Why Students? Why Teachers?

January 12, 2018

Our founder and Executive Director, Meghann, discusses our focus on student and teachers, why both populations matter, and the goal of the ripple effect across communities…the power of education can truly transform lives. All images copyright of The Image Is Found

 

Welcome back and Happy New Year. As we start the year off fresh and reignited, I wanted to spend some time sharing with you, our TFFT Family, why we invest in teacher and in students, and what we envision it will do for the communities we serve.

Our mission is to secure quality education and emotional support for orphan and vulnerable children so that they may reach their full potential and thrive in their communities.

TFFT focuses on addressing vulnerability using the power of education. When we say we invest in students, we are talking about offering orphan and vulnerable children the opportunity to succeed through access to quality schooling, health and psycho-social support and life skills programs.  When we discuss our investment in teachers, we are referring to our efforts to improve the quality of instruction by training excellent educators, providing access to quality resources and training of school management to ensure widespread, sustainable impact.

Our intent is that through investing in these two groups, we can empower individuals to become change agents in their own communities and stronger leaders for our world.  It is why I give my time, talent and financial resources to The Foundation For Tomorrow.

TFFT has worked in Tanzania for over a decade. We began by providing orphan and vulnerable children access to quality education through enrollment in private boarding schools. As TFFT evolved, we developed and implemented programs to compliment and enhance our scholars’ education. We continued to evolve and start to look at the whole child, simply based on the need to provide our scholars with life-skills lessons such as health and hygiene. We then designed our Teacher Training Program to improve the quality of educational instruction at our partner schools, and now focus on supporting scholars and teachers in both private and government schools. We see teachers as the front line of defense, our partners in ensuring vulnerable children can reach their full potential and truly thrive. The goal is to create a ripple effect across Tanzanian communities through a strong educational foundation for those our program touches.

Investing in our teachers’ growth matters. On top of being a main goal set by the UN in their 2030 agenda, ensuring quality education for all is the right thing to do. Our organization sees it as a moral obligation we have to our next generation. Teachers are central to achieving access to high quality and equitable education for all learners. Research in diverse countries and education systems show that teachers are the biggest in-school influence on student achievement and learning, especially for disadvantaged students. The success of education objectives and reform depends on solving teacher shortages where they exist, creating conditions for teacher motivation and a sense of professional responsibility as key factors in individual learning and education system success.  (UNESCO – Teacher Policy Education Guide)

A child’s right to primary school education is non-negotiable, regardless of the child’s wider family economic, cultural or social background. However, for children living in a family extreme poverty, the likelihood of access and completing their primary school education is sustainably reduced. Their best chance to escape extreme poverty is through education, which can empower youth to make the best choices for themselves and their communities.  When you deny a child access to primary schooling, you are stripping them of their dignity (ATD Forth World – Tanzania, Access to Primary School Education For Children Living in Extreme Poverty). We see power in equipping the next generation with the tools they need to lift themselves up. That is why we invest in students as well as the teachers whose work in the classroom can change the trajectory of an individual’s life!

Thank you to Meghann for getting us even more excited for the new year and why we do what we do to influence what the power of education can truly do for so many. Stay tuned for how we will invest even more in teachers in 2018 with our supporters’ help around the world.

Posted in Advocacy, Food for Thought Friday, Scholarship Program, Teacher Training | Comments closed

#HopefulFor: Why We Do What We Do

December 31, 2017

In 2018, We are #hopefulfor more children to have equal access to quality education because we believe that education transforms lives. Haruni recaps this past fall, discussing the exciting accomplishments that took place with 16 scholars graduating to their respective next levels.

From August to October this year, the TFFT family celebrated the graduation of our sixteen (16) scholars from different partner schools.

