Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Meet Eng. Albin Mathias, Country Director

This week, we want to introduce you to Powering Potential's Country Director, Eng. Albin Mathias, in his own words.

Background and Introduction to Powering Potential

Albin briefing His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Kikwete,
President of the United Republic of Tanzania

I was born and grew up in Arusha in the north of Tanzania.  I went to Tanga Technical Secondary School in 2002 and then to Old Moshi High School in 2006.  After graduation, I worked as a physics and chemistry teacher at Banjika Secondary School.  While teaching in Banjika, I spent my free time in the computer lab working on two laptops donated by Janice Lathen [Founding Director and President].  After a few months of practice by myself, I couldn't believe the experience I was having and how useful the resources had become to my fellow teachers and students.

On her next trip to Tanzania, Janice met with me in the computer lab. Janice and I worked with the technology with Banjika students, and then I conducted a training at the Noonkodin and Oltoroto schools, introducing the computers to middle and high school students and their teachers.

Albin with Ross Wehner, World Action Team

I graduated from St. Joseph University in Tanzania with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Information Systems and Network Engineering, and became Powering Potential's Country Director in 2011.

Experience with Powering Potential

It has been a great honor to be part of the Powering Potential team.  As part of this team, I feel proud and energized.  It's been an honor to meet and discuss our programs with High Government officials, especially to exhibit the programs to the President, Prime Minister, and other Ministers and Permanent Secretaries.

Albin with Zuberi Samataba, Deputy Permanent Secretary
(Education) PMO-RALG, and Walter Minja
I also very much appreciate collaborating with District Executive Directors (DED), District Education Officers (DEO), the heads of schools, teachers, and students. Besides the challenges of limited budgets, most schools have been very cooperative with Powering Potential in bringing the world of technology to their community.

Honestly, I enjoy working with different people, meeting different cultures, and travelling across the country. It has been a great experience for me. Powering Potential is very important to me: in addition to being an employment opportunity, it has really powered my own potential. Powering Potential is where I recognized my own potential.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Partnership with Hassan Maajar Trust at Shimbwe

Teacher Training

Powering Potential is partnering with the Hassan Maajar Trust to provide a computer lab and training to the Shimbwe Secondary School near Moshi, Tanzania. The Hassan Maajar Trust was founded by Ambassador Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar who is the former Tanzanian Ambassador to the U.S. and a Senior Partner at Rex Attorneys in Dar es Salaam.

From June 15-26, Powering Potential installed the RACHEL server and computer network, and provided training for school leaders. Those being trained included the Headmaster, Second Master, two teachers and the school secretary. All school representatives were enthusiastic about the training and took to the technology very well. Powering Potential trainer, Elibariki Magnus, led the sessions.

RACHEL Pi server and router

Hassan Maajar Trust provided 10 laptops, as well as the tables and chairs for the computer lab. Powering Potential is providing technology consulting services. At Shimbwe, Elibariki installed a RACHEL server with offline educational content. RACHEL (Remote Access Community Hotspots for Education and Learning) is produced by World Possible and includes Khan Academy educational videos, selected Wikipedia articles, medical reference books, ebooks of world literature from Project Gutenberg, and other materials.

Elibariki then provided training on the server content and Raspberry Pi system over a two week period. He was able to work with the faculty and staff at Shimbwe, who were all excited to have the new computer system.

Students using RACHEL

Everyone was very happy with the training, stating that it was "well conducted" and "the education program will be useful to students and teachers." The teachers and students will use this system to access educational program content, teaching assistance, and reference materials. At the end of the training, the Headmaster remarked "I hope this new program to our school will motivate and encourage students' learning."  We hope so too!