By Ogova Ondego
Published December 24, 2015
Winners of an entrepreneurship competition aimed at identifying and empowering young Tanzanians with digital skills for tackling pressing community challenges have been announced.
Two winners, Neema Shosho and Edward Bihaga, have beaten a field of 15 finalists to walk away with US$20000 grant each and a â€œbusiness management mentorshipâ€ from Tigo Tanzania â€œto enable them achieve their dreams of putting their innovative solutions and technology into practice as change agents for the under-privileged in the society,â€ Tigo Tanzania, who organise the competition, say.
A brand of Millicom, an international company developing the digital lifestyle in 12 countries with commercial operations in Africa and Latin America, Tigo Tanzania works in collaboration with Reach For Change, a local Tanzanian non-governmental organisation (NGO) on the Digital Changemakers competition.
Shavkat Berdiev, Tigo Tanzania Chief Commercial Officer, says the two winners in 2015 bring to nine the number of social entrepreneurs that have received funding from its Digital Change-makers programme.
â€œOur support for community development projects demonstrates our commitment to drive digital transformation not just for our customers but to the larger Tanzanian community as well. We are proud that by helping these social entrepreneurs, our organization is helping to solve some of the communityâ€™s challenges through digital solutions,â€ says Berdiev.
Besides Shosho and Bihaga, previous winners of the Tigo Digital Change-makers Competition are Tadei Msumaje, Joan Avit, Leka Tingitana, Debora Shuma, Faraja Nyalandu and Carolyne Ekyarisiima.
So where are these social entrepreneurs, and what are they doing in the aftermath of their big win?
While Tadei Msumaje, who hails from Moshi in northern Tanzania, has pioneered a school that integrates the use of ICT with other learning structures, Tigo says Joan Avit has invested in a literacy toolkit called GraphoGame â€˜to assist in improving the quality of early childhood education for children through an easy-to-learn child-friendly and interactive technology.â€™
Leka Tingitanaâ€™s mobile communications platform, eAFYA, is said to be providing a life-line to expectant mothers in Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria. He says his â€œinnovation aims to â€˜support the emerging network of community health workers (CHWs) who are at the fore-front in providing health-care support to expectant and new mothers in the Lake Zoneâ€™.â€
Gabriella Rehabilitation Centre, a programme by the Tigo Change-makers program winner Debora Shuma, is reported to be providing â€œon-site occupational therapy in which therapists and teachers provide assessment, education and disability awareness to parents, care-givers, mentors and the community at largeâ€ in rehabilitation of â€œdisabled children as well as working towards eliminating stigma against them and integrating them with their able-bodied counterparts through vocational training.â€
On her part, Faraja Nyalandu â€œhas developed a digital toolkit that creates digital educational content that empowers youth and children via desktop and mobile learning services.