On August 26th, Mandu Joseph and Yusuf Logeria completed their final year in primary level from Usa River AcademyLikewise, on September 16th, 8 of our scholars—Abednego Augustino, Namayani Lindimi, Rehema Juma, Robert Sirili, Joshua Daniel, Philimini Julius, Happy Dismas, and Esther Emanuel—completed their primary school at Arusha Modern School. Asha Juma and Faidha Shaban, our lone scholars at St. Catherine’s in Lushuto and Amani Primary School respectively, also bid adieu to their primary school mates in September. The TFFT team in Tanzania along with members of our US team were all happy to see these children accomplish this milestone in accessing quality education that will enable them to reach their full potential and thrive in their communities.

At the Arusha Modern School graduation, Abednego was among the students who received “subject recognition awards” clinching the award for Best Student in Mathematics. At Usa River Academy, Mandu Joseph also received the Best in Sports award.

All of our Class 7 graduates performed well in their primary level national examination with 2 scoring A’s, 8 scoring B’s, and 1 a C. We couldn’t be happier with the results! All of these scholars exerted their best efforts to achieve these results. 

On September 30th, 3 of our secondary scholars also had their graduation from their O’ Levels (Form 4), Paulina Karienge and Dickson Simon from Star High School and Joshua Mbwambo from Tengeru Boys’ Secondary School. We were happy that Denise MacFadden, a member of our US Board of Directors, was there with us as we celebrated Dickson and Paulina on their special day. Rounding out graduation for this period was Rosemary Pallangyo, who also finished her O-level at Sega Girls’ Academy in Morogoro. Rosemary was so proud of her achievements. I was there to congratulate her and her foster mother also traveled from Arusha to Morogoro to attend this important event. All of our students who completed Form 4 are hopeful to score well in their Form 4 National Examination, which will dictate whether they move to A-level or take a certificate course from a tertiary institution.

Celebrating the graduation of our scholars is something that we relish and take earnestly because we know the challenges our scholars have surmounted to get this far. The scholars and entire TFFT team are grateful to the support of their sponsors, TFFT donors and supporters without which these celebrations wouldn’t have happened. Asante na nashukuru sana.

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A Year of Strong Investments: Meet Katie Caniglia

December 29, 2017

In 2018, We are making strong investments. We want to build momentum through our doers, donors, and door openers. Every step of the way, each of you are part of this bigger energy, and our goal is to help you see what role you play in our success and feel the glow to help others invest with us.

 Meet Katie Caniglia, volunteer and supporter of TFFT. She first learned about our organization through joining RIDETZ after attending our gala as a guest. She launched her own platform, itriforgood, and turned it into a platform for TFFT. She aligned her passion with our mission. Learn more about her below!

How did you become involved with TFFT?

Endurance athlete and long-time TFFT supporter, Meredith Dolhare introduced me to The Foundation For Tomorrow. Meredith and I were both TRYSPORTS Ambassadors and members of the TS endurance team though we’d never met. We never raced together either, mainly because Meredith competed at a level and pace that few people can. Meredith sent me a direct message on Twitter, commenting on our common passions (triathlon & serving others in need). Meredith invited Kyle and I to attend an event in Charlotte benefitting a non-profit organization run by a young woman whom she called, “one of my heroes”.  She was speaking about Meghann Gunderman. I was so curious.

In early November of 2011, Kyle and I attended the 5th Annual S.O.S. Gala as guests of Meredith and Walter Dolhare. It was a fun evening filled with poignant moments & laughter…and certainly a night that captured my attention. The following day, I emailed Kaitlin (Rogers Perez), simply taking up her offer to reach out and have coffee. The conversations and invitations flowed from there. If I had to sum up my entire relationship with TFFT from the beginning to present day, I would say this: “I accepted an invitation. I wanted to learn more.  I’m so glad I did.” These simple phrases ring true for each and every step along the way.

How does your passion align with TFFT’s mission?

I believe in the power and purpose of community and the potential to create unyielding opportunity when we share our time, energy and gifts in service to others. TFFT is rooted in these ideals.

Why do you give to TFFT and believe in the organization’s work?

