Tuesday, January 9, 2018

School clubs to curb gender based violence

 

By Hellen Nachilongo hnachilongo@tz.nationmedia.com

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a global health and human rights issue which is spread all over the world. It is particularly rampant in most developing countries like Tanzania. Women and children in many developing nations are severely affected by emotional and physical violence because of their gender. Ending GBV against its targeted victims requires the development of integrated approaches and forms of collaboration.

To ensure GBV is eliminated in the country, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) is currently providing training to primary and secondary school teachers in order to sensitize them to establish gender clubs in their respective schools. The initiative aims at curbing the spread and severity of GBV.

Through TGNP initiative several secondary school teachers were trained and have ensured their schools establish gender clubs. Those include Mabibo, Makumbusho, Kivule, Kishapu Maganzo, Ukenyenge secondary schools while primary schools are Mchangani, Umoja, Kilimani Magoto and N’ereng’ere.

Kilimani Primary school teacher Mr Jagita Maryango said that pupils often experience GBV but unfortunately lack platforms to speak out or report the atrocious acts against them.

Mr Maryango made the remarks recently at the climax of 16 days of activism against gender based violence that brought together representatives from several institutions such as gender desks, gender activists, higher learning institution and students from different schools.

According to him, teachers hold the key to preventing violence against girls and boys around schools and more support is needed to keep children safe.

Apart from that, he further noted that schools are the right and best places to eliminate GBV because students spend most of their time in school than any other place. This means that any efforts aimed at eliminating GBV would be more effective initiated in different schools than anywhere else.

“Most school children experience GBV and other related problems but are compelled to keep the grievance inside because they do not know the right recourse or where to turn to when such an act is committed against them. They don’t know the right direction to take in order to report such issues, since we established a gender club our students have been equipped with several gender issues and are able to fight against GBV so far,” he said.

More awareness

He said that schools that have not established gender clubs should do so to help create more awareness to students in a bid to fight against GBV, sexual harassment and other related issues.

According to him, when his school introduced gender club only few students showed interest and joined the club, but so far more than 80 students have joined the club and they expect every child to have joined the club by next year.

He further explained that schools that have formed gender clubs were doing fine and most children are able to speak openly against GBV to parents, teachers and the community in general. The clubs have given the children confidence to express themselves without any reservations. This helps to curb the increase of GBV in schools since more children are aware of what steps to take when such an act of violence is committed.

Ubungo Regional Commissioner Mr Kisare Makori urged GBV activists to come up with some recommendations that would help the government to formulate syllabus on gender.

He further noted that in schools some subjects such as mathematics, science, art and geography are taught, therefore gender should be one of the subjects taught in schools to help eliminate GBV completely and provide awareness to students. Through learning it as a subject, more students would become aware of their rights and how to protect themselves against GBV.

“GBV is still a challenge in the country; available statistics show that 42 per cent of married women face sexual harassment from their spouse however, if gender issues are taught in school as a subject to students it would help boys to know of the negative consequence of abusing their partners, thus encourage them not to commit violence, on the side of the girl, the lessons would give them the needed knowledge to protect themselves by taking precautionary measures when faced with GBV,” he said.

Kivule Primary School teacher Ms Stella Lugendo said in most cases schools are usually places where GBV occurs unabated thus education has a central part to play in challenging the negative social norms that drive GBV.

She said that joint efforts are needed to ensure that violence against women and girls are rooted in gender-based discrimination and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence.

“Given the devastating effect violence has on women, efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors,” she notes. However, the best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes.

Reports on welfare of children and women show that, prevention should start early in life, this can be done by educating and working with young boys and girls to promote respectful relationships and gender equality. Working with youth is a “best bet” for faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence. While public policies and interventions often overlook this stage of life, it is a critical time when values and norms around gender equality are forged.

Schools can be a breeding ground for violence. Roughly 246 million schoolchildren are harassed and abused in and around school every year around the world according to Plan International. And this is a global issue. Incidents of school-related gender-based violence cut across all classes.

Engaging men and boys as participants and stakeholders in gender-based violence prevention initiatives is an increasingly institutionalized component of global efforts to end GBV.

Accordingly, evidence of the impact of men’s engagement endeavors is beginning to emerge, particularly regarding interventions aimed at fostering gender equitable and nonviolent attitudes and behaviors among men.

This developing evidence base suggests that prevention programs with a “gender transformative” approach, or an explicit focus on questioning gender norms and expectations, show particular promise in achieving GBV prevention outcomes.

Interventions targeting attitude and behavior change, however, represent just one kind of approach within a heterogeneous collection of prevention efforts around the globe, which can also include community mobilization, policy change, and social activism.

Students are perhaps the best target when it comes to spreading preventive measures of GBV in Tanzania. They will grow up with a mentality that violence against the opposite gender should not be tolerated, and hence take steps to end it.

These clubs form a great starting point in spreading the fight against GBV.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Writing about medicine is my passion

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Jeremia Pyuza is a laboratory scientist, management and professional development adviser with a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BML) and Masters of Business Administration in Management and professional development.

Jeremia is now in his third year pursuing a Doctor of medicine at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. Jeremia is also a writer, today, Success talks to him about his writings.

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

My first book which is already published, is called Laboratory medicine: The cornerstone for evidence and data-driven medical practice. This book is both motivational and an essential guide for all people who go through medical training and encounter laboratory diagnosis. I selected the style of it being a motivational book because I had a lot of questions on what laboratory does and how much people know about it, of which I failed to get a person or book to tell me the whole story of when, how, why, who put in place laboratory medicine. That curiosity kept me searching online and asking people who were senior in the field and at the end, I came to discover that the information which I had was so intriguing and I wanted to share it.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Writing a book depends very much on how much you have compared to people around you and the urge to share your story with the world on what troubled you the most or made you enjoy the most. I, therefore, choose to write on my selected topics because I’ve had enough time to learn, ask people, interview people, send questionnaires which later on gave me enough information and confidence to write and publish.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing come from?

I developed the love of writing when I was in my last years of primary school. I remember my first thought of writing came about when my grandmother was telling me a story about the origin of my tribe. First, she started narrations which were very nice but along the way she said I have forgotten some of the information. That statement clicked in my head and I said I will write a book about my tribe, some years later I found a notebook and wrote almost all stories about my tribe which I was told my grandmother and I said I will one day change it in to a book which will be read for years to come and serve as a source of information to my generation.

What cultural value do you derive from writing and reading motivational books?

The biggest value I see in writing is the ability to share my message all over the world especially with the use of network and internet. Sharing the message with ignition and aim to change the life of people is my greatest pleasure. I believe the message I have is unique and it can take someone from one level of life to another. I was once inspired and now I’m inspiring someone else.

Through reading my life has never been static, in all aspects be it economic, leadership, management, learning, psychology, health, spiritual, health, social. In short, reading has kept my life updated in all aspects. My everyday productivity has increased; I’m living a more meaningful life than ever before, able to share what I have with the community and just enjoying the product of having happy people with positive changes.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My goal was to become first Tanzanian to write something on Medical laboratory and help people have true and valid ideas on this field and the dream has come true. I’m more eager to see new people writing on this field. Another dream was to motivate people to understand and love the field of laboratory medicine, something which is becoming even more obvious as the days go by. The book has made me known in other big countries like USA, Netherlands, Finland, and Germany where many people from these countries have purchased my book. Lastly, it has added wonderful friends who are my mentees and fellow authors.

Can you share some tidbits about people you met while researching this book?

There are many people I met when I was writing the book and I still meet many people who are interested in my work through the online and physical platform. The first person I met was Dr. Godwin Gunnewe who became my publisher, other people I met were Brian Tracy, an American author, mentor and speaker, Jesse Krieger, the founder of a publishing company in USA, Dr. Echilia Shao, my mentor whom I shared the first idea with, Dr. Johnsone Kayandabila who reviewed my first work and gave his opinions and comments and many other people who reviewed, edited and commented on my work. These people helped me a lot to share the message I had with people all around the globe. They were ready to put comments on my work and also share their personal experiences.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

Most of the references I used are published articles, mostly to support some of my ideas. Some of those references are the history of laboratory medicine, Future of laboratory medicine, the role or importance of laboratory medicine. I also used some direct quotes from people I interviewed.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tough as Fiolina declines househelp

 

By Mwalimu Andrew

When Baby Sospeter, whom Branton still calls Probox, calmed down last week, I looked forward to some great time.

I thought that I would now have time on my hands, and even get opportunities to go to Hitler’s to celebrate the arrival of my baby.

The biggest challenge we had been having was his incessant crying, but which had now come to an end after we managed to decode that the baby did not want the name Probox.

How wrong I was, for Fiolina seemed to still need me around. I have no idea if she was just missing me but she wanted me in the house so that every time she called “Baba Sos,” I would immediately say “Yes dear…” I still haven’t learnt to call her “Mama Sos,” so dear is safer.

It started with small things like “Pass me the towel, give me the napkins, pass me the oil” etc which I didn’t mind doing, as long as it was scheduled. But instead of scheduling it for example saying that I would be needed in the evening, or morning or afternoon, Fiolina needed me all day and night.

And with visitors coming around in plenty, the assignments increased. “Go and get us milk at the shop,” I would return but even before I sat down, “Baba Sos, hakuna majani,” and I would hear “usisahau mkate,” as I left.

These are roles that I would have assigned Branton, but for those who know the negotiations I had to initiate and conclude with the shopkeeper to get anything out of his shop on credit (given the amount of debt I still owe him), you will understand why I could not delegate such tasks. But even if there was no debt, I can’t send Branton for something like bread. He can eat half the loaf on the way!

Last Sunday, I invited a few family friends for lunch to celebrate the arrival of baby Sospeter. It was a simple lunch after church. “To God be the glory for the safe arrival of the beautiful boy, just as I had proclaimed three months ago,” Apostle Overseer Elkana Manasse said as he entered the house. He then asked everyone to stand up for prayer. He prayed for about 15 minutes. The prayer was more of him praising himself for the role he played in praying for the safe arrival of our baby.

“The parents may never know this God but I am happy that you listened to my daily and hourly prayers and wishes for the safe arrival of our son. I am happy that you used me God to bless this family with a baby,” he went on. The women in the house: Fiolina, my mother and Caro would answer “Amen” or “Halleluiah” at everything the Apostle said.

“Go bring the baby,” Apostle Elkana said. As Fiolina went to the bedroom to bring the baby, he opened his bag and pulled out a small bottle. “Such a great gift from God,” he said, when the baby was brought to him. “The boy will need anointing oil to be able to grow into an amazing God-fearing child.” Then looking at us, he asked: “Should we proceed with anointing oil parents?”

How could we say No? Who doesn’t want their sons to grow to be God-fearing? We accepted and he went ahead to pour lots of the anointing oil on the baby. Starting with the face, he then removed the clothes and poured on the whole body. He placed his hands on the boys head and prayed yet again. He then went to sit outside, and I was surprised that even after my guests left, he was still there. It was only later that I learnt that the anointing oil he had poured on the baby cost Sh1,500.

