacious person is driven, ambitious and persists against all odds. We are no stranger to life-challenges (and these have been discussed at length in previous articles) – your outlook and mindset during these trials is what separates the wheat from the chaff. Like a Rottweiler bites down on a juicy piece of meat unceasingly; latch on to your life’s purpose and bear down with all your might.

2. Empathy – Your ability to forge genuine connections with the people around you (family, colleagues, clients and beyond) is essential to getting ahead. Being an empathetic person will mean going above and beyond a surface-level relationship into the territory of mutual understanding and compassion. A SuperStar seamlessly steps into the shoes of others, celebrating victories and commiserating the losses. Honing your interpersonal skills is an essential requirement for rising the ranks.

3. Unwavering Focus – Our mind is the most powerful tool in our arsenal and can help manifest wonders in your life when channeled effectively. Find time to create a visionboard by documenting all you desire and ensure you look at it daily. Visualising success will help you achieve success. Don’t let yourself be manipulated or sidetracked by people who lack vision; stay wholly focused on your goals and take daily steps towards reaching the pinnacle.

4. Growth-Mindset – Living life as a human-sponge will allow you to soak up knowledge and experience in abundance. Research shows that when people believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra effort which inevitably leads to higher achievement. Identify where you have fixedmindset tendencies so that you can work to become more growth-minded. We live on a continuum, and consistent self-assessment helps us become the person we want to be.

5. Ownership – You are accountable for everything that happens under–your-watch, which means you are responsible for delivering results. Taking ownership tells others “you can trust me to do the right thing.” Foster an ownership-culture in your department by learning from your mistakes; staying focused on the objectives of the organization and by sharing solutions towards issues hampering productivity. 6. Ingenuity = Simplicity + Creativity – Having the confidence to question whether the current way is the best way is definitive of ingenuity. Tackling problems in an innovative and resourceful way will force you to ask tough questions – and answers will arise when your creative juices begin to flow. Practice reducing your stress levels, find time to get out of the office (take a 15-minute walk during your lunch break) and really let your mind wander.

7. Resilience – your ability to cope with change, face adversity and handle significantly stressful situations all boils down to your level of resilience. Stay buoyant and spring back into shape as swiftly as possible – “tough times don’t last, tough people do!”

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to make money from mobile apps

 

By By Edwin Bruno

Mobile apps are known as the next gold rush and we are seeing the growth of apps in Africa as well. Tanzania is ripe for mobile apps due to an exploding population of more than 53 million people and high Internet penetration of about 40%. Take a look at some of the most popular ideas on how you can start making money from your mobile app:

1) Advertising: You could run advertisements as a way to generate income for your mobile app. You will need an advertising sales team to do this but this is another good idea for developers who want to generate income and revenue from their apps. You should look for different types of advertisers so that you have a wide range of revenue eg. Google and Kwanza Advertising network (A local advertising network in Tanzania, which also provide API for local publishers and developers to receive local ads).

2) In-app purchases: Your favourite mobile games use this method. This is where you allow consumers to purchase products or gifts from inside your mobile app. This can be done through their mobile wallet, for example. In-app purchases are how developers make the bulk of their money in the West. Think about how your in-app purchases could work in Tanzania and let users top up their wallet via mobile money and cards.

3) Subscription: This is a red hot revenue generating model for Tanzanian apps because people can subscribe based on daily, weekly or monthly needs. You can also predict your revenue by knowing how many subscribers you will have for your app.

4) Branded apps: You can create branded apps for companies and organisations who want to dip their toes in the mobile app world. Developers have the knowledge while large companies have the brand recognition that consumers want.

5) Data monetisation: You could monetise off data such as asking downloaders to complete a survey or by other ways. This is a more complex method but it is also being used by developers as a way to bring cashflow to the table.

6) Paid apps: Some mobile apps are completely paid for which means you automatically have to pay for it in order to download it onto your phone. Even though this is a riskier way of generating money, you will get income that you can count from day one. This method is popular in the diet and fitness industry.

With these ideas, your mobile app can generate revenue depending on what category your app is about. Need more revenue generation ideas?

Edwin Bruno is the founder and CEO of SMART CODES LIMITED, a full-service digital agency that focuses on the intersection of technology and advertising. Email: Edwin@smartcodes.co.tz Twitter at @iEdwn.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We have many pregnancies

 

By Mwalimu Andrew

With a majority of the teachers here expectant, one would expect the staffroom not to be full on most days, and to be generally quiet. I, therefore, hoped that there would be plenty of lunch left for some of us, as one would expect the appetite of the few expectant teachers who show up to be low.

Well, that is almost happening. Except on two days: Terrific Tuesday ad Sumptuous Thursdays. On these days, the staffroom is as full as always, and on those two days, our expectant teachers are always in the staffroom quite early, eagerly waiting for food, which they take with astonishing dedication.

As you may remember, two weeks ago, I had pulled out of the staffroom lunch club and decided to start taking lunch as an independent. In protest, I had also “lefted” all staffroom WhatsApp groups. I had been sure that would be a great loss to the staffroom as I am usually the source of all jokes on the groups; jokes that are usually sent to me while still hot by my brother Pius from Nairobi.

As such, a few days later, Bensouda held reconciliatory talks with me asking me to consider my stance on doing things independently. After much soul searching, internal deliberations and consultations with my friends and particularly my mentor, I decided to get back to the WhatsApp groups, and also rejoined the lunch club.

I officially rejoined the lunch last Monday, but as you know, there is nothing to write home about Ugali-Sukuma, however good a writer you are! The real day to look forward to was Terrific Tuesday. The big day of chicken. It is on this day that I expected to tawala in the staffroom given that Bensouda and Kwame were not around, and also the fact that the expectant teachers would not be interested in chicken. How wrong I was.

Half an hour to lunch time, when the aroma of chicken kicked me out of the classroom to the staffroom, I found Mrs Atika, Madam Ruth, Lena and Sella, all seated, waiting for lunch.

Although he had not paid, we allowed Saphire to join us for lunch that day, as Kuya and Bensouda were not around. It was also a subtle way of inviting him to the club, and also, one needed no calculator to know that Saphire would only join if it were free. The other reason we allowed him was because only he could ask the expectant teachers some tough questions.

“But you ladies, tuseme tu ukweli,” he started. “It is not possible that you all came here and found yourselves all pregnant. I can’t buy such a story.”

“It is true Saph,” said Madam Ruth, smiling cheekily. “We never planned anything and until last week, I thought I was the only one expectant.”

Sella also chipped in, sheepishly smiling. “Getting a baby was one of my New Year’s resolutions,” she said. “The only thing that was missing was a man and since the men in this staffroom are slow, I could not say no to Wafula when he asked me,” she added, causing loud laughter.

“And you will agree that with Wafula, my life will be much better than if I had fallen for Saphire or Kuya.”

“Maybe Sapphire,” said Lena. “Kuya ni wa Nzomo. And I think she is also expecting! She told me yesterday”

“You people are not serious!” I said. “This thing was planned.”

“I don’t know if it was planned, but she told me yesterday, and please don’t tell anyone as it was a private conversation.”     

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