My name is Trina, and I’m the Publicity Officer on the Entrepreneurship team along with my counterpart John from KITE. I decided to volunteer with CDI after recommendations from a few people I knew who did it and had an amazing time. I had previously done some volunteering abroad, but it seemed unsustainable as it mainly involved fundraising in the UK and then using this money to buy resources to help developing countries. CDI’s approach of collaborating with local communities and building local networks, instead of traditional charity approaches, really appealed to me as it uses empowerment to provide a more sustainable way to help solve development issues in Tanzania. I’m really excited to be working in the Entrepreneurship team, since youth unemployment is a huge issue here and the team aims to reduce this by encouraging young people to set up their own businesses. Despite being a Natsci and not an Economics student (like most of the Entre team), I’m definitely managing to work well in the team and actively get involved in the project – I’d recommend anyone who’s interested in Entrepreneurship to apply whatever subject you’re studying!
Wake up and find something smart to wear. Most days we can wear whatever, but today is a seminar day (so no flip flops! L ) The Entrepreneurship team this year are piloting a new project involving a series of free standalone “Into Business” seminars that aim to teach participants entrepreneurial skills such as business ideation and how to raise capital. Instead of teaching these ourselves, we are contacting speakers and organisations with expertise in each area to run the seminars. Today’s seminar is called “How I Achieved My Dream” and involves a panel of three Tanzanian entrepreneurs talking about their success stories.
Breakfast in the canteen! This is usually a chapati with either a boiled egg, a sausage or on days when I’m craving sugar (like today) Nutella and banana.
Arrive at the venue which the seminars are being held at, which conveniently is in Ardhi University itself. The morning involves setting up for the seminar – moving tables into/out of the room, bringing in the Into Business banner, and sorting out refreshments for the event.
The first attendees start arriving! 5 members of the Entre team stand at various points across the University campus to direct attendees to the venue, whilst some sit at the front desk to register participants as they arrive and some ensure the speakers are all on time and meet them when they arrive. Others welcome participants into the classroom and keep them entertained with games until the seminar is ready to start, and my role as Publicity officer involves the fun job of taking photos and videos throughout the seminar! As people arrive, it’s nice to notice a significant number of returning faces from previous seminars, which reinforces the fact that some people are finding the seminars useful.
With all the speakers and most of the attendees present, the seminar starts. The three speakers today are Japhet Sekenya, Lillian Madeje and Stumai Simba, who are all successful Tanzanian entrepreneurs:
Aina, one of the KITE volunteers, hosts the panel discussion, and the speakers take turns to chat about how they set up their businesses, give entrepreneurial advice and answer questions from the audience. Unlike previous seminars, the one today is a mixture of Swahili and English, and the participants seem in general more engaged.
After the speakers finish talking, Luca and Patience (our M&E Officers) come in and encourage everyone to fill in a survey about the seminar before they leave. They have the option to do this on their phones with hotspots we provide, or using laptops set up at the back of the room. For the first time so far we got a 100% of participants filling in the survey!
There’s a brief networking period where participants, speakers and the CDI and KITE teams can all chat outside the venue, and the banner is always the centre of many photos that are taken! I’ve been desperate to get a full group photo of the CDI and KITE Entre team since the first seminar, but as yet we’ve not all been in the same place at once so today I just caved and we had a group photo with everyone except Vince (we can photoshop him in later).
After everyone has left the seminar and the team has tidied up the venue, it’s finally time for lunch! We usually eat lunch in the lower canteen and a typical meal is wali (rice) with either maharage (beans), spinach, kukku (chicken) or occasionally njugu (chickpeas). Today was a spinach and beans day (it tastes much better than it looks!)
During lunch we watched the trailed for Crazy Rich Asians and decided to go see it at the local cinema on Thursday, and also Max discovered his forehead was magnetic…
After lunch Luca, the CDI M&E Officer, ran the debrief meeting we have after each seminar to discuss what went well and what needs improving next time. We utilise the jazz hands system in these meetings, where people have to do jazz hands whenever they agree to a point being made:
The main points today are that the general running of events is getting smoother, but there needs to be strategies to increase attendance. One idea that has been brought up before and was raised again is the idea of giving certificates to participants who attend at least 5 seminars as an incentive for attendance. We’re thinking of having an event at the last seminar with food and networking at which we can also give out these certificates which would also be a nice way to wrap up the project!
For the rest of the afternoon, my job as Publicity involves publicising the next seminar, which is The Economics of Growing Your Business. I first make a poster for the event on Canva, and then send that out with more detailed information about the event on Whatsapp (where we have an Into Business group with >200 participants!), Instagram (@in2business – shameless plug) and Facebook. I also start designing advertising materials to promote the fact that after attending 5 seminars participants will receive a certificate, and work on Instagram and Facebook posts giving more detail about the speakers for the next seminar.
(Spot the codeword we do for intellectual breaks from work)
Norah, the KITE Deputy Project Director, leads a meeting with the whole team on advertising strategy, and new ideas were put forward including doing Instagram lives during the seminars and taking pictures of participants with the banner at the end of each seminar and encouraging them to post it on their social media with the #IntoBusinessSeminars hashtag.
After finishing work and reading some of my book outside to wind down, it’s time for dinner yay! We usually go down the road to pick up some street food to eat back at the canteen. There’s loads of choice, including chapatis, samosas (with a full boiled egg inside them) and other fried foods, but today we went for chapati with octopus!
Karaoke time! A group of us went for a drink at a bar down the road, and discovered it was their karaoke night! Despite some questionable song choices (Itchin – Lil Wayne) it was good fun and Sophie from the Education team sang an amazing rendition of Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.
On returning from the bar we watched the first half of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in the canteen before bed. Today has been a productive but exhausting day – days with seminars are generally more hectic than others, but seeing participants enjoying themselves and saying “See you next time” when they leave is really rewarding. Most days involve a lot of designing posters and using social media which is fun, but the Entre team work closely together and there’s always a variety of other things to do if you feel bored, which keeps things interesting. As well as the seminar series, in our free time we’re researching potential new initiatives that can be piloted in future years, and ways to improve the current seminars in terms of increasing their impact. I’d really recommend applying to the Entrepreneurship team if you want an interesting and rewarding summer, and I’m excited to see how the rest of the seminars this year progress!