24 November 2012

Tanzania: What Legacy Do You Want to Leave Behind?


IF one can appreciate efforts to promote Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the country, the name of Korea International Cooperation Agency cannot miss in the list of those who deserve our commendation.

There are many organizations out there doing community activities in various things including education and health, but one area which has to be promoted in schools is ICT. To me this is an urgent matter.

ICT has proved to be very effective where schools are struggling for reference materials and teaching aid. It is the easiest way that can be used in promoting education as schools can access reference materials online, which are sometimes offered for free.

Many schools in the country lack training aids including reading materials and proper libraries, among other things. The issue of electronic library cannot be understated since it is an emerging technology which suits our economic conditions. But it has to start somewhere. We always know that an action or inaction of one individual can have a great impact to the society.

It, however, did not come as a surprise that Namoh Ham, a KOICA volunteer who is deployed in Tanga region, as an ICT teacher has opened the school cyber opportunity for the students. He has presented a website recently that he built as a gift for Macechu Secondary School in Tanga region. The volunteer as an individual is not different from any Tanzanian. I think we have a number of IT specialists who can emulate the volunteer to support our local schools to build a website for them. Remember there are ICT specialists in the country who are running successful projects and programmes.

It is worth noting that the Community Social Responsibility is a long time concept that has been passed over generations. It hardly beats my mind how such successful individuals cannot think of giving back to their communities. For example, they could have given back to their former schools as a gesture of good will. The culture of ploughing back to the community is not there in our society. It is rare to see people who are accomplished thinking of supporting community projects.

Sometimes we have that habit of thinking that someone else will do the task, why not task yourself to start doing that noble course of supporting educational projects in your former school or college. Imagine, is it not something to see a foreigner thinking of our students and helping them. The foreigner who is yet a volunteer with limited resources, but ready to make a sacrifice. How many of us have empathy for the destitute and poor who are in every corner of our streets.

It is unfortunate that when such kids in the street approach us for support we pretend it is not our responsibility. Yes indeed it might be true, but can't we come up with some recommendations and join hands to help. For all that KOICA volunteers are doing we owe them our sincere appreciations. Can we borrow a leaf from the best practices that Ham began with recently in Tanga.

He was able to build a website after a long discussion with the school, and presented it in November after three months of hard work. It is something that needs commitment and dedication and sacrifice which most people have wishful thinking that some one out there will do a community service.

Why not you? In most cases we are all in a position of making similar sacrifices that the KOICA volunteers are making but we lack determination.

The fact that many schools cannot afford to own computers is another challenge for the Tanzanians. We can team up and make our contributions individually or collectively to such schools by buying affordable laptops and desktops so that students who are marginalized can also enjoy the technology and learn how to use it. In the words of the volunteer it is true that the technology in some sections of our society is still a mystery which those sons and daughters of this country who are accomplished should start supporting demystifying the ICT in marginalized schools.

According to Ham, even the students and teachers of Macechu Secondary School kept saying "Safi Sana!" as they accessed the beautiful website. In fact such donations of ICT gadgets can also be an incentive for teachers to learn more about their field of study and use them for references. Ham remarks that : "It is such an honour to have the opportunity to build the website for Macechu Secondary School.

I am currently working with a local teacher to maintain and ensure that the website remains sustainable. I hope it will provide a greater chance in introducing the school to more people, and through it I also hope more people will actively participate in fundraising for the school library construction project."

I should expect that most of us who read this article will be motivated to follow the foot steps of this volunteer and ensure that we leave a legacy behind in the education sector once we depart this world. Mind you we don't have that much time, therefore we should act faster!

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