“But you never said?” I protested. “What do you mean? I asked you parents whether I should proceed and you said yes, didn’t you?” I reminded him that he never mentioned anything about money. “So you wanted me to say that before everyone?” he asked. “You were a member of this church and you remember how we charged for anointing oil,” he reminded me. Since I knew it was just common oil, I bargained with him and he accepted Sh300 and left.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How youth can make the most of 2018

 

By Devotha John djohn@thecitizen.co.tz

Today is the second day of 2018, and as is customary to many people, a new year marks a new beginning. It is a time when people start planning for the year ahead. Be it in education, career, family or personal goal, planning for the year ahead in the initial stage is very crucial.

Speaking to Success, university students, teachers, lecturers, human resource managers and job seekers opened up their targets for this year.

Fresh university students who just a few months ago embarked on a new education journey have their set goals for this year. Having gone through the demanding curriculum and schedule of secondary school, starting higher education might have seemed like a walk in the park at the beginning, but most come to find out that that isn’t the case.

Frank Msemwa, a second year student at the University of Dar es Salaam says his 2018 New Year resolution is pegged on good academic performance.

“I am set to score a good GPA, which will open a new door for my Third Year studies. I have all my goals set to study hard and ensure that I pass well my courses in sociology, especially calculus,” says Msemwa.

He notes that in 2017 he passed through challenges that he thought could deter his academic achievements but thank goodness all went well.

“Accommodation on the university campus was a hard nut to crack coupled with receiving loans late. In an attempt to overcome university life challenges I found myself trapped in a puddle of debts,” he says.

Mr. Msemwa adds that he thanks God because the accommodation problem was resolved, adding that he wishes loans will also be disbursed in time, a situation which will enable him to achieve his set goals.

Dennis Dawson, First year students at Ardhi University, says he anticipates the New Year to come with positive changes in his academic endeavour unlike last year when he failed to finish the semester due to financial constraints.

“I did not receive loans and the university administration had no tolerance to students who had not paid fees. The best option was to defer the semester,” says Dawson, adding, “my mother, who is a widow, paid for my first semester but during the second semester things went astray. I Pray to God that this year come with new blessings.”

Second year student at the University of Dar es Salaam, Irene Kileo corroborates with Frank Msemwa that her plan this year is to achieve academic excellence.

She notes that, to achieve her goals, she will have to steer clear of bad friends, who prioritise a luxurious life on campus at the expense of good academic performance.

“At university one meets different people with diverse attitudes. So you need to make wise decisions. I don’t wait to fall into these traps,” says Kileo. She, too, echoed cries of delayed or missed loans which made life a living hell on campus.

2017 a tough year

The 2017 hard situations were almost the same to Alex Joseph, a second year student at the university of Dare es salaam.

“Among other things, he bemoaned the shortage of learning materials at the university library. Students were lectured without any hand outs, hoping that they could read for extra details in the library, which had virtually no substantive learning materials,” says Joseph.

Joseph is optimistic that the year 2018 will come with positive changes on how meaningful learning should be embraced on campus.

For Alphonce David, a Form Six student at Azania Secondary school, preparation for her finals is everything.

“Plans are on the cards. I have all learning materials at my disposal. I am set to pass my Form Six exams with flying colours,” says David, adding, “my new year’s resolution is to score division one in the upcoming Form Six exams because my dream is to become a medical doctor.” he says. However, a lecture at the Moshi Cooperative University (MoCu), Dr John Lwata, says 2018 will be a good year because plans are well set to balance theory and practice in learning.

Dr Lwata says 2017 was a busy year for him because he had a lot to accomplish at a time, adding that when the government removed workers who secured employment with fake certificates, a lot had to be done by a few remaining members of staff.

“It was a year of review. Every member of staff was forced to work hard in a fresh bid to suit the directives issued by the Tanzania Commission for Universities,” he says.

According to Dr Lwata, academicians are duty-bound to implement the curriculum while bearing in mind the government industrialisation policy.

“We need to teach according to government policy directives. Industrialization drive cannot be achieved if we fail to embrace meaningful learning in our universities. Practical learning must be every university’s motto,” he says.

According to him, the 2018 resolution is pegged on investing in research, adding that the government should cast eyes on schools which are in short of teachers, the move which will see universities receive well-cooked students from the ordinary levels.

Responding to Alex’s demand for lecturers to provide students with lesson notes, Dr Lwata notes that learners have to be acclimatized with the ways of coping with university academic life.

“Nowadays students want to get notes from their lectures but they need to cope with public lectures, the move which will help them think critically and view issues in a diverse perspective,” says the don.

On career

A human resource officer, at ThornFlexCompany, Richard Alphonce, says, 2018 should see job seekers change their notions on employability. Richard mentions three categories of job seekers as: those who are fresh from school, from those who graduated before 2017 and the rest who are looking for alternative jobs. “Starting with the ones who are fresh from school, I see them having an opportunity to decide on their career paths and mentors,” he says adding that graduates should not only look for jobs that they have passion for but rather align their own goals with their potential employer’s goals.

According to Richard, 2017 graduates and those who have been unemployed for over 2 years need to join networks associations that will serve as leverage for opportunities and connections. “They need mentors and coaches to help them concentrate on their resolutions, especially those who had undergone similar courses, a move which will sharpen their skills for securing job opportunities,” he says.

Richard calls on unemployed youth to volunteer at any organization which could, in the long run, find them as potential employees.

“I advise job seekers to crave for reading inspirational and motivational books, attend professional and career development seminars. In so doing they will be exposed to employment opportunities because mentors and coaches in those seminars are in a position to connect unemployed youth to potential employers,” Richard concludes.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Real task for employees is getting in line with digital age

 

By Eronie Kamukama

For most jobs in the 21st century, the requirement for computer and internet skills is no longer questionable.

In a region where millions of people join the labour market every year as per National Planning Authority, regardless of their qualifications, anyone can claim to have digital skills.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges East African companies find with recruits is “straight jacket qualifications.”

“Somebody has a first class degree in accounting but he does not know how to convert his numbers into a usable platform for the rest of the organisation because the curriculum is structured in a way that they are not exposed to digital skills.

The real task for employees in the digital age is figuring out how they can convert numbers into a presentation or use well formatted spreadsheets to communicate.

Micheal Niyitegeka, the Uganda manager ICDL Africa, describes East Africa’s workplace digital skills as “here and there” yet the expectations are becoming more complex.

“There is a lifestyle approach where one is able to get their computer started, save documents, access Microsoft Word and make a presentation. We have everybody in that category and they are pretty comfortable,” he says.

In Europe where assessments of digital skills have been done, according to Niyitegeka, 69 per cent rated themselves as very good but results showed that only 31 per cent qualified.

“It is an indication that the situation could be slightly different or even grave here,” he says.

Competence survey

Another survey conducted among top tier recruiters in an East African bank, which Niyitegeka does not reveal, showed that 40 per cent had competence in digital skills.

Experts in East African countries are now questioning the measure of who is computer literate or not in a labour market already contending with a digital skills gap.

Currently, East Africa lacks a structured yardstick for assessing one’s competence in digital skills and experts say the process used today is subjective.

“It has elements of bias. Some organisations will say come and make a presentation.

This may not necessarily bring out some of these skills so we want to address this early enough,” Ngolobe says.

HR experts warn of a looming loss of talent if employees and employers do not move into the digital space.

“People have redefined the concept of work, so work is no longer you signing in at 8am and leaving at 5pm. Work is now being able to deliver and integrate the concept of work in the digital space. People are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn so we have to integrate work expectations in that space,” Ngolobe says.

HR practitioners believe that being able to build skills from a platform of certification could work for the market.

And in that regard, Human Resource Managers’ Association of Uganda is taking up a partnership with ICDL Africa to make sure that they improve digital skills for both those working and jobseekers.

Going forward, ICT experts expect organisations to require potential and existing employees to have accreditation in digital skills as an added advantage even if they (organisations) do not have training budgets.

ICDL Africa partners with accredited training centres in Uganda to award certificates.

Challenges

Uganda currently has only seven Information Communication Technology training centres while countries such as Kenya have more than 80.

The plan is to grow Uganda’s to 20 in the next five years so that the tests are easily accessed.

Once in force, Human Resource Managers’ Association of Uganda expects costs on training budgets for organisations to lower because then existing employees will receive relevant computer skills.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A TEACHER'S DIARY: Probox calmed by change of name

 

By Mwalimu Andrew

At the beginning of this year, I made great New Year Resolutions.

Unlike other Kenyans who write down New Year resolutions just for sharing on Bookface, I was serious about them.

Key among them was to complete and move into my house, get a baby, complete my degree, go to Mombasa and play a major role in the General Election. Among others.

The ink on the paper I had written had not dried when I went to work to ensure that I achieve them. I am happy to note that, I achieved key ones among them, and even overdid myself in some of them.

Take moving into my house for example. The work that has been done on the house is great. And the end product is so amazing that you need to visit Mwisho wa Lami to see for yourself. Every day many people come by just to admire the house. Many have taken photos standing next to the house. Some of the photos hang in their houses. I saw one who posted his photo standing in front of my house on their Bookface with the message: “Visiting my uncle in Karen”.

Regarding going to Mombasa, I was almost going taking the journey this month for my cousin’s wedding, but due to some old family differences, I was removed from the list at the last minute. I think they were afraid that I would overshadow them, and the girl, on noticing that I was better looking and better dressed and more loaded than the man she was marrying, would have easily fallen for me!

I also should have graduated from KU but you know the fundamentals haven’t changed much. The university still insists that I sit for the statistics exam, despite the fact that it won’t be of any help to me when teaching Swahili and CRE.

Of course the big achievement I made was on growing family. A week after I resolved to have a baby this year, I went to work. Even when Fiolina left home to go and teach at Sharpshooter academy, I did not give up. Every weekend, or weekdays when time allowed, I was at her house in town, pursuing my dream. It was not easy but eventually the result was there for all to see beginning in July. And after months of drama, false labour-pains, crazy cravings and all, the baby arrived a week ago, by the roadside.

It was a confidence statement in my abilities and shame to all those enemies of development who were claiming that Mr Maina, the director of Sharpshooter academy, had a hand in the pregnancy: the boy is a coloured photocopy of yours truly.

The arrival of baby Probox was great news around, and I was keen to make the best of the situation. On the day he was born, my mother and Caro stayed around, taking care of my wife. I saw them off later that night. Once they were at home, I passed by Hitler’s, where I was received with pomp and colour.

“Wewe sasa ni ndume,” said Rasto. “Na Fiolina pia ndio mwanamke kamili. Hii maneno ya wamama kwenda hospitali ni kuwaste pesa ya bure.” I took all in my stride and even claimed responsibility for having discouraged Fiolina from getting to hospital or undergoing surgery just to deliver.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

From cracks on hostels, to battle for loans, 2017 had it all

By Salome Gregory

2017 has been an eventful year in as far as the education sector in Tanzania is concerned. With only five days left to close the year, Success has compiled a roundup of major events that occured in Tanzania’s education sector in 2017.

Banning universities with poor quality of education

A total of 19 universities were banned from enrolling new students in July this year after a report blacklisted them for providing poor quality education. TCU’s acting executive secretary, Eleuther Mwageni, was quoted saying in Tanzania there are 71 universities registered, those that were blacklisted Kampala International University (KIU), Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology and Kenyatta University.

