Jennifer Olson: Technology for Tanzania

Michigan State University's picture

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 Science 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.

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


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


Four lions take a cat nap in Tarangire National Park.


Students in Tarangire National Park.


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.

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