Project Urafiki: Business Training in Moshi, Tanzania

This summer CFID ran the inaugural Project Urafiki, in Tanzania. The successor to Project Umubano the Conservative international social action project. Twentyone volunteers, including three MP’s, Cllr’s, Candidates and grass root activists took part in three projects in five locations focusing on Education, Business and Health. We were delighted that International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt MP endorsed the project and visited us in a personal capacity for the last day of volunteering. She personally took part in the programmes in the University and the Disability Centre. This is one of a series of blogs from our volunteers about their experience.

Project Urafkik: Business Training in Moshi, Tanzania by Andy Higginson

Four CFID volunteers, Andy Higginson, Krystal Miller, Will Goodhand and Mark Pawsey MP, assisted by Jeremy Lefroy MP, carried out training to twenty-five businesses based in and around Moshi. The training was for one week in August as part of a wider CFID training programme in Tanzania with a total of twenty-two volunteers.

The businesses were gathered by EFTA, Equity for Tanzania, a non profit organisation which provides equipment loans. They had all received a loan from EFTA to buy equipment generally fundamental to the operation of the business. The businesses included brick making, rice culling, agricultural services, paper bag manufacturing, embroidery and school clothes, a medical practice, a group of private schools and many more.

EFTA is making a real difference in Tanzania. It is providing funding to new and developing businesses which otherwise would not be available and thus enabling businesses to start up, trade, develop and employ people. It was hugely encouraging to see so many businesses trading and employing people in one town as a result of EFTA support.

The training was successful and was well received. It will hopefully help many of the businesses to develop. The training included business planning and goals, business development, management, sales and marketing and finance. The aim was to develop the skills of the businessmen but also to demonstrate the opportunities open to them from growing their businesses. The training was interactive with many discussions, worked exercises and included an analysis of the business of one participant. Class room training was carried out for two days and then visits were made to more than half of the businesses in the next three days to discuss the individual issues and opportunities of these businesses at their operating site.

The feedback from the trainees was very positive and many requested additional training.. They all turned up for the second day which is always a good indicator.

Follow up will be carried out remotely early next year to seek to provide further advice and guidance. Hopefully there will be a second training programme in Moshi next summer with further follow up advice and training for new businesses.

The volunteers had a rich experience. The businessmen are keen and eager to learn and it is very rewarding to have the opportunity to help them. The volunteer group worked very hard but also thoroughly enjoyed many social activities with the full group including group meals, a visit to a coffee farm, a safari and some treks up Kilimanjaro but that is another story.

Andy Higginson, an accountant by trade, has volunteered on three Conservative international social action projects in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. He led the Business Project in Moshi with EFTA.