A Travellerspoint blog


Twice in a Lifetime

South Shore Public Libraries team up with NSCC Library and Tech Services in Mikumi 2013

Well my once in a life trip to Africa came true twice! How lucky can one middle-aged woman get. South Shore Public Libraries was re-invited to participate in the bridge-funding phase of NSCC’s “EFE” project in Mikumi, Tanzania. As I reflect on the trip, while sitting in the departure lounge at Pearson waiting for the final flight of a 20 hour commute, a few highlights come to mind.
First and foremost is the people: Ashley Pinsent-Tobin, Kellie McMullin, Leigh Gagnier, Andrea Stewart and Paul Tweed were a fantastic set of professionals to travel and work with and in a land of very welcoming people the staff and students of VETA Mikumi shared their time and resources in a way that made you feel at home after the first “Karibu”.
The second high point was witnessing the success of the “Library in your pocket” tablets. We learned on an earlier trip Wifi and electricity are not necessarily a daily staple in Mikumi. Therefore the tablets were preloaded with apps and texts that could be used without WiFi, with an emphasis on the tourism and hospitality subject area. Watching the staff and students discover the potential of this learning tool was an incredible experience.
Unlocking the server and reintializing the VETA Mikumi intranet was another great success of the project. Can you imagine functioning without an intranet or internet for 6 months? That was the reality at VETA.
Through emails home and bouncing around ideas between Paul, Selamani, Chrisostom and myself we were able to restore the proxy server and allow file sharing, Wordpress and Moodle to function again. The computer lab can now be reimaged, cleaned up and be made ready for when the ISP shows up to restore the internet. This tech team was also able to find a short-term wireless solution that allows up to 8 people at a time to share a WiFi hotspot. News of this connection spread like wild fire and watching the look of delight on Principal Ayo’s face as he checked his Blackberry and sent an email with an attachment on a laptop simultaneously was a heart warming experience.
The time spent in Mikumi has been an incredible learning experience for me both personally and professionally. Working at a Public Library is a great job; libraries are all about promoting literacy and sharing information and that is what we did in Mikumi. My heartfelt thanks to the NSCC team, the faculty and students of VETA Mikumi, and the SSPL Library Board for allowing me the privilege to participate in this amazing learning project. – Asante sana.

Christina Pottie
Outreach Coordinator
South Shore Public Libraries

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:49 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel it tanzania international library nova scotia e-resources nexus Comments (0)

Paul's Final Thoughts

NSCC Technical Services in Mikumi 2013

As luck would have it, we had another great success with the network at Mikumi on our last day there. With both Selemani and I working on the Intranet issue of Moodle and Wordpress, we finally did get the server to work and access to both of these programs started once again. It was one of those “high five” moments, and we all celebrated the good news.
As access to these programs had been down since last summer, it was wonderful to see the reaction from Selemani and Chrisostom when I pointed at the screen by the server and said “it’s working again”. From an IT perspective, this was the success that many were hoping for. What better way to end our last day there!
At that point, I stepped back because Selemani and Chrisostom began deliberating their plan to get this access to all the workstations. They knew what had to be done, and started on it right away. We had helped them find a solution and now they were planning to implement it.
It was on this high note that we said our goodbyes and left Mikumi. The learning we shared is something none of us will soon forget, and I truly consider myself fortunate to have been part of this. It was fantastic to see my Tanzanian friends again, and although it seems time went by too quickly, I know we’ll keep in touch. Asante sana my friends.

Paul Tweed
NSCC Technical Services
Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel it tanzania international internet nova scotia intranet Comments (0)

Review of a Successful Partnership

Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management

It was wonderful to be back in Tanzania after 2 years to see the progress of this great project “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management” that we started in 2009. We have learned so much over the past 3 years and it’s wonderful to be able to look back and see what we’ve accomplished.
We delivered two presentations on our project during 3rd annual Education for Employment Symposium in Morogoro (a large town in between Dar es Salaam and Mikumi). This symposium is sponsored by ACCC and provides the opportunity for the Tanzanian and Canadian partners for all 12 EFE projects in mining, agriculture and tourism to meet, share experiences and learn from each other. The first presentation was on how we have engaged industry to provide employment and work experience for Mikumi students and graduates and the second presentation highlighted our project achievements. When Christopher Ayo (Principal of VETA Mikumi and my counterpart) got together to work on these presentations, it was amazing to see just how much we have accomplished in the last 3 years. Here are some of the highlights:
• Teacher training and capacity building for Mikumi tourism and hospitality instructors and managers in Nova Scotia and Tanzania which included CCEDP courses, project management, entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, portfolio learning, social media training, IT repair, maintenance and solutions and library service training.
• Creation of a successful and unique Tourist Information Centre and Facebook page
• Creation of a language lab to assist with English and French language learning
• Investment in a computer lab which directly led to an increase in enrollment at VETA Mikumi
• Established an electronic library with tablets full of resources and applications for students and faculty
• Opportunity for Mikumi and NSCC tourism students to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge through two study tours for NSCC students in Tanzania.
I am very proud of the work that we have done on this project and the relationships that have been built. The project brought together some excellent students, staff and faculty from NSCC and beyond (for example, our partnerships with South Shore Public Libraries and the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia) to help us accomplish our goals for the project. Whether it was travelling to Mikumi to deliver training sessions or organizing programs and activities for Mikumi faculty in Nova Scotia, we have had some dedicated people involved in this project including Deans, Principals, Academic Chairs, Directors, Faculty, Staff and Students from Organizational Learning, IT Services, the School of Business, the School of Applied Arts and New Media, Library Services and of course, NSCC International. Asante sana to all of you! You should be proud of the roles you have played in this project and what we’ve accomplished together.

