TANZANIA: Solar training at Don Bosco Oysterbay offers hope for Tanzania’s jobless youth
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Oysterbay in Dar es Salaam has been funded over the last two years through a partnership with Misereor, a German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Cooperation, to help advance training capacity in renewable energy. The project is one of three happening in Salesian centers in Tanzania.
In addition, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awarded a grant to Salesian Missions to fund the same training initiative at the Don Bosco training centers in Dodoma and Iringa. The projects are contributing to increased access to quality technical training on renewable energy in Tanzania.
At Don Bosco Oysterbay, funding from the partnership with Misereor has equipped the center with tools, training materials and enough equipment to provide education to 120 students every year. The program, which started in 2017, has been training vulnerable youth in technical skills that will help them become change makers in their communities as innovators, technicians and entrepreneurs.
To prepare them for the workforce, trainees benefit from career guidance and entrepreneurship skills provided by Don Bosco’s Job Placement Office. The job placement office empowers youth to realize their full potential by connecting them with employers and entrepreneurship opportunities. In addition, trainees are able to access soft skills training to build their self-confidence and communication skills.
The first 35 trainees who completed the three-year electrical course at Don Bosco Oysterbay were enrolled in a six-month specialization course which consisted of both electronics and solar system training. The specialization course was designed to provide a technical foundation for solar technologies and reinforce classroom learning with hands-on demonstrations. The 35 trainees have graduated and already 70 percent of them have found work as solar technicians.
“The training has been a great platform for me to learn and acquire new skills, enabling me to explore the use of solar energy. I hope to maximize my skills, empower the community to take advantage of solar power and, in the process, make the world a better place to live in,” said Imani Mwasonga, one of the graduates.
In Tanzania, only 15 percent of the 41.5 million population has access to electricity, with only 12 percent of urban and 2 percent of rural areas having access to power. The rest of the population lacks access to electricity so they are turning to alternative energy. According to Tanzania’s 2016 Energy Access Situation Survey, of those who use alternative energy, 8 percent use solar energy for lighting with the majority of those living in rural areas.
Since electricity is slow to come to many areas, residents are opting for solar panels. Rural areas in particular are more quickly adopting solar photovoltaic (PV) technology due in large part to the absence of an electricity grid. However, as the adoption of solar power by rural and sub-rural communities increases, a lack of trained technicians remains a challenge for the sector. The new training programs in renewable energy launched at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Centers are aiming to meet this need for trained technicians.
The Don Bosco training centers in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, and Iringa will train a total of 300 students annually in installation, operation and maintenance of solar PV equipment. The centers will collaborate with solar energy companies and the government to provide apprenticeship opportunities for instructors and students.
“We expect our graduates from the three centers to have an upper hand when it comes to employment because very few institutions in Tanzania are offering credible solar PV training courses in the country,” said Rosemary Terry, DBNET program manager.
As Don Bosco training centers educate future technicians on solar PV technology, they hope to transform all of their institutions by adopting a clean and sustainable energy system as they positively influence the entire training ecosystem.