A Travellerspoint blog

June 2012

South Shore Public Libraries Partner with NSCC in Tanzania

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I know it's silly but I still get excited when I receive a text on my phone. So just imagine the scene when I got a text from South Shore Public Libraries CEO, Troy Myers, telling me to get my immunization shots updated. That's how I found out that SSPL was participating in the last phase of NSCC Internationals' EFE in Mikumi, Tanzania and I was going to Africa.

The purpose of SSPL's involvement in the project was to help with a library needs assessment, test the accessibility of electronic resources, provide training on Internet source evaluation, and to share social media information. We did this as a part of the team from NSCC that included NSCC International Director Katie Orr, NSCC Library Services Director Andrea Stewart and NSCC Media Specialist Kellie McMullin, SSPL Chief Librarian and CEO Troy Myers and me, Christina Pottie Outreach Coordinator at SSPL.

After a series of long flights we arrived in Nairobi enroute to Dar es Salaam, even though it was almost dark, only a runway tarmac, and still another hour's flight from our destination, you couldn't wipe the grin off my face; I was in Africa. Something that I had never imagined would happen.

This trip was amazing! Tanzanian people are very welcoming and the staff and students at VETA Mikumi were amazingly warm and welcoming hosts. It began from the first moment when we were greeted with a bone-crushing hug from the student on duty at the reception desk and continued with greetings of "Karibu" repeated over and over again wherever we went.

The highlight of the trip for me was to see how passionate people were about what they are doing at VETA Mikumi. Whether it was the conversations with faculty or chats with students everyone believes in what they are doing and learning at the campus, that this education will make a difference in their lives and ultimately their country. Hearing the students, at the 7 am assembly, singing the National Anthem as the flag was raised gave me goose bumps.

This project allowed us to live out the mission statement of South Shore Public Libraries in a tangible way, while we in Mikumi Troy, myself, and the whole NSCC team truly "Celebrated Reading, Discovering, Learning and Sharing". I want to sincerely thank NSCC International for inviting us to be part of the team and the South Shore Public Libraries Board of Directors for endorsing this partnership and project. My travel companions were incredible and the experience from start to finish has made me a much richer person. When and where can we do this again?

Christina Pottie
Outreach Coordinator
South Shore Public Libraries

Posted by NSCC Intl 12:19 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Read All About It!

Assessing Library Services at partner institution VETA Mikumi

DSC_4223.jpgWhen Katie Orr, Director, NSCC International, brought forward the opportunity for NSCC Library Services to participate in the final stages of the EFE project with VETA Mikumi in Tanzania, I was flabbergasted. It hardly seemed real until I set foot on Tanzanian soil and was on the road to Mikumi. The purpose of the trip was for me and two members of the South Shore Public Libraries, Troy Meyers (CEO) and Christina Pottie (Outreach Coordinator), to perform a library needs assessment in partnership with the faculty at VETA Mikumi Campus and make recommendations for the future development of a library to support the students and faculty of the campus. In addition, our goals for this trip included testing the accessibility of electronic resources from our respective library systems and to provide training on Internet research techniques.
We arrived at the airport in Dar es Salaam the night of June 3rd where we were warmly greeted by Mr. Moshi, Director General of Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA). We spent the night in Dar to rest up from our long flight and then set out for Mikumi the next morning with Christopher Ayo (Principal, VETA Mikumi). On our journey, we had the good fortune to be able to visit both a public library in Morogoro (98 kms from Mikumi) and the library at the Morogoro Vocational Teacher College (VTC). This helped us put into context the level of library services available in other areas and to determine if there might be possible future partnerships between these libraries and VETA Mikumi.
Upon arrival at VETA Mikumi that evening we were warmly welcomed and settled into our accommodations on campus. We’re told we’re lucky to be visiting in winter when it’s not quite as hot. I say bring on the heat because those who know me, know that I’m always cold back home. The next day we were introduced to the faculty and set to work to learn all we could from our hosts. The existing library at VETA Mikumi consists of a small collection of print materials which do not adequately support the students and faculty at the present time. In regard to collections, NSCC Library Services and the South Shore Public Libraries investigated expanding access to wider range of resources by connecting VETA Mikumi to electronic resources (e-books, e-journals and open educational resources) pertinent to their curriculum. After spending time testing and troubleshooting with the help of Chrizostem and Joseph, we had great success in connecting to the electronic resources available in our libraries. In regard to NSCC Library Services in particular, this allows the faculty at VETA Mikumi, who have been enrolled in CCEDP, to access resources to support their continued professional development as well as ongoing curriculum development. In addition to testing and troubleshooting the accessibility of e-resources, the team helped in setting up ESL language training software in the Language Lab and provided training sessions on downloading e-books, evaluating resources on the Internet and a demonstration of the Blackberry Playbook tablet. The Blackberry Playbooks were presented to the faculty for use as a support in their teaching. For example, Ludovic Saronga, a tour guiding faculty member, immediately saw the benefit of using the video recording application as a training tool with students out in the field. He demonstrated this on a tour of the Mikumi National Park where we were guided by Saronga, Patrick and several of their tour guiding students. One of the many highlights of the trip!
I’m pleased to say we were successful in achieving our outcomes for this visit and have come away from the experience with a greater appreciation of the challenges the campus faces in terms of Internet connectivity. I certainly learned that patience is the key and going with the flow is an essential skill in working with the sporadic network connections. However, everyone remains positive that Internet access will improve in the near future with the running of fiber optic cable along the highway from Dar es Salaam.
Our next step for this portion of the project is to complete a report of recommendations for a low cost, flexible solution for a library/learning commons based on the requirements outlined by Principal Christopher Ayo and the faculty.
Asante Sana to NSCC International for this wonderful opportunity and rich learning experience, to my colleagues at South Shore Public Libraries for a rewarding and successful collaboration and to everyone at VETA Mikumi for welcoming us to your campus and taking time out of your busy schedules to work with us.

