Deogratius Mosha, the co-founder of Mainstream Media Limited, a company founded in 2015 dealing with digital innovations and software development, receives an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on April 18, 2023. (Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)
DAR ES SALAAM, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Pilika Nwaka Mwamsaku, a first-year student at the Catholic University College in Mbeya region, believes that his studies have been made smooth through the use of a digital innovation called Smart University Initiative, or SmartUni in short.
"Through the SmartUni platform, I get all the study materials that I need after lectures. I am also using this platform to exchange ideas with students from other universities that are connected with this application," Mwamsaku, who is pursuing a degree in business administration, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
He added that through SmartUni, students can access subject notes by using the application instead of spending the little money they have to pay for photocopying the notes, adding that the application is also used for showing class timetables.
Mwamsaku is among tens of thousands of Tanzanian university students who are using the SmartUni application, thanks to Deogratius Mosha, the co-founder of Mainstream Media Limited, a company founded in 2015 dealing with digital innovations and software development.
At the age of 35, Mosha has already broken the glass ceiling by innovating SmartUni, a digital solution digitizing the education system at the university level, a solution aimed at reducing the use of paper and print handouts for both students and lecturers.
"SmartUni is a digital solution designed to transform the lives of students at universities and colleges by providing them access to studying materials via mobile phones and the web," Mosha told Xinhua in the port city of Dar es Salaam.
He said his company did research and discovered that most of the students in colleges substitute the cost of getting study materials for the cost of living or buying food, adding that the average spending for a student to get study materials is between 10 U.S. dollars and 14 U.S. dollars per month.
He added: "Most of the universities in Tanzania have not leveraged on using technology to provide study materials to students. So we saw that as a need and an opportunity that we can create a platform where study materials can be uploaded easily by the students or by the lecturers."
He said at the moment there are five universities where there are active users of the SmartUni platform, adding that the target is to reach all 22 universities in Tanzania by the end of 2023.
"We started this innovation in July 2022, we made the first trial in September 2022, we did our second trial in January 2023, and in February 2023 we started rolling out to the universities," said Mosha.
He said some higher learning institutions and colleges in Kenya have asked how they might adopt the SmartUni digital platform to their colleges after they have learned that the innovation was helpful to students in Tanzania.
Mosha said another innovation he has made is a digital health service called Afya Tap, a solution that links up medical doctors, patients and other health workers.
"This innovation came out when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country in 2020. We came to realize that most of the people were afraid of going to pharmacies, they were afraid of going to hospitals when they experienced symptoms of COVID-19," he said.
Mosha added: "Through that platform my team and I also realized that there was a need to connect doctors with these people who were locked at their homes afraid of going out because of the COVID-19 outbreak."
Emmanuel Lazari, a medical doctor who graduated from the Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Dar es Salaam in 2019, said he joined the Afya Tap application during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Four medical doctor colleagues and I used to attend between 10 and 15 patients a day, mostly those suffering from non-communicable diseases, including diabetes," said Lazari.
Mosha's innovative journey started when he was in high school as he began to be very inquisitive about anything that came across him.
Mosha, a graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Science (Information and Technology), won the 2022 Forty Under 40 Africa Awards in the science, technology and innovation category.
The awards are organized by Exodus Communications Company of Ghana and they were given in Cape Town in South Africa on March 24, 2023.
The main innovations that made him and his company stand out were the SmartUni and Afya Tap digital platforms, said Mosha.
"Everyone felt that the two solutions can be replicated in developing countries in Africa. Both problems we are solving in Tanzania are found in other African countries," he said.
Mosha thanked the government of Tanzania for supporting innovation initiatives by creating an enabling environment for innovations. ■
Deogratius Mosha, the co-founder of Mainstream Media Limited, a company founded in 2015 dealing with digital innovations and software development, shows his app in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on April 18, 2023. (Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)
Staff of Mainstream Media Limited work at their office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on April 18, 2023. (Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)