Posts tagged as: chief

County Chief Says Operation Has Reduced Shabaab Attacks

Photo: Kalume Kazungu/The Nation

Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo.

By Kalume Kazungu

Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has defended the ongoing multi-agency security operation in Boni Forest saying it has greatly reduced Al-Shabaab attacks and attempts in the county by almost 80 percent.

The operation, which is conducted by various security agencies led by the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Police Service was launched by former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery in 2015 with an objective of flushing out Al-Shabaab militants said to be hiding deep within the dense forest.

Addressing journalists in his office on Tuesday, Mr Kitiyo said the operation had successfully infiltrated the Al-Shabaab modus operandi and hence they were a step ahead of the militia group who have been conducting savage attacks on the military and police with civilians being caught in the melee on most occasions.

“We have really achieved a lot since Operation Linda Boni started two years ago. I can confidently say that the capacity of Al-Shabaab to attack in large numbers has been cut by a larger margin. It has reduced by almost 80 per cent. That means we are making reasonable progress,” said Mr Kitiyo.

SUCCESSFUL

About a week ago, Operation Linda Boni Director Joseph Kanyiri said the security units conducting the operation had successfully destroyed three key Al-Shabaab hideouts at Lango la Simba in Witu Division which borders Boni forest.

Mr Kitiyo said the national government will not retreat in their quest to rid the forest and Lamu County as a whole of Al-Shabaab elements.

He said the government had posted enough officers and facilitated the operation with equipment to ensure the exercise is a success.

The county chief said Operation Linda Boni had specifically been successful in the war on Al-Shabaab and that more efforts were still being put in place to ensure the main mission is achieved in the coming days.

He added that before the operation, Al-Shabaab would attack using vehicles and other machines but since launching the operation, movement of the militias had been paralysed and so the group had resolved to using local agents within the community to organise and carry out attacks.

COOPERATE

Mr Kitiyo also asked members of the public to cooperate with security agents by surrendering any useful information to security forces.

“We are alert and we call on members of the public to cooperate with us in order to completely rid Lamu of Al-Shabaab. As government, we won’t rest until we win this war on terrorism,” he said.

Lamu is home to mega investment projects including the Sh 2.5 trillion Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project, the proposed Sh 200 billion Coal-fired Power Plant, Sh 21 billion Wind Power project and the multimillion Zarara Oil and Gas Exploration in Pate Island, all these projects, Mr Kitiyo said are making the national government to work hard in ensuring peace and stability in the region.

Mr Kitiyo’s sentiments come a few weeks after Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa poked holes in the Operation Linda Boni and asked why it was taking so long to achieve its objective as Al-Shabaab continue to attack and kill civilians and security officers in the region.

Mr Marwa asked those involved to either up their game or be reshuffled adding that the operation was not bearing fruit due to the laxity and laziness of the officers involved.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Kenyan Judiciary On the Defence

By Charles Omondi

Kenya’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has defended itself against sustained attacks by the political leaders and their supporters.

Addressing a live television press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, Chief Justice and JSC President David Maraga said members of his team were ready to pay the ultimate price in the defence of the rule of law.

Judge Maraga re-affirmed the independence of the Judiciary and the commitment of the members to the execution of their mandate.

Act on threats

He expressed dismay that the Inspector General of Police, Mr Joseph Boinet, had failed to act on threats to the lives of the judicial officers.

The Judiciary has come under sustained attacks by the ruling Jubilee coalition leaders and their supporters since the annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August 8 re-election.

Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of Jubilee supporters held demonstrations outside the Supreme Court in Nairobi, accusing the country’s top court of “stealing their victory”.

Paralysed transport

Waving placards, the demonstrators, mostly youth, accused the judges of rendering an illegal judgment.

