Project Urafiki: teaching life skills in Tanzania by Dina Black

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 Urafiki: teaching life skills in Tanzania by Dina Black

In August 2018 I volunteered in Moshi, Tanzania together with a team of activists from the Conservative party. Our International Social Action project was organised by CFID and called Urafiki, which means friendship in Swahili.

The education team consisted of Rt Hon Sir Desmond Swayne MP, Theo Clarke, David Robinson, Stephen Lynch, Alice Lassman, Sara Pawsey, Faye Watson and Dina Black.

We carried out training at Msufini Secondary School in Machame area of Moshi and at the Training For Life (TFL) centre as part of TFL course aimed at school leavers. Training For Life concentrates on creating career awareness and aims to give young people in Tanzania an opportunity to discover and develop their hidden potential by providing an invaluable set of skills needed in the adult world.

Our training Programme included Presentation Skills, CV writing, Networking, Employability, Goalsetting, Problem Solving, Interview Skills and Public Speaking. The youths attending the TFL centre and pupils at the school, were very enthusiastic and enjoyed participating in our actively encouraged debates and speaking competitions. We tried to make our training sessions fun with warm up games and team building exercises, while maintaining the participation of the trainees in our interactive discussions.

The feedback received from our trainees was very positive, with useful suggestions and ideas about what could be added to the programme, if we had more training days available.

There were many memorable moments, such as a wonderful presentation which was prepared by the pupils from the school and performed on our last day of training. They used newly learned presentation and interview skills to create their performance. It was great to see that they remembered the details and were able to reflect on what they learned in a witty way with a traditional blend of Tanzanian positivity and humour.

Having volunteered with project Umubano in Rwanda in 2017, it was good to see that so many volunteers from previous years returned to Africa, prepared to offer their skills once again.

On a personal level, the Social Action projects have being quite life-changing. This mutually rewarding experience has taught me a lot and given me an insight and interest in International Development, it inspired me to choose this field for my current studies and I hope to continue by working in this field. When canvassing and campaigning as a Conservative Candidate in local elections, I found that many people were interested in hearing and talking about the British Overseas Aid. I am delighted that we were able to plan a few events in coming months in my constituency with fantastic speakers from Department For International Development.

I believe that we were able to use our skills to make a small but hopefully meaningful contribution. I feel a lot of admiration for the talents, enthusiasm and positive outlook of Tanzanian people. What Tanzania has accomplished in recent years is remarkable. Their economy has grown at around 7% per year for the last 15 years. The support that British aid has given this country helped to achieve that. It highlights that British Overseas Aid makes a real difference by helping to build a stronger economy, helping to manage migration and stability. Yet, still, there’s more that can be done. Despite the continuous economic growth, 25 million Tanzanians still live on less than $1.90 a day. If you are interested to help –grab a piece of the action by registering your support on CFID’s website!