YES, WE DO WORK!

From the outside looking in, it may look like I’m on a vacation but I have come to Tanzania to work through an internship with Education for Better Living Organization. Zola and I have had a lot of fun exploring and experiencing Tanzania but we’ve also dedicated many days and hours to our deliverables with EBLI. I can truly say that the work we have done with EBLI has been highly enjoyable and rewarding in every aspect. Keep reading to learn about the details of my internship and the deliverables completed thus far!

On June 30th, Zola and I completed the business proposal and financial budget we have worked diligently on over the past month. The business proposal pitched the idea of an alternative cooking fuel social enterprise as a solution to climate change and deforestation in Mwanza City, Tanzania. Collectively, we titled the project, “Teenage Mothers as Drivers of Renewable Energy in the Mwanza region of Tanzania.” The business proposal provides a solution that simultaneously addresses deforestation and women empowerment by the implementation of a biochar system: a readily available knowledge, which effects carbon and energy agro-ecological flux with synergistic benefits for energy, soil, productivity, farming economies, climate, environment, human health and well-being. The core of the project is the production of biomass pellets using agroforestry waste- specifically rice husk pellets as a source of renewable energy. Upon completion, we sent the proposal and budget to Bread for The World; we all put our hands on the mouse and sent it off. The proposal was truly a collaborative work of hope. Zola, Makachia, Mussa and I all cared deeply about the proposed project’s mission and the ability it had to change the lives of many. I felt honoured to be able to work on such a vital and critical deliverable, that not only has the ability to scale EBLI to increase their reach, but to help women become economically self-sufficient while preserving the environment. If this project is approved and is able to obtain sufficient funding, it has the ability to be repeated across Tanzania, which currently has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.

On July 3rd, Zola and I facilitated a menstrual hygiene session to 30 women enrolled in EBLI’s academic program. During this session, we administered the Day for Girls kits and conducted a tutorial on the reusable pads’ use and maintenance. The kits provided reusable pads that could be used for 3 years with proper maintenance and care. These kits are economically feasible for the young women and allow them to use the money saved on needs that may be more important. Throughout the session, we stressed the importance of changing and cleaning the pads religiously, to prevent bacterial infections. The women were genuinely interested in the session, as we tried to keep it lighthearted and relatable. At the end of the session, one of the female staff asked us if she could have 4 kits as she had family in her village that were not able to afford pads, which made their daily tasks during their menstrual cycle difficult. At that moment, I truly realized a privilege that I often take for granted, my ability to have access to pads and tampons and my ability to conquer any tasks during any time of the month.

During the second half of my internship journey, Zola and I have begun teaching Form 2 and Form 4 (high school students). I am currently teaching Economic Geography three times a week under the supervision of Mr. Joshua (a teacher at EBLI). I have noticed the inefficiencies in Tanzania’s education system through teaching and preparing lesson plans. The curriculum is from 2010 and the textbooks are from 2003, which is highly outdated. There is little to no studying culture, all national exams are in English although English is only introduced in middle school and Tanzania’s education system lags behind the countries that surround them. This is frustrating as I truly believe education is the key to living a better life. Change in this system can only change through education policy which I believe is currently a result of Tanzania’s government priorities that have trickled down to the most vulnerable individuals which are also the majority of the Tanzanian population. Zola and I will also categorize and research funding options by creating a spreadsheet using the text “Agencies for Development Assistance”. This spreadsheet will benefit EBLI and future interns greatly, as it will serve as a funding database that can be referred to, modified, and extended, to help with other future ventures.

Today, Zola and I began a two-week assessment and evaluation of businesses founded and owned by former EBLI students. EBLI’s entrepreneurship program focuses on equipping young mothers and vulnerable youth with business and computer skills training. The program has empowered countless individuals to start their own small businesses, which include businesses such as hair salons, restaurants, and retail stores. Through our visits, we’ve had the chance to survey the business owners and provide recommendations based on our evaluations. This task is very beneficial in my opinion as we get to physically interact with past participants of the entrepreneurship program and monitor the results and effectiveness of the training. This deliverable also allows us to explore the many beautiful regions of Mwanza.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next blog post which will overview my experience visiting Cheka Sana Orphanage and Foundation Karibu Tanzania. The blog post will be centered on the theme of gratitude. So, I’ll open up about my personal life challenges and how gratitude has helped me become the individual I am today.

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Zola, Mussa, Bernard and I, after sending off the proposal!
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Zola, Mussa, Bernard and I sending off the proposal. We all clicked the send thumbnail together!
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Day for Girls Kit Hygiene Session
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Me personally demonstrating the use of the menstrual pad kits!
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A panoramic view of Capri Point: the highest lookout view of Mwanza
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A picture of me at the sunset view from where we live. We are truly blessed to have this view right at our fingertips at any time of the day! Stay tuned for more fire pictures and videos in my next blog post! I promise you don’t want to miss them!

Asante Sana (Thank you so much) for reading my blog!

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