Karibu sana: The Tanzanian E-Motive experience
I learned a lot from the exchange visit to Tanzania. In one sentence: youth need capacity-building training intensively and continuously.’ Abdinassar Hassen, Project Officer in EYW’s implementing partner, Somali region, Ethiopia
Abdinassar’s statement sums up the key lesson he took away from the E-Motive exchange visit to Tanzania. For 10 days a group of Oxfam and partner staff who work for the Empower Youth for Work project in the Somali region of Ethiopia, as well as government officials, visited several business initiatives involving youth in the Tanzanian region of Mbeya.
The area was chosen to host the exchange because of its similarities to Somali region in terms of business and economic activity. The group from Ethiopia learned how the region – as an agricultural hub with conducive weather and fertile soil – has become a major source of crops including maize, rice, bananas, beans, potatoes, soy nuts and wheat.
Group members visited various projects and met with their EYW counterparts and local government officials to learn from their experiences and share best practice. Topics of discussion included microfinance, women and girl’s empowerment, and the development of sustainable energy initiatives.
Geleta Kedir, Oxfam Ethiopia Livelihood Program Specialist, was particularly impressed by the ‘Solar Sisters’ project. This empowers women and young people by encouraging them to promote and distribute solar materials such as lamps and batteries, and increases outreach through door-to-door visits. Participants receive gender-related training, including in sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), so they can spread this knowledge and influence the community while selling the solar products – further empowering women and girls in the area.
Biruhalem Kassa, Project Manager of EYW in Ethiopia, is keen to apply the learning from Solar Sisters. He felt that the intensive and consistent support given to participants of the Solar Sisters project was particularly effective, as was the way in which the project involves the wider community. He is now keen to start a similar project in Ethiopia.
Among the other local businesses visited by the group was a company that produces chicken feed. Geleta says: ‘We can learn a lot from this big company that provides a lot of opportunities for the entire country. They have their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, where they train youth for two weeks. I think that the government of Ethiopia should also encourage companies to provide trainings like these and invest more in CSR.’
‘The visit was very useful, especially as it increased our personal relationships with the government and other stakeholders.’
Biruhalem Kassa, Project Manager, EYW in Ethiopia
Watch this inspiring short video. The Tanzanian hosts gave their visitors a warm welcome (‘Karibu Sana!’ ), and see the Solar Sisters and other projects in action.