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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

How Serengeti Breweries is transforming youth mindsets towards agriculture

In the heart of Tanzania's agricultural landscape, Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) is crafting a narrative of empowerment and inclusivity through its innovative programs, Kilimo Viwanda and STEM Apprenticeship. 

As the Government Relations Manager of SBL, Neema Temba, aptly puts it, "This initiative reflects SBL's commitment to education, sustainability, and the growth of Tanzania's agricultural sector while ensuring females aren't left behind."

Agriculture, contributing 30% to Tanzania's GDP and employing 70% of the population, plays a pivotal role in the nation's economy.

 However, the sector faces a demographic challenge as young people hesitate to participate actively. In response, SBL initiated the Kilimo Viwanda Program, a beacon of hope for underprivileged students pursuing agricultural-related courses.

For the past four years, SBL has sponsored over 200 students through this program, creating a pool of knowledgeable professionals ready to make a significant impact in the agricultural sector. 

Neema Temba the Government Relations Manager of Serengeti Breweries Limited highlights SBL's dedication, emphasizing that the Kilimo Viwanda Program aligns seamlessly with the company's commitment to eco-friendly practices and sustainability within the supply chain.

"The Kilimo Viwanda Program is not just a scholarship initiative; it's a strategic investment in the future of Tanzania's agricultural legacy by ensuring both girls and boys are equally educated," states Temba.

 "It reflects our commitment to nurturing talent and creating a more sustainable, inclusive, and robust agricultural sector."

Furthermore, Tanzania faces challenges in secondary education enrollment, particularly for girls, resulting in the under-representation of women in STEM fields.

 Recognizing this disparity, SBL took a bold step by establishing the STEM Apprenticeship program, part of its parent company Diageo's strategic 10-year plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.

Neema Temba the Government Relations Manager of Serengeti Breweries Limited expresses SBL's dedication to inclusion and diversity, stating, "STEM Apprenticeship brings that narrative into practical terms as the beer maker is succeeding at uplifting young women ascending heights of STEM."

The statistics speak volumes. Tanzania has one of the lowest rates of secondary education enrollment in Africa, standing at 32 percent. Furthermore, only 25% of women work in the tech industry, and a mere 10 percent pursue degrees in computer science.

 In response, SBL's STEM Apprenticeship program sponsors students in higher education, actively addressing the gender gap in STEM professions.

SBL's commitment to national development is evident in its support for the Tanzanian government's Third Five-Year Development Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26. By aligning with national development priorities, SBL ensures that its initiatives contribute effectively to the country's growth.

The impact of SBL's initiatives resonates in the success stories of its beneficiaries. Julieth Masawe, and Christina Ndalichako, graduates of the STEM Apprenticeship program, are now working as Autonomous Maintenance Operators at the Moshi plant. Their testimonials offer profound insights into the transformative power of inclusive education.

Julieth Masawe describes her experience as a journey of both professional and personal growth, expressing gratitude for the chance to operate fully automated machines for a prestigious company like SBL. Christina Ndalichako emphasizes the tangible skills acquired through technical, business, and supply chain training.

The second STEM cohort further exemplifies the program's impact on breaking barriers for girls and women aspiring to enter STEM fields. Miriam Joseph Masanja, majoring in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, attests to gaining problem-solving skills, functional capabilities in brewery operations, multitasking, and communications.

 Glory Hungu, pursuing a degree in Food Science and Technology, highlights the program's crucial role in empowering girls and women, fostering curiosity and problem-solving through science.

Serengeti Breweries Limited doesn't view its efforts as mere initiatives but as a pledge to continue supporting women in science and ICT fields. As part of its ongoing commitment to bridge the gender gap, SBL ensures that its programs actively contribute to a more inclusive and diverse society.

SBL's Kilimo Viwanda and STEM Apprenticeship programs stand as inspiring models of corporate responsibility and commitment to inclusive education. 

By investing in the potential of young girls in Tanzania and Youth in general, SBL not only transforms lives but also contributes significantly to the nation's sustainable development and the growth of its agricultural and technological sectors.

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