Empowering girls in ICT: Tackling the digital gender divide in Tanzania
Bringing locally relevant learning material to Tanzanian students
Growing up in Arusha, George saw the challenges of an education system with unequal opportunities between public and private schools. He studied at a public high school, where it was hard to access learning materials for subjects like math and physics.
Few, if any, of these materials were available in the school library. Students had to buy their own learning materials, which was very expensive for students from low-income families.
George thought about how he could solve this problem as he studied information and communication technology (ICT) at university. In his second year, he launched an initiative with his peers to improve student access to learning materials.
“Since my university years, I decided to see ways of how I could contribute to making lives better and what role I could play as a young person,” George says.
George and his peers gathered open-source educational materials and provided them to students who couldn’t afford to or didn’t have the technology to access materials. Seeing how helpful this was to students, George decided that when he finished his education, he would start an organization to continue this work.
After graduating, he founded SmartCore, a social enterprise focusing on education technology. George’s initiative provides localized content to schools in Tanzania, and training to teachers on how to integrate technology.
Yet as a young entrepreneur, George found it difficult to access funds, networks, and mentors. He approached many organizations, wanting to partner with them, all to no avail.
Then he found DOT Tanzania, which offered an unexpected boost to his dreams. DOT provided him with business development training and linked him to mentors and partners.
“Our initiative has been greatly supported by DOT Tanzania in terms of finance, mentoring, training and moral support,” says George.
With DOT Tanzania’s support, George developed a business model focused on making it as simple as possible to reach learners with low digital access, particularly in rural and marginalized communities.
The future is bright for SmartCore. Already, they have reached more than 8000 students, but they’re not going to stop there. George has partnered with numerous other tech organizations in Tanzania, and plans to create solar-powered centers in villages with low access to technology, to equip these villages with facilities to access digital content.
George is an example of how one young person can create opportunities for many others. George is working towards his dream of making SmartCore a world-class organization helping all Tanzanian students access the learning materials they need to achieve academic excellence.
“George’s initiative provides localized content to schools in Tanzania, and training to teachers on how to integrate technology.”
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