Don Bosco equips renewable energy studies’ graduates with solar kits

30Nov 2021
Friday Simbaya
Iringa
The Guardian
Don Bosco equips renewable energy studies’ graduates with solar kits

TWENTY seven students who recently finished vocational studies in renewable energy and electric installation have been awarded working kits to offer services to the public especially those seeking to use solar technology.

Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions’ CEO, Winnie Terry (C) accompanied with the principal of Don Bosco Dodoma, Father Bonifasi Mchami (R) handing over a startup tool kit to one of the students who completed studies in solar system installation and servicing last week. Photo: Correspondent Friday Simbaya.

Don Bosco Network- Tanzania (DBNET)’s Project Officer, Alfred Dalasia said the students who studies at Don Bosco Iringa and Dodoma Vocational Training Centers respectively, got the tool kits thanks to sponsorship of US based Charles S. Mott Foundation.

Speaking during the tool kits handing over ceremony held at Don Bosco Iringa and Dodoma VCT, Dalasia said that the students were given the working kits which included a technician’s set of tool kits, solar water irrigation pumps and seed capital all valued at over 48m/-, to start their own businesses.

“On behalf of Don Bosco centers in Iringa and Dodoma, I would like to thank the Charles Mott Foundation for supporting us with these startup tool kits for our graduating solar students who face challenges to get such equipment,” he said.

He said the renewable energy project which is solar based started in 2018 with support of the US foundation (Charles Mott) and is divided in two different phases. Dalasia explained that in the first phase of the project, it included five things where they preparing classrooms, designing workshops for young people, making solar mini-grids at Ddodom and Iringa colleges respectively that can generate 34 kilowatts of electricity each.

The DBNET Project Officer further noted that use of solar grids at the two centers have helped reduce energy consumption by 80 percent. “Similarly, in the first phase which was implemented between June and October 2020, we have been able to teach 511 young people in Iringa and Dodoma colleges on solar technology with a curriculum developed in collaboration with Vocational Education and Training Authority headquarters.

He said that there has been a big wave of students completing solar training and entering the labour market but there are no jobs because many companies are not hiring. “After realizing this challenge, we came up with a business development skills training in partnership with the US donor, which is more practical to ensure young graduates get self-employed to service renewable energy equipment,” Delasia added.

The second phase of renewable energy training began in January 2021, involves an aspect of teaching young people entrepreneurship skills in partnership with business-based organizations including the IMED Foundation.

Through that training young people who have received a short course of six months and those doing three years received the training through the IMED Foundation from June to October. Dalasia explained that throughout the training period students had an idea of various businesses on how to set up small enterprises in renewable energy through solar.

“Our focus as Don Bosco in the pillar of the ecosystem partners is to develop skills that is to create skilled technicians, who can strengthen the renewable energy sector in Tanzania especially at a time when the nation and the world as a whole are fighting climate change (CC)," he elaborated.

Speaking at the event, Principal of Iringa Don Bosco Youth Training Center, Father Josephat Utouh said the college offers eight courses which are printing, computer, tailoring, carpentry and joinery, motor vehicle mechanics, welding and metal fabrication, electrical installation and masonry.

He said that 12 young people who received the working kits were among 78 who are studying electrical installation and solar technology after emerging winners in the race to complete their business ideas.

Utouh added that before graduating, the students are given the opportunity to present their business ideas which after evaluation the 12 emerged as winners. "The main purpose of providing them with such equipment is to empower them to overcome the concept of saying technicians are people who have failed," he added.

Utouh’s observations were seconded by Principal of Don Bosco Dodoma College, Father Bonifas Mchami who said that 70 students who studied electrical installation competed of which 15 emerged successful. “We thank the US donors for this support which allows our students to be self employed,” Mchami said.

Guest of honour at the event, Winnie Terry who is Executive Director of Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI), urged the students to be more creative in performance. She thanked DBNT for engaging them while urging the students to take advantage of the opportunity to improve their lives. “But you must also make use of your smartphones to learn more about other people to distinguish someone who attended Don Bosco College and those from other colleges,” Terry advised.

In remarks at the event, DBNET Executive Director Father Melkey Lukanyanga also wished the students who received the equipment work hard and ensure that they take care of them so that they can last longer.