Tag Archives: Tanzania

the story of Glory, Luck and being thankful for what you have from Arusha

Shepherds Primary School, Arusha, Tanzania

She wrote: “Dear Teachers: I am so lucky.”

Glory’s Story, TweetLuck.com

This story is about a little 10yr old girl in Tanzania called Glory, a wonderful lady called Stacey ….  and how their little story should matter to all of us.

Glory, is a bright young girl who attends Shepherd Primary school in Tanzania.  One fine morning Glory decided she could no longer go to school when she realized that her only pair of shoes had a sole missing. While this might seem like a non-issue for most, Glory like many of her peers at Shepherds primary, lives in meager circumstances with her sister, aunt and grandmother given both her parents had passed away.

So how does Luck have a part to play in this story? Shepherd Primary school is a very lucky school. In 2003, Mama Lucy collected her savings selling chickens, and decided to rent a plot of land adjacent to her home to start a primary school. As Luck would have it, a local developer bought the land in 2007 and forced her to close down. Luckily Stacey, who had visited Shepherds Primary as a volunteer that year decided that she had to quit her job in the U.S and help Mamy Lucy rebuild. Since that day, with the help of the teachers, parents and several generous donors, Stacey and Mama Lucy have been able to rebuild the school, purchase a refurbished school bus and double the number of student to over 300. As a matter of fact, in November 2008, Shepherds Junior participated in national exams for the first time. The school ranked #1 out of 117 participating schools in the Arusha district. The kids beamed with pride and so did Stacey.

Oh and what happened to the little girl Glory? That evening after school Glory’s teacher Rachel went over to her house to further investigate — and on finding out the issue, she went door to door in the village looking for a pair of shoes for Glory to borrow for the day. The next morning, teacher Rachel returned with Glory to school … and by the end of the week Mama Lucy had bought Glory a shiny new pair of her own. That week, Stacey received thank you notes from the kids, including Glory’s that seemed a little different — She wrote: “Dear Teachers: I am so lucky.”

That’s where we all come in. What if the Luckiest people aren’t the people with the most money, the most comfort or determined by where in the world they live? What if luck had little to do with all this — what if it Luck had everything do with what you share? Stacey, Glory and Mama Lucy share a little of their Luck every day with everyone they meet. Let’s help Mama Lucy, Glory and Stacey’s organization Epic Change spread the *Luck* by joining their TweetLuck campaign …

Epic Change has created a wonderful campaign to celebrate South By Southwest and St. Patrick’s Day called TweetLuck.  Be sure to @tweetluck or Epic Change founder @staceymonk on Twitter.


Filed under Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Is this the begining of a green revolution in Africa?

a sugar cane plantation in Mauritius

sugar cane plantation in Mauritius

With the sharp rise and fall of global grain prices, many affluent countries with limited arable land have begun looking to Africa for food security.

Countries like Angola, Tanzania and Ethiopia have already shown interest in foreign investments and have restructured their land allocation laws to allow for this. The horticulture industry is one of the fastest growing non-traditional export sectors of many African countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

South Korean firm Daewoo has unveiled plans to plant corn on one million acres of land in Madagascar, to sharply cut its reliance on US imports.

Daewoo is leasing the vast tract of land – half the size of Belgium – for 99 years and hopes to produce 5 million tonnes of corn a year by 2023.

It will use South African expertise and local labour on the plantations.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk

Large Investments in Ethiopia and Kenya have been very profitable and now with countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait looking to invest, the African Agricultural sector seems like a great bet.

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Kenyan marks 10 years since the US Embassy attack

Rescuers working after the American Embassy in Kenya was bombed on Aug. 7, 1998

NYTimes: Rescuers working after the American Embassy in Kenya was bombed on Aug. 7, 1998

On this day, August 7th 1998 – hundreds of innocent lives were lost and thousands more ruined in a senseless twin attack on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Hatred had reared its ugly head in the streets of these beautiful African cities. Nairobi’s streets, once famous their beautiful carpet of purple Jacaranda flowers were now littered with glass and debris.

Its fair to say that many dreams had once gained flight outside this building,  including my own. A month before the incident, I had huddled outside its doors with a dozen hopeful applicants – never would we have imagined such a fate.

