Sengerema foundation is an NGO that trains young people in Tanzania to start their enterprises. It was registered in 2015 as YEP Tanzania in Dar-el-salaam. They first train young entrepreneurs for a period of one year where they teach various business skills such as bookkeeping. In 2018 Sengerema foundation and L-IFT started a project on self-reported diaries. Diaries research is particularly important when you want to measure change over a period of time. This differs from traditional research in that non-diaries research gives you one time of insight. The word self-diaries means that instead of a researcher visiting the entrepreneurs to interview them, the entrepreneurs themselves report their data through the data collection software on a SmartPhone. For YES-D we are using Survey2Go. In the future, this will be through the L-IFT self-reporting app. It is important for the Sengerema foundation to employ diaries research methodology to track changes in businesses started by their graduates over time.
We (L-IFT) normally start our research projects by training researchers on data collection tools. This is the technology part which also involves the use of smartphones in some areas where previous exposure to smartphones has been minimal as well as an explanation of diaries methodology. Marcienne and I (Moses) were responsible for YES-D training with the help of Sengerema’s lead team in Misungwi Allan and Andrew.
On 27th August 2018 both Marcienne and I traveled to Misungwi. For the next two days On the 28th and 29th of August 2018, we met Andrew, Allan, and Diana. They briefed us on the Sengerema foundation, then we briefed them on L-IFT. After which Marcienne and I trained them on technology and diaries methodology.
Training Sengerema’s lead team was easy. Easier than training the group of 40 entrepreneurs that this research is focused on. Allan, Andrew, and Diana had previously been exposed to smartphones. I think since they were interested in what we were doing and their ability to connect the advantages of using phones instead of questionnaires to collect data made it fun to teach them. Sengerema management team had also been exposed to research. This made it easier to connect what they had previously known about research into the diaries methodology. At the end of the two days, I was happy with what we had accomplished.
On the 30th and 31st we met with Sengerema foundation entrepreneurs. I loved that entrepreneurs engaged with us more than we expected. Their interest in research was evident, from the way they asked for clarifications and questions. I loved the way everyone shared their phones after they were done with the intake questions. On average everything went well and as planned. I was happy with the training, breaking the daily routine, meeting new people engaging with them, learning new perspectives, and forming new friendships.
Absent entrepreneurs were later trained by the Sengerema foundation lead team in Misungwi after we left.
We also had several meals together which was wonderful. We learned new Swahili vocabulary. It was a good experience meeting everyone and seeing what the Sengerema foundation has been able to achieve.