Maya Tims recently completed her International Public Service Project with Junior Achievement Tanzania, one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs that prepares the young people of Tanzania for employment and entrepreneurship.
“When I thought about my IPSP, I knew I wanted to work somewhere in Africa,” Tims said. “When I did my research about Junior Achievement Tanzania, and saw all the work the organization was doing to help the young people focus on becoming entrepreneurs, as well as providing them with the skills and resources to compete in the work force, I knew it was the project for me.”
This summer’s work with JA Tanzania is not Tims’ first experience with Junior Achievement. As a 14-year-old, she participated in Junior Achievement of Arkansas. She remembers how the program taught her entrepreneurship, financial literacy skills, and work-readiness, including tips for job interviewing and opportunities for job shadowing.
“The organization helped me, so I’m giving back through my service project,” she said. “This work is important for the development of Tanzania.”
For Tims, it mattered to partner with an organization that teaches the skills needed to compete in a modern workforce. Not only does it benefit the young people who learn from the program, but it bolsters Tanzania’s economy by creating skilled workers.
“It is important because the program is currently focusing on entrepreneurship,” Tims said. “It allows for them to be creative and get excited and passionate about their product.”
Working with classmate Allison Gent, Tims monitored and evaluated JA Tanzania’s entrepreneurship program, which required traveling to Morogoro to assess the program’s workshops. The trips included checking in on the progress and understanding of workshops in 26 local wards, and providing feedback to those running the workshops. She and Gent compiled a field report after each visit.
At the end of the program, an exhibition was held for the 26 groups to showcase their goods and pitch their business plans to the judges. The judges rated the groups based on their idea, innovation, entrepreneurship, business plan, marketing plan, business sustainability, leadership skills, and teamwork. Six award recipients were announced, with the first-prize group winning 1,000,000 Tanzanian shillings.
Professionally, Tims said she gained valuable skills and experience working with young adults through her efforts with JA Tanzania. Long-term, she would like to work in higher education, specifically in a study abroad or international program.
“I want to focus on getting more people of color the resources and opportunities to travel abroad during their undergrad studies.”
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