I think at first glance, any one of us would be hard-pressed NOT to care about the children and communities that TFFT serves or the right for all children to receive a quality education in a healthy environment that nurtures their development while being surrounded by the love of great encouragers. One of the key differences for me that distinguishes TFFT from other organizations is how quickly and intentionally you are welcomed to move beyond that first glance and in to action. TFFT invites you to grow in community with them, in service to others. The emphasis placed on quality has resonated with me from the beginning.

To accomplish meaningful change and build lasting, sustainable opportunity for those without it, requires a relentless commitment by many. I have witnessed this commitment from TFFT and seen creative inclusion of many to advance their mission. I am continually impressed by the thoughtful attention given to cultivating each relationship. Everyone plays an important role in the success of this ongoing effort. Over the past 7 years, I’ve watched a dedicated team of people continuously measure and evaluate the changing needs of their students, team & partners, then adapt and rise to the challenge of meeting and exceeding those needs. I’ve seen a constant desire to collaborate. I’ve experienced the welcoming of a difficult conversation as readily as an exciting new idea in order to advance the mission of educating and caring for people in the most holistic approach possible. I give to TFFT because they are the greatest magnifier of possibility & potential.

What program within TFFT resonates with you?

Though not exactly programs, The Learning Center and RIDETZ have struck the biggest chord with me.

RIDETZ has been one of the greatest adventures and learning experiences of my life, tapping into my deepest sense of purpose and everything fundamental that ignites a spark in me.  RIDETZ is my favorite example of service through sport, allowing me to explore what is possible while creating possibility for others. Among many lessons, challenges like RIDETZ teach you that just outside your perceived limits, awaits everything you never knew was possible. Beyond self-discovery, the physical and emotional aspects of the journey connect you to the cultures, peoples and land in unimaginable ways. It will be a privilege to return to Tanzania in June to continuing learning and serving through sport with a debt of gratitude to TFFT. I can’t wait to see who joins us this year!

The Learning Center resonates with me for many of the obvious reasons and a few more personal ones. It is bold and unabashedly built by and for transformation.  Quality resources (of place, people and materials) all made accessible, expanding education and dreams for communities of people. I believe the depth and breadth of its impact will take generations to accurately measure.

In early 2013, I was in Tanzania for the first time, shadowing Meghann for a few weeks, learning and trying to soak up as much as possible about what I was experiencing. Among the many meetings and conversations that I was graciously included to attend, was a first meeting with architects for what is now The Learning Center.  Prior to the meeting, I had listened to Meghann explain the concept and goals, saw the plot of land where this extraordinary dream would grow and examined a draft floorplan sketched out on a piece of scrap paper. During a trip of so many firsts that filled me with joy and sent me scrambling for my journal, these memories stand out for two reasons – the magnitude of the idea was palpable and my belief in TFFT was certain.  Bold ideas require bold people to carry out bold actions. The Foundation For Tomorrow delivers nothing less.

 

We are grateful for Katie’s dedication to TFFT and her most recent alignment of passion through sport with our organization through turning her own itryforgood platform into our future TeamTFFT technology platform, which will be launching in the new year (more details to come). We are excited to share more stories about other supporters who align their own passion with our mission in 2018!

Posted in Events, RIDETZ, TFFT People Features, TFFT's Partners, Uncategorized | Comments closed

Introducing Katie!

December 20, 2017

My name is Katie and I am thrilled to be the new Development and Operations Associate in the Charlotte, NC office! Originally from Chicago, I have been privileged to have had access to tremendous education (and tremendous deep dish pizza) my whole life. I experienced how one teacher could alter the trajectory of my career and passions, offer a whole new perspective of the world, and give me the confidence to fight for my dreams.

I entered Elon University as an education major, hoping to help students see and realize their own potential as my teachers had done for me. As I became more involved at Elon and was privileged to spend time internationally, my passions expanded to the impacts of education in a larger, global context. I switched my major to business management in order to grow my skillset to be effective in the field.

