E-Mentoring Initiative to Connect Tanzanian Youth With Positive Role Models

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On the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro thirty Tanzanian boys and girls made local history today by logging on to East Africa’s first internet-based mentoring program linking at-risk youth with East African professionals, teachers, and artists.

On the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro thirty Tanzanian boys and girls made local history today by logging on to East Africa’s first internet-based mentoring program linking at-risk youth with East African professionals, teachers, and artists.

Making this path-breaking initiative possible is a visionary partnership between a United States e-mentoring pioneer, icouldbe.org, and East Africa’s leading development and urban resource website, naomba.com. By providing a secure online community, the sponsoring organizations are providing at-risk youth with opportunities for career exploration, social networking, and health education.

“This is a perfect marriage between social purpose and technology,” says Christopher Fabian, Managing Director of naomba.com. “Young people in Africa will not only have internet access comparable to what is available to youngsters in the industrialized world, but they also will find in their new online community local content, developed locally, and geared to local needs.”

Kate Schrauth, Executive Director of icouldbe.org, forsees a continent-wide network of online mentoring. “Our award-winning program has helped more than 5,000 young people in the United States to set and achieve their goals. We have made a difference where it counts the most, and in East Africa we will extend our vision with a curriculum tailored to young people in East Africa and will include modules on local music and art as well as savings plans, job skills and HIV/AIDS education.”

Two centers based in northern Tanzania are piloting the project: Mkombozi, a center for children living on the street and the United African Alliance Community Center, a community organization that supports local youth through vocational, sports and creative programs.

“As Mkombozi’s computer room fills with eager Tanzanians,” Fabian says, “we’ll be reminded that development comes from within a community, and that connecting with mentors and with each other translates into genuine empowerment. The responses from our volunteers have been overwhelming because they recognize the importance of a mentor for a child in need.”

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Christopher Fabian
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