Tanzania ICS

Celebrating a Generation of Entrepreneurs in Msimba

7th May 2018

The end of our team's time in the village of Msimba on an ICS Livelihoods project seemed to begin on pitching day itself. We arrived at our training centre at 6am to set up and spend most of the day waiting for each entrepreneur to pitch their business idea to a panel and then for the results to be decided. All the time we had spent session planning, teaching, doing one-to-ones and practice pitches had all come down to this. Fortunately, all our entrepreneurs had put in a considerable amount of effort and were well-prepared for their pitches, resulting in 11 out of the 14 business ideas we put forward achieved a Raleigh grant.

A couple of days after pitching, the entrepreneurs along with a few volunteers headed to Kilombero town to buy almost everything they will need to start up their businesses. The last few sessions were largely focused on business management and securing access to alternative sources of finance for those entrepreneurs who were unsuccessful in acquiring the grant from Raleigh.

The village of Msimba is set in Kilosa district, Morogoro region, rural Tanzania.

The next generation of entrepreneurs

During our time in Msimba we dedicated time to working on supporting projects which revolved around passing the learnings of the entrepreneurship course to the younger generation in the village so that they can grow up with awareness and understanding of what is involved in being an entrepreneur. We believe that these young people have the ambition, drive and courage to have successful businesses one day. To this end, in our last week in the community of Msimba we ensured that the final lessons in the school and orphanage we had been working in revolved around sustainability. We have thoroughly enjoyed teaching all the children throughout our time here and we hope they have found the business lessons interesting and useful. We decided to make the final lessons a fun as possible whilst still delivering the educational content needed to provide. When we taught at the orphanage on our final full day in village we delivered a slightly shorter lesson before playing games with the children to really finish this experience on a high.

Volunteers who have been based in Msimba for the past three months.

The graduation ceremony

Before this final day of fun, we held a graduation ceremony for our entrepreneurs. Regardless of who were successful in pitching, all entrepreneurs who completed the ICS Livelihoods course were invited. All received a certificate which verifies the knowledge they have gained as legitimate and allows them to cite this additional qualification on their CV. Like other action days, the focus was on raising awareness for the project and what has been achieved by volunteers and entrepreneurs alike. However, we had a lot of fun too with this one as it was our chance to say goodbye to Msimba and thank the community members there for everything they have contributed. From the homestays who have taken us in to the shop keepers who have sold us many mandazi, all have in some way contributed to the success of the programme and it will be hard to say goodbye.

Outside the training centre, Msimba.

A legacy pack

One way of saying thank you was handing over the legacy pack that we have been creating whilst in village. The legacy pack we have created covers all of our supporting projects as well as the main ICS Livelihoods programme. This means that in a few months, of maybe even a few years, the course can be repeated with a new set of entrepreneurs who can study the skills and knowledge needed to start up their own businesses. There will be the opportunity for the school lessons to become a standard part of the curriculum in Msimba’s Primary School. By encouraging the next generation into entrepreneurship, cycle of prosperity can be established which may continue long into the future. Perhaps, one day, an elderly man will be able to help his grand-daughter with her business homework all because, for three months in 2018, Raleigh were partners with the community here.

Words by Jess Letheren, ICS volunteer who has returned today from her three month placement in Msimba, Kilosa District, Morogoro region. Blog images by Hilary Sloane. Cover image by Jess.

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