PARTNER HIGHLIGHT: Livingstone Tanzania Trust, A Data-Driven Approach to SBS
Blog, Entrepreneurs, Global Impact, Partner Organizations, Stories From the Field, Woman Entrepreneur
Street Business School (SBS) is privileged to have many extraordinary organizations with varied missions and goals as part of the SBS global partner network. Once certified to teach SBS, our partners implement the trainings in the communities that they serve. Partners also have access to our measurement and evaluation tools, receiving training on data collection, analysis, and how to leverage the information to unlock funding opportunities. Many partners have found meaningful and productive ways to integrate SBS into their programing, and some are particularly notable for how they have used their SBS impact data to advocate for resources, to plan, and to better understand the challenges facing their communities.
The Livingstone Tanzania Trust (LTT) is an organization that has used both impact data and qualitative research to not only successfully implement SBS, but to also integrate the training confidently into their 5-year strategic plan. LTT is a small nonprofit organization located in the northern part of Tanzania, an area with limited resources and few employment opportunities. Focusing on education as a tool for people to reach their full potential, the organization embraces a community-driven approach that relies on the communities themselves to identify their own priorities and ideas for addressing local problems.
Piloting SBS with Women and Youth
For a small organization like LTT, using resources effectively is a key to success. So when they thought about bringing SBS to Babati, a town in northern Tanzania, they wanted to make informed choices about how best to capitalize on this entrepreneurship training opportunity. LTT thought some groups might benefit from the training more than others, so they decided to train four groups with varying ages, genders, and community types, and to then compare the impact results. The first group included men and women from a peri-urban community, the second group had all female participants of different ages, the third had youth from 18-30, and the fourth was in a rural area with both men and women participants.
After 46 entrepreneurs graduated from SBS, LTT was surprised and pleased to find that all groups performed well, each starting businesses and growing their incomes. A year after graduation, 81% had at least one active business and incomes had increased by 187%. The percentage of people with savings also increased from 36% to 82%, and in the case of the youth cohort, from 42% to 100%. LTT also found that graduates had a greater diversity of businesses than they had at baseline, something that can be important in markets too saturated with similar businesses. Notably, the graduates had achieved these successes without loans or cash transfers, but rather because of their new-found skills and an improved mindset which gave them the confidence to succeed.
Interviews with graduates provided examples of how participants were achieving their success. Some graduates described how they had used newly acquired skills such as bookkeeping and risk assessment to change the way they did business. One youth said:
“Before the program, I was selling avocados. I stopped because I lost all the capital when the crop was destroyed in transit. At that time, I did not have any knowledge compared to now about running a business. I didn’t have any savings, so I couldn’t replace the stock and keep the business going. I did not know how to calculate risks or challenges, and I didn’t take any action to anticipate issues or have plans for solutions. But now, I can do those things and be prepared.”
Beyond benefiting individual graduates, evidence shows that SBS has had an impact community-wide. Through interviews, LTT identified 119 people in the community that had benefited from a spillover effect where graduates of the SBS program shared their knowledge with others. This suggested that the spillover effect of SBS was quite high. Also, LTT began to receive requests for training from people who had observed the success of SBS graduates in their communities.
Strengthening Recruitment and Retention Strategies
While the first SBS graduates demonstrated success, not everyone who enrolled in the training completed the course. To see why this had happened, LTT interviewed people who did not complete the course and learned that they had faced challenges such as personal tragedy, too many other commitments, or new job opportunities that made it impossible for them to continue. Because of their interest in improving retention rates for their third cohort, LTT spoke to potential recruits ahead of enrollment, sometimes in one-on-one sessions to clarify and manage expectations about the commitment. The one-on-one sessions allowed recruiters to work around busy schedules of recruits and to address individual concerns. When attendance at the training continued to be a problem, the trainers adapted by running refresher courses and holding one-on-one sessions where they presented several modules at a time.
As LTT began recruiting a fourth cohort of mixed gender participants from a rural community, they decided to enhance their recruitment practices again by having a young man from the third cohort share stories about his new businesses and make a case for why SBS’ “start with what you have” approach is so important. Not only was his story inspirational, but it also demonstrated how the training can increase graduates’ confidence to share their success with others.
Using SBS Impact Data to Support Strategic Planning
LTT has used their outcome data and insights from interviews with SBS participants to build a 5-year strategic plan in which SBS livelihood training will play a leading role. To help in securing resources for their plan, they have shared their SBS impact data and other findings with funders, a task made easier because of the simple language and clearly delineated outcomes outlined in the SBS materials. The funders have responded, impressed with the results and assured by the fact that LTT is part of SBS’ large global partner network where they can receive support and connection with other organizations who are successfully implementing SBS.