After graduating from Elon University, I moved to the Rocky Mountains for the opportunity to work for an East African skills-based education nonprofit. I was able to learn the ins and outs of nonprofit development and was further inspired and motivated by the tremendous potential of millions of youth eager to be utilized in East Africa.

My commitment to improving the access and quality of education is rooted in my own experiences and in the multiplying effect of education. Studies have shown that the longer and higher quality an education one receives, many other facets of their life are also transformed — improved health and livelihoods and a lower environmental impact.

TFFT’s deep, transformational commitment to each student and teacher set it apart in my mind since I first heard about their work years ago. By ensuring that each student has all the tools, skills, and support necessary to tackle every obstacle, reach their potential, and improve their community, TFFT will have generational impact.

When given the opportunity to work for TFFT, I quickly jumped! My role within the larger TFFT family involves stewardship, campaign and event logistics, and operations. TFFT proves the power and influence that lies within a community of exceptional and dedicated people. I am eager to meet and experience the full impact of the TFFT family.

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Introducing Alex!

December 20, 2017

Hello! My name is Alexandra Lawrence and I am thrilled to be joining the TFFT family as the Communications and Marketing Manager. This past month marks my 12th move around the world as my significant other, Danny, and I recently moved to Phoenix, Arizona: a new adventure for us in our personal lives, and also in our careers. It is very exciting to represent TFFT on the west coast as we grow our communications and development strategies. Family and friendships mean everything to me, and I enjoy traveling to see loved ones, being outdoors, and teaching hot yoga in my free time.

With most of my childhood spent in Cleveland, Ohio, I became connected to the arts and the story of expression. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my parents, I attended Elon University in North Carolina as a Dance major, but my college experience led to much more than the arts world. I took a class on child and family counseling, and was hooked on what expression meant not only through dance, but through the lens of human services in helping others make meaning of their experiences to become resilient in the face of adversity.

My counseling background led me to work in Human Resources for a global manufacturing company: working and living within different cultures to tell a consistent story of our accomplishments across the world and help employees develop their leadership skills and passion for their work. I found a specific group of employees that I loved: new graduates post-college. Their compassion, spunk, and willingness to be self-starters made me want to learn more about this population that was entering the workforce.

I began recruiting college graduates for a marketing analytics company, which then led me to graduate school in my home state, receiving my master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University. Studying the student experience intrigued me. I focused on understanding access to education and how where one comes from often dictates his/her opportunities for life. I focused on social justice and student activism, first generation college students and guidance needed to and through college. I continued to stay on at the university post-masters on the fundraising side of our alumni association in a communications role for our president.

My themes of storytelling, rallying others around a singular message, and working with students and employees to find passion in their work, have evolved over time. I couldn’t be more excited to take the next step with TFFT to combine my own passions for access to education, holistic development, and communications. The mission, vision, and values of this organization align with my own and give us all a chance to work together towards one goal.

In my first month with TFFT, I was able to jump right in on the ground level and head to Tanzania with Meghann, Sarah, and a group of our wonderful donors for two weeks. While I continue to process my experience, the stories of our children and their families will stay with me forever, and the time I had to get to know them and our Tanzanian staff was priceless. The impact and progress we have made as an organization on an individual and systemic level is evident, and as we head into this next decade of significance, I cannot wait to continue to shape our messaging and grow with our children, families, teachers, donors, and Tanzanian communities.

 

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World AIDS Day: The Importance of Health Care for Our Scholars

December 1, 2017

Today is World AIDS Day. Our founder and executive director, Meghann, talks to the work TFFT does in relation to health care support as part of our whole child experience and the importance of advocacy for our children in the health and wellness sector.

