DAR ES SALAAM: Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) has crafted a narrative of empowerment and inclusivity through its innovative agriculture programmes namely Kilimo Viwanda and Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) apprenticeship.
The SBL Government Relations Manager, Ms Neema Temba said in Dar es Salaam, “This initiative reflects SBL’s commitment to education, sustainability and the growth of the country’s agricultural sector while ensuring females aren’t left behind,”
The agriculture sector, contributing 30 per cent to Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing 70 per cent 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 Programme, a beacon of hope for underprivileged students pursuing agricultural-related courses.
For the past four years, SBL has sponsored more than 200 students through this programme, creating a pool of knowledgeable professionals ready to make a significant impact in the agricultural sector.
Ms Temba said the Kilimo Viwanda Programme aligns seamlessly with the company’s commitment to eco-friendly practices and sustainability within the supply chain.
“The Kilimo Viwanda Programme 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,” she said.
She added, “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.
Also, recognising the disparity in girls’ enrolment in science subjects in secondary schools, SBL took a bold step by establishing the STEM Apprenticeship programme, part of its parent company Diageo’s strategic 10-year plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.
She said STEM Apprenticeship brings that narrative into practical terms as the beer maker is succeeding at uplifting young women ascending heights of STEM.
Tanzania is one of the African countries with the lowest secondary education enrollment, standing at 32 per cent.
Furthermore, only 25 per cent of women work in the tech industry and a mere 10 per cent pursue degrees in computer science.
In response, SBL’s STEM Apprenticeship programme sponsors students in higher education, actively addressing the gender gap in STEM professions.
The 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.
Some of the graduates of the STEM Apprenticeship programme Julieth Massawe and Christina Ndalichako are now working as Autonomous Maintenance Operators at the Moshi plant.
Speaking about the transformative power of inclusive education, Ms Massawe expressed gratitude for the chance to operate fully automated machines for a prestigious SBL company.
On her part, Ms Ndalichako underscored the tangible skills acquired through technical, business and supply chain training.
The second STEM cohort further exemplifies the programme’s impact on breaking barriers for girls and women aspiring to enter STEM fields.
For Ms Miriam Masanja, majoring in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, attests to gaining problem-solving skills, functional capabilities in brewery operations, multitasking, and communications.
For Ms Glory Hungu, pursuing a degree in Food Science and Technology highlights the programme’s crucial role in empowering girls and women, fostering curiosity and problem-solving through science.
The SBL efforts to support youth in STEM programme is not viewed 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 programmes actively contribute to a more inclusive and diverse society.
SBL’s Kilimo Viwanda and STEM Apprenticeship programmes 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.