A Travellerspoint blog

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)

Making a Connection

NSCC Technical Services at VETA Mikumi 2013

They say there’s a first time for everything. Well, my writing a blog is one of them.
As I sit here in my room at VETA Mikumi thinking about the past week, I’m surrounded by the noises close by; to my left, people talking as they walk in and out of the kitchen area. To my right, sounds of clanging dishes, possibly being washed in a sink. Both in their own way reflect the learning happening around us, and instead of being a distraction from this blog they are actually contributing to it. Amazing.
So, where do I begin?
Being an unseasoned traveller with a measurable dislike of air travel, the opportunity to be part of this team was too great to give up for such a minor reason. Grin and bear it are the words that come to mind. And yes, I am glad I did. The friendship and genuine desire to learn was apparent when I met those who travelled to Canada for CCEDP in 2010 and 2011. It was surprising how quick we became friends. And remembering those people played a part when I was asked to join the trip this year to Tanzania. It would be nice to see them all again.
What have I learned since our adventure began? For one, I now know to expect breakfast, lunch and supper within a 3 to 4 hour span when changing time zones from west to east. Bring plenty of tums. I’ve also learned that my Tanzanian friends haven’t changed at all. They are still the friendly, caring people I remember, all sharing the same appetite to learn.
I’ve also learned much about the computer network here. The work that Dave Arthur and Darlene Redmond did in 2011 can be seen throughout the server room, language lab, ICT lab and what I call the business class lab where they learn Microsoft Office apps. The down side to this is that the Internet Service Provider here stopped providing that service last August so there has been no internet connection for the network here since then.
We did have good network news this week though. One of our wireless solutions began providing wireless access to the internet, and you could almost feel the excitement as people connected their devices to the Net. It’s simply a mobile wifi device that accesses the internet through cellular, and can provide access for up to 8 different devices at a time. Although small, I would consider it mighty. And it’s most certainly a step in the right direction. I understand we will be purchasing another similar device, so it’s possible that one may be used to provide internet access in the Tourist Information Centre, while the other may be used in the Administration Block. We also brought D-Link devices that would provide access much the same however they need compatible wireless sticks (the ones we had weren’t compatible).
I’ve also been in touch with Dave and Darlene through email and they have given me suggestions on how to get some server problems fixed. Access to the Wordpress and Moodle apps which were installed on the server halted in June 2012 so I will attempt to repair them before leaving Tuesday.
It’s difficult to put into words just how so little can have such a huge affect here. From an IT perspective, these simple wireless devices we’ve provided will allow much needed internet access to information that, for the past 6 months, has been unreachable. The new tablets that have been distributed will be able to update wirelessly, and from what I’ve seen, they are a tool that faculty and students here will constantly use to teach and learn.
I can’t close and finish this blog until we leave Tanzania so I will leave it open ended and for the time being will sign off saying “to be continued.......”

Paul Tweed
Technical Services
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 03:52 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education it tanzania international nova scotia ict Comments (2)

Walk Up the Hill

NSCC Library Services in Mikumi Tanzania 2013

Yesterday we climbed the hill on Mikumi Campus. Guided by Saronga, the Tour Guiding Instructor who has been accompanying us during much of our stay here, we stopped at different work shops on the way. Bricklaying, carpentry, and secretarial. We met faculty and students and even had an impromptu instructional session with a few faculty and the Nexus tablets we brought with us. We continued up the hill to a narrow steep dirt and rock path that carried up between strange trees. At the top, the view of Mikumi village and the surrounding mountains was beautiful. It is strange to see so much green and lushness after being in Nova Scotia winter for months. Saronga’s office and classroom are both on the top of the hill – surrounded by the stunning views and sounds of the countryside. We attended his class where he gave his students, and us, a lesson in vertebrate and invertebrate taxonomy. He is begninng his lessons with his students by explaining the importance of plants and animals and our relationships with them. After his lesson I introduced the Nexus tablets explaining them as small, portable libraries. And we broke into small groups with the students and demonstrated how to use the eBooks and Tour Guiding Apps. They loved the tablets and had many questions about how to use them, they learned quickly and soon looked like experienced users.
They seemed to really love learning and asking me questions about Canada and what I thought of Tanzania. They show such genuine happiness and interest, it is incredible.
Tanzanians have big smiles, and they are given often. They say hello for ages and in many different ways, hand shaking the whole time. Much is made of asking “how are you” and saying “you are welcome”. It is wonderful, the kindness is as warm as the sun. I have not yet figured out “farewell” or “goodbye” as “hello” and “welcome” seem more impotant. I can see why though – I think it ill be very difficult to say goodbye to these people and this place. I already feel at home.

Leigh Gagnier
Electronic Services Librarian

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:32 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania nova scotia ebooks resources electronic libraries Comments (0)

Alex's Final Thoughts

Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment Exchange to the Netherlands 2013

As a collective, the other Nova Scotia students and I decided to travel early to Europe in order to get to know each other and have some pre-project fun. This may have been one of the best decisions we made on this trip, it gave us the opportunity to get to know and trust each other.
After our short time in Amsterdam we travelled to Groningen, to meet up with the rest of the Canadians and Dutch students. Upon our arrival in Groningen we settled into our hostel that we would be staying in for the majority of our trip.

I travelled to Brussels on our travel weekend, there was a little mix up on the trains during my travel, but I suppose that just adds to the experience. It’s funny that such a small amount of snow can cripple a whole train system. It all worked out in the end however. I enjoyed my time in Brussels; it’s a big city with lots going on. Brussels is one of those places you would have to stick in for a while to really get to know it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of time. I had the opportunity to meet some great people in the hostel in Brussels.

On our last weekend the other Nova Scotia students and I travelled to Gent, almost trouble free. We spent a night at a great Bed and Breakfast called “The Black Hole.” I found Gent to be much more welcoming, and the people to be much friendlier than Brussels. I got to taste some classic Belgian chocolate, which I brought back to Canada. We also got to taste some delicious classic Dutch candies from a kiosk in a small market area. After our short time in Gent it was time to leave for Schiphol to catch our plane. Our trek back to Schiphol was not without its own complications and pure luck. At one point we ended up on a high-speed train in first class (quite an experience in itself).

I think it is fair to say that we have all made many friends along this trip; which, in itself is possibly the biggest thing I’ve gained from this experience. We went to a lot of very interesting places, and saw a lot of cool things. I myself have taken hundreds of pictures in hopes I won’t forget anything I’ve experienced on this trip. It was a trip of a lifetime. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip. Our project went well. I had the opportunity to work with an excellent group of Dutch students and another Canadian. I am looking forward to seeing five of our Dutch classmates during the second half of this exchange in May. On our turf!

Alex Fraughton
NSCC Student, Electrical Engineering Technology
Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:54 Archived in Netherlands Tagged education netherlands energy abroad nova scotia study efficiency Comments (0)

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