Towards establishing mini fabrication lab at Buni hub.

“What I like about Buni is the fact that the space equips us with skills that you can’t get from any other place in Tanzania” Michael Kimollo, active member of Buni maker community and graduate of Buni internship programme.

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3D printer at Buni hub.

Six months ago, group of 20 to 30 Buni members developed interest on forming a maker community at the hub called Make Fellows. The motivation came from the existing few individuals, who were working with the current senior mentor of the community Victor Augustine on their university final year projects. When the lady from Romania, Stefania Druga visited Buni and pitch about her project called Afrimakers, we felt there was a need to start and develop our own maker community in Dar es Salaam.

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Interns working on the water level system project.

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Testing the water level system prototype. The system can send SMS notifications to the users.

From that time number of makers meet-ups have been organized at Buni hub mostly in Saturdays. The community is made up of individuals who are dedicated towards making different innovative electronics prototype. From the sessions people learn the basics of electronics up to working with micro-controllers and making circuit boards. The community has been using Arduino and other technologies on creating and developing new prototypes, the recent projects being FM transmitters and liquid level control systems using sensors. The liquid level control system was used by the students in Buni internship programme to develop water level system for water dams and wells. The sensors also can be used to check the amount of humidity in the soil and it can be incorporated in digital irrigation systems. The project is already developed by the other mentor of the maker’s community, Jacqueline Dismas.

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Matthew assembling the 3D printer at Buni hub.

Having the community of makers at the hub has created a lot of opportunities to the hub users and individuals looking for maker communities in Tanzania. 3 months ago 3D printing technology pioneer, Matthew Rodge visited the hub and meet with the local pioneers of making things. Matthew met with the director general of COSTECH,
Dr. Hassan Mshinda and explained the concept of 3D printing to him and its potential for rapid prototyping especially for developing countries.  Having community of individuals interested and passionate in making things, it was very easy to suggest to them the concept of 3D printing and the potential of the technology.

“3D printing will revolutionize the manufacturing industry especially in developing countries” Dr. Hassan Mshinda.

The maker community at the hub were offered free 3D assembling and operation training by Matthew pioneer from the organization called techfortrade. Matthew left the hub with assembled 3D printer that to be used by the hub. The printer is currently operational and is being used at the hub.

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Jacqueline facilitating 3D printing training session.

From the successes of the maker community and adoption of 3D printing technology by hub mentors, Dr. Hassan Mshinda held a meeting with all the stakeholders and suggested formation of Mini FabLab (fabrication laboratory) at the hub with more focus on 3D printing technologies. The first project was assembling an e-waste 3D printer from the hub and second project being, researching for possibilities of recycling the plastic bottles into 3D printing filaments. Both of the projects are currently on progress. Matthew has been successful on implementing both of the projects in other developing countries and through the support of local makers, he is looking to achieve the same in Tanzania. The scope of the project is to have a working prototype of an e-waste 3D printer and recycled plastic filaments before rolling them out through vocational training institutions or other local production industries.

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Bonguino board made by Victor Augustine, senior mentor of the community.

The first step towards achieving the aim, COSTECH has decided to establish a mini FabLab inside Buni hub for the maker community to be able to work with the tools for rapid prototyping and bringing their technical ideas into life. Currently the community has two mentors Victor Augustine and Jacqueline Dismas, the second being the care taker of the 3D printer and the maker community. As part of the first step the hub is planning to focus more on electronics maker community before moving forward to other sides of making things.

The community mentor, Jacqueline visited the University of Nairobi fabrication lab. The about to be formed FabLab will be working closely with the university’s FabLab and already the mini FabLab is in the process of joining the global FabLab network.
The journey continues, by early next year we believe the the first FabLab will be opened in Dar es Salaam inside Buni hub.

First Team Academy in Africa

First Team Academy, or Tiimiakatemia in Finnish was established 1993 in Jyväskylä, Finland. In the core of Team Academy –model there are students who all work as entrepreneurs while starting their own company in the beginning of their studies. They start making projects with real companies and with real money. While doing the projects students face challenges and have to learn different skills. In Finland Tiimiakateamia is a special unit of entrepreneurship at JAMK Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences where the students graduate with BBA degree after 3,5 years. Model has been exported to multiple countries such as France, UK, Spain, Brasil and China.

People who participate to the program don’t see themselves as students but more as ´Teampreneurs´. There are no teachers in Team Academy, there are coaches. There are also no exams but a lot of reading and taking the theory from the books straight into practice in customer projects. Wait, what? No teachers? No exams? “What kind of school that is?” -you might be thinking now. Actually there are no lectures either, but instead people are learning by doing.

Teampreneurs have an opportunity to learn whatever skills they want and need to have better customer relations and make better business. They have the power to affect their learning process themselves. Learners have to improve their skills in leadership, marketing, human resourcing and financial skills. On top of that they will grow a lot as human beings during their studies. The amount of success depends on individual. No-one else can put the knowledge to your head.

As learning happen in teams. Teammates will challenge each other every day. Everyone in the team will know what you want to reach and what you want to learn. It’s not only struggling alone with your problems, because you have the support from the whole team. If you learn something, you will share it with your team. That’s how team and its members learn together.