Andrea Stewart
Director, NSCC Library Services

Posted by NSCC Intl 11:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania library nova scotia e-books Comments (0)

To Mikumi and Beyond. . .

Bringing Social Media Marketing Strategies to Tanzania

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When thinking of cost-efficient and effective ways of marketing today, the use of social media is at the forefront. When challenged with the need of marketing tourism in rural East Africa, social media once again, is where we landed.
NSCC has been partners with the Vocational Training Centre in Mikumi Tanzania (VETA Mikumi) for three years now through an EFE project building capacity in tourism training. Through this project, the students, faculty and administration at VETA Mikumi have established a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on campus to help provide information on their conference centre facilities as well as the surrounding tourist attractions and amenities. The challenge then became how to attract tourists to the TIC and Mikumi in general.
Although there are still several network problems in Tanzania and internet and electricity can’t always be depended on social media sites, especially Facebook, are in high use. The first phase of the marketing strategy thus became establishing a Facebook page promoting the TIC at VETA Mikumi. Faculty and students will add content to the page and help administer it. Links, photos and videos of local hotels and restaurants as well as information on the nearby national park will be added to the page. Eventually we hope to have the Facebook page linked to other websites such as Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet to help drive potential visitors to the page.
During my time in Mikumi in early June, I was able to share the Facebook page with the faculty and administration as well as the plans for future social media marketing. I also had the pleasure of spending some time with a dynamic young woman, Grace Kabogo, who is newly in charge of marketing for the entire VETA system in Tanzania. We were able to discuss a strategy for her to use Facebook, blogs and Twitter to help promote the VETA Centres around the country to potential and current students. Let’s just say it wasn’t long before Grace and I were friends on Facebook.
Overall our mission was a success and I left Mikumi a little dusty and tired but encouraged by the potential we have to share information with an institution such as VETA Mikumi through social media. Tanzania and Nova Scotia may be geographically far apart, but I’m feeling incredibly connected after this experience. Join the VETA Mikumi TIC Facebook group today at www.facebook.com/MikumiTourism

Kellie McMullin
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 11:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania marketing nova scotia media social facebook Comments (0)

NSCC Student as Keynote speaker at 2012 World Congress

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The World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics celebrated its II World Congress “Driving the Global Economy” in Halifax from May 26-29 with delegates from more than 57 countries, event hosted by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and NSCC.
I had the honor to represent the students as keynote speaker at the congress opening ceremony, which was an amazing experience from the beginning to the end. For a few minutes before the opening, the group of speakers met in a conference room, including former president of Mexico Vicente Fox and National Chief Betty Ann Lavallee of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
After the first meeting, we entered the Convention room; it was overwhelming to see the enthusiasm of the people. My heart was pumping faster and faster until the “Moment of the truth” when I walked through the stage and delivered my speech. The end of the presentation was one of those unforgettable moments in life because of the positive response of the audience. I had to confess that it was intimidating presenting to an important group of guests and delegates that crowded the convention centre, but I proved to myself that NSCC students are well prepared to deal with this type of situations.
The next day, I was invited to participate with three other students from NSCC and NSAC in the international students panel “Dialogues Worth Having”. That was another exciting opportunity to share ideas with people from other countries and institutions and also for networking.
The congress is over and I just want to say to the team at NSCC International, thank you!

Nicolas Mendoza
NSCC Business Administration 2012

Posted by NSCC Intl 11:35 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Zoe's Blog

Doing Business in Europe 2012

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I can’t believe it but our time in the Netherland’s has finally come to an end. I am on the train from Groningen to Amsterdam where we will be spending our final night before flying back to Canada tomorrow morning. Yesterday we completed our final exams and presentations. The day began with 14 exams consisting of two questions each. The total writing time for the exam was 2 ½ hours and covered all the topics we learned about during the duration of our program. We then presented our final market entry presentations and law presentations. I think I can safely say we were all relieved to have the final testing completed, but maybe a little sad that it was all over.

Last night we went out for our farewell dinner to a Mexican restaurant in the city center, so yummy! A few celebratory drinks downtown of course, followed the meal.

The ‘Doing Business in Europe Program’ was a once in a lifetime experience which none of us will forget. We met some amazing people and made incredible memories.

Zoe Such
NSCC Business Administration Student

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:32 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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