Tanzania’s population largely lives in poverty, with a total of 76% living below the poverty line. The youth population suffer hugely with unemployment and underemployment. What Raleigh has done to tackle this is to develop a pathway for young entrepreneurs that safeguards their futures. They develop skills and self- confidence, grow family and community support, increase access to financial capital, and build the critical coping strategies that help young people out of poverty.
For this project, I was one of 24 Googlers who teamed up with 16 Tanzanian Volunteers, working across four communities helping 56 Entrepreneurs grow their businesses. I was personally working in the small community of Mbewe, with 10 amazing entrepreneurs.The objectives of these projects were to help mentor these entrepreneurs to set them up for future success, help drive awareness of their businesses to the local community and to help develop the Tanzanian volunteers we were working closely with.
Before leaving for Africa I did not really knowing what to expect. Having not been to Africa before, I had a single view of Africa. What came to mind was the Concern advertisements of suffering starving children covered in flies, crying for help. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gives a great Ted Talk on the dangers of a single story. She touches on how people see Africa in a certain way. They see, poverty and war, and ignore all the wonderful parts of it for example Nigeria having the second largest film industry in the world (Nollywood).
As well as being worried of having a single story of Africa, I was also concerned about how I would be able to have an impact with these entrepreneurs, how I would overcome the culture and language barrier, and what the experience would be like living in homestays in the community that had no English, eating with their families, sharing their buckets for bathing and washing and sleeping on their floors. These worries were quickly overcome and my story of Africa certainly saw beyond what I shamefully had thought.