Asante Sana Tanzania!

The first phase of our project in Tanzania is now over. What an experience.

What are we doing there exactly? I can’t provide details at this point, however what I can say is that we’re working with the Ethics Division of the President’s Office, Public Service Management (PO-PSM) to develop a social marketing/behaviour change program to advance Ethics change in the public service. Our role is essentially to lead and educate the Tanzanian team responsible for ethics in the preparation of a social marketing strategy and program materials to support the implementation and evaluation of a pilot, facilitate the development and utilization of evaluation tools and help develop the means through which feedback will be obtained.

Basically, we’ve been asked to guide them through the social marketing process as they are the ones taking the lead (as they should be). A big part of our two-week phase 1 mission was to provide training, conduct a macro-scan of the environment and set the initial terms of reference for primary research that will need to be conducted.

In the process, as with all collaborative training, we learned a ton ourselves. About what exactly?  Among other things, the culture , the unique challenges of the public service, and the day to day life of citizens from various social classes, including those living well below the poverty line (i.e. the majority of the rural population). Throughout the two  weeks we managed to spend some solid time visiting various parts of Dar Es Salaam, Bagamoyo, and Zanzibar (I may attach a link to photos here next week once I process them).

Some key statistics of Tanzania are as follows

  • Population: 43,739,000
  • Area: 945,000 square kilometres
  • Per capita GDP:  US $1,353
  • Capital City: Dodoma (although most gov offices are also in Dar Es Salaam)
  • Life expectancy: M-51, F-54
  • Internet penetration: 1.3%
  • Mobile penetration: 50%

One stat that blew me away is that nearly 50% of the population in under the age of 16. The implications of this are tremendous as the the internet and mobile are about to explode (1000% + growth rates at the moment). Tanzania is in a very unique position right now where decades of technological evolution are being skipped. How is that unique? Consider this: Only about 30% of public servants have access to a computer at work, and many do not have direct phone numbers. Most internal communication is done the good ol’ way, in person, through meetings, written letters and bulletin boards. There are some of us that may say this is terribly inefficient, however considering how much time we waste on email, improper use of technology, and technology failures, this may not be the case. The reason I say that Tanzania’s situation is unique is because they will soon adopt most of our IT in the workplace, however they won’t be starting form scratch. Instead, they will have all the best practices and thus a chance not to adopt many of  the bad habits on these channels, which we have unfortunately adopted over the last two decades.

I also can’t get over as to how committed , dedicated and passionate about their jobs, every one of our client team members was. It is a real privilege to be working with such a quality team. I truly look forward to coming back and getting started on Phase II in the fall. I leave you with a photo of us and the training participants during our first week in Dar.

Asante Sana (thank you) Tanzania.

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