Other demonstrations were also held in the Jubilee in central Kenya and the Rift Valley, the respective homes of President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

The demonstrators paralysed transport on sections of Kenya’s main artery from Nairobi and the border with Uganda.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Zimbabwe: City Council to Sell Part of Harare Gardens

By Ishemunyoro Chingwere

The City of Harare is pressing ahead with the proposed sale of a portion of the Harare Gardens for the expansion of Monomotapa Hotel to encompass a Conference Centre, Car Park and related ancillary facilities. The proposed sale which has been on the cards for over a year had been affected by bickering in council chambers but in July the matter was put to vote with a majority of the councillors voting in favour of the deal which will see the City pocketing $1,76 million.

The deal will see the hospitality group, African Sun Ltd, getting about 2, 205 hectares of the Harare Gardens for the construction of a $25 million facility while the City will be left with about 17 hectares.

In a notice published yesterday, the City – in terms of Section 49 (4) of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) invited individuals objecting to the sale to lodge their reservations within 30 days.

“Notice is hereby given, in terms of section 49 (4) of the Act, of an application to change the reservation of portion of the remainder of the Harare Gardens, Harare from Public Open space and Recreation to licensed residential (Hotel and Conference Centre) and Car park.

“The property in question which is owned by City of Harare, is zoned Public Open Space and Recreation in terms of the operative City of Harare City Centre local development plan number 22. The proposal seeks to carve-off a portion of the property measuring approximately 2 205 hectares for the expansion of Monomotapa Hotel.

“Any person wishing to lodge objections or make representations must lodge them, in writing with the undersigned within 30 days from the date of the first insertion of this notice,” reads the public notice.

The proposed sale is a follow up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2010 between African Sun as a founder for the joint venture agreement for development of a shopping mall and expansion of the Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel.

As previously reported by this publication, in terms of the envisaged joint venture, three floors of parking, commercial shopping facilities, commercial offices, executive residential apartments and the expansion of the hotel were going to be undertaken.

Addressing shareholders in June this year, ASL’s major shareholder, Brainworks Capital chief executive Mr George Manyere said the group was committed to the project which will give the hotel a competitive advantage against regional and international peers.

“It is a $25 million investment and it is a development we are committed to,” Mr Manyere told shareholders in June.

“We are still in discussion with the City of Harare to get that land near Monomotapa for the expansion project,” he said.

Zimbabwe

Grace Mugabe’s Son Buys U.S.$300,000 Rolls Royce

ZANU PF legislator Mayor Wadyajena has scornfully celebrated the alleged acquisition of a pricey Rolls Royce vehicle by… Read more »

Botswana: Govt Seeks Option to Buy Unusually Big Diamonds From Its Mines

Photo: Lucara

Diamond

Botswana is amending its law to give the government the first option to buy diamonds that are unusually large or have other unusual features found in its mines, such as the world’s second-biggest 1,109 carat diamond discovered two years ago.

The cornerstone of Botswana’s success has been one commodity, diamonds, coupled with a rigid adherence to prudent use of revenues, a rarity on a continent where natural riches are routinely squandered or stolen, or the cause of civil war.

A draft bill amending the Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act says any producer coming into possession of what it terms an “unusual” rough or uncut diamond shall notify the minister within 30 days after which government shall have the first option to buy the stone.

The bill did not give a precise definition of “unusual.”

But an official told a local newspaper that it referred to stones that were unusually large, were particularly clear or had an unusual colour.

Moses Tshetlhane, chief minerals officer in the Mineral Resources Minister, told Mmegi Newspaper the amendment was motivated by the recovery of “Lesedi La Rona,” or “Our Light,” the largest diamond uncovered in over a century.

“The price to be paid by government for a rough or uncut precious stone offered for sale by the producer shall be agreed between the parties in accordance with the current market price of the rough or uncut precious stone,” the bill says.

The tennis ball-sized stone was found in November 2015 at Lucara Diamond Corp’s mine in Botswana and is yet to find a buyer after it failed to sell at Sotheby’s auction house in June 2016.

“These outliers carry special features and any producer would celebrate such or even have them in museums as national treasures. So it is not unusual for governments to have options in such unusual diamonds,” Tshetlhane said.

