Vodacom Tanzania Foundation’s Director, Rosalynn Mworia said in Dar es Salaam this week that for the past 20 or so, Vodacom Tanzania Plc has played a key role in supporting development of the innovation ecosystem in the country.
Mworia said the telco has been fostering closer linkages between technology and the innovation ecosystem in the country within its longstanding innovation hubs, industry partnerships programs. She said because of the strong belief in science, technology and innovation, the telco continues to support initiatives such as the recently held Young Scientist Tanzania 2020 by sponsoring awards in the social science category.
“From mobile financial services to interesting bundles and packages people can now do more than just connect. Innovation in service and products leveraging on our vast digital infrastructure has expanded services to include financial payment systems through M-Pesa, agriculture through M-Kulima, education through our digital learning platforms like Instant Schools,” Mworia explained.
The VFT Director further added that the telco’s management is proud to be an enabler in the innovation ecosystem where it supports and trains young talented minds through initiatives such as Code Like a Girl Program which is offered in partnership with Dlab.
“We help nurture and transform young girls’ minds all over the country, empowering them to take an active role in innovative initiatives and science that solve problems in their communities,” she added noting that innovation is central to translating scientific knowledge and technological expertise into useful products solving various social challenges.
According to UNESCO Investing in science, technology and innovation is essential for economic development and social progress. Research and development can foster sustainable development by building greener, more inclusive societies.
This year’s Young Scientist Tanzania co-winner of the social science category, Mary Mshana, a form five student at Mawelewele Secondary School in Iringa Region said she was inspired to join the program to improve her quality of work. Her winning innovation focused on accessing the impact of free education on quality education.
“I was encouraged to enter the competition in order to boost my thinking capacity on how to prepare a good and quality project that impacts society,” Mshana said while adding that “The aim of our research which was conducted here in Iringa Municipality, was to provide insights to the government and education stakeholders towards providing effective strategies for better implementation of education policies.”
In second place, co- winner a form five student at Kisimiri Secondary School in Arusha Region, Calister Sanga said her reason for joining the Young Scientist Tanzania 2020, was to get a better platform of identifying and solving different problems in the community.
“In our research titled, ‘The Sounds of Beautiful Birds at Ngarenanyukiwe,’ we looked at challenges facing girls in this village where our school is located. We sought to identify the challenges and analyze reasons behind them. These included female genital mutilation, early marriages and discrimination caused by a patriarchy system, cultural traditions, illiteracy and poverty,” Sanga said.
In third place, co- winners Gloria Mbonde and Zawadi Mkai who are form four students at Kikuyu Secondary School in Dodoma Region, said they were inspired to join the YST 2020 to learn how they can be more creative in solving different problems facing society.
“Our project titled ‘Viability of Using Games in Teaching and Learning,’ looked at how to make students more active in their studies using games making the whole learning process interesting and interactive. Application of this creativity pays off as it can be used anywhere, even in places without modern technology such as television and radio,” Mbonde said.
She commended Vodacom for playing a crucial role towards providing opportunities to development of ideas and practical implementation through technological solutions which results into economic empowerment of communities as social-development challenges are addressed.