Friday, April 11, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Dr. Aniemus Temba

Dr. Anicetus Temba
Deputy Treasurer of the NY-TZ Community

Powering Potential Advocate

Dr. Anicetus Temba has always been a man with a compelling vision for himself and his people. A native of Tanzania, Temba began his journey with a primary education in Moshi followed by attending Laming Secondary School. He acquired higher education at Dar es Salaam Technical College before going to Mexico Polytechnic - formerly CENETI (Centro National Technical Industrial) -  for industrial engineering and a specialty in electro-mechanics. His foresight propelled him towards Colorado Technical University for a Master’s in Business Science with a specialization in information technology, project management and industrial transformation. Walden University would further establish his credentials with a Ph.D. in Applied Management, Decision Science and Information Management Systems.

This standard of educational excellence is the defining characteristic of the current Deputy Treasurer of the New York-Tanzanian Community, an organization established in 2011 that has extended welcome arms to Powering Potential's efforts. 

A successful businessman in food processing systems and a scientific thinker, Dr. Temba emphasizes the importance of making the transition from Tanzanian to American culture to his people. I came here first in 1976, then returned to the US in 1980 to stay on as a resident,” he recollects. “It was difficult because for a long time Tanzanians here were separated into groups based on the region they came from back home,” he remembers. “This changed when we decided to connect the Tanzanian Community through the Tanzanian Embassy to establish board members and an executive committee.”

Temba took the position of Deputy Treasurer to ensure that all activities within the community are well coordinated and the leadership is all working together. He stressed the importance of focusing on education, teaching Swahili, technology and knowledge transference and getting others involved with their cause. Social interaction, he said, is vital to the Tanzanian people.

When asked how he first got involved with Powering Potential, Temba chuckles at the memory. “Photography is my hobby. I met Janice at the Tanzanian Mission to the United Nations by chance. She looked like someone I needed to know, so I decided to take her picture. She ended up giving me her card. ” 

He found himself extremely impressed with Founding Executive Director Janice Lathen and the Educating-Through-Technology  program. Temba would later invite her to give a presentation in Harlem for the NY-TZ Community, which would lead to inviting Ms. Lathen to become a member. 

Dr. Temba believes Tanzania requires more quality exposure so that its people are no longer invisible. “The Powering Potential educational platform has big potential not just for Tanzania, but all of Africa,” Temba remarked. “The impact itself is going to expose Tanzanians to the outside world. The rate of knowledge will be incredible.

In this situation, Dr. Temba has pledged to continue increasing membership with the NY-TZ Community while spreading awareness of our cause. Powering Potential is certainly thankful to have such a visionary advocate helping us achieve true educational reform.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Board Member Ena Haines

Ena Haines
Powering Potential
Advisory Board Member

Ena Haines is no stranger to achievement. After being urged by a professor of chemistry to enter the field of information storage and retrieval, Haines would go on to earn a BA from Smith College in Biochemistry (summa cum laude) and a Master's in Library Science. Her career spans over 40+ years of experience in Information Technology.  She currently works as the Director of Information Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University.

She laughs when asked about the change in process between then and now. “We were writing everything from scratch in those days,” she said. “It was fun, like getting paid to solve crossword puzzles.”

Her interest in Tanzanian culture, however, began on a safari in 2009. Captivated by the country, she and her husband took a tour to Banjika school. “The people are lovely, very willing to work hard in challenging circumstances, yet remain so optimistic and friendly,” she said. She found herself impressed by the students and teachers they came across, even more so when she noticed their computer lab. “I asked if there was any way to make a contribution,” Haines recounted. “That's how I was put in touch with Janice and Powering Potential.”

What began as a single donation evolved into monthly meetings with Powering Potential's Founding Executive Director.  In January of 2012, Haines was formally asked to join the Board. Coordinating the technology effort has been a top priority since she acquired the position. When asked about her methodology, Haines replied, “Organizing and managing technology is what I've always done. Working in education, particularly at Teachers College, I learned a lot about teaching with technology, which is not a science. It is an art.”

Her recent trip to Tanzania added to a growing educational canvas. “It was a very busy two weeks,” she recalled. “We visited each of the six schools and met with the headmasters and teachers. We learned about the status of their projects. It was also interesting meeting people like Moses Mabula, the District Executive Director in Karatu and the department heads.”

One moment stands out for Haines that captures the essence of the Powering Potential experience. It occurred during a visit to one school where the computers sat unused because the school could no longer afford to pay the technology teacher. Just when the outlook for the success of the installation appeared bleak, the assistant headmaster said he would be interested in teaching computers if he had additional training. “Out of this discouraging situation, someone stepped forward eager and energetic to work with us. It didn't require extra resources on the part of the school. The clouds parted, the sun shone and there was a solution.” With a laugh, she added, “This is typical of trying to do our projects in Tanzania.”

Haines has plans to  retire from her position at Columbia this spring, which will allow her to dedicate more time to Tanzania and the students. “I am very encouraged because what we learned on the trip was that while there is a significant teacher shortage in Tanzania, there are lots of new teachers who have completed their education programs using computers. Things are changing rapidly.”

With her experienced hands helping the Powering Potential team, things are certain to continue changing for the better.