Responding to the Pandemic

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                                       Global Outreach Tanzania meets COVID-19

Tanzania, like the rest of the world, has been affected by the novel corona virus. In Tanzania it has led to the close of all schools and most offices. But things are very different at Global Outreach Tanzania (GOT). Staff continue to work remotely and stay connected through Skype, Email and WhatsApp. Daily staff meetings are now conducted through Zoom. Access to documents is possible because we had implemented Google Drive for our files. And we are preparing to migrate to Microsoft 365 with Microsoft Teams.

The shutdown of schools in the country has led to a new reliance on modern technology for virtual learning, thus shutting out millions of pupils from lessons. This is because many families cannot afford to buy a computer or a television (which is one of the governments strategies for delivering learning) for their children’s education. Even then, there is only limited opportunity due to lack of national or local learning programs.

Equally bad, students were idling at home, since Tanzania is critically lacking in text books and learning materials, and most parents did not know to help them. This thus led to the need of finding solutions on how to help young people in isolation to continue to learn. Unfortunately, with no home-based solution, and many parents needing to go tend their small shops during the day, children often spent as much time in socialization as if they were still in school.

GOT Windows to Knowledge (W2K) Product Manager Grayson Msigala discussed these challenges with some of his friends; and he and technician Martin Kalewa decided to see if they couldn’t address this challenge by providing a limited home-based version of our W2K software, with all learning materials installed right on the computer instead of on a networked server. In a matter of weeks they defined requirements, coded the system, established a trial test plan, and installed the new W2K Lite system and a computer in three Iringa homes. Other GOT staff joined in to write support materials, draw up Memoranda of Understanding, and handle administrative needs.

As of today, all of three clients have shown a tremendous amount of excitement, especially with the fact that the offline  platform does not require the cost of internet connectivity. Their children are very happy with the platform due to its variety of content. One father says that every time he has opened the door to his daughter’s bedroom, he has found her sitting at the computer studying. He is very happy.

We hope Global Outreach’s donors are happy with our performance during this challenging time.