Faculty voice:

Jennifer Olson: Technology for Tanzania

June 13, 2018

Jennifer Olson (above, fourth from the left in blue shirt) is an associate professor in the Department of Media and Information in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. She has more than 15 years of living and working experience in Africa, including research in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Recently, she traveled to Mto wa Mbu, a town in rural northern Tanzania to lead a joint College of Engineering and College of Communication Arts and Sciences education abroad service learning program with Erik Goodman from the College of Engineering.  

The program, Information and Communications Technology for Development in Tanzania, is a month-long course that works with five local schools and provides computers, internet connection and training of Tanzanian teachers and students in how to use the computers for teaching and learning. The MSU students do individual projects as well as help out with the computer labs and training.   

Besides working with the schools, the students visit wildlife parks and get to know a bit of the language, history and culture of Tanzania. According to Olson, the program has made a huge difference in the lives of the Tanzanians and the MSU students.

african animals on the plains of Tanzania

Zebras and silver-backed jackal are all ears and eyes as lioness approaches in Ngorogoro.


a group of people gather near two safari trucks

Students take a break from viewing the local scenes in Ngorogoro.


lions sleeping in a tree

Four lions take a cat nap in Tarangire National Park.


students peer out of the top of a safari truck

Students in Tarangire National Park.

 people working on refurbishing a room

Students work on preparing the computer lab in Jangwani Primary School that included painting, wiring, moving solar panels and moving the tower for the Internet antenna.


young women with Tanzanian school children

Media and information student Emily Smith with some local schoolchildren.


student trainers teaching women on computers

Students teach teachers about computer skills and use.


student trainers teaching residents on computers

The students were hands-on when it came to instructing teachers and students.


Student teaching computer skills

Students gain computer knowledge from the MSU program.


group of people posing in front of a sign for Kilimanjaro National Park

The group at Kilimanjaro National Park.


A group of people in the woods by a waterfall

The group hiked the wet park to see a waterfall.


Snow-topped Mt. Kilimanjaro

Snow-topped Mt. Kilimanjaro.