Lucara also unearthed another 812.77 carat stone, The Constellation, at the same mine, which fetched $63 million at an auction in 2016.

Botswana

Continent Is Rich in Diamonds but Still Poor

For months now, Africa’s rough diamonds have been increasing in value but the sale proceeds do not reach the people.… Read more »

Ex-Funyula MP Otuoma Joins DP Ruto’s Camp

By Gaitano Pessa

Deputy President William Ruto returned to Busia County Monday where he received former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma to the Jubilee team, as the party intensified campaigns in areas perceived to be Nasa strongholds ahead of the October 17 repeat presidential poll.

Hosting the DP and more than 1,000 Jubilee delegates at his home, he announced that he had decamped to Jubilee and he would support the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The visit by Mr Ruto, who also addressed another delegation at the home of former Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, comes a week after President Kenyatta received a delegation of politicians from Western region at State House.

MISTAKE

Mr Ruto also addressed residents of Bumula in Bungoma County during the homecoming of area MP Mwambu Mabonga.

Dr Otuoma, who vied for the governor seat as an independent candidate and lost to Mr Sospeter Ojaamong, criticised Nasa leader Raila Odinga and asked Busia people to ditch ODM.

“You cannot call yourself a national leader and behind closed doors you are dividing the same people supporting you,” he said.

“Nasa did not want me. Raila will realise that he made a mistake by deciding to take sides in Busia governorship contest.”

CIVIC EDUCATION

Dr Otuoma accused Mr Odinga of being self-centered and using those close to him to propagate his own agenda.

“We want to be in the government. We know we are going to surpass the 35,000 votes Jubilee got in Busia in last month’s polls as our contribution to Uhuruto,” he said.

Busia Elders Council said the decision to support Jubilee was arrived at unanimously following “wide consultation with the electorate on September 5, 2017”.

In a memorandum read out by secretary George Wesonga, the elders promised to deliver 71 percent of the votes through rigorous civic education.

“We are determined to deliver over 100,000 votes to Uhuruto’s basket in the repeat election slated for October 17. We also need to be pro-active and partners in the Jubilee government,” Mr Wesonga said.

PRIORITIES

The elders requested the Jubilee administration to, among other things, develop Malaba dry port, Mulwanda border point, which was commissioned by former President Mwai Kibaki, upgrade Bumbe TTC to a national polytechnic, and give a charter to Alupe University College.

They also requested the government to open Busibwabo and Olepito sugar factories, and tarmac major roads in the county.

Other leaders who attended the meeting were Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, National Assembly Chief Whip and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, Kimilili MP Didimus Wekesa and Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

ELECTION

Others were former MPs Mary Emase (Teso South), Arthur Odera (Teso North), Chris Okemo (Nambale), Fred Gumo (Westlands) and Agricultural Finance Corporation managing director Lucas Meso.

The Deputy President accused the Nasa team of sowing seeds of division and hatred among Kenyans.

He noted that despite disagreeing with the Supreme Court ruling that nullified President Kenyatta’s win in last month’s General Election, they were ready for a repeat election set for October 17.

“Who is he (in reference to Mr Odinga) to stop Kenyans from voting. The right to vote by Kenyans is not negotiable,” he said.

ROADS

At the same time, the DP said the government would complete the 120km Manyasi-Ruambwa-Port Victoria, Malaba-Moding-Lwakhakha and Malaba-Adunguso-Busia roads.

He added that upgrading of Matayos-Sio Port-Port Victoria road would start in the next six months.

“Sigiri and Mulwanda bridges are on our radar at cost of Sh400 million together with Mulwanda border post that will be constructed before the end of the year,” he said.

Additional reporting by Titus Oteba

Naivas, Carrefour Front Runners to Take Nakumatt TRM Space

By Stellar Murumba

Naivas and Carrefour supermarkets are front runners to take over space vacated by the troubled Nakumatt Holdings at the Thika Road Mall (TRM).

Nakumatt, in a notice posted at the TRM entrance on Monday, said it had closed what has been one of its flagship stores to allow for stock taking.

