Amazing secondary schoolers in Morogoro!

Our fast-paced journey with Mr Marlon Parker continued Friday morning (Dec. 2nd, 2011) when we headed towards Morogoro, a city about 3 hours inland from Dar es Salaam. Our colleague Mr George Mulamula from COSTECH / DBTi had organized us to meet with Mr Nathaniel Monroe of Global Student Embassy or GSE which runs a youth training center in Morogoro. GSE is currently working with students of Kilakala and Mzumbe secondary schools and Mzumbe University.

Idea for the trip to Morogoro was to see if we could work together with GSE and the students in creating a living lab -kind of environment where students are working together is solving issues affecting the community. At this time the university students were on holiday, so we met the secondary school students. And what a bunch of students they were! They had prepared three welcoming speeches on working together, about GSE and using ICT and innovation in empowering young people and communities. They had also prepared a song and a small musical act on women’s rights and roles in the society. It was clear that our visit meant a lot for them. Also the Hon. Mayor of Morogoro visited briefly to give his welcome and I believe it was actually the first time he visited this school.

Then it was Marlon’s time to share his story with the students and encourage them in seeing the opportunities in solving problems in the community and making change happen with the resources they have. Marlon warmed up by asking the students how many have a mobile phone? ‘Everyone’ was the quick answer. How many use Facebook? ‘Everyone’ again. What mobile phone would you like to use? ‘Blackberry, Android, iPhone’. In that order and those words. Those are interesting answers from students whose school doesn’t have a working computer class or internet connection… It certainly tells something about the access to information and how thinking is changing with the young generation.

But it wasn’t all about the mobiles or communication. Marlon’s also encouraged students to look for other issues in the community and start to work on them as school projects. He also gave five key ingredients for being an entrepreneur:

  1. Find your personal vision.
  2. Walk the talk.
  3. You can’t do it alone.
  4. Never give up.
  5. Best way to become a great entrepreneur is to become an entrepreneur.

Judging from the amount of questions from students and all the notes being written, there was a lot of enthusiasm, passion and entrepreneurial mindset within the students. This is not the last time we hear from them. 🙂

So what are the next steps? The trip was also part of COSTECH’s outreach program in extending innovation activities and support to other parts of Tanzania. As part of this, George opened an idea competition for students to look for opportunities and business cases of solving social issues in Morogoro from a young entrepreneurs’ perspective. The ideas are to be submitted by mid-January and then we will see if there are opportunities to starting to implement and test the ideas together.

Check out all the photos from the visit in our Flickr gallery:

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