By shorouk elkobrsi November 16, 2017
Borders we cross to reach another country are just borders; invisible lines drawn on the map by people like me and you.
- It was my first time in East Africa. I had the opportunity to travel to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to participate in a conference. The main reason I went to Tanzania was to meet impact social entrepreneurs from all around Africa who’re contributing to SDG 13 on Climate Action. The storyteller inside me was intrigued to get to know more about their motives, projects, and future aspirations. I also got the chance to facilitate a workshop for them on Storytelling for Businesses. I was inspired, that’s why I’m sharing with you some insights from my trip:
- 1. Tanzania feels like Home
- At first glance I saw a beautiful city, I met kind people who speak Swahili and great you with “Jambo” and “Karibu”. You easily learn 5-6 words minimum during your time there. I was fascinated by the Indian Ocean, and found myself staring at this for a while:
2. Generosity is an act of love
- During my stay I went to a Seafood restaurant in Dar Es Salaam. They kept serving us food as if it was a family home. They didn’t care if you ate 10 dishes, as long as you’re full, satisfied, and happy. The food was so delicious, but the electricity went off in the middle of the meal, reminding me that a lot of basic human needs are still missing in areas like East Africa. I had an insight that it isn’t a tangible factor to measure people’s generosity by how developed a country is. Yet, it’s an essential key to have this burning desire to do good.
- 3. Social Entrepreneurship is a shared responsibility
- On one side, I saw the urge of creating disruptive businesses through the eyes of the participants of the conference. Wherever there’s a need there’s an opportunity, that’s how these emerging youth look at problems like electricity cut, or water scarcity. On the other side, I went to a hub in Tanzania, where the founders are elevating entrepreneurship, leveraging efforts to create impact, and organizing workshops, hackathons and competitions across the year, for a wide range of ages and fields.
- 4. Climate Action is happening
- During the conference I met familiar faces, and fresh ones. One of them was Rahim, this 23 years old Tanzanian guy is a pioneer of flying things, starting from flying kites when he was in school. He once built a rocket launching 500 feet into the air until it exploded and left the neighbors scared and the police cautioned him. Today Rahim is working in an impact Fab-Lab in Tanzania, building horizontally flying high-end drones from Plastic Waste mapping huge areas for farmers, and dreams of creating robust materials and to impact lives and mitigate the climate.I interviewed Rahim for my documentary and he shared a really inspiring insight, he said that whatever we study at school encourages us to become job seekers and not job creators and that’s exactly what motivated Rahim to work with emerging entrepreneurs in Tanzania.
- 5. It’s an interrelated borderless Topic
- I know Climate Change is an over-used buzzword, but it isn’t just one topic. It never was. Agriculture, education, women empowerment, and health care are all linked topics that if we didn’t examine clearly, we’ll be missing the real problem. I met a Kenyan girl called Selina from a village in Kenya. Selina was booked for marriage when she was young, yet she fought and decided to continue her education. Now Selina is teaching her community sustainable living and introducing agriculture to them as a way to address food and nutrition security. She’s also bringing girls back to schools, and helping them become educated, and financially independent. There were so many other stories to be told.
- Overall, this trip was an answer for me to why I am doing what I’m doing. Working on a documentary featuring people as Rahim and Selina is telling a story of hope that we’re not doomed with climate change yet, and that there’s someone taking an initiative. It’s also a story of generosity of the value-driven youth in Africa, with the passion of both creating change and making profit to sustain their businesses. Finally it’s a story on climate Action; a way to highlight the opportunity behind the need, and a call to action for rural communities with girls who are still booked for marriage, and communities who are facing child labor, and scarcity in both electricity and water.