TecNica in Africa Initial Needs Assessment: Overview

This file is an overview of the contents of the audio recordings available in this section.  Once all segments are uploaded, the links will be available here at this beginning of this page.

Prompted by a negotiation with the ANC and a subsequent invitation, TecNica began to plan to send volunteers to work in Southern Africa in the late 1980’s.  Several delegations traveled to Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique, and met with Africans there to discuss these possibilities.  The delegations spent time at many locations, assessing the needs of hospitals, medical schools, government agencies, and private companies to bolster the technical side of their work with teaching and equipment.  Delegations returned with a great number of possible work projects and a first effort at needs assessments.

The planning evolved to include longer stays by volunteers (perhaps months instead of weeks), and because the cost of traveling to Africa was so much greater than that to Nicaragua, it surely meant subsidies by the TecNica organization. Subsidizing volunteers naturally meant dramatically increased fundraising for TecNica.

This audio recording was a report by TecNica Executive Director, Michael Urmann, in the late 1980’s after the delegations had returned.  He reports on what they found in at least three countries, the needs assessments they performed, and possibilities for the future.

The audio series represents a recording made during one long meeting with local Berkeley TecNica staff and volunteers, supporters, and possible funders.  The audio has necessarily been broken down into multiple segments because, taken as a whole, it was too long to upload to this WordPress site.

Africa Report: Results of initial visits and

analysis/needs assessments

Audio – Recorded by Michael Urmann, Narrator

Date:     Early 1988

Overview:   Part 1

0-3.9      Overview of Africa Needs Assessment: Possible TecNica Volunteer Projects and Delegation Members

General skills:  Microcomputers, water projects (hydrologists, etc.), teachers – academic and vocational, medicine (doctors to teach and practice), skilled trades/vocational skills, etc.

 3:45     Country by Country:  Africa

4.0 –     Zimbabwe Project Possibilities

Needs Assessments for:

4.30            Teachers and various types of schools (Ken and Kitty Epstein Report)

Vocational skills/skilled trades and management skills

9:05            Agricultural Workers Union – regional training seminars suggested

(Short, medium, and long-term volunteers needed to teach)

12:23         Union Organizers – training union organizers to analyze profitability

Basics of accounting, economics, financial reporting

13:57         Informatics – microcomputers, database administration, online information dbs, etc.

17:05         Health Care – physicians, long-term positions and short-term positions (seminars)

Types of skills needed; maintenance of hospital equipment, School of Medicine position, School of Medicine faculty positions

12:41         Well-drilling techniques, hydrologist positions

23.12         End Zimbabwe

23:13   Zambia Project Possibilities

Needs Assessments for:

Security, teaching, School of Medicine faculty positions, technicians for maintenance of

equipment supplied by NGOs.

26:10         End Zambia

26:12     Tanzania Project Possibilities

Visa restrictions

Needs Assessments for:

Health care, teaching at the Faculty of Medicine (biochemistry, clinical chemistry, Pharmacology, ophthalmology, ENT, etc.), medical statisticians, medical librarian, online access to medical literature.

29:25         Medical photography, technicians to repair slide and overhead projectors, medical equipment, etc.

30:44         Infrastructure problems that will spawn TecNica projects:

Hospital laboratories (air-conditioning, plumbing issues)

31:53         End Tanzania

31:54      Mozambique Project Possibilities

Needs Assessments for:

Assistance from Ambassador in Washington, DC. and others, NGOs. Need for coordination.

33:48         Solidarity person to develop cooperative relations and her successful preparation

Central hospital and teaching university needs

Informatics, agriculture, Ministry of Information and Foreign Affairs, engineering, management

Ministry of Agriculture – statistics, database of agric. Information in collaboration with rural development staff, agronomists, rural extension teachers/trainers, agric. Engineers, mechanics, trucks and farm implements, water development program/mechanics

Ministry of Transportation, telecommunications engineers

Ministry of Health:  boiler mechanics, medical doctors/teachers for surgery, physiotherapists, statisticians, health planning

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: computer projects, archive design, statistics

Ministry of Industry and Energy:  local industry development, grant proposals

43:54         End Mozambique

43:55         Next Steps

Ready to place volunteers as soon as we have staff on the ground – coordinators.

Housing for staff and volunteers; transportation – acquire vehicle, computer equipment, office equipment.

How will this program differ from work in Nicaragua?

Longer terms for volunteers, financial support for volunteers (airfare, room and board, admin overhead), translating into more fundraising for TecNica to keep costs the same for volunteers.

48:14         End Next Steps

48:20   Why Work in Southern Africa?

The many reasons for expanding the program to send volunteers to work in Southern Africa/ comparison to Nicaragua.

TecNica as the mechanism to take the model of Central America awareness and support and use that model via Volunteers and Staff to inform people in developed countries about Southern Africa.

53:14      Beyond Southern Africa, Would We Go Elsewhere/Where Else Would We Go?

Yes, to nations that share those same goals, trying to improve people’s lives, change their social conditions, create a more just and equitable society.

TecNica’s opportunities and responsibilities.

54:37         End of Formal Presentation

54:38        Questions and Responses

Security issues, advantages of a broader organization, opportunity to meet with ANC, Namibia, Southern Africa Regional Coordinator

1:04:05   SOMAFRO issues and special needs of working with the ANC/in ANC training centers. Overview of volunteer skills needed.  Issues for Mozambique (different language – Portuguese).  Zimbabwe – English, so perhaps the bulk of volunteers would go there; what about refugees in southern African countries?  Staff on the ground in each country.

1:26:33   Donor support, TecNica’s vision: Progressive Peace Corps

1:28:30      End of Q & A

End of meeting and recording