Our next video looks at one area of research being conducted by the Health Project.
In collaboration with WaterScope (a Cambridge based organisation) and STICLab (a maker-space in Dar es Salaam), CDI are conducting field research upon a new 3D-printed microscope in order to bring cheaper, easier and more accurate malaria diagnosis to local communities in Tanzania.
If you are interested in working with CDI, then please see www.cambridgedevelopment.org/get-involved - committee applications are NOW OPEN!
This year saw a record number of applicants for the DAREnterprisers course. With over 200 applications for just 40 places, the enthusiasm among university students to participate in the programme and develop their own business models is only growing.
Dar es Salaam is the 9th fastest growing city in the world; yet, despite its potential for social, economic and technological development, youth unemployment remains a large problem in the country. According to recent figures, 900,000 professionals compete for just 60,000 jobs in the formal sector. Considering this shortage, the importance of individual initiative among young graduates is becoming indispensable.
It is this mismatch between the teaching given in institutions of learning and the needs of the labour market which the DAREnterprisers course intends to address. Set up in 2014, the interactive programme is unique in being the first course run by a team of students from both Cambridge and Tanzanian universities which is focused upon ‘human-centred design’. The goal is not only to motivate our shortlisted candidates to produce tangible business ideas, but also to challenge them to make positive social impact by focusing their businesses on issues within their local communities.
We are particularly encouraged to hear that many participants are enjoying the interactive nature of our course: it is a key goal of the project to implement peer-to-peer learning, as opposed to the heavily lectured-based style of their university education. Week two was packed full of sessions focused on business ideation and divergent thinking, encouraging both the CDI team and the participants to think creatively and come up with as many innovative business solutions as possible. This is the unique strength of our course: students facilitating student initiatives, youth supporting youth. One of the key points of action identified at The Promise of Youth in Africa Conference 2016 was to ‘acknowledge and support youth as individuals who can powerfully support one another’, and this is a point CDI’s Entrepreneurship Project focusses its work upon. The co-inspiration and relatability of the CDI volunteers working with the course participants is at the heart of its vision and its success.
Whilst the DAREnterprisers course is currently a small part of a necessarily wider picture of jobs-for-youth development programs, we believe that it can make progressive steps towards encouraging Tanzanian students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and become social advocates for their own communities. It is at this crucial stage in the course that the initial enthusiasm of our participants begins to transform into tangible business propositions, and we can now start to look forward to the point when these students can pitch their ideas to a conference of industry experts and local organisations, and take the first steps towards pioneering positive social change.
Vingunguti is an informal settlement in Dar es Salaam, home to more than 100,000 inhabitants. Walking around the streets, the population demographic is dominated by young children, and the main streets are busy with street vendors and people running errands.
Conversing with local residents and healthcare providers the need to facilitate change for the healthcare provision in Vingunguti becomes clearer. Government publications are somewhat limited in providing a full picture of the problems faced by the community on a day-to-day basis. Our role for the past two weeks, therefore, has been to bridge this gap between what the healthcare delivery system should look like in practice, and what, in reality, we have found to be the current national standards.
So far, the main problems we have identified revolve around the poor availability of health-promoting products and services that are affordable. For instance, locals often bypass the healthcare system when they are ill due to the expense of diagnosis, and instead obtain medication from street vendors, without the need of a prescription. These street vendors are usually unqualified members of the public and sell items such as electronic accessories and peanut snacks along with these drugs.
Yet, as a team, it is the community spirit and cohesion of Vingunguti that has struck us most. It is this which will lend itself as indispensable if we are, in cooperation with the locals, to make a sustainable impact on the healthcare system.
Last year, the Health Project saw the implementation of Afya Yetu, a business model which looks to sell affordable healthcare products via under-utilized healthcare workers (whose role it is to educate and advise residents on health matters). Whilst there are a lot of strengths to this model, we are looking to expand a product-range that better meets the demands of the community.
Adjusting the Afya Yetu model to better improve health outcomes in Vingunguti – and for communities like Vingunguti, in the future – will not be straightforward. For one thing, each community is unique and uniquely challenging. In addition, the role of Afya Yetu in developing better health outcomes is nuanced, and can only be informed by research and experience. Continuing to engage with both the pre-existing healthcare systems in Dar es Salaam as well as community members themselves is one way of achieving this. It is through maintaining this dual communication that we hope to bridge the current gap between the established structures of healthcare and the reality of daily life in the informal settlements of Dar es Salaam.
The second of our videos this summer takes a look at one aspect of the work undertaken by the WaSH Project (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) - the biodigester.
Volunteers and directors from the CDI team explain how this particular biodigester, developed by the Cambridge company SOWTech and implemented by CDI as a part of the world’s first integrated simplified sewerage and biogas network, impacts the community of Vingunguti, one of the largest informal settlements in Dar es Salaam.
Statistics are taken from World Future Council, 2015.
For the youth of Tanzania, unemployment is not only more prevalent in urban areas but, somewhat paradoxically, presents a higher risk to those who are more educated. According to World Bank figures, young people aged 15-24 are six times more likely to be unemployed in Dar es Salaam than in rural areas. Meanwhile, nationally, 92% of primary educated youth are employed, compared to only 71% of those educated to secondary level.
As David highlighted during his interview: “Currently, the employment sector is faced with a high number of unemployed people – especially the youth – and even some of the few who are employed lack adequate and sufficient skills needed in their jobs. Others are employed in sectors not in line with their professions.”
This issue is further exacerbated by the fact that, whilst at school, students are given very limited career guidance; there is very little advice available from which they are to make informed decisions about their subjects and career paths. When asked, many students told us that they wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or pilot, but very few knew how they could tangibly achieve this, unaware of what experience and qualifications are needed. A study carried out by the University of Dar es Salaam in several public schools found that none of the students had received careers counselling, none had attended career exhibitions, and only 13% had benefited from careers speakers.
Tanzania ranks among the world’s 30 fastest growing economies and, with a 2.9 percent population growth rate, the country is expanding exponentially. Despite this rapid development one thing is clear: the problem of unemployment among urban-educated Tanzanian youth is an urgent one that will undermine such progress unless mitigated. CDI and Bridge for Change are working towards a future where students feel empowered to rely upon their own initiative and claim ownership of their career path, leaving school with employable skills and entrepreneurial creativity.
 Mabula, N. 2012, ‘Career Services Provision to Secondary School Students in Tanzania: Is it a dream or Reality?’, University of Dar es Salaam, http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v2i2.1674
This is the first in a series of videos which provide an insight into the different areas of work undertaken by our projects this summer.
Here, volunteers from the Entrepreneurship Project introduce us to DAREnterprisers, an 8 week course for university students in Dar es Salaam, which encourages participants to develop business solutions to community problems within three areas: Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Manufacturing & Urban Living, and Off-grid Energy.
For more information about DAREnterprisers, please see their website: http://darenterprisers.strikingly.com/
For all the details about CDI’s work during the summer of 2016, please follow this link to last year's blog: