Cooperative Society: A Sustainable Approach to Connect the Unconnected Communities in Tanzania

Tarime, Mara

The Tanzania Community Networks Alliance (tzCNA) in collaboration with local community members in Tarime District organized the first meeting as per the Cooperative Societies Act, 2013 (https://www.ushirika.go.tz/uploads/The-Cooperative-Societies-Act-2013.pdf) that aimed in establishing the Tarime Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Abel, District Cooperative Officer and aimed in creating sensitization, awareness and guiding the establishment of cooperative society. The newly established cooperative society was named “Tarime Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd” to operate in Tarime District, Mara Region.

Speaking at the opening of the session, Mr. Pajero Malima shared his experience that was gained in attending the Fourth Summit on Community Network in Africa that was hosted by the University of Dodoma and Kondoa Community Network in Tanzania (https://www.internetsociety.org/events/summit-community-networks-africa/2019/). He further said there is a need for active, reliable, and affordable Internet connection to stimulate inclusive economic development projects and youth empowerment.

Senior Business Development Manager of tzCNA, Mr. Stanley Mosha, pointed out that Community Network Cooperative Society is the only sustainable approach that can be replicated and be owned by community members, and allow private organization, for profit organization, non-governmental organization, other cooperatives working in finance as well as agriculture sector and Government Institutions (Primary and Secondary schools, colleges) join hands to address connectivity challenges.

With more than 46 diverse members from Nyamerambaro, Komaswa, Surubu, Somba Nyasoko, Bisarwi, and Abainano villages attended the formation meeting held in Komaswa Ward on 2nd October 2020. Members positively expressed their concerns and need to establish Tarime Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd that will create sustainable solutions to connect the communities and other institutions through viable and sustainable enterprise. “Education should be given priority, children are studying, but the Internet is not reliable, no connection at all, I agree 100% in establishing community network cooperative society in this area, “said Ms. Nwera Joseph Simioni.

Ms. Grace Mwandenge, from Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission, “I am using the opportunity to elaborate more on the understanding of cooperative operations, rules and regulations governing the cooperative societies as stipulated in Cooperative Societies Act, 2013 in the country before the registration of your society. She further pointed out that “the objects of the cooperative societies shall be based in the promotion of the economic and social interest of its members through the common undertaking, based upon mutual aid and which conforms to the cooperative principles of a society which is established to facilitate operations of societies.” 

On the other note, Mr. Abel, the District Cooperative Officer, said this is the new type of cooperatives approach which sounds to be a very modern one that will attract youth and other special groups to benefit from the established Tarime Community Networks Cooperative Society Ltd. Besides, Mr. Abel insisted that members should members attended the meeting should elect committed leaders who will fast track the establishment of community network cooperative to address the connectivity challenges and contribute to the digital economy. The District Cooperative Officer further assured members that “the Government shall provide and create conducive social, economic, and legal environments for the development and prosperity of the established cooperative societies.” 

In addition to that, the Senior Public Relations and Marketing Officer of tzCNA, Mr. Peter Mmbando, delivered an excellent presentation titled ”the role of youth in the digital economy era” where he spoke about youth’s engagement in e-commercial business opportunities at the local level and data center for innovation to drive social-economic activities in the region that will boost income generation through digital marketing. 

Finally, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer for tzCNA, Mr. Jabhera Matogoro, completed his remarks and shared how he started the journey back the year 2014 when he started the connectivity agenda in Tanzania. He further said, “this is a new approach in Tanzania that will offer modern employment opportunity to youth and community members to benefit from the digital economy.” Also, Mr, Matogoro said, in the year 2014, when he started this journey, he was alone, but 6 years later, the initiative has impacted more than 680 members in Tanzania. His dream is to see the community network cooperative society, connecting more than 20 million Internet users in Tanzania. Tarime Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd is one of the five community network cooperatives in Tanzania, including Kasulu Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd, Nyasa Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd, Kondoa Community Network, and Mpimbwe Community Network Cooperative Society Ltd, which are in different stages of the registration. 

Reported by: Peter Mmbando (Senior Public Relations and Marketing Officer), and Matogoro Jabhera (OIE Mozilla Fellow 2019 and CEO for tzCNA).

Disclaimer: Views expressed here are solely those gathered by the author(s) and should not necessarily be construed to be those of any of organs or agencies or any other organization mentioned or discussed. We released this article under the cc-by-sa 4.0 license, and translation into other languages is encouraged. For more information, please contact the author(s).

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