MCW GLOBAL IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ITS AFFILIATE, MC-TANZANIA HOLDS YOUNG LEADERS CONFERENCE FOCUSED ON LEADERSHIP IN ORAL HEALTH
September 26, 2022, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – MCW Global, in partnership with its affiliate, MC-Tanzania, held an in-person Young Leaders Conference from September 6th through the 8th at the Seashells Millennium Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania focusing on Leadership in Oral Health for Eastern and Southern African young oral health professionals. Bringing together 26 participants from Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia, the Conference aimed to redefine the concept of leadership and introduce skills for community oral health engagement.
The aim of the Conference was to improve oral health by expanding participants’ leadership knowledge while engaging them in meaningful discussions that advance oral health in their region. Additionally, the Conference provided a platform for participants to identify and forge solutions for the prevailing challenges in oral health through a region-specific lens. Participants left the Conference connected to a wider network of support, consisting of professionals from various backgrounds including the oral health public, private, and technology sectors. Discussions also addressed the linkage between modern leadership and oral health, the challenges in the oral health community, and the potential of networking and resource mobilization for oral health.
The first day of the Conference was dedicated to a conversation about Modern Leadership and Oral Health. This was kicked off by speeches from our esteemed guests: Dr. Deodatus Mtasiwa, MC-Tanzania Board Chair and former Chief Medical Officer under the Ministry of Health/Deputy Permanent Secretary for Health under the PO-RALG, and Dr. Rashidi Mfaume, Regional Medical Officer – Dar es Salaam Region. Through discussions and sessions, participants were able to deconstruct what “leadership” entails for them, first in the general sense, and later within the context of oral health. The day ended with a Welcome Dinner which included guests and friends of MCW Global and MC-Tanzania from the public, private and government sectors.
“I got to know that a leader is not defined by the position that you are in, but by your actions. I’ve learnt that we are all leaders, either by birth or created.” – Dorcas Dorée, dental therapist and participant from Rwanda.
The second day of the Conference focused on Challenges in the Oral Health Community. Through panel discussions and group work, participants looked closely at the challenges in oral health across the Eastern and Southern African regions. The day ended with participants engaging in an interactive ‘But Why’ session, which taught them how to better understand their communities’ challenges with more precision and contextual awareness.
“The community leaders are the engine of change in their communities,” noted Venance Ngungo, MC-Tanzania Country Manager.
The third and final day of the Conference focused on Networking and Resource Mobilization for Oral Health. Participants heard from different speakers about the importance of forming coalitions, and the value of networking and resource mobilization in community development work. The event was concluded by a Networking Closing Ceremony where participants received certificates of completion and also had the chance to engage friends, supporters, and partners of MCW Global and MC-Tanzania.
“Networking is among the best solutions to overcome challenges of resource mobilization, it enables [us] to open doors to various stakeholders of interest in the field of Dentistry,” noted Dr Baraka Nzobo, National Health Coordinator, Ministry of Health Tanzania.
The conference will be followed by three optional vision planning webinars for the participants to build their community projects. Participants with actionable project plans will then be invited to apply for financial support (up to $300) to help them in implementation. In addition to the financial support, participants will also be assigned to a mentor from MCW Global’s Young Leaders Alumni to guide them through their implementation process.
The Young Leaders Conference Tanzania 2022 was co-hosted by MCW Global and its affiliate MC-Tanzania. The Young Leaders Conference leverages leadership to solve region-specific issues through networking and guided discourse about community issues. It mobilizes participants to carve solutions to their communities’ most pressing needs in the areas of health, education, and economic security. The Conference is held bi-annually in different regions worldwide and is tailored for community development practitioners.