TRM chief operating officer, Bashir Dalvi, however said they are in talks with Nakumatt to have them exit the space due to mounting rent arrears.

The Naivas Supermarket chief operating officer, Willy Kimani said in an interview the retailer has “very high interests” of occupying the space if rendered available.

“Interests are there to occupy TRM and if the space is rendered available we shall go through our acquisition processes,” said Mr Kimani in a telephone interview.

“We are actually the most sought-after retailer now and we are doing quite well especially with our new brand – food market – which can do well in such a space.”

Mr Kimani said they are yet to start talks with TRM but they are set to do so once the greenlight is given.

Mr Dalvi said all major retailers are fighting for the space but they cannot confirm when it would be available until Nakumatt exits.

“Just like in any negotiations we cannot give a timeframe when Nakumatt would exit, it could be months, it could be weeks,” said Mr Dalvi.

“We wish to get done with this as soon as possible so that we can all go back to our normal lives.”

A source privy to the matter said there have been high interests from other partners to occupy the TRM space, with French retail giant Carrefour also among the front runners.

Efforts to reach Carrefour for comments were unsuccessful. Nakumatt TRM– the retailer’s 39th store in East Africa at the time of opening — began operations in 2013 at the first mega shopping complex along the Thika superhighway occupying a floor space of 80,000 square feet.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Business People Fret About Kenya’s Economy

By Silas Apollo and Barnabas Bii

The business community has warned that the economy is in danger of total decline and urged politicians to strike a quick deal to end the stalemate over the repeat election.

On Monday, three business associations said the country was experiencing slow growth, a sharp dip in profits, drop in employment rates and markets taking a beating since campaigns began in June.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (Kam) and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) warned that the political tension could lead to inflation and an unpredictable economy.

INVESTORS

Kepsa and KAM said most businesses are witnessing a wait-and-see approach by both local and foreign investors, a situation that could be worsened by the delayed decision-making process ahead of the election.

Kepsa chief executive officer Caroline Kariuki said activities at the Mombasa port, lending, foreign exchange, employment and international trade could be the most hit by the extended campaigns.

TRADING

Early this month, the shilling fell by as much as 0.32 percent, as trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was temporarily halted because of panicky transactions mostly by foreign investors, barely an hour after the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the presidential election.

The trading meltdown at the securities market extended to Monday with investors warning that the poor returns could spell a doom for markets.

“Today’s turnover at NSE is about Sh400 million. Definitely the election and its uncertainties is affecting our securities market,” investment banker Jimnah Mbaru said.

TOURISM

Ms Kariuki said: “With the prolonged electioneering period, the country is expected to witness slowdown in business in various sectors that can lead to economic decline and thus keeping with the set dates of elections is welcome.”

The country’s economy, billed as the biggest in East Africa, also relies on tourism.

The sector has however, suffered a beating in the past following disputes arising from elections including the 2007-8 post-poll violence.

PROFITS

Kam chief executive officer Phyllis Wakiaga said a survey done on industries showed at least 57 percent of the respondents said the months preceding the elections would be bleak in terms of new orders, profits, employment and volume output.

“Our economy has been flattening since the beginning of the year and this typically happens in any General Election,” she said.

“This means that we need to start visualising elections, not as a stand-alone occurrence that paralyses our lives and suspends the certainty of our livelihoods, but as part and parcel of our daily decision making.”

KNCCI national vice chairman Laban Onditi said the prolonged political uncertainty was scaring away local and foreign investors and called on the government and the Opposition to resolve contentious issues.

Tanzania: State Injects U.S.$38 Million into Rural Communication

Photo: Mohamed Mambo/Daily News

Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, peruses a document at a base station as a Tanzania Telecommunications Limited official, Thomas Damian (holding microphone) makes clarifications. Looking on is Universal Communications Service Access Fund Chief Executive Officer Eng Peter Ulanga and financiers of the countrywide telecom towers project. Right is District Commissioner Elizabeth Kitundu.