 

“Good health is not only a consequence, but also a cause, of development. Healthier individuals, living longer lives; are more productive and contribute to national income, job creation, and economic development and growth; have fewer and healthier children, invest more time and greater resources in their children’s education, and thus secure the future for their societies; reduce costs of ill health to society and companies and enable resources to be directed to economically productive activities” (Harmonization for Health in Africa, Investing in Health for Africa).

TFFT serves scholars health and psychosocial needs in conjunction with their academic and life skills needs. Many of our children have been impacted by the AIDS pandemic and this makes them inherently vulnerable. These children have either lost parents and family members because of the disease, or are living with it themselves. We work in partnership with the DREAM clinic in Usa River, Tanzania to serve those scholars living with HIV/AIDS. DREAM was started as a program aimed at not only making antiretroviral therapy possible and accessible, but also addressing the complex measures and factors surrounding overall health care access for those affected by HIV/AIDS: health education, nutritional support, advanced diagnostics, staff training, malaria, tuberculosis, opportunistic infections and especially malnutrition. With the help of this program, our scholars are able to live productive lives and thrive in academic settings. The challenges are great, but the possibilities for these students are even greater.

Our work addressing our scholars’ health and psychosocial needs started when we noticed how the financial constraints led to our children becoming perpetually sick. Illnesses worsened, and student school absences increased due to health matters. Our first intervention was providing comprehensive health insurance for our scholars. When a child or family has health insurance, their ability and probability to go to a local clinic or hospital in town significantly increases.  Our children receive wellness check-ups, and have access to eye and dental care. Those living with HIV are provided additional nutrients while in school, vitamins and anti-retroviral therapy when needed. Our staff has been trained to counsel and address health and psychosocial matters. Additionally, we have created partnerships with other NGOs (Arusha Mental Health Trust and REPSSI) to best serve those needs. We also work directly with our partner schools to ensure they have trained professionals serving as nurses in their clinics and they are able to respond in adequate time to serve the children at their schools.  A World Bank study in Tanzania suggested that HIV/AIDS may reduce the number of primary-school children by 22 percent and secondary-school children by 14 percent as a result of increased infant and child mortality as well as lower attendance (International Institute for Educational Planning).

Beyond health insurance, we also look at how early childhood trauma impacts our scholars’ ability to thrive. We address vulnerability, and we do that through securing educational and emotional support. In order to achieve these goals, we have to improve their support structure, with health being a key component. We believe that sending scholars to school, while ignoring the health component of their mind and body, will act against the students in being able to reach their full potential.

Join us in supporting the whole child. If you be interested in sponsoring a scholar or learning about how you can support the whole child experience for the students we serve, please email me at Meghann (at) thefoundationfortomorrow.org

Posted in Advocacy, Psychosocial + Health, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

We Couldn’t Have Done It Without You: S.O.S. Gala 2017

November 19, 2017

Wow! Thank you for lighting the way with us.

What an evening to remember. On Saturday, November 11th, 175 donors, doers, and door-openers came together in Charlotte, North Carolina for our 11th annual South of the Sahara Gala, to celebrate the power that education can have to transform lives. We were reminded once again how our collective passion magnifies our impact as we light the way toward a brighter future for so many.

Together we raised an incredible $150,000 through our silent auction and live give fundraising efforts, which will fuel TFFT’s ability to continue our life-changing work. From helping our scholars maintain healthy minds and bodies, to arming teachers with crucial tools to be effective in the classroom, to showcasing examples of excellence for others to pursue, each and every dollar raised will have profound impact on the fulfillment of our mission. Thank you for your extraordinary gifts of time, passion, commitment and dollars.

As I look back on last weekend and TFFT’s 11-year journey, I am humbled by the fundamental influence each of you has had on our success. I continue to reflect on where we started: how the power of one turned into the power of ten, which turned into the power of thousands, influencing countless lives and we couldn’t have done it without YOU. Thank you for not only learning about our story, but for sharing it as your own, and for playing an important role in the achievements of our scholars.

