THURSDAY November 2, 2023
By Patty Magubira
Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
Are you an African? Write, write and write to get the continent out of an ugly colour foreigners have for decades painted through their skewed narratives.
Authors of personal essays, fairy tales, short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, autobiographies, histories and even news stories have all along been portraying Africa as the darkest, hopeless and helpless continent.
Tanzania’s civil society organisations have embarked on a campaign to counter the foreigners’ ravaging narratives by mobilising youth to frequently write their own stories.
To begin with, they are running a contest aimed at promoting the culture of giving, showcasing methods and trends of giving and celebrating the generosity of the youth towards their communities.
The contest also serves as a platform for the youth to share their giving stories and more importantly, inspire and empower fellow youngsters to be involved in philanthropic activities in their communities.
Jenipher Geha Lembe, a third-year student pursuing Community Development Degree at Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, emerged overall winner in the contest and walked home with $800.
The second winner in the contest funded by Africa Philanthropic Network and supported by Tanzania Philanthropy Forum and East African Philanthropy Network pocketed $700 and the third $600, the fourth $500 and the fifth $400.
Each contestant in the competition, which kicked off in September this year, was required to write a 1,500-word or a two-minute video giving story and post it on his social media platforms before October 20.
“I am so excited to see students showing how they can become philanthropist,” says Dr Stigmata Tenga, the Executive Director of Africa Philanthropy Network and president of the Foundation for Civil Society.
She pleaded with the winner and the four runners-up in the contest to spend the awards on living their stories.
Dr Tenga cited demographic experts predicting that the youngest continent will host 80 per cent of the world’s labour force three decades from now.
Speaking during the climax of the CSO Week in Arusha, Tanzania, recently, she called on each of the 600 plus participants in the country’s largest gathering of civil society actors to write his own story pertaining to changes taking place in his community, household or family.
“Let’s use technology and many other approaches to tell our stories, we shouldn’t sit on them,” she stressed, explaining that stories were inspiring, created rapport and made authors become change makers.
The My Giving Story contest is a replica of GivingTuesday – a global movement observed on November 28 each year to unleash the power of generosity worldwide.
“Whether it is making someone smile, helping a neighbhour or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give,” the movement believes.
Dating back to October 2018, the annual CSO Week led by the Foundation for Civil Society is a platform that engages civil society organisations and the government
Themed Tech and Society: Then, Now, and Beyond; this year’s CSO Week focused on the influence of technology in the society, given a crucial role civil society organisations can play in advocating for human-centric policies and progress that harness technology for social good.
Mr Aboubakar Ally, who works with the US-based Apple Inc., allayed Tanzanians’ fear of embracing emerging technologies, saying besides raising complex ethical questions, they created new opportunities.
He said he and his fellow Tanzanians in the diaspora were applying technology to use natural gas for generating electricity they needed for producing vegetables in Boston.
Without technology, the city with an average temperature of up to -5.6 centigrade could not support production of such crops, he explained.
Foundation for Civil Society Executive Director Francis Kiwanga said Tanzanians ought to embrace technology to improve efficiency at workplaces and in providing services.
He, however, implored youth to be selective in applying technologies, as they came with a myriad of gaps which could harm the society once abusedΩ