TTU boss accused of bribery

This month, the outgoing President of the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) Gracian Mukoba was reported being held by the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) for allegedly involving himself in bribery transactions in the ongoing election process of the Union’s top leadership.

According to the information available from the PCCB’s Spokesperson Mussa Misalaba, it shows that Mukoba was arrested by investigators from the Bureau at Chimwaga Hall grounds in Dodoma.

Mr Misalaba disclosed further that TTU President is alleged to have attempted to bribe voters so that they could elect him to the post. He could not give more details on the subject. “We are going on with investigations on the matter. Among other issues, electing their new leaders was the main agenda. President John Magufuli officiated the meeting and reminded teachers to choose clean leaders. Mukoba has since been released.

Loans board under pressure

In November this year, Tanzania Students Network Programme (TSNP), said some of the students were denied loans to pursue higher education despite submitting all papers proving they were either orphans or in dire straits.

A total of 31,000 students that were left out met requirements stipulated by the HESLB to get the loans. The students’ network wanted the ministry of education to issue a public statement on the fate of those who are aggrieved within five days so that they are not locked out of university registration.

HESLB was challenged to explain how it came to an early conclusion that only 30,000 students may qualify for the loans before the vetting itself. According to them, the government allocated Sh108 billion instead of Sh427 billion that it announced was budgeted for the exercise. “The reason therefore is lack of funds and not meeting selection criteria,” said TSNP in their statement.

Another damning Uwezo report

Among children aged 9 to 13, many are unable to complete Standard 2 work and the differences between districts are huge. The findings are according to a report titled Are our children learning? The Sixth Uwezo Tanzania Annual Learning Assessment Report 2017.

The Uwezo data showed improvements in basic Kiswahili literacy but, inequalities persist across the country. The gap between the lowest and highest performing districts is 60 percentage points.

Iringa Urban, was mentioned as the best performing district, whereby 74 percent of children aged 9 to 13 are able to pass basic literacy tests in English and Kiswahili and basic numeracy tests, while the corresponding figure in Sikonge is 15 percent. In Dar es Salaam 64 percent of children aged 9 to 13 years are able to pass the three tests while 23 percent of their peers in Katavi can do the same.

The report shows that, four out of ten children (42 per cent) in ultra-poor households passed all three tests compared to close to six out of ten (58 per cent) of their counterparts in non-poor households.

Aidan Eyakuze, executive director of Twaweza, was quoted saying, “it is very encouraging to see the improvements in basic Kiswahili literacy among our children, but we still have a very long way to go. One cause for worry is the growing inequality in outcomes based on location. Our data indicate that where a child lives has the most profound effect on whether or not they will learn, more than, whether a child’s mother is educated, whether the child attended pre-school or even whether they are stunted or not.”

Cracks on new UDSM hostels

Earlier this month, pictures showing big cracks in one of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) hostels went viral. The UDSM hostels, built to accommodate close to 4,000 students became a heated topic among scholars and the general public ue to the visible cracks.

A team to investigate on the matter was formed by the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) administration. Prof David Mfinanga, UDSM deputy vice chancellor in charge of administration, told Success that the three-member team was led by a senior lecturer in structural engineering, Dr Paul Ndumbaro.

“The team has already carried out preliminary investigation and concluded that students’ safety has not been compromised as a result of the cracks. The team is also working with Tanzania Building Agency (TBA) to determine remedial measures that should be taken,” he was quoted in the telephone interview.

Simoni Masenga, identified as a member of the Dar es Salaam University Students Organisation (Daruso), was the first person to see the cracks and reported the matter to the hostel manager who said the buildings are still under TBA.

TBA chief executive Elius Mwakalinga said the cracks are caused by expansion joints.

“Expansion joints are meant to allow adjustment of the buildings. Every hostel block has three expansion joints,” he said, adding: “The time required for the buildings to adjust varied according to the type of soil where they were constructed and the length of the buildings,” he said.

And, Prof Mukandala retires

In December this year President John Magufuli appointed Prof William Anangisye to be the new Vice Chancellor for the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). His appointemnet will be on for five years as Prof Rwekaza Mukandala finished his time.

Before his appoitment he was the Principal of the Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE). Previously he worked as the Deputy Principal at Mkwaka Universtity College of Education (MUCE).     

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Is half of Tanzania’s deaf population illiterate?

Peoples with problems of deafness in Dar es

Peoples with problems of deafness in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions demonstrate in Bwawani grounds in Maili moja Kibaha to commemorate the Word Deaf Day 

By Belinda Japhet

Tanzania’s media and government authorities are reporting that as much as 55 per cent of the country’s deaf population is illiterate, locked in poverty, with few prospects for secondary school or university education.

Speaking at graduation day for Dodoma’s School for the Deaf, headmaster Kennedy Maingu told parents and the media that there simply aren’t enough specialist secondary schools for the deaf in Tanzania and that pupils therefore struggle to progress beyond primary school.

The limited number of special education schools, Mr Maingu says, is compounded by an acute shortage of specialist teachers because there is only one teaching college for those seeking to learn Tanzanian Sign Language.

Mr Maingu’s warning comes in the wake of reports from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that estimates that as many as 55 per cent of the country’s deaf population are functionally illiterate.

So, the question is, how many deaf Tanzanians can read and write in any language?

PesaCheck has researched the issue, and finds the claim that half of Tanzania’s population is illiterate to be TRUE for the following reasons: While research into deaf education in Tanzania is limited, the NBS conducted the Integrated Labour Force Survey in 2014 that looked at, among other things, the number of persons with disabilities in the country. This survey found that 12 out of every 1,000 Tanzanians suffer from a hearing impairment, or a total of 536,088 in 2014.

Of these persons with hearing disabilities, the ILFS survey showed that 241,453 were literate in English, Swahili or any other languages, and 294,635 were illiterate, meaning that 55% of Tanzania’s deaf population can neither read nor write.

The biggest contributor to this high level of illiteracy is the difficulty in accessing dedicated public schools for the hearing-impaired in Tanzania. A study on access to education for the deaf states that in 2009, there were approximately 91 000 deaf students in Tanzania, but there were only 7 schools capable of providing them with a proper education.

According to the report, all these schools were private at the time of the study, meaning that the government played no part in their operation. Private schools are prohibitively expensive in Tanzania, making them inaccessible to poor families, especially given how much it would cost to acquire hearing aids and other such assistive devices.

The study did show that there are about 14 deaf units that attached to mainstream schools catering to about 500 deaf or hard of hearing children. Many of these schools offering boarding facilities as well.

A 2017 report by Human Rights Watch shows that Tanzania has 27 secondary schools in for children with disabilities such as albinism, visual impairment and hearing impairments as well.

These 27 secondary schools are meant to cater to 87,378 hearing impaired youth, making access to education for the hearing-impaired especially difficult. Furthermore, those beyond school-going age are left without the means to acquire basic literacy and numeracy skills.

The lack of specialized education facilities for the hearing-impaired has contributed to the high levels of illiteracy in the community, and the various statistics published by the government of Tanzania confirm that the assertion that half of the country’s deaf population is illiterate is TRUE.

Belinda Japhet is a communications consultant and writer.     

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

CAREER CLINIC: Leaping into 2018 with a #GrowthMindset

 

By Miranda Naiman

As the end of 2017 draws near, we enter an inevitable phase of introspection on a personal and organisational level.

Having endured a road peppered with peaks and troughs, your growth is likely to have emanated from a continued push, or an interminable #GrowthMindset, as I like to phrase it.

Growth is the law of nature - plants reach up towards the sun for nourishment and a better chance at being watered to receive the nutrients they need with the sole purpose of flourishing.

Similarly, animals are driven wholly by the search for food – the energy generated catalyzes growth and a survival-of-the-fittest cycle – the desire to grow inevitably reduces the likelihood of falling prey to predators.

Humans are no different; we too invest years of our lives in formal education, immersion into community norms, societal rites of passage, and all the while, further developing ourselves to secure a seat at our table of choice.

Attitude is equally as important as ability when it comes to personal success, and #GrowthMindset can be clearly defined as the unique set of guiding principles that forms your overall outlook.

Approaching life experiences with an air of inquisitiveness and viewing everything that hurtles your way as a learning opportunity serves you well in the long-run.

As we hit reset as the start of the New Year approaches, I challenge you to ask 3 key questions (with brutal honesty) in preparation for a trailblazing, slam-dunking 2018:

What are you most proud of? Unpick the moments that gave you most delight – these could be moments of recognition and acknowledgement; personal milestones or achievements; or having overcome great adversity.

Explore the impact you have had on those around you throughout the year – if you were to ask your family and friends, what would they say they cherish about you?

What have you learnt? While 2017 taught us that we must be ready for anything – adapting to the changing ecosystem in Tanzania has been critical to our organic growth.

Most us will have bounced back from an array of industry challenges and maintained a positive attitude even at the most adverse of times. Cast your mind back to events that could have played-out differently, and identify the key learnings.

All life’s experience come with clear lessons; if you had no control over the outcome, reflect on how you have been strengthened as a person and how much more prepared you will be when the next Venus fly-trap snaps around your ankle.

What is around the corner? The true joy of life is never really knowing what is around the corner, steer the ship wherever you wish to go. Use your reflections on your 2017 learnings as fuel to get you where you want to go.

Invest in improving yourself, to have a greater impact in all you do – aim for exponential growth and you will make it happen. Focus on manifesting abundance in your life – be it health, love, wealth or influence.

Whatever your mind can conceive it can achieve – go beyond visualizing what you want – make it happen by planning and working towards it.

Hopefully, the end of 2017 will provide a unique opportunity for you to be around loved ones – I’ve spoken often about authentic connections, so there is little more to be said – cherish these fleeting moments, for without love, everything else is meaningless. Greetings of the season to you and yours, and may you successfully leap into 2018 with a #GrowthMindset.     

Miranda is the \founder and Managing Director of Empower Limited; Email: AskMiranda@empower.co.tz

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

On girls and free education

While enrollment of girls has generally gone up

While enrollment of girls has generally gone up in Tanzania, the data shows that transition rates from primary to secondary school actually went down in 2016 

By Belinda Japhet

According to Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu, girls in the country are now more able to reach their career goals following the introduction of the 11-year free education programme.

Speaking at the Tanzania Gender Networking Festival on September 6, Mama Suluhu noted that one positive outcome of the free education drive is the increase in enrolment of more girls, especially given the worryingly high number of dropouts and low transition rate of female pupils from primary to secondary school.

The increase in enrolment, Mama Suluhu said, proves that the girls who would otherwise be left out are now joining primary school, meaning that girl child enrolment is higher than ever before.

So the question is, has the number of girls enrolled into Tanzanian Government schools gone up since the introduction of free education?

PesaCheck investigated the claim that more girls than ever before have joined and stayed in school since the introduction of free primary education and finds the claim by Tanzania’s vice-president to be PARTIALLY TRUE for the following reasons:

While enrollment of girls has generally gone up in Tanzania, the data shows that transition rates from primary to secondary school actually went down in 2016, the first year when public secondary school education was made free.

