We need to think more about social issues

Bryan was experiencing Finnish countryside while his visit last year.

Bryan was experiencing Finnish countryside while his visit last year.

Bryan Mushi has just graduated from Moshi University College of Cooperative and Business Studies where he studied micro-financing and enterprise development. He visited Finland last year as part of the Finnish North-South-South Programme called SWAN that aims to improve social work and education. At the same time with Bryan one other participant from Tanzania, 2 from Kenya and 2 from Ethiopia also visited Finland for 2 months.

The six participants were visiting different cities and Universities of Applied Sciences to do their theoretical part and practical internships. Based on his studies Bryan seems an unlikely candidate for social sector exchange, but he thinks his visit to Finland was worthwhile.

– This project is very nice and we need more this kind of programs. In Tanzania we have forgotten social issues and that welfare should be first priority. I realized that I need to change from certain person to another and think more about social issues, Bryan says.

He was doing his theoretical studies in Centria on the business school side and did his practical internship in Koivuhaka family center and Finnish Red Cross second-hand shop called Kontti. He found internship at the family center challenging due to the language barrier, but he liked working in Kontti as it taught him about social business.

– In Koivuhaka there were many families from South-Sudan and they only spoke Arabic or Finnish, so it was difficult to communicate. In Kontti we were learning how to make displays and other things related to the shop-keeping. We should have similar shops here because maybe I am tired of my shirt, but someone else could like it. People could donate the things they don’t need any more to support an organization doing good for the community, he explains.

Bryan met with Helga Mutasingwa, a local volunteer, in Art in Tanzania campus in Madale. They both have recently graduated from university.

Bryan met with Helga Mutasingwa, a local volunteer, in Art in Tanzania campus in Madale. They both have recently graduated from university.

Bryan is looking back at his experience in Finland and thinking about his future in Tanzania. His biggest learnings were about different lifestyles of people and different behaviors, and this has had an impact on how he sees his future.

– I have many things in my mind now when thinking about the future: maybe I am going back to school in few years and learn First Aid and go volunteer at a refugee camp. We should continue this SWAN Programme and raise more awareness about social issues. People need to see how good social services work, Bryan tells, but he is not just thinking about serious things. – Finland is a very nice place to be from Thursday to Saturday, he laughs.

What is SWAN Programme

SWAN is Finnish North-South-South exchange programme for Social Work and Social Sciences Africa Network. The project started in June 2014 and is running to the end of 2015. During this time students and teachers from participating countries and universities have been in exchange programs in different places learning about each country’s social services at local level and social sector education.

The main goal of SWAN project is to improve social work and education of social studies and to build a network and cooperation between Higher Education Institutes, Non-governmental Organizations, local government and communities. The main focus of this project is on the welfare of the most vulnerable families and children by empowering them and providing opportunities to participate

The coordinating university is Centria University of Applied Sciencies and in Finland there are eight other Universities of Applied Sciences involved in the project (Jyväskylä, Lapland, Kymenlaakso, Lahti, Laurea, Mikkeli, Savonia and Seinäjoki). In Africa cooperative universities are Tanzanian Moshi University College of Cooperative and Business Studies, Kenyan Maseno University and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Art in Tanzania is an NGO participating in the project by offering coordination support and team leadership in Moshi, Tanzania. Local government is represented by Moshi Municipality, Community Development and Social Work Department.