By Katare Mbashiru in Dodoma

About three million Tanzanians in rural areas have accessed communication services under the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF).

According to Works, Transport and Communication Minister, Professor Makame Mbarawa, the government has so far spent over 85bn/- to provide rural dwellers in 3,000 villages with communication services.

The minister was speaking here after a two-day working tour of Dodoma and Morogoro regions to launch the rural telecommunication projects under the joint execution by UCSAF and Viettel Tanzania Limited. Viettel Tanzania, trading as Halotel, is a mobile communications company that provides voice, messaging, data and converged services in the country.

Viettel Global, the state-owned investment firm from Vietnam owns Halotel, which has invested in Telecommunications market in several countries. During the tour, the minister was accompanied by UCSAF Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Peter Ulanga and UCSAF Board Chairman, Dr Joseph Kilongola, among others.

The team launched telecom towers in Bahi, Chamwino, Kondoa and Gairo districts at the launching ceremonies attended by area residents and District Commissioners (DCs).

Engineer Ulanga said the government in 2014 sealed a deal with Halotel on the supply of communication services to 4,000 villages, expressing optimism that all the underserved parts of the country will have reliable communication services, including speedy internet services by 2020.

“Our main goal as the government is to ensure that we provide communication services to all … we are glad that we have so far covered many villages,” he said.

Addressing Letungunya villagers in Gairo District’s Kibede ward, few minutes before launching Halotel’s communication tower, the minister said the government is determined to connect all villages in the country to uninterrupted communications.

“Communication sector is key for the national economy and all people, including those living in rural areas … that is why we want you to access the same services as Dar es Salaam residents or any other big city in this country,” he said.

At Nondwa ward in Bahi District, the minister launched Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) communication tower, warning residents against vandalising the communication infrastructure.

He asked Tanzanians to ensure that they use the communication networks for development, instead of disseminating seditious or abusive materials.

Dodoma’s TTCL Regional Manager Humphrey Ngowi said apart from availing communications to rural dwellers, the communication infrastructure also creates jobs

Tanzania

Well-Wishers Raise U.S.$47,000 for MP’s Hospital Bill

A total of $47,547 (Sh106 million) has been raised for the treatment of Singida East MP and Tanganyika Law Society (TLS)… Read more »

Well-Wishers Raise U.S.$47,000 for MP’s Hospital Bill

Photo: The Citizen

Singida East Mamber of Parliament Tundu Lissu

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam — A total of $47,547 (Sh106 million) has been raised for the treatment of Singida East MP and Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) president Tundu Lissu, who is still admitted to a Nairobi hospital after he was shot by unidentified assailants on September 7.

The money has been donated by Chadema and other people residing in and outside the country. Chadema supporters in the Diaspora have started an online fundraising campaign through https://www.gofundme.com/Lissumedicalcare/donate to raise funds to enable Mr Lissu to be flown the United States of America or further treatment.

As we went to the press yesterday evening, $17,812 (about Sh36.9 million) had been donated by Mr Lissu’s sympathisers through the online campaign. The amount was raised by 360 people since the campaign started five days ago.

Speaking to The Citizen in a telephone interview yesterday, Chadema Director of Foreign Communications and Foreign Affairs John Mrema said the party had raised $30,000 from well-wishers through bank accounts and mobile money banking.

After Mr Lissu was assaulted, Chademab well-wishers started raising funds to facilitate his treatment.

Chadema plans to raise $50,000 (about Sh111.25 million) for the purpose.

Some dignitaries, including retired Chief Justice Mohamed Othman Chande, have visited Mr Lissu in Nairobi.

Kigoma Urban Member of Parliament Zitto Kabwe, who was in Nairobi recently, writes on his Facebook account that he spoke to Mr Lissu. He says Mr Lissu told him that they had won. “I spoke to Lissu and he told me that we have won and we will win,” writes Mr Kabwe.