As we blaze forward into this new decade, we continue to celebrate your influence, which has helped us grow and thrive. This is just the beginning. Be an active member of our growing community. Introduce us to your friends and companies who may want to learn more, or help us brainstorm new ways to connect with others in your community. Everyone here has a role in the success of our kids.

Each year, this event celebrates the generosity of individuals who bring TFFT’s work to life. Education is power, and there is power in the influence you all have. When we focus on our students, teachers, and quality education opportunities, we are allowing these individuals to have their own power of influence, the opportunity to thrive in their communities and the chance to impact others on a greater scale.

Thank you for being a member of the TFFT family and for your continued partnership in this incredible work.

These are just a few snapshots from our event. All photos are now uploaded our Facebook page to view. Enjoy!

Posted in Development, Events | Comments closed

S.O.S. Gala Online Auction is LIVE

November 2, 2017

Good afternoon TFFT friends!

Every year we anxiously count down the days until our family gathers in Charlotte to celebrate the impact of our mission together. It is hard to believe we are just 9 days away from our 11th annual S.O.S. Gala, and we cannot wait to see many of you at this special event! To share our excitement and give you a head start on securing some amazing prizes this year, our silent auction launches online TODAY!

Whether you want to browse items prior to bidding at the gala in person or show your support from a far, we want the entire TFFT family to have a fun-filled way to share in the fun, while making a big difference for our kids.

So how do you get started?

  • Step 1: Register your phone
  • Step 2: Preview the items here
  • Step 3: Get ahead and bid online!

Bidding is now open and closes Saturday, November 11th at 9:30pm EST.

If you are local and want to see the items in advance, please join us tonight at our Auction Preview Party at the New Gallery of Modern Art (435 South Tryon St., Suite 110 Charlotte, NC 28202). Join us from 6:30-8:00pm for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and to start bidding on the fabulous auction items. Guests welcome, no ticket necessary. Please just RSVP to info@thefoundationfortomorrow.org so we know you are joining us.

Happy bidding!

Meghann

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Individuals Who Thrive: Inter-School Competition Featuring Student Winner, Victoria Kira

October 20, 2017

Over the next ten weeks, we will be focusing on the power of influence in our TFFT community through our blog and social media channels: individuals who give, individuals who teach, individuals who advocate, individuals who thrive. Below, Hilda shares an update on the Inter-School Competition (to learn more about the process of the Inter-School Competition, click here) and interviews one of our award-winning participants who was impacted by the program, Victoria Kira.

This month, the Full Circle program awarded ten student winners and two teacher coaches at the Inter-School Competition for high performance in science and mathematics.  The awarding process was different this year; students and teachers were awarded in their respective schools in front of their fellow peers and colleagues. Conducting the awards ceremony at the school was intentional to motivate other students and teachers to succeed in mathematics, science, and communication skills, which are subjects that are often a challenge in Tanzania.

Three prizes for mathematics were awarded to male students. Two male students won prizes for science, and the first prize for science was won by a female student. Four female students were awarded in communication skills. The winners were awarded a certificate and cash prizes for encouragement and motivation towards future success.

I had the opportunity to interview Victoria Kira, who won first prize in science and her teacher coach. I would love to share the interview questions and answers with all of you.

  1. Tell us about your background.

I am Victoria Kira, a form four student at Lemara Seconday School. I have three siblings (sisters) who lived in Moshi Kilimanjaro with my parents. I was selected to join a government school in Moshi but since they did not have science teachers I asked my parents to transfer me to Arusha.

  1. What is your ambition?

I love science subject and my ambition is to become a medical doctor in the future.

  1. How did you feel before attending this competition prepared by TFFT?

Before the competition I was very scared because I had never attended or attempted any competition before especially the one that included so many schools like this one. When I saw about two hundred participants from different school I was very uncomfortable and I knew I was not going to make through the first round. When I was selected for second round I felt so good and tell my self I will do the best to be the first winner.

