Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Albin Mathias @ Tanzania Institute of Education

Earlier this year, thanks to an invitation from our friends at World Possible, Powering Potential Inc. (PPI) Country Director Eng. Albin Mathias presented our work at the Tenda Teachers Conference in Tanzania. Dr. Elia Kibga, the head of the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), was also at the conference, and was so impressed with Powering Potential's work that he invited Albin to register the project at TIE headquarters in Dar es Salaam.

TIE is a parastatal entity under the authority of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST), and a leader in Tanzania's educational policy development. All education projects operating in Tanzania are required to apply for acceptance by TIE. This is a promising step forward for the Potential Enhancement Foundation (PEF), the TZ organization established to continue the work of PPI, and a great opportunity to increase Tanzanian awareness of our award-winning programs.

Eng. Albin Mathias, PEF Executive Director
On the 21st of July, Albin Mathias presented the coordinated efforts of PPI and PEF to TIE. He had this to say about the presentation.
An important role of the Tanzanian Institute of Education (TIE) is to design curricular and learning material for both primary and secondary schools. The institute has called upon all education-related programs for schools to present to the Institution. 
On 21 July 2017 I presented the PPI-PEF programs to TIE. The presentation covered the program objectives, program content, beneficiaries of the program, and the coverage area. The purpose of the presentation as mentioned by TIE is to facilitate the coordination and registration of educational programs implemented in Tanzanian schools.
The Presentation went very well. I was glad to see many TIE officials attend. After introductions and a briefing on PPI-PEF  programs, I demonstrated the RACHEL offline education resource. I used our Pi-oneer setup (a solar-powered Raspberry Pi computer attached to a portable projector) for the presentation, and everyone was very excited with the technology. Mr. Mlay from the Centre for Curriculum Training (CCT) department was especially excited about the Pi-oneer's set-up portability, and the fact that one can use the projector in a room without electricity and present lessons. He had never seen one before.  
Most of attendees came from the CCT department, and the team was lead by Acting Director Dorothy R. Makunda, Davis Mlay, and Fatma Shaibu, all from CCT. After presentation I opened the floor for comments and questions from TIE members about the program presented. Everyone was excited with the technology and approach we use. Most comments made about the RACHEL offline education resource related to how the content could be well organized according to the Tanzania curriculum. Also how to improve on the language -- if the presentation could be translated with local English pronunciation, it would help students understand more quickly. TIE members also suggested adding more animated videos on complex science subjects. Also one member suggested including more programming and graphics related to the three week PPI-PEF training curriculum.

Collaborating with local Tanzanian digital content developers could be a very important solution to provide schools with curriculum based digital materials. I also conducted other meeting with Elimu Kwanza, Lyra Africa, Project Inspire, and World Possible, represented by Jackline Seni of Lyra Africa. The agenda for this meeting included experiencing the RACHEL-related program based on feedback by user and other educationalists. The most challenging part is the English pronunciation and content organizing. It could look simpler if, for example, content could be organized by country and by classes. In the future, I hope to see World Possible work with TIE to organize this content.

Albin Mathias, PEF Executive Director

o o o 

Swahili is the language of Tanzania. The following African proverbs are a taste of that beautiful language:

Anikio huzaa fanikio.

Success breeds success.

Huwezi kujua ukiwezacho mpaka umejaribu.

You cannot know what you can do until you've tried.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Energy Globe Award

Powering Potential, Inc (PPI) is pleased to announce that our Raspberry Pi Computer Lab program has received the 2017 Energy Globe National Award for Best Project in the United Republic of Tanzania!

The Energy Globe Award is the world's most prestigious environmental prize, with 178 participating countries and over 2000 annual project submissions. Each year, the Energy Globe Foundation recognizes projects at the regional, national, and international level for their resource conservation, sustainability, and social benefit.

Energy Globe's goal is to increase global awareness of sustainable, universally-applicable solutions to pressing environmental and social issues, and to encourage the international population to get involved in this important work in any way they can.

PPI's innovative Raspberry Pi Computer Lab project utilizes sustainable solar energy to improve youth education in Tanzania's low-socioeconomic rural areas by providing educational resources and offline digital libraries.

Additionally, PPI's use of open-source software ensures that future generations will not be burdened with the egregious expense of upgrading proprietary programs.

Energy Globe's official assessment of Powering Potential's Raspberry Pi program was as follows:

"Education is essential for a good life standard. The lack of learning material leads to a high NEET rate. This project helps to increase the opportunities for economic progression, it has improved students' learning outcomes and provided communities with a more optimistic set of expectations for their children's future."

o o o 

Swahili is the language of Tanzania. The following African proverbs are another taste of the beautiful language:

Aliye na hamu ya kupanda juu hukesha.
A person who desires to rise must stay awake.
Baada ya dhiki faraja.
After hardship comes relief.