Mr Lissu was shot several times by unidentified assailants in his stomach and legs. On Friday Chadema denied reports in a section of Tanzanian media that the fiery Tanzanian opposition Chief Whip’s condition worsened after developing a chest infection, while receiving treatment in Nairobi.

Mr Lissu was flown to the Nairobi hospital after being briefly admitted to Dodoma Hospital as he sustained gun wounds that left him fighting for his life.

Journalists have not been allowed to see or speak to the leader, who was reportedly shot by between 21 and 25 bullets just after he arrived at his Dodoma resident and before he disembarked from his car.

Chadema National Chairman Freeman Mbowe told the media the politician was able to speak, eat some food and even receive some visitors under the strict supervision of a team of doctors attending to him.

“Mr Lissu is able to speak and has even been receiving some visitors although under the strict supervision of a team of doctors attending to him. Despite the large number of visitors wishing to see him, he is only allowed to see a limited number of them since the doctors would like him to have as much bed rest as possible for a speedy recovery,” Mr Mbowe, he was quoted as saying.

The Chadema party boss noted that Mr Lissu had sent greetings to well-wishers, his fellow parliamentarians and also asked people not to allow dictatorial regimes to exist in Africa.”Mr Lissu has sent his greetings to the people of East Africa, his fellow parliamentarians and all well-wishers. He has asked them not to allow dictatorial regimes to control the affairs and destiny of the nations of Africa since they have made the continent lag behind in development and democracy,” Mr Mbowe said.

Tanzania Staying Ahead in E-Education System

By Hellen Nachilongo

Throughout the world, there’s been a rise in the number of students who opt to study courses online. Online learning has been deemed as the greatest revolution in contemporary education system. This is because the traditional system of education is still full of challenges. Even as the government strive to make strides by establishing free education, there are still loopholes. However, e-learning has made great changes to the education system and opened great opportunities for everyone who wants to learn.

One among such online education platforms in Tanzania is Shule Direct. Ever since its establishment in 2013, Shule Direct, a social enterprise that provides digital study tools for Tanzanian secondary students has benefited about 1.1 million students and teachers through its online platform.

Some of the best teachers in the country are involved to create digitized notes, tutorials, quizzes, podcasts and videos, while developing technological solutions to deliver to students across the country.

Since its establishment students have been able to access different subjects and textbooks through mobile phone.

The move was not to replace formal school education but to support students with special learning needs who need flexibility in learning or students with physical disabilities that restrict their access to school material; this technology meets their learning demands.

Its founder and Chief Executive Officer Ms Faraja Nyalandu explained she never thought her idea of starting an online platform would grow, though she pursued her masters in law through online studies.

Ease access to education

According to the founder of the online platform, the idea of technology was to help students, teachers, expectant mothers and mothers to access educational material wherever they are without any inconvenience.

“As a wife, I got my first and second pregnancy during my masters course, as a result it was not easy to fully attend classes but through online technology, I was able to access and exchange learning materials with fellow students and was also able to write my course work and submit to my lecturers while looking after my two children and performing home duties, “she said.

The need to provide students with another alternative of accessing school materials led to the establishment of the online feature. Through mobile technology several students have been provided with educational information wherever they are. The problem of lack of access to learning material still persists to a larger extent for majority of students in Tanzania. Many students still have to go to the library in search of textbooks, while some cannot access any reading materials at all.

Ms Nyalandu believes that the provision of mobile technology in education has the potential to overcome several barriers experienced in the sector and it also enhances the learning environment. “Mobile learning if well harnessed can contribute to the improvement of the quality of education provided to students,” she says.

Tanzania’s education system is facing its share of challenges, 67 per cent of assigned teachers in public schools are not teaching due to various reasons. There is a current annual demand of 26,000 Science and Mathematics teachers with an output of only 1000 teachers per year.

She says her organisation is working to change this by creating the best content from qualified teachers that can be accessed via an online educational repository. The organisation is giving an opportunity to children in Tanzania to learn and realize their full potential.

