By Juma Magambo
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at various technical institutions in the education sector across the world play active roles in student acquisition of hands on skills and relevant knowledge, which is paramount in promoting industrial growth of respective countries. This is the same for the East African Countries such as Tanzania. One of the important methods exploited by Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) Mwanza Campus is to impart intended hands on skills and knowledge to TVET students and engage them in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) competitions inside and outside the country whenever opportunities arise.
In this year (2021), Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) organized the STI competition at national level with the aim of promoting creativity and innovation among Tanzanian students of various education levels including TVET institutions and universities. This competition is known as MAKISATU (MASHINDANO YA KITAIFA YA SAYANSI, TEKNOLOJIA NA UBUNIFU), which was held in Dodoma, Tanzania. Three (3) students from DIT Campus participated in the competition to showcase their talents, skills and innovative ideas. Of whom two (2) students were females, Ms. Theodosia Sam and Ms. Eliwaza Elisha, and other one was a male student, Mr. Leonard Damas.
Of three students, Theodosia Sam, a third year student from the department of Science and Laboratory Technology, had a project titled “Production of the plastic pavement by polymerization of thermoplastic polymers and sand” This project aimed at recovering the plastic wastes generated from municipal trading centers and households, then processing them into pavements by polymerization with sands. The used of plastic wastes to make payments is geared towards addressing the problem of increased production of plastic wastes globally, which has deteriorated the ecological, societal, and wellbeing of mankind. In her project Ms Theodosia was able to successfully make business from the plastic wastes.
In line with the above idea of addressing the issue of increased production of plastic wastes in Mwanza region and other parts of Tanzania, Mr. Leonard Cosmas Damas, a third year student from the same department (Science and Laboratory Technology) presented a project on “Production of biodegradable plastic bags from locally available materials (starch, fish skins, and scales)”. This due to the fact that most plastic packaging materials used in Tanzania and East Africa Region are mainly prepared from petroleum based materials. These petroleum based plastic packages are relatively cheap and readily available in the country. However, the durability of petroleum-based plastics (i.e., not readily degraded once disposed of), which has raised concerns over their expensive methods of recycling and environmental pollution caused by accumulation of plastic wastes in the landfill, drainage systems, and in water bodies. As such, Mr Leonard’s project was aimed at producing a substitute plastic package which is bio-degradable, allowing them to be readily decompose upon disposal after use. Through this project the bio-gradable plastic bags were successfully made and showcased in several competitions including in the MAKISATU competition.
On the other hand, Ms. Eliwaza Elisha, also a third year student from the Department of Science and Laboratory Technology worked on improving the quality of shoe polish used on leather footwear especially shoes. This project intended to impart the leather shoes with water repellence character, which they usually lack during their production. Her project was tilted “Utilization of lanolin from sheep wool in production of water repellent shoe polish”. One of the use of Shoe polish is to increase the ability of leather to resist water permeability. This project formulated water-repellent leather shoe polish by using silicon oil and other locally available materials including waxes, oils, and dyes. The water-repellent leather shoe polish formulated was observed to have good performance to repel water and keep the leather shiny. Below are the photos of DIT Mwanza students and staff participating in the MAKISATU.
DIT Mwanza Campus sees the participation of their students in various academic affairs competitions including the Science, Technology and Innovation competitions (MAKISATU) as an important avenue for nurturing and development of new knowledge, creativity innovations and hands on skills.
The Writer is a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at DIT Mwanza campus