Nafisa was confronted with a problem faced by many educated young adults in urban Tanzania. Despite her college degree, she was unable to find employment due to scarce opportunities, a weak economy and inexperience.
“It was so depressing,” recalls Nafisa. “I had the educational qualifications and skills necessary for most jobs but my lack of experience held me back.”
Sending out her resume was part of her daily routine. “Please let me know if you hear of anything,” Nafisa would implore to everyone she met.
After many frustrating months, Nafisa received a call from a former professor at St. Augustine University in Mwanza, Tanzania, advising her to apply for the Advancing Communication Experientially Internship Program (ACE).
Administered by the Tanzania Capacity and Communication Project (TCCP) under the leadership of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHU∙CCP), ACE seeks out recent graduates of mass communications, sociology and other fields related to health communication for its intensive training program.
Interns and fellows serve for six months to one year while learning the basics of strategic communication; participating in a seminar series on professional development, time management, presentation skills, online learning and other topics; receiving mentoring; and enjoying many other opportunities to advance their skills. Upon completion of the program, interns and fellows receive a certificate and are publicly acknowledged for their accomplishment through a graduation ceremony which has included representatives from USAID and the Ministry of Health among the invited guests.
ACE is one part of TCCP’s efforts to build individual capacity in strategic health communication while helping institutions address their current capacity gaps. TCCP has the overall vision of Tanzania being a place where people take charge of their own health, creating healthier households where individual changes in health lead to healthier families and communities. As such, one of the project approaches is to build the capacity of Tanzanians to deliver social and behavior change communication in a sustainable fashion, thus the ACE program is one of the efforts to build those skills.
Nafisa was accepted into the ACE Internship Program, where she gained critical experience and skills she needed to succeed in the tight job market. She was offered a job by TCCP and happily credits her success to ACE.
Nafisa is one of ten graduates of the ACE program who has found positions in the workforce thanks to additional training provided by TCCP. Fellow graduates have found positions within other USAID projects and at local NGOs. Through these positions ACE alumni continue to build their skills and deliver services, contributing to the on-going improvements in the health and well being of Tanzanians.
TCCP is a five-year, USAID-funded project led by JHU∙CCP and working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.