Greetings from Iringa – BUSCO project continues with refreshed plans

BUSCO project staff from Finland and Tanzania met during the first week of June 2019 in Iringa. The aim of the meeting was to plan the activities for the remaining time of the project, which will end at the beginning of 2020.

All the partner universities were present – Diaconia University of Applied Sciences and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences from Finland and Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) and University of Iringa from Tanzania. From the visitors’ perspective the meeting was well and smoothly organized by Iringa’s project coordinator Heriel Mfangavo, and we, the visitors were very well taken care of during our brief stay in Iringa.

Delays in Master Degree Accreditation

However, during the past year the project has faced some setbacks which have consequences on achieving some of the goals of the project. The Master’s programme in Community Development, Human Rights and Conflict Resolution is running its 2nd year in Diak, but the time for achieving the accreditation in Tanzania will be delayed and will not realize during the time we have left in the project.

The financial problems in the Tanzanian partner universities have caused changes in the project staff, but we shall not give up as there is still a lot to do and we are eager to do it together!

Uplifting Living Lab and School Visits

During the first meeting day, the project staff and the key experts discussed the situation, progress and challenges in the project, as well as the next steps and evaluation. In the afternoon the project group met the local key experts and visited several of the project’s Living Labs. We saw the IT and Counselling Labs at Iringa Campus, Living Lab on Law in the downtown area.

We also visited a school where the project has worked in the area of community development. At school we visited the classroom and got a chance to meet some impressively smart and well-behaving students, who are appointed to be the support pupils of their respective classes.

The purpose of support pupils is that those pupils in the class that have faced social problems e.g. in the family would have somebody to turn to who could contact the support teacher and that way try to tackle at least some of the problems. The support pupils meet every week during the school year.

“The project budget is the project plan converted to shillings”

The theme of the second day of the meeting was project management on many levels. Sonja Vanto from Diak and Evariste Habiyakare from Haaga-Helia gave presentations on the subject on practical as well as on theoretical level.

After the morning sessions all that were present should remember the phrase “The project budget is the project plan converted to shillings”.

Schedules decided for the rest of the project

In the afternoon the project coordinators of each partner University had a meeting where the schedule and the activities for the rest of the project were decided. The intensive course for the students of Master’s programme will be held in the University of Iringa in the last week of November together with the local key experts.

For the continuation of the Living Lab activities the project has some great plans ahead, which will be revealed on this blog later on. The evaluation and dissemination of project results was widely discussed and more of that will follow as well…

The great day in Iringa was crowned by a nice farewell dinner with project staff and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Iringa, Ndelilio A Urio. We Finns want to thank you the University of Iringa for the great cooperation and hospitality!

Text by Sonja Vanto, Diak