Citizen Journalism – Kigamboni

I had something up my sleeve for today’s class ( 17th July ) . Today was not just going to be about sitting behind laptops and doing class the normal way. I had the participants go out in the community and do a couple of interviews with the citizens of Kigamboni. Their task was to tell people about their training they were currently doing (Social Media Workshops) and then ask the people if this training is something they would attend.

The main of this exercise was to show them how to gather/capture content (pics and videos )  using their mobiles phones and then blogging about it at a later stage.  At first they were a bit hesitant not knowing how the community would respond but eventually mustered up the courage and went to the streets. Here is one of the blog post written by one of the participants  after interviewing people on the street.

After these interviews with the community they also managed to get participants whom Kigmaboni Community Centre will be training up in Social Media workshop.




Kigamboni “Train The Trainer” Social Media Workshop

The “Train The Trainer” Social Media workshop at Kigamboni Community Centre has begun! RLabs and TanzICT whom is conducting the training went out to the rural village on Monday (16th July) to do the first session.  This training will happen over a period of 3 weeks and two times  per week. It was good meeting all the participants and it was good to see the founding members of the Community Centre attending this training as well.

We started off the session explaining the importance of this training and that this training they would receive will not just be for their benefit but for the benefit of the rest of the community. We emphasized the importance of paying it forward and how they would be the champs to empower  this community through the use of innovation and technology.

First I did a talk about the various Social Media tools and how one could maximize them. After that it was time to ” get their hands dirty” and start signing up for the various tools. Day one consisted of them only signing up to Gmail and exploring the different functions this emailing platform had to offer them.It was important to show them the many functions that this platform had to offer and that it was not just used send emails back and forth from.

After seeing what all they could do with their email account everyone was exited and hyped up. They all said that they were looking forward to the next session and to see what more the world of Social Media has to offer them. They are fast learners and their enthusiasm just makes the training so  much easier . Next I will be taking them through the world of blogging and speaking to them more about story -telling. ”

The Social Revolution in KIGAMBONI has begun!!!

Ferry Accident – Zanzibar

Picture Source:

Dozens were killed in a  tragic ferry accident in Tanzania yesterday. Bodies we still arriving last night as families stood by to identify their loved ones. What shocked me the most was that after the accident happened rescue boats took more than 2 hours to deploy from the harbor as there was no fuel in the boats. Eventually when the fuel arrived 2 hours later they had to fuel up the boats and then only could they go to assist the people that had been on the sinking ferry.

I was shocked when i was reading reports about this incident .So many lives could have been saved if not for this unorganized system of the rescue services. I also found some pics on Facebook on this page . We are scheduled to go to Zanzibar tomorrow for a business meeting .This incident will not however stop us from going but it would be nice to know that you would be in good hands if something does happen. Unfortunately I do not feel that assurance!

“News from Sumatra…………
Due to the tragic accident, SUMATRA have suspended all ferries from making trips tomorrow (19th July). We have therefore suspended all trips for tomorrow morning until we are given a go ahead to continue with normal schedule..”

You can like above mentioned  page and continue to  get further updates.

Social Media Training for the deaf and disabled

image source

While I am based in Tanzania I will be representing RLabs and going around the country doing Social and New Media training with various groups and organisations . RLabs is doing consultancy work for  TanzICT , our partners here in Tanzania. One of the next block of training will be  with a group from  Neema Crafts ,in Iringa.

A bit more about Neema Crafts:

Neema Crafts Centre was founded in 2003 by the Diocese of Ruaha, to provide handi-crafts training and much-needed employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Iringa region of Tanzania, and to change negative attitudes towards them in local society. There’s a great stigma attached to having a disability in Tanzania, and the centre provides dignity and hope for many people who previously relied on street begging or were hidden away at home, unable to support themselves and their families. Neema is place of creativity, compassion and hope where lives are transformed everyday. The centre also includes a physiotherapy unit for disabled children, an award winning cafe entirely staffed by deaf people, a welcoming guest house which is the first in the world to be run by people with disabilities, a conference room and internet cafe.


The training will have a strong social and new media component (Google,Google Docs, Gmail , Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc)  where these tools are used in the form of digital story telling.

We will be going to Iringa from the 13th – 27th August to do training with the group from Neema Crafts and then also a group from Iringa Living Lab. Stay tuned as we gear up for this very very exiting block of training.



RLabs and TanzICT visits Kigamboni Community Centre

Jukka and me with some if the little ones

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Kigamboni Community Centre to go and see the great work that  they are doing there.TanzICT and RLabs are seeing how they  can assist this organisation by  providing training to some of the core team members.Also TanzICT is looking at providing data and data modems to make this training possible.



The aim of the training is to transform this community through innovation and by providing citizens opportunities to be part of a social and economic transformation.To make use of the train the trainer approach and provide new local champions for the community.


The training will have a strong social and new media component (Google,Google Docs, Gmail , Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc)  where these tools are used in the form of digital story telling.

It will be also be used as a breeding ground for new champions from the community to be birthed.

Will also provide the participants with innovative ways in its “undisciplined” training method using a “Play & Learn” approach.

