Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Letter from Founding Director, Janice Lathen

Dear Contributors and Friends,

It is hard for me to believe that Powering Potential is in its tenth consecutive year. It seems like very little time has passes since I started this adventure by greeting the students of Banjika Secondary School in Karatu, Tanzania with "Jina langu ni Janice. Mimi ni mwalimu. Ninafundisha elimu ya kompyuta." ("My name is Janice. I am a teacher. I teach computer classes.") The warmth and enthusiasm of their response inspired me to bring computers to their school and Powering Potential was born.

Elitumaini Rweyemamu was one of those students and his story is the story of Powering Potential. From his introduction to technology at the Banjka Secondary School in 2006 to his graduation from college with a B.A. in Languages and Management in 2015, he epitomizes the success of our efforts. Elitumaini is currently working for Powering Potential as the Community Relations Manager and we are so honored to have him on the team. He states: "I am proud of it, that my name will also one day exist in history of the people who brought technological revolution to children and youth of Tanzania."

How far we've come! Since 2006, Powering Potential has helped more than 10,000 students in 29 Tanzanian co-ed public schools supplement their secondary-level education with access to offline educational resources. We've installed 29 solar power systems, more than 100 computers, and provided thousands of hours of relevant technical training to ensure our work is effective and sustainable.

Our groundbreaking work for under-served Tanzanian communities has been reported in the Huffington Post and the Christian Science Monitor. We've been funded by the Tanzanian government and many other major organizations, including the US Embassy, Newman's Own Foundation, Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Segal Family Foundation.

A strong network of donors ensures that we can continue providing these life-changing opportunities for Tanzania's rural students. Our goal is to raise $30,000 which will allow us to implement the Computer Lab-Phase 2 program at two additional schools.
  • $200 provides one complete computer unit with access to a digital library
  • $700 will purchase two projectors
  • $3,500 is the cost of one solar energy system at a Phase 2 school

Of course, contributions of any amount will be sincerely appreciated and bring us closer to our goal. Powering Potential is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please join forces with us to bring the light of knowledge to students sitting in the dark by donating at

Onward and upward,
Janice Lathen
Founding Director

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tanzanian Organization Established

We are excited to announce that the Potential Enhancement Foundation (PEF) has been established in Tanzania by Tanzanians to continue the work of Powering Potential Inc. (PPI).  This is a dream come true for PPI.  As Julius Nyerere, the father of Tanzania said, "If real development is to take place, the people have to be involved."  This coming year will be a year of transition as PPI continues to transfer more and more responsibilities to the Executive Council of PEF:

Mr. Theophilus Mlaki, Chair.  An expert in Information and Communication Technology for Rural Development (ICT4RD). Former Director of Information at the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology.

Dr. Amos Nungu.  Head of the National Centre of Excellence in ICT, Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology in Tanzania and CEO of the Tanzania Education and Research Network and project manager of the ICT4RD program.

Mr. Sabasaba Moshingi, Treasurer.  CEO of Tanzania Postal Bank.

Mr. David Sem.  Sales and Marketing Manager at Tourism Promotion Services (Tanzania) Limited (Serena Hotels).

Eng. Albin Mathias, General Secretary and Executive Director.  (PPI's Country Director since 2011).

PEF was officially registered on September 14, 2016 as a local Non-Government Organization (NGO) operating on a national level. We had wanted to use the name Powering Potential-Tanzania but that name was not acceptable. The Tanzanian government has strict criteria for NGO names so the Potential Enhancement Foundation was chosen which is in keeping with Powering Potential's philosophy of powering/enhancing human potential.

PEF, in collaboration with Powering Potential, will implement a number of projects in Tanzania, including the Computer Lab-Phase 2 program at the Nainokanoka school in Ngorongoro District (Phase 2 is the addition of 15 computers and solar power expansion.)

The Endallah and Slahhamo Secondary Schools in Karatu District are also preparing for a Computer Lab-Phase 2 implementation.

In 2017, in the spirit of explore and discover, PEF plans to run a Raspberry Pi Workshop bringing together Tanzanian technology experts and teachers and students from Powering Potential schools.  This workshop hopes to motivate students and teachers to use solutions provided by technology to enhance the process of teaching and learning.

The Executive Council of PEF held their first meeting on Nov. 12 which was attended by Mr. Theo Mlaki, Dr. Amos Nungu and Eng. Albin Mathias.

PEF Executive Council members (l. to r.),
Eng. Albin Mathias, Theo Mlaki, and Dr. Amos Nungu
(absent Mr. Moshingi, David Sem)
Grandvilla Hotel, Dar es Salaam
Nov. 12, 2016