On this day we remember those who were lost to this senseless tragedy; we remember those who stepped up in our time of need; those who helped rebuild shattered lives; and we recognize the need for peaceful co-existence — but most of all we recognize that the spirit of a nation may have been shaken but can never be shattered.

Peace to the world.


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Policy Notes on Africa for the next U.S President

Yesterday I had the good fortune of attending an event titled “Africa: The Next Development Miracle?” The lecture was hosted by the World Affairs Council Peninsula Chapter, and the speaker was Prof. Jeremy Weinstein, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University and Director of the Center for African Studies.

The primary question for the evening was whether Africa will be the next development miracle or should we be prepared for continuing instability, violence, and economic stagnation? Also, what should the United States’ policies be?

Professor Weinstein presented his list of “Policies for the Next president” which I found interesting and felt summed up his lecture well:

  1. Security is a prerequisite to sustained growth (based upon the Copenhagen Consensus)
  2. Recognizing the critical role of institutions especially domestically driven institutions
  3. Encouraging experimentation with different models for development
  4. Using aid to support reform (such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation which has been a center piece of the Bush Africa policy)
  5. Providing assistance to where we know it works (HIV, malaria, water, education)
  6. Prepare for major disasters and shocks perhaps as a consequence of climate change
  7. Make Globalization work (not just trade but migration, property rights and the subsidization of appropriate essential technology)

While the jury is still out on what measures are best to encourage positive growth in Africa, the need for better policy to support thriving economies in Africa cannot be disputed.

There is still an unrelenting flow of disturbing headlines, soaring food prices and shortages, continued violence in Darfur, stolen elections in Zimbabwe and Kenya. Nevertheless the overall picture is far more positive. Africa is observing positive economic growth; democracy is on the rise; and great progress is being made in the fight against disease, as hundreds of thousands of Africans now have access to life-saving anti-retro viral treatment.

What policies have worked for your country and what policies and/or initiatives should the next U.S President support ?

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Filed under Conservation and Natural Resources, Democracy, Governance and Activism, Healthcare and Education, Trade and Development

Google East African Gadget Competition

Title: ‘Compete to build a Gadget’

Registration Date: Registration opens February 25th; the deadline is March 17th.

Who is it open to: This competition is open to university students across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda,Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia.


Participating students will have approximately four months to design and build functioning Google Gadgets either solo or in teams of two.

The competition will provide an opportunity for students to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical, hands-on way, and that a number of the resulting Gadgets will feature regionally-useful content.

Further Details at: http://www.google.com/eagadgetcompetition

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On Communication, Google and Broadband Balloons

According to Om Malik and the WSJ:

Google is teaming up with Space Data Corp., a company that sends balloons carrying small (micro) base stations about 20 miles up in the air for providing connectivity to truckers and oil companies. The electronic payload is retrieved by farmers after it drifts back using a small parachute. The farmers do it because they get $100 per payload retrieved, WSJ says.Google believes balloons like these could radically change the economics of offering cellphone and Internet services in out-of-the-way areas, according to people familiar with its thinking.

If this is true, perhaps a similar low cost solution would do wonders to connect rural communities in the developing world. There is definitely a business case to bring down the cost of communication in Africa from fishermen in Tanzania to Farmers in India, to tele-medicine to education. Projects such as the much touted Africa ONE, aimed at connecting 32 countries, face too much bureaucracy to ever take off the ground and its time to rethink our approach.

Mobile communication is on the rise in much of Africa and South and Central Asia, but is generally restricted to the main grid and is prohibitively expensive. Investments by companies like Google and Space Data in localized communication technology, would greatly accelerate the integration of these communities to the Telecom grid.

As good friend worded it in a rare epiphany, “The last mile in telecommunications is just as important as the first”. Perhaps there are some solutions that already exist. Any ideas, people?

Interesting Fact: Africa is world’s fastest-growing cell phone market. From 1999 through 2004, the number of mobile subscribers in Africa jumped to 76.8 million, from 7.5 million, an average annual increase of 58 percent. By the end of the decade, that’s expected to double.

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Filed under Healthcare and Education, Telecommunication and Infrastructure