The Tanzanian government initiated the Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) in 2002, with the aim of substantially increasing capacity and improving the quality of primary education in the country. The plan’s ultimate goal was to make primary school free and accessible to all, irrespective of financial capabilities.

The PEDP Statistics Brief for 2016 report indicates a general increase in the number of pupils enrolled in government schools between 2012 and 2016, but the data shows that the number of girls enrolled in secondary schools went down by about 52,000 following the introduction of free education.

This free education policy came into effect in January 2016, with the introduction of TSh18 billion in grants to be disbursed to all government schools by the central government as part of a TSh137 billion allocation to the Ministry of Education to implement the free education programme.

Data from the PEDP report shows a marked increase in the number of girls enrolled between 2012 and 2016 overall. There were an estimated 4,061,545 girls in government primary schools in 2014 compared to 4 225 976 in 2016. Therefore there was an increase of 164,431 (4 %) female pupils year on year.

It will take a while for the number of girls transitioning from primary to secondary school to register the difference brought about by the introduction of free education.

While the number of girls enrolled into standard one has increased by over 30% since the advent of free education in Tanzania, there is a high dropout and failure rate for girls, which means that only a faction of the primary school girls make it to secondary school. In 2016 alone we see a 76% difference between enrollment of girls into standard 1 and into Form 1.

A HakiElimu study confirms the lower numbers in secondary school enrollment even after the free education policy, but this is brought about by the limited number of Form One spaces available rather than the direct effect of fee-free education.

The data clearly shows there has been an increase in the overall enrolment of girls after the implementation of free education, but the enrollment of girls in secondary school has fallen, meaning that Mama Suluhu’s claim that enrolment of girls has gone up following the introduction of the free education drive has gone up is PARTIALLY TRUE.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Life after university: What’s next for the new graduates?

 

By Salome Gregory @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

As Tanzania is struggling to come up with solutions to the imploding rate of employment, there is an increase in the number of new graduates from different universities each year.

Information available from TAI, a youth led organisation with a mission to empower young people to be socially responsible leaders through practical involvement, capacity building and policy advocacy in Tanzania, shows that youth unemployment is still a dilemma in Tanzania.

Each year, 900,000 young Tanzanians enter the job market that is generating only 50,000 to 60,000 new jobs. Meanwhile, with 600 million young globally slated to enter the job market in the next decade with only 200 million jobs awaiting them, the youth unemployment crisis is not projected to improve anytime soon.

However, the number of youth without jobs remains high, and each year, thousands graduate from university expecting to land a job in the market.

Graduation ceremonies are filled with joy and a sigh of relief for having made it to the podium, but soon after, worries start flooding in as there’s no clear path to landing a job.

Testimonies

Success brings you different views from recent graduates on what they plan to do after graduation.

Joyce Kidiku, 27, is a fresh graduate from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). Her journey to completing her Bachelor of Arts with Education degree was hampered with financial setbacks. Her parents, not financially stable, had to find all means possible to pay for her education. Her prospect is to become a teacher. The young graduate is optimistic that she’ll soon land a job in the education sector because teachers are in high demand. However, the tough job market isn’t her only woe.

“At the university we are not taught personal skills that target on helping us be self-sufficient before getting employed,” Joyce says.

Until she gets her dream job, Joyce currently sells fruit juices and ice creams, a start-up that doesn’t require huge capital. It is a business she has been doing for the past year. For now, this is the only salvation Joyce has, considering the hard unemployment market.

Ethan Matemwa, a recent law graduate from St Augustine University tells Success that he is left in a limbo over what to do as an income generating activity, a he waits for employment opportunities in either public or private sector. Ethan has two sisters who graduated two years back but are yet to get a job. Unlike Joyce, Ethan is pessimistic over the prospects of finding a job anytime soon.

“My sisters are still at home doing nothing. They have been looking for jobs but none [employers and companies] have even tried to call them back,” he says.

Ethan further adds that majority of graduates can’t give a clear answer when asked on their future plans after graduation.

Considered a hopeless situation, one of his sisters decided to spend most of her time in church instead of searching for a job. “She has given up on employment,” Ethan tells.

Isdory Katunzi, a lecturer at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, says that back then majority of graduates had jobs awaiting them and others were already in the working scheme. As a result, ‘what to do after graduation’ was never a question or a worry.

Currently, things have changed and the government seems to have forgotten that there’s a need to nurture students who will be ready to create their own jobs rather wait to be employed. Curriculums and courses at higher learning levels need to be practical than theoretic.

Isdory believes there is a lot students can learn right from ordinary level and beyond that can prepare them for what lies ahead. “Students need to have a clear understanding of the state of employment in their country,” he says.

Practical approach to end the woe

Despite the fact that the government is working hard to improve education status in the country through different projects like Big Results Now and Special Teachers Programme, more practical efforts are still needed to improve education quality in the country.

Commenting on the matter, one of the education stakeholders from Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) who preferred anonymity says that in order for Tanzania to record progress in the education sector, we need a political will to address persistent education challenges.

He adds that last December, a report stated that 61 per cent of graduates in Tanzania are half baked and unemployable.

“If the graduates are half-baked, how can we expect to get graduates who can tackle unemployment challenges?” he questioned, adding, “There is a missing link between education stakeholders/experts and decision makers when it comes to choosing what are the best education policies. Decision makers don’t consult education stakeholders on sensitive issues; as a result they only end up introducing plans that are not practical.”

Part of the solution that should come from the government is reviewing current education policies and curriculum with an aim of fighting against high levels of unemployment. Graduates on the other hand need to be creative and have adaptive minds that can tackle unemployment challenges. They need to take studies seriously and have career goals.

Lillian Joseph, a 2012 graduate from UDSM says she waited to get employment for years but until today she still hasn’t landed a job. She thus decided to opt for self-employment. She turned her hobby of baking cakes and crafting crotchet into a business.

Through this she was able to make money for survival. She is now able to support her family through her business. She thought with her degree it would be easy to get a job but reality was far fetched from expectation.

“I decided it was time to start my own business since there was no light at the end of the tunnel as far as employment was concerned. I started with a capital of Sh10,000, but now I can make up to Sh700,000 in a month,” says Lillian.

Lillian concludes by advising her fellow youth out there who have not been able to land a job, to spend their time wisely. “There are different avenues at our disposal if only we want to make it in life,” she says.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Scholars no longer at ease with how literature is taught

 

By Austine Bukenya

Our literary scholars are “no longer at ease” with the way the discipline of literature is currently handled and they are challenging us to rethink our approaches.

I was not going to enter the palaver until later. But two impressions about the debate made me feel that I should put in a suggestion or two for the improvement of the discourse. The two impressions are: personalisation and generalisation.

Personalisation is unacceptable. Polemics is not a viable aspect of scholarly discourse. It is a symptom of intellectual deficiency for a writer to personally attack, deride or cast aspersions on another in the name of evaluating their contribution to a discipline. The bole kaja (come we wrestle) tendency, as Professor Egara Kabaji calls it, alluding to our Nigerian relatives, does not augur well for our literary discourse.

By generalisation, I mean that we tend to speak in sweeping terms about our discipline, assuming that everyone knows what we are talking about. Literature, however, can mean different things to different people, even among professionals. When it comes to sharing our views with the public, as in a forum like this one, we must articulate exactly what we are talking about.

As Jean-Paul Sartre puts it in his book What is Literature, “If people are going to praise me or attack me in the name of literature, we might as well start by saying what exactly we mean by literature.” I quote from memory, and the translation from French is mine.

So, brethren and sistren in literature, do not assume that all our readers know all about poststructuralism, dialogism and magic realism. Let us start by plainly stating what literature is and how it works. Then we can explain how we are required to produce it, package it and deliver it to the consumer, and what good it can do him or her.

I, for example, like going to the basics by saying that literature is a way of sharing messages attractively through language. I might add that the technical name for literature in that sense is “poetics” and that poetics comprises two main areas: the actual production of these attractive messages and the reception and appreciation of these messages and how they are delivered.

The messages may be in the form of speeches, essays, verse, stories, songs, chants, proverbs, riddles, recitations or newsbytes. Did I say newsbytes?

Yes, I did. Any piece of human communication through language can be regarded as literature, depending on the imaginativeness of the language used. We do not, prima facie, privilege some texts, like those of Ngugi, Shakespeare or Shaaban Robert, against others, like play-songs, personal letters or pop lyrics.

Okot p’Bitek says, in Africa’s Cultural Revolution, that literature is “all the creative works of [human beings] expressed in language”, whether written, spoken, sung or recited. The key word here is “creative”, meaning distinctive and standing out from the clichés of everyday language.

This creativeness is what we are concerned with in the second aspect of poetics: appreciation. In this process, we receive, consume and respond to a text, the message encoded in language, and also ask why we respond to it as we do. In other words, what is it in this text that makes it significant, attention-grabbing, engaging to read, enlightening to the reader’s or listener’s brain and touching to his or her feelings?

This is what is popularly known as literary criticism. It is not about “finding fault” and proceeding, bole kaja-style, to heckle, deride and pour scorn on writers and scholars under the guise of reviewing their work. True criticism is a balanced and systematic operation, relying on tried and tested tools, which helps to guide the consumer of texts in the exploration and discovery of their true worth.

Briefly, then, we can say that poetics or literature, in its production and consumption, comprises four interrelated components within which the practitioners operate.

These are: creativity, practical criticism, literary history and literary theory. Literary history and literary theory are the storehouses of experience from which both the creative artist and the critic draw the expectations and principles that govern and guide their work.

Creativity is the actual composition and performance of texts, such as stories, plays, songs, poems or speeches. This should be explicitly taught to and practised by all students in a literature programme. My own opening gambit to every new creative writing class is: “All effective writing is creative writing.” We may not all be able produce Wizard of the Crow, Siku Njema or Song of Lawino, but, as trained literati, we should ensure that whatever we produce, whether an advertising jingle, a magazine editorial or a presidential speech, is adequate and effective for its purpose.

Practical criticism is the technical skill of evaluating texts in the specific terms of what they are about, what they emphasise, how they are structured and how the language in them is managed to produce the desired or intended effect. The trained text critic is a professional who can do this with competence and confidence. In this digital age of “alternative facts” and “fake news”, made “misquoted” and “denied” statements, the necessity of experts who can do this is obvious.

Incidentally, do you know that Jean-Paul Sartre refused to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964? You wait till it is offered me, in 2024!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

 

By Miranda Naima

It is mind-boggling how much investment (time & money) is made into corporate strategy – with some larger organisations hiring a full-time person (or team) to oversee ‘Strategy and Innovation’ – commendable initiatives, but alas without focusing on culture transformation the entire scheme is drastically impeded. Suffice to say, there are probably left-overs after breakfast is done; as culture continues to chomp its way through strategy for lunch and dinner too!

No matter what business strategy or strategic plan you try to implement with your team, its success and efficacy are going to be held back by the people implementing the plan. In essence, if the people driving the strategy aren’t passionate about the change, or worse, are apathetic to their job and to their organisation then chances are limited that you will execute your plan with the desired results.