Ashley Pinsent-Tobin
Manager, International Learning Programs
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel tanzania international abroad nova scotia study Comments (0)

A Partnership Worth "Liking"

Social Media Marketing in Mikumi 2013

It poured rain last night but when I woke up this morning the African sun was shining and the VETA Mikumi Tourist Information Centre’s Facebook page had over 2,000 “likes”. I’m currently in Tanzania working with our partner institution, VETA Mikumi, on a social media marketing strategy through the “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management” Education for Employment (EFE) project.
Before leaving Canada, my goal was to drive potential tourists to the Facebook page in order to increase the visibility of the Tourist Information Centre that has been established at the VETA Mikumi campus. At the time the page had 70 fans and not much engagement. I designed a Facebook ad targeting Tanzania and the U.K. and by the time I landed in Dar es Salaam two days later, the ad had driven almost 500 new fans to the page, almost all of them Tanzanian. This is exactly what I had hoped for, Tanzania loves Facebook and with the use of mobile devices most people here have it at their fingertips.
Last time I was in Mikumi doing social media training with students and faculty, we had very little access to the Internet which made things quite difficult. However, on this occasion, because of the great work of the library and technical services team I was travelling with, we were able to access Internet easily.
Mr. Ludovic Saronga (tour guiding teacher at VETA Mikumi) and I immediately got to work increasing engagement with our new fans. Mr. Saronga was able to reply to all of the comments and questions written in Swahili and he got the hang of it quickly.
One of the most innovative activities we did with the page was a discussion between International Tourism students and faculty at NSCC and Mr. Saronga. The students asked him questions about culture, tourism and wildlife in Tanzania and he was able to answer them on the Facebook page itself! It was a huge success and the fact that Mr. Saronga and I were sitting on an outdoor terrace in the jungle (with bush babies ready to pounce on us – we think they like Facebook too) was an incredible experience. This was truly international learning through technology.
I look forward to the continued partnership with Mr. Saronga and VETA Mikumi, even from my desk in Nova Scotia. I believe the Tourist Information Centre will receive more activity over the next year or so and that tourism in Mikumi will benefit from the work we've done with social media.

Oh, and if you have the time. . .www.facebook.com/MikumiTourism

Kellie McMullin
International Learning Associate
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:26 Archived in Tanzania Tagged travel tanzania tourism marketing nova scotia media social facebook Comments (0)

Carrying a Library in your Pocket

NSCC Library Services at VETA Mikumi 2013

DSC_6109.jpg tablet_training.jpg
As we prepare for our last training session at VETA Mikumi and get ready to say our goodbyes to this beautiful country and the many friends we’ve made during our time here, I reflect on the many successes we’ve experienced in the library and IT portion of the “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Training” project and all we’ve learned along the way.
In this final phase of the project, the library team, Leigh Gagnier, NSCC Electronic Services Librarian, Christina Pottie, South Shore Public Libraries Outreach Coordinator, and I identified and purchased e-books and apps to build an electronic library of resources to support the needs of the faculty and students in their teaching and learning. These e-resources were pre-loaded onto tablets as a convenient and flexible library solution, a ‘library in your pocket’.
It was especially exciting to witness the practical application of these tablets in both the Tour Guiding classroom and in the field. For example, when Tour Guiding instructors Ludovic Saronga and Patrick Kipinga took their students and the NSCC team on safari, the tablets quickly became a teaching tool. As Saronga pointed out various bird species in the Mikumi National Park, Patrick supplemented the lesson by showing the students photos of the birds and playing the bird calls. Having this portable library of resources at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere, creates a rich learning environment and is a wonderful supplement to the curriculum.
Also, thanks to our creative NSCC IT specialist, Paul Tweed and ICT instructor Selemani Mbaga, a solution was found to bring wireless access to the campus making the tablets an even more robust tool by allowing faculty to access the Internet for an even broader range of resources.
There have been many lessons learned from our experiences with this project which we believe will be of benefit to future International projects as well as enable us to further enhance our own e-book program within the NSCC library system. Asante sana to the faculty and students of VETA Mikumi who have taught us so much and made this project such a memorable experience.

Andrea Stewart
Director, Library Services

Posted by NSCC Intl 03:53 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel tanzania international library nova scotia resources electronic e-books Comments (0)

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