Tanzania Global Learning Agency (TaGLA), formerly called Tanzania Development Learning Centre (TGDLC), is a government institution and a
member of the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) with over 120networked development communication hubs globally. Our Correspondent BEATRICE PHILEMON recently interviewed the organisation’s interim executive director CHARLES SENKONDO on the institution’s change from being a project into an agency and its social significance. Excerpts:
QUESTION: Why have you changed from a project to an agency?
ANSWER: TGDLC started as an adjunct to the Public Sector Reform Programme (PSRP) as a capacity building sub-component in 2000 and since December last year, it was transformed into a fully-fledged agency to increase efficiency and make its services reach out to as many people as possible and enable them to share knowledge, experiences and skills with other people across the world through capacity building programmes.
TGDLC as an institution has been growing and demand for its services have continued increasing. Such growth has necessitated for a new way of operating and a need for a legal status, which will best position the facility to support ongoing reforms and entire public demands for better services.
In order to respond to the above demands, TGDLC conducted an organisational review in 2009. The review recommended that TGDLC be transformed into a new set up, hence initiation of a comprehensive engaging transformation process leading to the formation of TaGLA.
So, every Tanzanian should utilise these capacity building programmes by participating in diverse dialogues, training programmes, meetings and diverse enabling innovations that improve decision making processes and accelerate development in our country.
Q: What facilities do you use or interested people supposed to have in order to access TaGLA’s videoconferences from where they are?
A: Currently, the facilities are at the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Dar es Salaam, which provide access to the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) with over 120 similar facilities across the world (www.gdln.org).
The facilities provide real-time videoconference capability to enable Tanzanians to interact with other communities globally on development issues, skill enhancement and peer communication. There are also multimedia facilities allowing access to vast knowledge and training materials available online through internet.
Q: Do you have any sub-centres in the country or any plans to have them in the future to facilitate a smooth running of TaGLA programmes?
A: Currently, there are no other centres within Tanzania. There has been initial dialogue and studies to establish such facilities within the country. The emerging connectivity solutions and new innovations on quality videoconferencing capability have brought about new opportunities that will make it a reality to have videoconferencing capability in many parts of Tanzania coordinated by TaGLA.
Q: What should Tanzanians expect from TaGLA. What were the limitations of TGDLC as a project and what are the advantages of TaGLA as an agency)?
A: The establishment of TaGLA will further achieve earlier set goals by TGDLC through the legal mandate embedded to the establishment, ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities and address challenges earlier faced within the new frame work with more autonomy. The new structure will also utilise existing relationship with institutions in other parts of the African continent and the rest of the world.
Q: What challenges do you face and how do you address them?
A: One major challenge is people’s mindset to accept new ways of learning. This is both at individual and institutional level. Many people still find it difficult to believe that such a technology exists and can equally deliver, just like when people, who are geographically separated, meet in a single room. Those who have started attending organised sessions and events understand and take on board new ways of looking at things but still the majority of people have not got the opportunity.
It is through the media, organised sessions for familiarisation and the current move to have multiple facilities within Tanzania that we will be able to reach out to the majority of people in Tanzania.
Other challenges include the fast changing technologies that demand regular upgrades, the reliability if technology across the country as we move across regions that will demand for alternative sources of energy and high costs of connectivity that we are addressing by adopting and developing new platforms that can help ease communication using portable solutions.
Q: How can your programmes empower the media to perform better? Do you run programmes that concern the media but are probably not known to media houses?
A: There has been an outcry to have the media engaged in every session we conduct. This brings an advantage that, once journalists are informed, then they can inform the public and in-turn, have a multiplier effect. In addition to that, we have specific programmes that target media practitioners.
This has been going on since 2000 when the institution was established. We appeal to the media to utilise the facility we have by linking the rest of the world through learning to gain knowledge and also inform Tanzanians. We are updating our website and communicating with relevant institutions on upcoming events, in addition to tailored events that can be customised to meet specific needs.
Q: Dou you have any other information you would like Tanzanians to know about TaGLA?
A: Yes. The government has already invested by establishing the state-of-the art facility for Tanzanians to gain from. There are planned courses, specific dialogues and knowledge exchange events in areas of leadership development, good governance, climate change, agriculture, urban development, health, education, diversity, information communication technology (ICT), regional integration and many more.
It is an opportunity that every Tanzanian needs to utilise by participating in diverse dialogues, training programmes, meetings and diverse efficiency enabling innovations that improve the speed of informed decision-making and accelerated development in our country.