Friday, August 20, 2010

Innovate: Teacher Shortages in Tanzania

Joseph Sekiku staying in touch by phone with his staff while he attends an Africa Rising meeting in June 2010
Joseph Sekiku is a brilliant scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur in Tanzania.  He is the founder of The Family Alliance for Development and Cooperation (FADECO).  He built the radio transmitter that allows his radio station, Radio FADECO, to broadcast educational and human rights information that improves the lives and livelihoods of Tanzanians.  Joseph's work for the past 20 years has been in teaching small scale farmers how markets work and how they can move beyond subsistence by adopting new approaches to postharvest production, marketing, and distribution.  Joseph is always looking toward the future of Tanzania and how to improve the lives of his fellow Tanzanians.  Naturally, this led him to consider the educational opportunities of children in his district. 
An empty school room that Joseph is working to see filled with students learning science and math
Unfortunately, he found that there are not enough teachers available in Tanzania to teach science and math.  One solution Joseph is pursing is advocacy to the government to bring teachers into Tanzania from Kenya where there is a surplus of qualified teachers.  It will likely take years to see results this way, and Joseph is not satisfied to leave current students without learning opportunities.  So, he is using his radio station to broadcast expert teachers giving lessons in science and math.  He then makes sure that schools in the area that lack teachers in these subjects tune in to the radio broadcasts so that students receive instruction.  This innovation allows for learning that otherwise would not occur, and it is much better for students and the country than an empty classroom.   

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Innovate: World Cup and HIV Testing

While terrorists tragically used the World Cup viewing as a target for their deadly attack in Uganda on July 11, 2010, an Africa Rising partner, Beacon of Hope, used the World Cup viewings as a platform to save lives.  Beacon of Hope in Nairobi, Kenya  brings hope to women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS within poor communities by empowering and equipping them to meet their spiritual, physical, emotional, economic and family needs in a sustainable way.

Beacon of Hope Health Clinic provides free Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV/AIDS among other services

The clinic at Beacon of Hope serves men and women.  The problem is that not very many men come to receive HIV testing or treatment.  In response, Beacon of Hope staff decided to take the clinic to where men were gathered and a captive audience- World Cup viewings.  The approach was extremely successful and resulted in many men receiving free testing and counseling on HIV/AIDS and their status.

The innovation was possible because Beacon of Hope knew the challenges of their community (lack of men coming for testing), were looking for creative ways to overcome the challenges (taking the testing to where men were gathered), and were ready to respond and take action when a time-sensitive opportunity presented itself (World Cup games).

Africa Rising is proud to partner with grassroots Africa organizations that save lives through their own unique innovations.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Innovate: No Chicken Wire, No Problem

A chicken coop made out of a mosquito net at Shalom City
Aid agencies in Kenya regularly give out mosquito nets. They don't however give out chicken wire. This is not a problem for Anne, who has found an innovative way to use a mosquito net to meet her chicken containment needs.  In addition to being the head teacher in  the cooperative community of Shalom City in Kenya, she is also contributing to the community's agriculture innovations.
Close up of mosquito net chicken coop
The chickens look quite content in their stylish accommodations.  No doubt Anne has started a trend that will spread throughout the community and to many places beyond through the visitors Africa Rising introduces to Shalom City.  We can't wait to see what Anne comes up with next.
Anne in front of her garden and beside her home in Shalom City

You can learn much more about the amazing community of Shalom City on Africa Rising's website.