Exchange to Change Sept 2017 20170911 E2C zomer web - Page 3

EDITO 3 Teamwork Monday the 28th of August. Seated in a coffeebar in the Julius Nyerere Airport in Dar es Salaam with my two colleagues Lisa Popelier and Nathalie Holvoet. I still needed to write the edito for the upcoming Exchange to change edition. “We’ll help you!” TEAMWORK! As we reminisced about the past ten days when we jointly organised the first Tanzanian alumni & synergy seminar and prepared for student and staff mobility within the framework of the IOB- Mzumbe University cooperation agreement, ‘TEAMWORK’ seemed to be the most apt term to describe our endeavour. The teamwork extended far beyond the three of us, involving the administrative staff of Mzumbe, Mara (a.k.a. the Tanzanian ‘Greet Annaert’) and academic staff from different faculties involved in the collaboration. Different people, different strengths, complementing each other. From arranging hotel bookings, to discussing workshop content, from hanging up posters with clothes pins and arranging internet access to delivering high table speeches. TEAMWORK! The VLIR-UOS enabled this ‘teaming up’ event to bring together many different types of actors and laid the basis for a broad and long term network. Flemish universities (Ghent University, VUB, Hasselt University and IOB) worked together with each other and with Mzumbe University to reach out to the Tanzanian academic community, national media, Belgian embassy and development actors to share knowledge and research insights and broker contacts among the diverse stakeholders present. The cooperation also led to the ‘twinning up’ of Tanzanian and IOB students in joint dissertation research field work allowing for a real intercultural experience. Yet another combination of actors was facilitated through the alumni/synergy seminar, bringing together Tanzanian development professionals from all over Tanzania, to attend the seminar workshops, share experiences and jump start the Tanzanian alumni chapter. When asked who wanted to take up an active role within the alumni chapter more than 70 percent of alumni were ready to do so, in various tasks. Enthusiasm about the nascent network was tangible throughout the event and the days that followed. New contacts were forged, ideas were launched, plans for future cooperation took root ... and specific plans for the next events were made. TEAMWORK! Not sure whether it’s the setting ... but I can’t help wondering whether Nyerere’s collectivist legacy made cooperation here in Tanzania an easy endeavour. Happy reading! The IOB Exchange to Change TEAM(work) E xchange to change S eptember 2017