For her International Public Service Project, Allison Gent is working with Junior Achievement Tanzania, one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs that prepares the young people of Tanzania for employment and entrepreneurship.
Through the delivery of hands-on learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, JA Tanzania empowers young people to grow entrepreneurial ideas, hone work skills, manage earnings, and secure better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
“I feel lucky to be a part of this organization as they empower young people to take hold of their future and provide skills and experiences for success,” Gent said.
Working with JA Tanzania is a continuation of Gent’s previous efforts. She has three years of experience working directly with youth, including two spent tutoring and mentoring students with City Year in Little Rock. As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, she volunteered with Global Waters Brigades and traveled to Ghana to help educate students on water filtration and conservation.
“My past work has been more heavily focused on the implementation of youth programs and activities,” Gent said. “This project gave me a chance to analyze them from a different perspective.”
Gent’s work with JA Tanzania allows her to apply some of the lessons learned at the Clinton School, specifically from the course on Program Planning and Development taught by Dr. Al Bavon. She is conducting a monitoring and evaluation of ITS TYME – Immersion Training Strategy: Targeting Young Marginalized Entrepreneurs – JA Tanzania’s youth entrepreneurship program in Morogoro. ITS TYME provides life skills, business education, mentoring, and access to apprenticeship opportunities to marginalized African youth.
The monitoring piece of her work with ITS TYME involves field observations in Morogoro. She and other members of the JA Tanzania team are assessing the program’s overall success, as well as its commitment to the original mission.
Gent’s work began by compiling a baseline analysis report from a survey of 600 ITS TYME participants, conducted before they entered the program. The survey assessed the demographics, education, and work experiences of the program participants. If the survey participants were already self-employed, they were asked questions about their business, including income, business registration, and if their business employed others.
“We are mainly concerned with the creation of new businesses, whether or not these businesses are registered, and growth in the general knowledge of skills and concepts covered in the course,” Gent said.
She and the team will compare this survey data with end-of-program results to help build an impact report highlighting the positive changes participants experience as a result of participating in ITS TYME.
“I have already gained so much valuable experience from this project – going on field observations, analyzing data, writing numerous reports,” Gent said. “I am so grateful for this opportunity and know that the experience and skills I have already and will continue to gain will benefit me in my future career.”
Aside from her work with JA Tanzania, Gent has stayed busy exploring Dar es Salaam and Morogoro while immersing herself in the culture and experiences of Tanzania.
“Having international work experience is such a valuable and unique opportunity,” she said. “I am learning so much about a new culture and city, and making strong connections with people along the way.”
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