Fostering Inclusive Innovation Through Strategic Collaboration With Community Level Actors.| Recap of The Innovation Week 2020.

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike
4 min readMar 15, 2020


Part of the Tanzania Innovation Week 2020, #IW2020, Finnish Development NGOs Platform (Fingo) partnered with Sahara Ventures to organize a learning session with local NGOs on fostering inclusive innovation through strategic collaboration.

A group photo with Fingo Innovation and Development Expert, Emma Nkonoki and Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania, Her Excellency, Riitta Swan.

Non-profit organizations globally play a strategic role in fostering grassroots innovations and promoting social innovation. Community-Based Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, and other non-profits work in close proximity with the community and most of the time they have an upper hand on understanding the needs of the community. They play a critical role in helping to understand the root causes of some key issues facing the community.

In Africa, with the growth of the Africa innovation ecosystem, one would have expected Non-profit organizations to play a crucial role in the ecosystem by forming a strategic collaboration with other ecosystem players (Private Sector, Universities, Government, R&D Centers, Innovation Hubs, etc) to bridge the gap between these players and the needs of the community. Most of the time when we talk about the innovation ecosystem in Africa Non-profit organizations remain, bystanders, while other players are engaging and working together.

Participants of The Workshop, Following The Session Closely.

From the workshop, we wanted to share experiences with Non-profit organizations on how they can engage with other partners in the social innovation ecosystem by discussing practical cases and examples from different projects Sahara Ventures has been involved with non-profit organizations.

Case One | Data Zetu Project Helping Communities to Make Better and Improved Decisions Using Data. In Data Zetu Project, Sahara Ventures worked with other partners to engage community-based organizations and LGA on identifying and prioritizing community pain points for easy interventions and decision making through the approach called Listening Campaign. The CSOs/CBOs worked with other partners (LGAs and Private Companies) to identify community challenges, develop tools (solutions), and engage with the community to get their feedback through the Community Shareback Sessions.

Case Two | Sasa Basi Campaign Addressing Teenage Pregnancy Through
Bongo Flava Music and Streets Arts
. In Sasa Basi Project, Sahara Ventures worked with Faru Arts and Sports Development Organization (FASDO) to identify local artists who speak the language of the community (Tandale Street, Temeke) to design music and art campaigns that respond to the problem of teen-pregnancy facing the street. FASDO has worked in Temeke for over 10 years helping youths through arts and sports. FASDO strategically helped Sahara Ventures to engage with the community and conduct the activities.

Case Three | Inspire 100 Inspiring 100 out of school girls with
business skills, tech skills, and SRHR knowledge
. Sahara Ventures worked with Mkwawa Community Arts Space in Iringa to identify women with businesses who are living in tough conditions. The idea was to impact these women through SRHR knowledge, business skills, and basic tech skills for their businesses e.g social media for business, etc. Mkwawa Arts space helped in recruiting and mobilizing the women while Sahara Ventures designed the training tools, trained the women and linked them to funding opportunities and networks.

From the session, we learned and exchanged knowledge and experience from each other. Things that come out very clear from the session;

Participants Sharing Experience, Miss Necta Richard from Tanzania Bora Initiative.
  • There is a need to have a clear strategy to engage Non-profits organizations (CSOs, FBOs, NGOs, etc) in the local innovation ecosystems to encourage innovativeness and adoptions of innovations at the grassroots level.
  • There is a need for capacity building for local Non-profits organizations on how to capitalize on the existing innovation ecosystems. For example from the session, Dr. Julius Tweve from Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCo) encouraged the Non-profit organizations who were in the room to work with the university since they have a program whereby students are supposed to work and volunteer in non-profit organizations.
  • The concept of Social Innovation is very new to the local Non-profits organizations and most of them still operate in a very traditional way struggling to capitalize on new tools and resources.


  • Emma Nkonoki and Fingo for Organizing The Session.
  • HDIF for hosting the session during the innovation week.
  • Attendees of the session and Sahara Ventures Team.

Resources | Jumanne Presentation during the session can be accessed here.



Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Entrepreneur, TZ Patriot, Loves Tech, Founder, Project Management Consulting firm, Co-Founded and Sahara Accelerator.