MISSION AND HISTORY
The idea of Kubuni stemmed out of the work The Olive Branch for Children (TOBFC) is doing.
TOBFC has been operating in Tanzania and in the Mbarali District for 13 years. 97% of TOBFC's staff are Tanzanian and are from the communities served by the organization. Every year the organization monitors and evaluates its programs, actively listening to the concerns expressed by beneficiaries. The end result of this experience and research shows there is little to no support for innovation, entrepreneurs and tradespeople to expand their skills and businesses. Kubuni hopes to address some of the regional disparities within Tanzania by expanding economic opportunities and training in the Mbeya region.
The centre opened to connect youths in the Zion and Peace Homes with opportunities that fill the gap with hands-on experimental learning. The centre offers specific programming targeting Olive Branch youth to ensure that those in our care are prepared for school, employment and a successful life. Olive Branch Youth can apply for various start-up grants, depending on their education path, and offer Robotics Courses for Olive Branch primary students.
The Centre has evolved to include community outreach initiatives for young people in the Uyole area. Our mission is to provide the opportunity for people to learn the skills necessary to gain employment and, create businesses that can employ as many Tanzanians as possible. We hope to move beyond the development norm of providing a prescribed set of business ideas and skills for the rural population while allowing them the freedom to create.
We believe in creating bi-lateral knowledge sharing relations that focus on cross-cultural learning experience for both Tanzanians and international personnel. We want Mentees who are able to learn from both skilled international personnel, and skilled Tanzanians, ensuring a holistic education experience. We provide the space for development solutions to be innovated and co-created in an environment that ensures equal opportunities for everyone involved.
Kubuni (meaning “to create” in Kiswahili) serves as a platform to support local capacity building, innovation and knowledge sharing with the aims of creating equal opportunities for Tanzanians, and bridging the gap in knowledge production through practical applications.
Capacity Building: We define capacity building as the process of developing and strengthening skills Tanzanians need to thrive in today’s world. We do so by providing training, workshops, and support with the end goal of students being capable to complete tasks independently.
Innovation: We define innovation as being original and creative in thinking. The Kubuni Centre provides the space and materials to experiment, create and make mistakes in their product and business designs. We believe the best products are made through doing and re-doing!
Knowledge Sharing: We define knowledge sharing as the transfer of valuable skills, methods and information through international, national, and local relationships and networks to everyone involved in our projects. We believe that the best way to learn is to pass down experience, not copy off a blackboard!
The Kubuni Centre is our creative hub providing space and workshops to entrepreneurs in Mbeya Region. Focused on community empowerment, the Kubuni Centre provides the skills, resources and physical space for Tanzanians to realize their innovative ideas.
The Kubuni Collaborative brings together various skilled personnel (mentors from Canada, USA, Ireland, Germany and other countries) to create knowledge sharing relationships with Tanzanians in the Mbeya Region. We aim to create a large network of people wanting to provide their skillset to and learn from vulnerable youth. Our mentors approach this partnership with the intention working with Tanzanians to build and hone their skills. This means that the ideas are equally created between the two, and once the mentor is no longer in residence, our students are left with the ability to continue growing and to access support. We create these networks through working with 4 local universities/colleges in the Mbeya Region, and various international universities. These networks of universities allow us to provide placement opportunities where Tanzanian students are able to work directly with international students, provide research opportunities for international students and have more collaborative projects.
Economic development and skill building are means that can relieve some of the consequences of poverty, stagnant current migration trends, break the cycle of poverty for future generations and generally uplift communities. Governments are looked at to improve the current economic climate at a macro-level, however, at a micro-level, organizations in the social economy are key.
At Kubuni Centre, we target youth and young adults (18-30). In Tanzania, the youth unemployment rate is at 13.70% (the Republic of Tanzania, 2016). In our communities, poverty rates (28.8%) continue to be high, failing to drop in conjunction with economic growth. Unemployment of youth aged 15-24 years is higher than any other demographic, followed by the age group 25-34 (Philbert,2017). This indicates that targeting youth is key to reducing poverty and increasing the quality of life in Tanzania.