Organisational culture is intangible; and as such can be difficult to influence. It is the personality of your organisation – the moments created by people breathing life into your values; your unique ‘way of working’ or ‘protocol.’ If the current culture of your organisation is misaligned with your strategy,

I suggest you take a hard look at how to make some tweaks and clean up your house. Rather than one dominating the other; Strategy and Culture should dine together with the intimacy of long-lost friends; here are some things to consider to catalyse this reunion:

Understand your number 1 measure of business success – at the top of the pyramid lies your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), a game-changing outcome of effectively executing your strategy combined with a key metric for business success – this true-North metric could be financial or a performance denominator. You should be crystal clear of your ‘winning moves’ – the plays that will allow your organisation to achieve, extend and exploit its market position. Now ask yourself this: does everyone in the organisation understand where you are going?

Breathe life into your values – Organisational values are not a bunch of words listed on your company website or a checkbox exercise; they are your business DNA. If strangers were to watch you (your organisation) for a few days, what words would they use to describe you and the way you do your work? What problem do you exist to solve and for whom? Most importantly, why does it matter to you?

Hire for attitude – If culture hinges on the web of people that are associated with your organisation, it is critical that new hires embody your values from the get-go. Find creative ways to assess your potential new recruits – (go beyond conventional personality profiling)– immerse a potential recruit in a team huddle or meeting and observe their behaviour; invite them on one of your teambuilding days or take them out for lunch with a couple of colleagues. You will be amazed what you can learn by throwing someone in the deep-end; a surefire way to diagnose whether they are a cultural #InstaFit or #InstaMiss.

Really lead by example – There is no use preaching from the pulpit; culture is a unanimous and allencompassing way of being that not only unites a team but fosters the right environment for strategic execution. I’ve been known to bust-a-move with my team (on occasion) – it’s all part of our culture – as a leader you will need to drop the pretense and simply be. Energy is infectious; ensure that the energy you exude helps not hinders; and purposefully inspires people to deliver.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How one author is rewriting genocide ideology in Rwanda

 

By Gloria Mwaniga

Dieudonné Gakire is an author, public speaker, peace-building activist, leader and a member of an NGO—Women of Will Africa—that helps women and children. The Rwandan national is a survivor of the country’s genocide and has written inspiring books such as A Dreaming Child and A Gift to the World. A Dreaming Child reflects on how the genocide that happened in Rwanda in 1994 affected children.

Gakire has presented and spoken at various international literary events including FILBo, an International Book Fair in Bogota, Colombia, and the Uganda Writivism Festival in Kampala.

The young writer is committed to deconstructing the genocide ideology. At the 20th Commemorations of the Genocide against the Tutsi, Gakire shared his testimony of survival, resilience, and renewal with a delegation of thousands. In feeding back into the community, he has also contributed to the “Book-Learning Club” campaign as a young motivational speaker.

He spoke to Nation.co.ke about his literary fantasies and favourites;

Which two books do you hold so dear that they can’t possibly be lent out?

I don’t like lending out my books in general, but I live in a society where people prefer to borrow books instead of buying their own. But two books I just can’t lend out to anyone are François Soudan’s L’homme de fer and Camara Laye’s The African Child, which was originally published in French as L’enfant Noir.

How would you describe the Rwandan market for literature?

Due to Rwanda’s peculiar history and culture, the market for literature is underdeveloped, but today there is increasing interest in our literary space. The government, various private organisations and some individuals have put in place a number of initiatives to encourage citizens to read and write. For instance, public libraries and book-reading clubs have been established to make literature more accessible.

This political will and the contributions being made by the young generation are evidence enough of a literary revolution in Rwanda. Don’t be surprised to see Rwandans taking the podium on the international literary scene in the near future.

However, much remains to be done with regards to the publishing system because most of our publishers produce only school books and thus it is a big challenge for authors to publish their work. We need to sit down with decision-makers to find solutions to problems like these.

Do you think eBooks are replacing paper books?

As technology becomes more developed and widespread, I see e-books replacing paper books because e-books are so accessible and are very popular with the younger generation. E-books are cheaper and easier to acquire, making them a great alternative to physical books. On the other hand, I can’t imagine a world without paper books, libraries and book shops. Personally, I like the smell of the paper when I am reading a book, and I find joy in the experience of reading something physical. Moreover, technology can distract you from the content of what you’re reading.

Which Rwandese books would you term as classics and who are your favourite authors from your home country?

In my eyes, Inganji Kalinga (The Victorious Drums) by Alexis Kagame and Imihango n’imigenzo n’imiziririzo mu Rwanda by Aloys Bigirumwami are Rwandan classics.

My favourite authors are Alexis Kagame, who introduced the art of writing to Rwanda, and Bernardin Muzungu. They were both Catholic priests who conducted detailed research into the oral history, traditions and literature of Rwanda.

What are you currently reading?

Actually, my specialty is more narrative, nonfiction storytelling, as with my work A Dreaming Child, but nowadays I am trying to find my way toward joining the world of published poetry. My current reading is focusing on the art of poetry and it is interesting how one can say in 20 words what an article might say in 1,000. Prose gives the reader a lot of details about the topic rather than simply describing it and letting the reader paint a picture in his mind using your words as the colours.

Your favourite childhood books?

This question made me cry. I grew up in the context of an extremely complicated and traumatised life and society. Growing up in a small village in post-genocide Rwanda, I didn’t have the chance to read books when I was a little childexcept for school books whose names I can’t even remember now.

I can say that I started writing before I read any books and my interest in writing started while I was in high school in S4. That’s when my relationship with literature started and now I enjoy reading most of the books I come across, especially those telling African stories.

If you were to dine with three writers, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

I would like to dine with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chinua Achebe and Muzungu Bernardin. As a young African writer, they inspire me so much to write unforgettable stories, to keep on writing African literature. I often seek guidance from them in my writing career.

Do you think literary prizes are important?

Writing is a passion and a gift you can’t buy anywhere. We all write for different reasons with different inspirations. For literary prizes, you have to meet the requirements set by a handful of people.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hostels a big problem in higher education

New University of Dar es Salaam hostels along

New University of Dar es Salaam hostels along Sam Nujoma road haven’t solved the problem of accommodation that many students face. PHOTO | ERICKY BONIPHACE  

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

For most university students, the most challenging issue facing them is not the pile of assignments their lecturers give them to do, it is also neither the volume of books they have to read to gain the knowledge nor the tough exams they have to face at the end of the semester. For them, finding a suitable accommodation is the most challenging aspect.

Staying in campus is the best comfortable way for a university student to concentrate on books. However, with the increase in enrolment in universities that do not correspond to the expansion of physical infrastructures such as hostels, most students have found themselves living off campus, a situation that to some extent poses a big challenge in their endeavour to learn and earn their degrees with flying colours.

Kumbusho Kagine, a member of University Students Representative Council (USRC)-DARUSO from the University of Dar es Salaam, said despite the efforts to expand accommodation facilities for students, still the shortage is huge.

“Despite new hostels built in our campus, accommodation for students is still a challenge,” he told Success Magazine, citing the high enrolment rate as the reason for the shortage.

“The problem is due to the high number of students enrolled, for example the 2017/18 academic year, 10,800 students have been enrolled at the University of Dar es Salaam,” he said.

According to Kumbusho, hostel facilities at Udsm can accommodate some 9,982 students only. “The newly built hostel along Sam Nujoma Road has a capacity to accommodate 3,840 students while Mabibo Hostel can accommodate 4,342 students and 1,800 students can settle at the main campus,” he noted, saying accommodation facilities cannot cope with the admission of between 20,000 and 25,000 students, leaving about 13,000 students with no other alternative than renting houses and rooms outside their college campus.

According to him, approximately 60 per cent of students at the university face accommodation challenges. Kumbusho is of the opinion that shortage of accommodation facilities coupled with the delays in allocation and disbursement of students’ loans make life a living hell for students.

“Some of the students have not yet received their funds from Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) for the 2017/18 academic year. The situation compels them to live a miserable life at the university,” he said.

 

A nationwide problem

Life without assurance of accommodation for university students is one of the major challenge not only facing Udsm students but also students in both public and private higher learning institutions.

As most universities have already opened for the 2017/18 academic year, students especially those in their first year, struggle to get accommodation. Edward Noel, a first year student at Tumaini University- Dar es Salaam, had no choice than to find a colleague and rent a room in which they have to live during their school life.

“My colleague and I are new to the city. Worse still we didn’t have enough money to sustain us and pay rent at the same time. Thanks to some continuing students who helped us to find a room to rent at Mwenge Mlalakuwa,” said Edward.

With the high rent charged by landlords in various areas, students have to dig deep into their pockets to secure a place to stay outside their campus. “For a student, Sh50,000 a month which is equivalent to Sh600,000 a year is a lot of money we can’t afford,” noted the 23-year-old first year student.

For Edward, living off campus in sorrounding communities exposes students to a myriad of risks. “It raises security concerns. We are also subjected to other tolls such as electricity and water bills,” said Edward.

According to him, things are more difficult for students as most of them have to find an alternative source of money apart from allowances and stipend they receive from HESLB.

Naomi Namhani* was one of the students who failed to realise their education dream. “When I joined the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) I was not allocated a hostel to live in. I teamed up with some few students and decided to rent a room at Kigamboni,” she said.

Naomi was excited with the school life as a first year student. But as days went by, she became tired of taking frequent routes to and from the college. According to her, she could have rather stayed alone than living with her classmate.

Bad influence from her fellow roommate spoiled her. “I sometimes found myself absconding classes. I didn’t concentrate on my studies and at the end of the day I was discontinued from the course because of failure to meet the required pass marks,” she said, adding, “I don’t want to remember those days; I wish I can turn back the days. Due to hard times, I dated someone’s husband. When I decided to concentrate on my studies it was too late, I was disqualified.”

 

Freshers under risk

Wilfred Luheda, a coordinator at Legendary Performers, said the shortage of accommodation puts first year students at risk of engaging in bad behaviour as most of them are fresh from high school, where they had too many restrictions from the school and their parents during holidays.

“To keep this young generation in college life without accommodation facilities exposes them to risk of bad behaviour. It is like a time bomb,” he noted.

Erik Erikson and Joan Erikson, prominent psychologists, explain in their famous psychosocial development theory that late teens remain undecided about what they want in their lives, they have high hopes and extra expectations and are still reckoning with the ample freedom that comes with being an adult free to roam and decide at one’s own.

“Soon as off campus students settle down in the community, they find out that living between college and community is disastrous and tempting. It translates into the complexity of living amidst school and community at a go,” they say.

Students often times get exposed to the grimes of the society. This means that they are squeezed by the complex agencies of community life such as: the need to get and use money, the temptation to live classy and seem self-important before the eyes of the community. This is a distraction from learning” he added.

Apart from that, parents don’t know what challenges their children are facing when they are off campus. Frank Msemwa, a second year student at Udsm said most parents are not aware of what their children are going through with lack of accommodation.

Living out of school exposes students to greater danger of losing their social morals. “Out of campus we find out that we have extensive freedom in a larger social neighbourhood than the campus would have allowed. This becomes more than what we should carry at the time and is irrelevant to our primary concern which is ‘full time learning’,” he noted.

