Successful Phase One: An Update from Echo 8

16th August 2017

First week

We started the first week of the project with lots of planning, as well as undertaking surveys to better understand the local economy in Mkalala. We would later use this data, along with focus groups and other research, to inform a detailed report about the village. The other important task of the first week was to begin entrepreneurship training. We ended the week with a community action day to raise local awareness of our project. It was a huge success with over 160 people attending and joining in with lots of games, dancing and speeches from the Village Executive Officer (VEO) and Village Chairperson, as well as a representative from our project partner the East African Dairy Development (EADD).

“Our action day was a great success. So many people showed up and I loved being able to interact with them and build a stronger relationship with the community.” – Juliet, UK volunteer

Getting to know the entrepreneurs better

In our second week we wanted to get to know our entrepreneurs more and began 1 to 1s with them, offering tailored sessions to further develop their business ideas. We were also invited to try some tea picking at the Village Chairperson’s plantation. This was a fantastic experience, although the picking speed of the 14 volunteers was not comparable to that of just one person from the village! We also went on a trip to Mrimani, a nearby village which we heard had a small supermarket. The rumours were true and we were able to pick up some extra ingredients for our first ‘Come Dine with Me’ event – the perfect way to come together as a team after a long working week.

“The 1 to 1 sessions are great because I can get explanations in person about the things I’m struggling to understand.” – Jaffari, entrepreneur

Tea picking

Additional community projects

We were also working hard on drafting proposals for additional, smaller projects that we could set up in the community alongside the entrepreneur training. Two of these were teaching entrepreneurship skills to the local secondary school students and setting up a VICOBA (Village Community Bank) to help fund local business ventures. These projects were decided by the team as important in Mkalala based on the results of the research we had done in the previous weeks to establish gaps in the community. In the fourth week of the cycle we had a really successful first session teaching at the secondary school.

Preparing for pitching

For the last few weeks we have continued our work with the entrepreneurs. We have introduced topics such as business model canvas – a tool looking at key areas such as resources, activities, partners and revenue streams. We have also started planning for our second community action day, which we plan to be a business enterprise fair for the community. Our entrepreneurs have completed some fantastic business models for their proposed businesses and have started working on drafting a cash flow which they will need to know inside out in order to confidently present it when pitching for potential grant money in a few weeks time.

Playing with the children of Mkalala

“Our first phase has been amazing! We have achieved so much and managed to have a really fun time along the way. We know there’s a lot to do in the final weeks but we’re all genuinely really excited to see outcomes from all our hard work so far.” – Anna, UK volunteer

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Youth Economic Empowerment Tanzania