Open Skies Holds Technology Workshop for Youth in Tanga, Tanzania

By Hawa Adinani

“Technology is all about trial & error, youth need more room for that. A place where they can confidently fall and get up. That’s the only way we can move forward”, Joan Mohamed, Open Skies Fellow.

Just recently, OMDTZ announced a two-year fellowship program that focuses on exposing youth in Africa, especially in East Africa, to emerging technologies to create more experts from Africa. The fellowship is expected to directly benefit 40 youth from Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The process of identifying potential fellows is not an easy one. It needs thorough assessment procedures and tactics in making sure we do not only select fellows because they say they ‘love’ technology or present certain credentials, success in business/academia/politics, social graces, a good resume/cover letter/interview, and prior knowledge. Open Skies Fellows is focusing on youth with intellectual curiosity, passion for technology, first-principle thinking, a specific idea for how to help a community, focus, past portfolio/projects/experiences, and love of sharing/teaching.

To get the fellows, OMDTZ is conducting week-long workshops in different regions by inviting potential fellows to learn together and observe how they interact and learn from one another. OMDTZ then observes these potential fellows and identifies those who can be invited to the program depending on how they behave and learn in the workshop and follow the criteria we identified.

Our first workshop was conducted in Tanga City, Tanzania where we had 16 candidates from different regions in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. The candidates were exposed to different technologies including drones and 3D printing. They learned how to assemble 3D printers and design, assemble and fly drones, as well as plan drone missions.

Throughout the workshop, we were able to identify four potential fellows who are the first Open Skies Fellows to be selected for the program. These fellows will be in the program for five months (or for as long as it would take them to complete their projects) while receiving mentorship to support their ideas and mold them to become tech ambassadors in solving different community challenges.

“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” ― Aristotle

Fellows are expected to:

  • Learn and develop skills in technology
  • Carry out a project in a community that addresses local needs
  • Conduct a workshop with high school students to share their knowledge and help develop a young generation of tech and innovation aspirants
  • Make time to speak with other fellows, their mentors, and the Open Skies team

We will be sharing more stories from the selected fellows and the progress of their projects in the coming months. Although OSF does have specifically selected fellows, the program supports those who want to learn or share skills even if they are not formal fellows. We want to create an ‘Open Sky’ for youth to take part in tech.

We are looking forward to conducting workshops in different regions so we can reach as many candidates as possible. If you are or know a young African from one of the three countries that would be a great fit as an Open Skies Fellow please feel free to contact us or email our Innovation and Technical Officer Digna: digna.mushi@openskiesfellows.org, or apply directly as an external candidate

To learn more about Open Skies, visit our website: https://openskiesfellows.org/

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