Off campus learners tend to have too much to deal and contain with for example: transport hassles, keeping up with social decorum, weekend favours, living amidst non school goers, need for self-defense, self-actualization and formation of vital identities. Many innocent students breakdown and lose their purpose in the process

“Living off campus for a student is largely counterproductive and brings more odds’. The simple and earnest advice I can therefore make is that ‘do not relax when your son or daughter is pursuing college education out of campus” noted Luhega

Philbert Komu, a lecturer at Udsm, is also of the opinion that students leaving off campus find it really hard to participate in group discussions and other engaging academic works after class hours. This therefore affects their academic performance.

“With the unreliable transport in Dar es Salaam, it is both expensive and time wasting for many students leaving off campus, and most of them fail to make it to class on time. Again, this affects their academic performance,” said the lecturer in the department of Philosophy at Udsm.

 

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The right way to cooperate with recruiters

 

When the mighty hunter unwittingly becomes the prey, the laws of nature are upturned and yet balance is simultaneously restored. The status quo would involve the hunter (you) chasing down the prey (a job), however in this case the hunter is now being head-hunted – a far more favourable state of affairs.

Let me be clear in saying that reaching ‘hunter-hunted’ status is synonymous with rising the ranks and/or making a splash in your respective field – in essence, a recruiter will come looking for you when you have skills-in-demand or when your professional reputation precedes you. On a personal note, my best job offers started rolling in about 2 years into my entrepreneurial journey; Murphy’s Law, I guess. If you aspire to be head-hunted by a credible recruiter, or have wondered why the right roles aren’t coming your way; do consider my advice below.

Develop upfront relationships with recruiters – Building a solid relationship with a recruiter you trust can come in handy down the road. You may be interested to know that most people are willing to move if the right opportunity presents itself; and as such are registered with recruitment agencies.

Your individual relationship with someone within your agency of choice and staying top-of-mind with an executive search consultant (head-hunter) will mean being in-the-know and creating the first right of refusal for yourself. The best senior candidates we work with go so far as to recommend viable alternatives – stars keep the company of stars; such leads usually result in a win-win scenario: you help a contact secure a great job and further solidify the relationship with your recruiter.

Be easy to contact – whether you’re on the market or not, you need to ensure you are easily traceable. A recruiter’s time is limited, so list your personal email and number on your LinkedIn profile (we rarely write to work email addresses) to make the process as pain-free as possible. It goes without saying, that you should respond irrespective of whether you are interested or not! (See point 1 above).

Never Say No until you ask, ‘why not?’ – Before a practical decision can be made (about anything for that matter) you need all the facts in your hand – in this case, ask your recruiter questions about the organisation, role and reason for the opening. View a role profile and give the opportunity considerable thought before declining. I’ll let you in on a recruiters’ secret: when we repeatedly reach out about different roles and get turned down without ‘probable cause’ we focus our attention elsewhere. Fussiness isn’t the issue here; clear feedback on your ‘why not’ is what is lacking.

Share your accomplishments – To be headhunted you will not only need to have skills, attributes and talents in demand but be able to portray a seamless personal brand built on firm foundations of professional achievement. Attract the right attention by sharing your accomplishments and key career milestones. There is no shame in having your hard work pay off; if anything, the frenzy drives more head-hunters your way.

Don’t play hard-to-get – Nobody likes games or having their time wasted; ensure you are always upfront with your recruiter – particularly about whether you have already pursued the same role in an alternative way – most importantly, if this is a role you really want, say so! A recruiter is far more likely to gun for you knowing you truly want the role; rather than attending an interview to affirm that you’ve “still got it.”

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Role of social media in marketing

 

What the heck is social media and what role does it play in my marketing? It is probably a question I wouldn’t have received three/four years ago, but yet today it’s the most common question that comes in from my clients.

First off, let’s talk about what social media is. Social media represents low-cost tools that are used to combine technology and social interaction with the use of words. These tools are typically internet or mobile based.

A few that you have probably heard of include Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Social media gives marketers a voice and a way to communicate with peers, customers, and potential consumers. It personalizes the “brand” and helps you to spread your message in a relaxed and conversational way.

The downfall to social media, if you could call it, that is that it must be a part of your everyday life to keep the momentum and attention you need for it to be successful.

If you think that social media is only for the small business owners that are trying out an experiment, I have to correct you. There are many and popular companies that have become involved in social media to mention a few like Tigo Tanzania; Vodacom Tanzania; Midcom EA;

Leave alone companies, there also individual leaders who have been using social media like Barack Obama and other popular figures in our country. As you can see based on this fact it’s not too hard to figure out that there is something to it.

What role should it play in your marketing? In fact I could say Social Media plays great role in marketing. It is a tool used to inform consumers about our products, who we are and what we offer.

Social media can be used to provide an identity to who we are and the products or services that we offer.

Through social media, we can create relationships with people who might not otherwise know about our products or service or what our companies represent.

Social media makes us “real” to consumers. If you want people to follow you, don’t just talk about the latest product news, but share your personality with them.

We also can use social media to associate ourselves with our peers that may be serving the same target market.

We can use social media to communicate and provide the interaction that consumers look for.

As you can see social media carries with it a lot of value, but how do you do it right? You cannot just depend on social media; you must integrate it with other vehicles of marketing. While social media will create awareness, I’m not convinced that in the beginning, it will sell a billion shillings worth of product. That’s not to say that one day once you’ve built up your social media “stardom” that it won’t, but it probably won’t happen tomorrow.

Be yourself, reflect personality. There are no written “right” or “wrong” rules when it comes to social media; only you can determine what will work for you.

Be consistent, if you do not plan on being consistent don’t do it at all - it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

The role of social media in your marketing is to use it as a communication tool that makes you accessible to those interested in your product and makes you visible to those that don’t know your product. Use it as a tool that creates a personality behind your brand and creates relationships that you otherwise may never have gained.

It creates not only repeat-buyers but customer loyalty. The fact is social media is so diversified that it can be used in whatever way best suits the interest and the needs of your business.

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

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Helping young women achieve their potential

 

By Dethova John

Luphurise Mawere, is an author and Founder of Soaring Women International, a company with a vision to equip, encourage and challenge Women to unlock their potential so they can impact their world.

Mawere is also a Certified Coach, she helps people to unlock their full potential, enhance self-esteem, change habits and live a life of purpose . Currently she conducts Success Safari Classes, which is life transforming with two classes; the main aim is to change one’s life for the better. Mawere Holds a Masters of Science in Human Resources Management attained from Mzumbe University.

She holds an undergraduate in Information Technology from IFM, and also received a Certified in Life Coach from the USA

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I have gone through tough times in life that I don’t want to see others go through the same. I didn’t know who I am, I was ignorant therefore I went around the same cycle.

Because of that, my potential was locked, had low self-esteem and low confidence. I was very broke, I didn’t have money to help me with my daily expenses. I was a complainer, blaming everyone for my failure, and always looking for excuses to remain in the same position

When did you decide to become a writer?

Since my childhood I had a passion to write. In 2012, I decided to write through blogging.

Why do you write?

Writing is my passion, I love to equip, inspire, motivate, encourage and challenge people to take a step in life through my writings.

So, what have you written?

A Book titled “Beauty for Ashes, Practical Principles for Success’ by Luphurise Mawere”.

Where do the ideas come from?

The idea came from my life experience .

Which writers inspire you?

Myles Munroe, Dani Johnson, Cindy Trimm,Robert Kiyosaki and Joel Osteen.

Where can we buy or see them?

House of Wisdom Bookshop, NHC House, Samora,Azania Front Bookshop, Azania Cathedral Posta Mpya ,Elite Bookshop Mbezi Shule and Quality Plaza, Efatha Bookshop Mwenge,and WEBSITE www.luphurise.com

How much research did you do?

I did a five years research.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Writing about your life experience is exciting and inspiring .

How many books have you written so far? Which is your favourite?

Only one and it’s my favorite, it’s a transformational book, no one has read it and remained the same.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Three months .

Tell us about the covers and how it came about. I wanted the best cover which will be both impressive and informative, so I invested in the best picture, colour and the title.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? What are your ambitions for your writing career?

When I was a child I loved to be a teacher and a Leader.

I want to take my writing to a higher level; It’s my prayer to become the best-selling author in the world .

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Time was a challenge, having to balance between being a wife, mother, Coach, Enterprenuer and authoring a book. By God’s Grace I managed.

How do you market your books?

Currently I market through social media and exhibition in Conferences.

What is your favourite positive saying?

Knowledge is what differentiates average and successful people.

What is your favourite book and why?

“Sprit Driven Success by Daniel Johnson”

It’s a life transforming book, Dani has shared her experience, how she moved from zero to becoming a millionaire, how living by God’s principles has given her real success.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I will be the best female Author and Coach in Africa.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

I would like to meet Myles Munroe, Daniel Johnson and Cindy Trimm these people came from normal backgrounds but they refuse to be normal, they have done a great job in the world

I am greatly challenged by the words of Myles Munroe “Die Empty” I want to leave a Legacy in the world, I want to touch lives that’s why God created me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

They should start now, don’t wait for the right time, the right time is now, there is someone who is stuck somewhere because you have not written your book which has a message to liberate them.

What is your favourite motivational phrase?

You cannot do extraordinary things with an ordinary mindset, change your mindset

What are the challenges that many Tanzanian writers face.

Some Tanzanians don’t like to read books, I was like that some years ago and I found myself on a rat race, but since I have started reading I have been transformed because I have the right information to move me from where I am to where I aspire to be.

So my fellow Tanzanians I encourage you to read books, start with one and watch what will happen to your life .

You can start with mine it’s a simple book .

Also I would like to encourage parents to train their kids to be readers, this way we will have a nation of readers, as we know; “Readers are Leaders”.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Youth capitalising on social media to reap big profits

Through increased use of Social media,

Through increased use of Social media, advertising your business online is the way to go 

By Esther Kibakaya

Few years ago, Faustine Mgimba never thought that his final year project could turn out to be a successful business idea.

Like many college students, he too had his own expectations after completing his four-year degree in computer science from Dublin Institute of Technology.

“The idea of being employed crossed my mind but then, the response I got from my final year projects made me realize that there was an opportunity to turn it into something big,” explains Faustine.

 After graduating in 2014, he decided to work out on his idea, which involved creating a scan application that could help detect and reduce product frauds.

“I wanted to use technology so as to bring solution to product fraud in the market and so I came up with a software and took it to Brela for patent application and thereon I started to commercialise it,” he says.

Through his company Scancode (T) Limited, which is an innovative ICT company evaluated at Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) through incubation at Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi), he has been working on projects aimed at empower consumer products verification, traceability systems and authentic data accessibility trough mobile phones.

“I am happy that I took the initiative to use what the social networks can offer to make a difference in our community. There are so many opportunities that we as the youth can use to make money online if we choose wisely how to use such networks,” he says.

“One thing that I have noticed is that a lot of people have failed to realise or to identify which network they can use if they want to capitalize on their business. The type of customer you will have or target will depend on the type of network you’re using. So once you have an idea, the  nature of customer you wish to have is an important aspect to look at,” he explains.

