On 11th March 2014 Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) facilitated the South Africa and Tanzania ICT Research Partnership Workshop at the Sayansi, Kijitonyama area in Dar es Salaam specifically. The workshop which aimed at exchanging and sharing experiences of how Living Labs can support communities in solving social and economic problems from both countries, brought together different stakeholders from Tanzania and South Africa.

Speaking with participants during that Workshop, the Guest of Honor, and Director for Communication, Science and Services at the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, Engineer Clarence Ichwekeleza said Living Labs is a way of working together, of driving and organizing innovation and collaboration between different stakeholders who share similar goals.

She said the aim of that Workshop is bringing together different stakeholders from South Africa and Tanzania who are working in community empowerment or related efforts.

She further noted that Living Lab project is about innovation and co-creation between the Innovators or Creators and their stakeholders and therefore urged all participants to share their knowledge, experience and challenges so that they can create the information society based on Information and Communication Technology applications.

“This Workshop will help you to share the challenges and opportunities, including experience regarding stakeholder management and engagements in the Living Labs” She said. Eng Ichwekeleza also reminded the participants to use that Workshop to learn different types of Living Labs and their sustainability models which has been operational in different settings

She explained that the South Africa and Tanzania ICT Research Partnership Workshop is a wonderful opportunity for awareness creation on what is generally regarded as a Living Lab from an African perspective.

For his part, Chairperson of the Living Lab in South Africa Prof Marlien  Herselman said people in South Africa   strike a clear balance between development and the good  uses of Information and Communication Technologies.

She said Tanzanians should make their Living Labs competitive and operate in such a way they become productive similar to those of South Africa.

She said South Africa is developing fast because of effective uses of the Living Labs.“It’s now the time for Living Labs in Tanzania to show results, People can use them to solve different problems within their communities, Living Labs can make People entrepreneurs, they can do technological innovation for instance Mobile Banking” She said adding that through Living Labs it is possible for people to design different computer applications for bringing the Government and Private sector closer.

Earlier when giving out the opening remarks, Director General of the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) Dr Hassan Mshinda said his Commission which has been entrusted the role of transferring and developing technology in Tanzania is very pleased to see operations of Living Labs in Tanzania.

He also reminded the participants that COSTECH through the Memorandum of understanding which had been signed by the Government of South Africa and Tanzania will keep on coordinating ICT research for rural and urban development.

According to the European Commission in a 2009 report, Living Labs is an open innovation.Environments in real-life settings, in which user-driven innovation is fully integrated within the Co-creation process of new services, products and societal infrastructures. In Tanzania TANZICT started the Living Lab movement and they now operate in in Kigamboni, Iringa, Arusha, Mbeya, Morogoro and Zanzibar.

The Workshop about South Africa and Tanzania ICT Research Partnership Project brought together stakeholders from Tanzania Commission for Science and technology (COSTECH), Tanzania and International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa. It also involved experts from Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, the Living Labs in Southern Africa (LLISA) and TANZICT which is the Information Society and ICT Sector Development Project between the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology of Tanzania (MCST) and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.