  1. How did you feel after receiving the cash prize and certificate? How did your fellow students responded ? how about your parents?

My teachers were so happy and so proud of me especially the teacher who coached me during the time I was preparing for this competition. My fellow students did the same, all of them wished to participate next time. My parents were more happy and proud of me, they advice me to study hard so I can reach my goals. The cash prize that I was given I gave some to my mother to purchase food , I also paid for remedial classes and bought new school shoes and shirt.

       5. What is your advice to your fellow students?

I advice them to study very hard because education is only gift given to us to achieve our goals and dreams in the future. Also when programs like this of TFFT come to our school I advice them to dare to participate because they may be the next winners.

I thank The Foundation For Tomorrow for coming up with this project because to me it helped me to develop self confidence, raise my performance and proved that female students can do better in both science and mathematics.

The Full Circle program encourages a ripple effect throughout our community in partnering with local schools on projects like the Inter-School Competition. Interested beyond this initiative? Learn even more about Full Circle’s impact within our blog archive. We are so proud of you Victoria!

Posted in Full Circle, TFFT People Features, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Builders, Truth-Tellers, and Catalysts

September 28, 2017

Sounds fun… right?! Last month on top of getting to spend time in Tanzania (my happy place), I got to spend 4 days with a group of 700 really fascinating, driven individuals keen to learn, grow, and make this world a better place at the TEDGlobal Conference. Outside of the fact that I was sleep deprived, I was stoked about all that I learned and the incredible community of smart people I met. These people were willing to take their talents and share them in hopes of improving the state of our world.

The TED brand is known for their concept of “Ideas worth spreading”; many of you will have watched a TED talk or two online. The expert speakers share on technology, education, business, science, design, and the arts. TED believes “passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.”

As a lover of learning, I embrace the idea of people who know a lot more than me sharing passionately something that wakes them in the morning and moves them to act.

Workshop: Creating internet access for everyone with Eric Hersman at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED

David Sengeh, a Biomechatronics engineer, is creating next generation healthcare solutions for the developing world using artificial intelligence (AI). He is based in Kenya and works for IBM Research Africa. He is also the co-founder of Global Minimum which develops platforms to foster innovation and learning through making. This really helped me start to understand how AI can be incredibly valuable solving many challenges we currently face.

Su Kahumbu Stephanou is the CEO of Green Dreams TECH and the app iCow. Her app supports farmers caring for livestock so they can access livestock calendars, track fertility cycles of their animals, as well as guide them on breeding, nutrition, and milk production. The app has helped farmers increase productivity and incomes. The fact we can use mobile telephones to enable millions of farmers’ access to crucial information that isn’t accessible or difficult to find really got my wheels turning. If we can do this for farmers, what can we use with this same technology to support teachers and build their capacity throughout Tanzania. Africa has 1 billion mobile phone subscribers; reaching people through their devices is the way forward.

TEDx Group Photo at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED

These two speakers are just scraping the surface of what I was able to see and learn from. When you see art start conversations and bridge divides, solutions to solve the global food crisis presented, and drones making supply chain networks more efficient to deliver blood and medical supplies you can’t help but be hopeful. Dig deeper here.

Hosts Chris Anderson and Emeka Okafor at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Our world and the people who live in it are pretty incredible. While I have gotten to surround myself with so many intelligent, well meaning people, I have seen the dark parts too. I know the reality that exists for many of my students and other of the world’s most vulnerable people. It hurts, but I choose to live optimistically. I choose to come in and out of these sort of conferences or settings reinvigorated with a belief of what is possible. Take a moment to go out of your comfort zone and meet someone who knows a lot about something you know nothing about. Find the builders, those who speak truth to power and are catalysts in your community. Ask them questions, understand their world, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of their passion will seep into you. Maybe their fire will ignite something in you, and that desire to make the world a better place can continue to spread.
Posted in Advocacy, Development, Events, News, Tanzania | Comments closed
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