Faustine also noted that some people particularly youth have failed to meet their targets because some of them have the risk of  advertising their business online before it is ready,’ customers don’t like to be kept waiting that’s why it is not wise to advertise business which isn’t ready to be on the market.”

Together with his team of five, they have developed a mobile platform that enables consumers to verify certified products authenticity through scanning Matrix (Electronic Mark), Quick Response (QR) or Barcodes using smartphones which is already adopted by Tanzania Bureau of standard and other manufacturers.

However, such success needs a lot of dedication according to Faustine, “it is unfortunate majority of us youth  don’t like to start business in an environment which don’t generate money on the spot, but one thing I have learnt is to believe in what you want to do, one also needs to be creative and participate in various innovation competitions  so that they can have opportunity to pitch their ideas because through these competitions, they might be able to get funds to support their businesses,” he says.

“To manage a technology service is not expensive unlike how it is in other business, the cost will be on investing on competent people who can manage our networks.”

An insurer by training who has become a famous barbeque maker through social media, chose to use her social media account to be self employed  and made it big.

 Restituta Bura, who completed her Bachelor’s degree studies in Insurance and Risk Management at IFM in 2010, was on job hunting mission for years before she finally gave up.

With a dream of landing a well paying job in one of the big insurance companies becoming fruitless and after a trial of several businesses, the idea of starting a food delivery business came to mind and her focus was on customers around the city centre.

Unlike many today, who use social media to engage in unproductive business and for show off, Restituta saw the need to use the power of social media to her advantage.

Using her Instagram account, surprisingly it ended making a big difference in her life as she started to advertise her business.

Her followers, “unlike what she had expected, became attracted by the pictures of food she posted every time she finished preparing the barbeque.

Within a short period, the mother of two has so far employed seven people who assist her with more than 40 orders per day to deliver across the city.

Restituta and Faustine stories give a clear picture on how online business is shaping how we do business in our country. The days when one had to rent a shop or office space to do business are slowly ending.

Today, more and more entrepreneurs particularly, the aspiring entrepreneurs who are mostly the youth have chosen to take up the social networks as their main platform for doing business hence they are able to reach out to thousands of their potential customers.

Julius Shoo, is a social media guru and an IT expert based in Dar es Salaam and according to him there are so many advantages and opportunities that aspiring entrepreneurs can use to grow their business using social media.

He says as the world become more of a global village, it creates an opportunity for businesses to reach a wider audience, “ that can be one of the biggest advantage of doing business online.

For someone who is offering a service or selling products, the social networks can provide an access to a large number of customers who may not know about the products and services they offer,,” explains the expert.

He went further saying one using social network for business can be able to do it from wherever they are so long as they manage to maintain their customers needs in the best way possible.

Despite all the advantages that come along with the online business, however the expert says there are still some challenges that people who wish to use social network in doing business need to consider.

“One needs to bear in mind that there are lots of competitors out there who wants their products also to be known, so the aspiring entrepreneurs will need to spend their time and sometimes money on advertising, so that they can let their potential customers know what they have to offer and convince them to choose their products.”

“How to reach your target audience online is another challenge. Say your target audience is employed people but apparently most of your followers are students can be a problem.

How reliable and fast can you get your products to customers at the right time is also another challenge that many online businesses face. Unless you have the capacity to respond to your online customers efficiently, you will lose them quickly if you don’t act fast,” he advises.

He says if one manages to do everything they can to make their online business work then it can be worthwhile doing business online.

 

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This is how you can find your tribe

 

Investing in yourself is inextricably linked to the company you keep. The old ‘birds of a feather; flock together’ couldn’t be accurate when it comes to taking a hard look at the people you to choose to spend time with.

Given, we can’t choose our family; what we can choose is the way we engage with family members to ensure healthy, mutually-beneficial exchanges centred on openness and authenticity. Finding your tribe is about truly getting to the core of who you are and learning to attract and cultivate relationships with people aligned to your personal values.

Living your best life will involve some major weeding and pruning to ensure you produce a luscious oxygen-inducing garden-of-eden instead of a twisted, barbed thorn bush. If you’re truly ready to ‘do the work’ – and self-improvement is a process – you can reap the reward of peace of mind! Slash & burn the Energy Vampires – Any exchange with another human being that results in you feeling emotionally drained, takes a cumulative toll on your well-being.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a duty to support one another – the barometer for health for any relationship is centred on energy exchange – if there are individuals in your life who take far more than they give, you are likely dealing with an Energy Vampire. Look hard; I believe we can all spot (at least) one person in our life that perpetually sucks our positive energy and fails to replenish what they take from us. This is not your tribesman; make plans to protect yourself by implementing (what I like to call) a slash & burn operation.

Trust me, it makes all the difference. Rekindle & Revive old allegiances – While you look around, it is equally important that you recognise the gems in your midst. Make deliberate efforts to acknowledge, invest and cherish the sparks in your life that keep you radiating positive vibes in your broader circle of influence. Diversify your Portfolio – by swimming against the tide you may be pleasantly surprised what you will discover.

Courage and a sense of adventure are the name of the game as trying new things can be undoubtedly daunting. The unfamiliar makes us nervous in a way that’s hard to describe. The act of leaving our comfort zone puts us in a vulnerable position, and leaves us with an onslaught of questions running through our heads. We ask ourselves: “Should I be doing this? Can I do this? Do I look stupid? What am I doing!?” While it may not feel like it, this is normal—and it’s good.

Lest we forget that a better version of yourself waits at the edge of your comfort zone; and with a better version of yourself you will undoubtedly attract new people into your life. Follow your passion – let the activities and causes you are most passionate about lead you to your tribe. If you are an avid footballer it’s likely that you will draw your energy from being around fellow players, where relationships will tend to extend off the pitch. I have found my tribe with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) where we connect through our thirst for learning and grow our businesses, improve our family life and focus on personal development to make a mark in society. There are several established groups that may tickle your fancy and inevitably draw you closer to people of your ilk. Be extremely picky.

While pickiness is often misconstrued as an arrogant trail; being selective in how and who you invest your energy in is critical for your own protection. We wake up each day with a bucket full of energy, we expend it gradually through the day on family members, friends, coworkers and all the miscellaneous exchanges we face daily. When you expend unnecessary energy on people unworthy of your time/attention you end up in deficit. The more meaningful people in your life will lose out on the best aspects of you; but more importantly you will feel drained and worn out having depleted your energy reserves. In future, don’t forget to keep the door firmly locked, when the Energy Vampires come knocking…     

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This is how voices of Tanzanian youth got louder

 

Fearing the disengagement of youth from politics, a radio program Niambie was established three years ago. Today it’s one of the most successful radio shows in the country, helping young people navigate through their lives.

When construction worker Clever Daudi Mngongo renovated a hall, he remembered the radio show Niambie. It had recently talked about the use of Social Media like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for business. So Mr Mngongo did as the show suggested. After he completed his task, he posted pictures of his work on Social Media. And as a matter of fact, he received a phone call from someone who had seen his post and liked his work. They offered him to come to Dodoma and help build a warehouse to store sunflowers. And that’s what Mr Mngongo did, expanding his business to a place as far as Dodoma. To Niambie, he is very thankful. “It helped me know how to capitalise on social media”, he says. “In the future, I have a dream of doing big things using Social Media.”

The case of Mr Mngongno is the perfect example of the purpose of Niambie. “Our goal is to provide practical knowledge to young citizens to improve their lives,” Colin Spurway says.

He is director of BBC Media Action, the international development charity of the BBC that stands behind the show. It’s been three years since the show started and on the 25th the show celebrates its anniversary with a special broadcast. Funded by the Swiss government, the initial goal of Niambie was to empower young people to make informed political choices in the elections of 2014 and 2015.

When the show took turned out to be a success, Switzerland extended financing beyond the national election in 2015, broadening the scope of the show. Since then, it’s not only about civic engagement anymore, but also other issues that are relevant for the well-being of Tanzanian youth. Topics recently covered include for instance writing a job application, creating a business, coping with stress, eating healthy or teenage pregnancies.

For most listeners though the exact rationale behind the show is not decisive, they just like the show. And there are many of them. According to the latest numbers more than 3 million people between 15 and 30 years listen to the program every week, most of them on Cloud FM that airs the show on Saturday 11am and a rerun on Sunday 10pm.

One important reason why the listeners find the show not only useful, but also interesting, is the way the program is set up. Different from a textbook that lectures the youth how to behave properly, the radio program uses entertaining elements to gain the attention of young people. It includes testimonials from peers and makes use not only of experts, but also of celebrities. And above all, two eccentric presenters make sure that the listeners don’t get bored. It’s Noel Mwakalindile and Meena Ally who present they show, and it’s also them, who are the public faces of Niambie.

Noel Mwakalindile worked as a presenter for another radio show of BBC Media Action Haba na Haba, when he was asked if he wants to help to set up a new radio program addressing the youth.

“They probably thought my presentation style was a bit too eccentric for a serious program like Haba na Haba,” he says and laughs. He became a member of a team consisting of producers and development professionals that started working on the show in 2013, later Meena Ally, the female voice of the show, joined the team. In November 2014, Niambie aired for the first time.

Talking to Mr Mwakalindile is a bit like talking with the biggest fan of the show. “I feel very privileged to work for Niambie,” he says. He emphasizes that he learns every week something new and that he feels humbled by the feedback he gets.

This 36-year-old is full of stories from young people thanking him in one or the other way for having been helpful in their lives. He tells for example the story about the general election in 2015. Niambie ran a show on how people should behave after they voted.

The lesson was to leave the polling place right after the cast of the vote to avoid potential trouble. When Mr Mwakalindile recently went to Iringa to record testimonials for a show, he was approached by a young man.

He told Mr Mwakalindile, how his friends wanted to stay at the polling station back in 2015 to make sure that their vote was counted. This young man, however, recalled the Niambie suggestion and left.

Luckily so, because after the closing of the polling station, violence broke out and a friend got injured. “This kind of stories make our job so rewarding,” Mr Mwakalindile says.

He is proud to have an impact, saying “I am very happy that young people learn and are changing their lives through our show.”

Employment, education, health, civic engagement: The topics discussed in the show often touch politics. But still, Mr Mwakalindile has this to say, “Institutional politics is not really something I am especially interested in,” . For him, it’s more about the practical implications politics have on people’s lives. His blindness to party politics also makes it easier for the show to be impartial. “After dozens of shows about the electoral process people approached me, saying that they didn’t know who I voted for”, Mr Mwakalindile says. “And that’s exactly how it should be.”

A characteristic feature of Niambie is the involvement of celebrities. In every show musicians, actors, entrepreneurs or other socialites would talk about their personal experiences with the topic, capitalizing on their function as role models for a part of the youth. Mr Mwakalindile says that at the beginning it was not always easy to convince celebrities to come to the show. Now it’s all different, he says. “As soon as you mention the name Niambie, they are excited to participate,” he says.

One of the musicians who have participated in the show is Bongo flavour star Kala Jeremiah. He recently appeared in a show that urged young people to join Local Health Facility Governing Committees to improve health services in their neighbourhood. He is full of praise for the show. “Niambie is big,” he says. “Not only does it have a lot of listeners, it is also highly appreciated by the youth.” He calls idea behind the show “bombastic”. “I think it’s a great way to improve young people’s life,” he says. Commending the show, he has just one little wish. “Please give us celebrities a bit more time on air.”

