Techonology Internship with Twende in Tanzania
Nanyori is an Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) Scholar currently studying international journalism at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). She recently completed an internship as a collaborator at the Twende Social Innovation Center in Tanzania, which she found highly rewarding. Twende is a social enterprise dedicated to empowering local community members by improving their quality of life through innovation and low-cost technologies. As an innovation center comprised of Tanzanian students and instructors, Twende aims to merge local expertise and technological know-how into affordable, innovative solutions.
Technologies built at Twende are not only affordable but are made of locally sourced materials and address a specific social need. By providing schooling and community workshops, Twende supports aspiring entrepreneurs who intend to create solutions to problems they identified in their community. Led by Tanzanian inventor Bernard Kiwia, Twende aims to be a beacon of social innovation and technological empowerment locally, in the city of Arusha, and around the globe.
Nanyori’s internship in the communication team was remote, working from Monday to Friday, but this did not limit her responsibilities. She was responsible for updating all social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, updating followers on the events and activities ahead. She was also tasked with writing a newsletter for organizations that sponsored some of Twende’s projects, updating them on achievements and recent activities. She attended some fundraising meetings online, allowing her to network and connect with people from different walks of life.
One of Twende’s annual events is called Farmer’s week. This year Nanyori was able to be part of it, working with the event communications and graphics teams, covering all aspects of social media, from communication to poster design. As the event was approaching, the government of Tanzania announced social distancing measures, causing the cancellation of several events that were expecting large crowds. Twende postponed the event and held it when the restrictions were eased.
Nanyori was able to develop new skills through other projects too. Twende’s flagship program, Jamil Tech, was an opportunity to become familiar with the field of advertising. Jamil Tech brings international and local youth together to design and develop technical solutions to issues identified by the local community.
As part of the graphics team, she was assigned to partner with an external volunteer and was tasked with rebranding the organization’s logo and website. They worked together for two months before presenting two final proposals that Twende’s Director is currently reviewing. They were satisfied with the positive preliminary feedback. She also used the skills she acquired through her Journalism degree to write newsletters and social media content. Among these skills, copywriting for fundraising events, video editing, and networking were particularly relevant during the fundraising meetings.
Nanyori said that working remotely was challenging, especially for a communications intern, who was initially supposed to attend events and interview participants, writing their stories. But Nanyori learned how to write for different audiences from a broad social media following, on the tailored newsletters for sponsors, strengthening her writing skills even more. She also learned a lot about fundraising, especially how fundraising events can be done through video calls, using tools such as breakout rooms to foster engagement and create new connections. Besides her technical work, an essential aspect of her internship was learning about local technology in Tanzania and how young leaders are determined to change their societies using affordable and intuitive technology.
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