Tasimba Mhizha got a tip and a link from a friend saying he should check out the YALI Network Online Courses. After reviewing the list of courses and taking a few that he deemed “relevant to him,” Mhizha says the courses “hooked him in.”
They were “bite-sized chunks but very comprehensive,” says the musician, bioentrepreneur and 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Zimbabwe.
Mhizha is passionate about sustainable energy innovations, public health, mentorship, philanthropy and music. And he is open to meeting new challenges and expanding his network, something he was able to do by sharing the YALI Network Online Courses.
A course on understanding human rights was one that Mhizha initially found “out of his scope,” but he felt he could still learn from it and make a difference. Later Mhizha organized a #YALILearns session and barbecue with some fellow musicians and taught the course. He screened the lessons, used the provided discussion guide, and used the #YALILearns toolkit on how to organize a program. “It came in handy. I just had to get the people together,” he says. “I also asked some of the other guys to help lead the discussion.” Using their mobile phones, attendees at his event then went online and took the quiz.
“I got excited that my small steps and small contribution could make a difference,” he says.
Mhizha says that the YALI Network Online Courses and resources allowed him to start networking with other YALI Network members in Zimbabwe and that he got to participate with others who had been working in those areas. “It became easier to host events and get together because of the collaborative energy from other peers,” he says.
Once Mhizha started taking the courses and posting about them on his social media pages, he says, he had people reaching out to him. “Someone might post a comment [to one of my posts], and I would go and see what they’re doing. People noticed what I was doing, and one action would trigger something else. I realized we can actually work together.”
“Every time I take a quiz, I post my certificate online and challenge others to take the course. I had one person who was skeptical but took a course and said it was really great. They then wanted more information about YALI.”
Mhizha says that the course Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls had the most impact on him. “These [unfair] things happen around us, but it’s easy to become desensitized, and things become normal.” This course and the other one on human rights helped him “realize he didn’t have to be an activist to make a difference,” he says.
Next up for Mhizha is business school, with the eventual aim of setting up a business in Harare. His long-term interests are in combining business, academics and long-term training.
He says he has a part to play to inspire others to dream and to draw them out. And he wants to help link others to the resources they need.
Tasimba Mhizha is on Twitter at @TasMhizha.