The Norwegian Church Aid network of organisations has set up a Community Monitors School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This school is led by Nizar Seleman who spent a year working with the Bench Marks Community Monitors school in South Africa. The school also is a continuation of the work began by Rustenburg activist Josepeh Magobe who spent a year in Tanzania in 2013.
Sabatini Motloung spoke to Nizar over Skype. This is her report.
Nizar Seleman saw a need to start a monitoring school in her area because there are high rates of unemployed youth. They lack knowledge of what is happening in their surroundings and have little communication with their community. She mentioned that people will know more about their social ills through monitoring school since the writings of the activists will be published.
The programme will start in the communities of Dar es Salaam and Temeke as a pilot phase though it will spread in the villages as time goes by. The group comprises of 30 activists (both male and female ) from the NCA Youth Network.
Nizar explained how they are going about setting the school:
“We had a community monitoring school training end of last year. Community monitoring school was introduced and other tools such as free writing, timeline mapping and physical environment, short report writing, photo story and Mind mapping.
We had an opportunity to plan for this year. The plan is to have two phases:- each phase will be in 3 months period i.e. February, March, April that will be phase one. We will meet once every month introducing different tools for community writing. Phase one will be more of writing exercise. The articles will be based on NCA thematic areas (Resource and finance, livelihood and trade, climate change and Gender Based Violence).
Phase two will be in May, June and July:- where the outstanding writers (from phase one) will be sent to NCA partners and document the success story on those four thematic area. At the end of this we will evaluate and see how it goes. The success stories can be inform of the photo essay /might print depending on the funds.
We have 30 monitors with different level of education (that is collage/university students, some drop out, some form four level).Among those 30 monitors,9 of them are from Temeke this was a groups that Joseph started with and the rest are from the YouthCan (climate youth network that is under NCA).There are two blogs which will be sharing the articles however most of the writers are comfortable with Swahili. Please see the attached free writing of the community monitoring school plan.”
Looking at the plan that Nizar has for the Monitoring School we believe it is going to be a success.
Young people have always been labelled as lost and marginalised, this notion has led to the disillusionment of our future pioneers hence they resort to crime, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse etc. This initiative will keep us together as community monitors hence we all are oppressed by social issues whether directly or indirectly; it will provide young people with writing skills and reducing the rate ignorance in young people.
Nizar promised that she will share some of the articles that are written by the monitors from Tanzania for us to publish in our Action Voices.
May the struggle continue.