As a matter of fact, BBC Media Action is right now pondering about the future of the program. Colin Spurway from BBC Media Action explains that the program is funded until April 2018. It is up to this day still open, if the show will continue or not. He personally would like it to go on, Mister Spurway says. “We have created a trusted brand in the last three years, so it would be a missed opportunity to let it stop in a moment when the show is so popular.” Mr Spurway aims high. His vision is that shows like Niambie will play an important role in the national elections of 2020. “It would be a dream come true if the candidates talked with the youth from all over the country through our program”, he says. “This would prove that Tanzanian leaders see young people as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”     

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Here’s a sneak peak into the banking profession

 

By Devotha John @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

        For one to be a successful banker, one needs to know how to generate business for the bank and motivate a staff. They must have knowledge of the banking industry and various products and services offered. Some bankers start off in entry-level teller positions, and some are hired out of college as sales associates.

To move up, one needs good people skills and a network of individuals that they have established rapport with. Additionally, a banker must know understand the duties and responsibilities of everyone working for the bank.

Emma Medda is the head of service support at Stanbic Bank; she graduated from the University of Dar es salaam in 2007 and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. Before this position, Emma was employed by the facility as a Bank Teller in 2008.

Before graduating from the University of Dar es Salaam she did her advanced secondary education at MOA High School in Dar es Salaam after she had attained her ordinary Secondary education at Msufini High School in Moshi District, Kilimanjaro Region.

As head of Service at Stanbic Bank how does your day begin?

“I usually get in the office around 7:30a.m, half an hour before reporting time. Punctuality enables me to prepare for morning briefing meetings, which sets branch priorities for the day/week,” she says.

She says after university education she was employed by Stanbic Bank as bank teller and that was her first appointment.

“I worked as a teller for sometimes before I grew to other positions like: forex clerk and team leader, customer service and as a trainer before getting this position as head of service support, overseing branch operations,” says Emma adding that:

“It’s a challenging and risky job, which requires high level of integrity then in the end I got that sense of accomplishment.”

She mentions tasks that she is responsible for as head of service at Stanbic Bank as overseeing all branch operation issues.

Emma says she works on customer service issues, branch risk control and ensures all branch functions are carried out in accordance with laid down procedures & policies in the bank manuals, adding that providing a responsible and accurate telling service experience to customers by maintaining and applying up to the knowledge of banking policies, practices and procedures are some of her cardinal tasks.

She notes that she is also duty-bound to create a working environment, where customers can get best attention and service.

Describing a typical work week for bank head of service position, Emma notes that it starts on Monday where she sets her priorities

“I support customer service, supporting sales team also doing weekly briefing meeting over controls and I usually do daily checking of branch reports on key highlights,” she says.

She says that staffing, warehousing, accounting, operations, and sales are some of the major tasking works in her schedule which she is supposed to accomplish with highest level of integrity.

“My decision regarding staff is done through performance management through formal and informal dialogue to identify areas of improvement,” says Emma.

She explains that being good head of service is not a cup of tea. It needs commitment and diligence.

She says one needs good understanding of banking operational risks, policies together with procedures guiding the banking systems, adding that one is also supposed to have a high level of integrity and inquisitive minds. She stresses that taking things for granted can rock the boat.

Custumer service

Emma says understanding of systems, team work alongside having individuals who are committed in ensuring customer service runs smoothly are issues of utmost importance. This will also go together with providing the necessary training to each individual in the team, understanding their strengths and weaknesses and continuously striving to eliminate barriers that bring down the quality of customer service.

She notes that strategic planning and documentation entails planning for all kinds of requests, types and volumes and train the team to be always prepared for emergencies, adding that there should be a comprehensive record of all the tickets, discussions with customers on critical issues and reports such that they stay in tune to help with future issues

About being a successful bank manager Emma says one needs to have a high level of integrity because banking requires a high level of finance knowledge.

She notes that aspiring individuals should not limit their knowledge base to the banking industry as it takes a number of interrelated disciplines to accomplish the targeted goals.     

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New club aspires to make a difference

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

        There is a new kid on the block, Lions Club of Dar es Salaam Africana, and the latest under the umbrella of the Lions Clubs International.

The club adds to the global network of approximately 1.4 million Lions Club International members who are in over 46,000 clubs scattered in 210 countries around the world.

Just a few weeks into existence, the club has registered 26 members; 18 male and 8 female, who have started their activities running by meeting the needs of local communities.

Mwinyi Said, a Standard Four pupil at Vingunguti Primary School and resident of Mwana Orphanage Centre is quick to attest to the agility of the members of the new club.

“We are so excited whenever we see guests visiting us at the centre. We know for sure that they remember us for our suffering and they come to offer us support, be it food, educational material or household items,” he said.

According to the Africana club’s charter president Shaheen Alam, the club has already distributed food stuff to Mwana and Maunga Orphanage Centres in Temeke and Kinondoni districts respectively.

It has also planted over 100 trees at Maunga orphanage centre.

Mwana Orphanage centre secretary Jabir Malik said what charity organisation such as Lions Clubs are doing should be emulated by others be it companies or organisations through their corporate social responsibility.

“Most of big companies that make a lot of profit in doing business do not return something big back to the community. They should ensure that such corporate social responsibility programmes reach the underserved and vulnerable children like orphans,” commented Malik, commended the club for extending voluntary donations to the orphanage centre.

“Children need love and when they received such donations from well-wishers, they feel that they also belong to the community,” added Malik.

At Muanga Orphanage Centre at Hananasifu in Kinondoni District, hopes are high after they recently received donations from Africana club. Rashid Mpinda, acting secretary at the centre, said they extended a request to the club for accommodation facility. “We talked to them and we are optimistic that our request would receive a positive response,” said Mpinda.

“What the club is doing is like investing for the heaven in future. We see wealth people and some company supports different sports games, sports clubs and beauty pageant contests with a lot of money. They will only remember the vulnerable children during holiday only, donating goats and some food stuff,” noted Mpinda.

“They should do something more to leave a mark in the community. Very few good-hearted people and charity organisation like Lions Clubs have been doing more than what big companies offer to vulnerable children,” added Mpinda.

According to Shaheen, empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding is the main mission Africana club members should be ready to undertake.

“Since the 26 men and women came together to form the club on October 4, 2017, they vowed to serve the community. We share the same vision with our global umbrella organisation of becoming global leaders in community and humanitarian services and take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community,” noted Shaheen.

“We aspire to be very active members of our global service network. We vow to do whatever is necessary to help our local communities,” added Shaheen in his speech during a brief inauguration and installation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam on October 28, 2017.

During the occasion, Lions District Governor of District 411B, comprising of Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, Sayed Rizwan Qadri and PCC Abdul Majeed Khan presented the new club with their official charter, which was handed over to Shaheen, the founder and charter president of the club.

The District Governor installed all Africana club officials for the fiscal year 2017/18 in the presence of members of the Panorama Lions Club, who sponsored the formation of the Africana Lions Club.

“I am proud to welcome these men and women into Lions. Dar es Salaam will be proud to have such a fine group serving their community,” said the 411B District Governor Sayed Rizwan Qadri.

He urged the Africana Lions Club to plan to actively involve itself in providing relief supplies to communities facing hunger, food distribution to the needy, free eye camp with cataract operation, free medical camp for less fortunate people, diabetics cap and awareness, cancer, health, environment, emergency relief during natural disaster, youth skill development, education and any other social activities as community demand.

“We have to plan a way forward. Our assistance in the health sector should multiply from vision to diabetes and Paediatric Cancer. Feeding the hungry and environment conservation should also remain top in our agenda,” said the 411B District Governor.

According to him, Lions Clubs have excelled in many ways. He attributed the successes to good leadership and membership; elements that he said add strength to the clubs. “With our combined knowledge and skills, we can go far, but let there be attitude as our driving force to excel and stay stronger,” said Sayed Rizwan Qadri.

“I have been a witness to many great activities carried out by clubs in Uganda and some in Tanzania. We reach out to serve the vulnerable because we want everybody to see a better tomorrow,” noted the 411B District Governor.

In Tanzania, he said, Lions Clubs have carried out worthwhile projects that have immense values; all along seeking relief for the underprivileged, needy and those deprived of their sustenance.

“What we can do for the community is now our responsibility. But in order for us to do much for the community, we need to look out for collaborating partners and stakeholders,” he advised.

His sentiments were echoed by the newly installed charter president, Shaheen, who urged members to strive to make a difference in the community.

“Together, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, and in our own lives, as we gain personal and professional skills that will last a lifetime,” said Shaheen.

“Let us now go forth and prove that Africana club is a progressive force in our community. Let us demonstrate to everyone with whom we come in contact as Lions, the true meaning of our inspirational guidepost-“We Serve,” he added, urging members to actively participate in the club’s fundraising and community service initiatives.     

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Impact of water scarcity on girls education

Girls carrying buckets of water in Ushora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mentorship critical in education goals

 

By Jacqueline Mathaga

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

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

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

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

QUALITY EDUCATION

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

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

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

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

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

Role models

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Students awarded for development projects

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Role model

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Caring for children with chronic illness at school

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


School health policy

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

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

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

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

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

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


Storage of drugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Educating people on equal treatment of the vulnerable

Residents attending one of the seminars

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

By Jonathan Musa

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finding success

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

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

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

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

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

 

Secret behind her determination

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Becoming a director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Achievement

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

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

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

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

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

 

On challenges

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

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

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

Future plans

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

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

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

 

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Using animation to influence learning

Animators teach keen students on different

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Swahili

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Negative perception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A young man on a mission to inspire his peers

 

By Roger Braun rogerbraun@gmx.net

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

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

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

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

Privileged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Multi-million business built from waste paper

Waste collection work in progress at his firm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Risk Taking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Girls taught on equality through art

Students from Jangwani Secondary school taking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enhancing students’ understanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

JOBS & CAREER: Social media marketing manager

Lucy Makoy, Social media manager. PHOTO I

Lucy Makoy, Social media manager. PHOTO I COURTESY 

By Devotha John

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you choose Social Media industry?

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

What’s the mission of your organization?

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

How would you add value to our social media department?

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

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

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

What is the most important task of social media marketing?

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

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

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

What strategies would you use to generate leads?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What achievement are you most proud of?

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

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

Which social media brand strategy has inspired you? Why?

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

What are you passionate about?

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

Where do you see yourself in three to five years?

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

What do you do in your spare time?

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

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

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How poverty shattered their education dreams

Even with free education, their are many other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High cost of education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The big debate about pre-Form One course

Many parents and other stakeholders in the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Teaching kit for science students

 

By Devotha John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the idea emerged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

Way forward

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Turning Potential Customers into Happy Customers

By Julius Bulili

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Making teaching aid kit for outer space bodies

Ernest Maranya works on his teaching aid kit

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

By Devotha John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


History 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How the idea emerged 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Challenges

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

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

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

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

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


Way forward 

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

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

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

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

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

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