Kristiina Lahde (TanzICT) discussing the way forward with Richard Gorvett

Kigamboni Community Centre currently has a small computer lab with 3 operating desktop computers. This however will not stop us from going in to do the training with them. There is so much that the management of this wonderful organisation wants to do but resources seems to be a bit of a challenge at this point.

If there is anyway that you or your organisation can assist with laptops,pc’s or in any other way then please contact the centre. ( )


Something New

One has got to love the internal flights to the more rural regions of TANZANIA. The check – in process is one that every traveler dreams of. No hastle ,no ques, very fast and you also always have visible contact with your luggage. Also what was interesting was the type of airplane we flew in. It was much smaller than the commercial ones that you so accustomed to flying in. There was no need to turn off cellphones or any devices as well. I actually managed to update my Facebook status from 10 000 ft in the air.I am not sure how I got signal from so high above.

seated behind the pilot

This was definitively a new and interesting way of travelling .Looking forward to the next flight :-)

Iringa Living Lab kicks off

This weekend RLabs together with TanzICT headed off to Iringa to do  Social Media and Facilitation training  with some of the key role players from the community.

Yusuf ,one of the locals, and also the champion for the Living Lab initiative there did a good job  of getting all the people together at the Tumaini campus where the training was conducted.The training was done in  English but had to be translated into kiSwahili .  For some of the participants present it was the first time using or working on a computer and it first they were a bit anxious and did not know what to expect. After signing  most of the participants up for their first email address on Gmail, their anxiousnous  soon developed into much excitement and enthusiasm.

At first we had some problems with connectivity and power but that did not stop us from going ahead with the training.We simply did something which Kristiina Lahde  calles the “Analogue” version of Gmail ( see picture below). This proved to be of great help as participants came back to the flip charts later to take notes even after we have finished our training.  We will now be conducting our other training in Iringa with a projector and the “Analogue” version as well.

Most of them said that that they thought that the Internet and computers were only for the elite. This is exactly the people that RLabs are looking at working with.People that needs hope and to now that there is so much good and ability  within them that needs to be discovered. We will be going back to Iringa to do some more training in August.This time around the goal is  to train up trainers so that they could train up the rest of the community in the future even if we not there.

We are looking forward to see how this all unfolds and to see what a great Living Lab will turn out to be.




Breaking technological barriers-Social media excite rural Tanzania

This is a blog post by Yusuf.One of our RLabs champs in Iringa.He will be spear- heading the Living Lab initiative there:Read more about what he has to say:



Participants are eager to learn more about the world of Social Media

What started as a far fetched dream is finally coming to reality as TANZICT and RLabs have partnered with Iringa Living Lab to initiate social innovations that can impact people’s lives in a myriad of ways. Iringa Living Lab is one of the pioneer living labs in Tanzania. Yesterday, the first community training took place on how to use social media to expand their social networks and benefit from the opportunities of globalization and technology.

There was much excitement as some participants touched the computer for the first time. Indeed it was a Eureka moment for many who had always thought computers are for a select class of people. The training took place at Tumaini University, one of the key partners in the Iringa Living Lab.

Brent, a consultant from RLabs shared his story of how his life was transformed thanks to RLabs that opened doors of hope to people in his community who had lost direction. His story touched everyone in the room.

There is now new energy.

What a difference Hope makes!

“Another Journey” – A blog post by Gary Saaiman

This is a post written by my dear brother Gary Saaiman .I am amazed at how he has written this story and the revelation he got just by seeing us from behind.So encouraging.Go ahead and read for yourself….


Its Saturday at about 6:30 am and I’m woken by the sound of Brent and Bradley  talking as they walk through my room making their way to the airport. I`m so tired as I couldn’t even keep my eyes open and I wanted to shout and greet them but they moved so fast and the only thing I could see was their backs for a couple of seconds.

Well to you it might have been just a normal sight but It was something supernatural to me. A couple of years back the same scene would had a different outcome. They would probably be planning where their next fix was going to come from something, illegal that would have been no benefit to our community, it definitely would not have had a good effect.

This was a different sight though, same picture but different journey. They were on their way to the airport this time going to Nigeria to set up a Rlabs hub. Rlabs Nigeria will be a difference that people have been crying out for, for years. Its a movement of hope where communities are reconstructed using technology. No matter how devstated the lives of people are, how hopeless they may seem, how depressed they might feel.

You asked these two gentlemen their life stories and you weigh what they are now and I promise you a joy, a hope, an excitement will be birthed inside of you fuelling your dreams, encouraging you to allow GOD to carry you through your fires and then polishing you to go and shine for HIM, in your home to your family, in your street, in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your city, country or even the world.

  It really doesn’t matter where you go, taking hope to the hopeless is all that matters.

That was the glimpse I got in 5 seconds, imagine I had more time :-)

For more stories of hope go to

Reconstructing the world one community at a time

Something we could not resist

Here is something that we could not just resist.TAKING A RIDE ON ONE OF THESE SCOOTERS! How could one resist driving down the road without a helmet and arms stretched out without being arrested. Think i should get me one of these when I get home.



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