So far they have created a cloud-based repository with content organized and mapped to the local curriculum. It can hold varied content from text based notes and quizzes, to engaging podcasts and fully animated videos, in order to cater for every learning need. It has an Application Programmer’s Interface (API) that provides a unified interface to pull appropriate content to different devices and platforms.

The subjects include core mandatory subjects of Biology, Mathematics, History, Geography, English, Civics and Kiswahili and two Science subjects of Physics and Chemistry that even though they are not compulsory, these subjects suffer from a combination of a lack of qualified teachers, qualified resources, and minimal students’ interest.

“Qualified, accessible educational content is every child’s right and not a privilege, we believe a lot of people will join the movement and be a catalyst to ensure that students access education material anytime and anywhere,” she said.

She says through mobile technology students are able to ask teacher and get response on different academic and student support matters by using text message (sms) through an ‘ask Ticha Kidevu’ feature.

“Therefore, for our content map, the teachers have developed learning notes, revision quizzes, bilingual science concepts and mock exams,” she explains. This is the initial level of content that must be developed before it can be digitally developed into other formats such as audio or audiovisual.

Ms Nyalandu said they have built the educational content repository, testing and restructuring the API as content is being built, “our developers develop and design web portals such as the Open Educational Resource and the Learning Management System and mobile applications and services that pull content from the repository via the API,” she notes, adding, “We are building apps for SMS, smartphones, web and even Facebook, so students can access content from our repository on whatever devices they have. These applications will feed student data back, so that the whole system adapts to each student’s needs.”

Learning better

Twiga hosting Limited (THL) co-founder Jacob Urasa, said children with access to safe internet learn better, gain self-confidence and are able to retain what they search for much longer than what they gain through traditional learning. “Though if misused mobile platforms could be harmful, but when used well act as good learning tools.”

According to him, science and technology plays a vital role in today’s lives and several fields such as health, transport, education, business, finance, entrepreneurship, production and manufacturing therefore if students embrace innovation well it gives them room to perform better in class and access learning materials without any inconvenience.

He said his online platform is used as educational and assessment tool for secondary school students.

“Students get Free Online educational assessment tools, which is the same as doing online exams, quizzes or tests. The system is capable of marking and providing results and solutions. One review paper can be released daily for 30 days,” said Urasa. THL was established to enable Tanzania stay ahead of e-education game in Africa and globally, more than ever before.

Martha Nelson, 16, a Form Four student at one of the schools in Kinondoni region said accessing educational materials online has been helpful to her especially during free time because she doesn’t have to go to the library.

“Sometimes one might go to the library but he/she might not find the textbook they want to read, another scenarios include finding the book you want to read at the library, but find a few pages missing from the book,” she said.

Martha explained that using mobile or any other digital technology to access material or is very convenient and has helped her perform better during exams.

Bridging the knowledge and skills gap

Shule Direct is keen to develop a youth capacity building program to bridge the knowledge and skills gap between education and careers. They are currently piloting it and it will be underway in December this year.

Ms Nyalandu said they want to provide on demand market responsive courses for young learners to facilitate their career growth in either employment or entrepreneurship and unleash their potential.

“Our next goal is to create high quality, detailed videos of secondary school subjects with a special focus on science practical experiments for biology, physics and chemistry,” she said.

These videos can be delivered to students via various channels including Shule Direct’s online web platform, pre-installation on educational devices, streaming to web-enabled devices and television broadcast.

In Tanzania for example, many students never get the chance to enter a science laboratory or perform a single science experiment before their national exams, this situation is mirrored in other African nations.

Many students resort to memorizing experimental procedures and results, but having never performed or seen the experiments, they lack fundamental understanding of the science concepts involved and the chance to apply the theoretical knowledge that they have gained in reading and classroom lectures.

With the rise of technology, it is becoming more convenient for students to access different reading materials online. Online platforms help fill in the gaps left by traditional learning tools which are filled with multiple challenges. The government should therefore enhance easy access to technology as an alternative way of helping solve some of the problems experienced in the education sector.

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