University of Iringa in Tanzania has started a new degree program in late October this year that has been inspired by Team Academy approach. Team Academy Iringa is the first Team Academy in Africa. This is a pilot project which has 26 1st year BBA students. The rest will be history and only the sky is limit. People in Iringa are really excited about this new way of learning.

This Team Academy Iringa’s journey hasn’t been easy and it has taken a lot of work. The hard work still continues but luckily coaches and other core team members are really strong and committed to develop the program. One of the members of Team Academy Iringa core team, Mr. Deo Sabokwigina, said: “It’s not always enough if you just hope. Sometimes you also have to believe.”

Iringa is taking the first steps in the field of team entrepreneurship in Africa. If you’ll visit Team Academy Iringa you would hear many teampreneurs saying: “We are making history!”

Written by Suvi Marjanen
Tiimiakatemia Junior Expert
suvi.marjanen@partus.fi

Suvi is a teampreneur from Tiimiakatemia Jyväskylä, Finland. She is currently staying in Iringa for two months to help kick-starting Team Academy Iringa. You can see pictures from University of Iringa Team Academy here.

Ladies in ICT hookup session at Buni Hub

entrepreneurs1Why-Not Women  in collaboration with Apps & Girls are organizing  meet up session at Buni Hub. Why Not Women has been organizing these kind of meetups in different countries and now they are in Dar es Salaam.  The event will take place on Tuesday 18th from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm at Buni hub, COSTECH building ground floor, Sayansi, Kjitonyama. The selected challenge for Dar es Salaam is how to change parents’ mentalities about ICT courses for their girls.

The event is targeting students and young professional. Hub members are encouraged to attend the meetup session. Your thoughts are welcomed. The event is free and open for anyone to attend.Why not women  has been working with  a student organisation called MakeSense as one of their partners. MakeSense has developed a methodology of creative brainstorming that would help social entrepreneurs solve their business challenges. Students would gather and provide ideas and solutions to solve a very concrete problems in a creative way.The event will expose people to know more about the social businesses around them. This will be great opportunity for social entrepreneurs and start-ups to learn new tools.

Background:
Why-Not Women started as a student project to support and promote women social entrepreneurship around the word. The objectives are two-fold : help the social enterprise grow and inspire people with great change makers’ stories. They have set up 6 missions with 6 social entrepreneurs in Africa (Burkina and Tanzania) and Asia (Nepal, India, Philippines, Indonesia). They provide business solutions to the entrepreneurs by building with them the essential tools (financial and communication mainly) they need. 

You can follow them on Facebook. And have a look on their  blog !

It’s the final countdown!

As you all may know, TANZICT is a project and as such is not meant to be around for ever. TANZICT started August 1st, 2011 and it is scheduled to end July 31st, 2015, about 9 months from today.

In the TANZICT project office, that means that we have been thinking about wrapping up and what it means to our partners. Naturally we hope that the things we have jointly done will continue to add value to Tanzania, and that our partners will be able to carry on using the knowledge they have gained through our collaboration. For many of the activities our partners have started through our collaboration, they have to find a sustainable way of carrying on beyond TANZICT.

We also have specific things related to the end of project we need to do. We are planning an event to highlight and celebrate the activities of our partners, and a publication to record and share some of them with the world. Naturally we also have to do formal end report and financial reporting to our funders.

Finland and Tanzania are also jointly looking at creating a “TANZICT 2” project, a new program which will work with the same themes: Innovation, information society, entrepreneurship, etc. There will be a expert group coming to Tanzania to interview some of our partners and stakeholders and to give recommendations on what the new project should do. It won’t be entirely the same content and structure, but probably some of the activities will be similar to this project, and some will be new.

In the coming months we will publish blog posts related to the end-of-project activities, while continuing to talk about ongoing events and processes. As always, you are welcome to tell us your thoughts.

StartUp! Program Starts Soon At Buni.

img_8993Are you aware that more than 70% start ups fail worldwide? DOT in partnership with Buni is offering a StartUp! program that will help entrepreneurs know the Do’s and Don’ts for startups that could otherwise take you  years to achieve. During the accelerator program you’ll receive coaching, valuable contacts and services to get your business idea in the best possible shape.

This is a no fee exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs to participate in a 10 weeks StartUp! program facilitated by Professionals from DOT Tanzania. This program’s customized Business Model Canvas will lead your way in creating a viable and sustainable business model with products appealing to your customers. The professionals will facilitate, coach and mentor you all the way to your success. At the same time, the program will connect you with successful global entrepreneurs using the Lean Start up approach. For details about the programme learning modules click here About StartUp & Contents about the general structure of the programme and DOT download this file Digital Opportunity Trust.

Duration: 10 weeks, meeting twice a week.

Starting Date: 18th November 2014

Location: Buni Hub, COSTECH Building.

For interested individual please contact DOT Tanzania-email: tanzania@dotrust.org to talk directly to the facilitators and organizers of the programme. Buni is happy to host you guys. You can follow DOT Tanzania on  Twitter: https://twitter.com/DOTTanzania or visit their   Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/DOTTanzania.