Education in Tanzania
Tanzania faces many challenges, including environmental pollution and poverty. The country has seen development in recent years, and poverty rates have declined by around one percent every year since 2007, according to a World Bank report. However, poverty remains high compared to neighboring countries, as 22.8 percent of Tanzania‘s population lives below the poverty line. Furthermore, 48 percent of children in Tanzania are deprived, even if they do not live in households that are monetarily poor.

Approximately 26 percent of youth in Tanzania have not completed primary education, as poverty is a barrier that keeps many children from going to school. The disparity between the richest and poorest children is stark — with the average primary school attendance rate being 68 percent for the poorest quantile of children and 90.5 percent attendance for the wealthiest quintile. Education in Tanzania still has room for improvement, and many regions and public schools lack qualified teachers and materials.

The White Rose: Hope for the Future of Education in Tanzania

The White Rose is a nongovernmental organization that believes fostering education in Tanzania is the key to tackling the nation’s problems and creating lasting social and economic change. The organization’s focus is on primary education, where children learn how to behave and form the mindset that will guide them throughout their lives. The organization works in several small villages in the Arusha region (Sanawari, Ilboru and Olturoto) located in the northern region of Tanzania.

The White Rose relies on volunteers to help fill in some gaps and bring a new and international perspective to local pupils. Nikolay Nedyalkov, a volunteer who completed a program with the White Rose organization, told The Borgen Project:

“There were a few differences between the children from the public school and the private school. Whenever I walked into my classroom at the private school, the students would already be seated and waiting for the teacher. What surprised me the most was how eager they were to learn… The students at the public school were a little more distracted, but their later class sessions were held after a regular class load … Besides these time-of-day attention span differences, both public and private school pupils were extremely curious and asked me questions in geography, sports, history and always wanted to play football.”

Nedyalkov’s experience illuminates another challenge in Tanzania’s education system. The government declared primary education free in 2001, and by 2016, 1.3 million students had enrolled. This high enrollment caused the student-to-classroom ratio to soar to  77:1. Private primary schools, on the other hand, are unattainable for a large portion of the population, with annual fees ranging from $1000 to $17,000. Therefore, while the White Rose provides the opportunity for its volunteers to teach in both public and private schools, the organization suggests that those volunteering for more than three weeks do so in a public school.

The White Rose volunteers teach a variety of subjects (ranging from English to geography) to primary school students. The organization currently operates in four private schools, two public schools, and a public library. Additionally, the Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF, and USAID have made strides to improve access to education for Tanzanian students. Tusome Pamoja, which translates to “let’s read together,” is USAID’s flagship program in coordination with Tanzania’s government. The program’s scope ranges from assisting with policy issues to coordinating teacher training and student materials; it seeks to benefit nearly 1.4 million children over the course of five years.

While the education system in Tanzania faces obstacles, the involvement of organizations like the White Rose and its team of volunteers are making a significant positive impact. With contributions of a multitude of aid organizations and the international community, the state of education in Tanzania is likely to improve.

– Aleksandra Sirakova
Photo: Flickr

Tanzania's Improving Economy
The African country of Tanzania has a population of 53 million people, and it is estimated that around 70 percent of its people live in poverty. Although this constitutes a large amount of their population, the economy is improving and poverty is slowly decreasing. In fact, the economy in Tanzania has vastly improved over the last decade, averaging more than 6 percent growth a year. These improvements have come from many changes within the country.

Improvement in Corruption

There was a new government elected in 2015 that promised they would fight corruption within the government. In 2015, around 72 percent of Tanzanians said that corruption has been declining when compared with the previous year. In addition, 71 percent of citizens believe the government is doing a better job fighting corruption overall.

Improvements in Agriculture

Advancements in agriculture over the past few years has also helped Tanzania’s improving economy. Agriculture is one of Tanzania’s leading largest contributors to the GDP, at 30 percent, and it makes up 67 percent of the workforce. USAID has been working in Tanzania to help improve their agricultural sector. They have expanded irrigation and provide better access to the market through the reduction of transport costs for equipment and other important agricultural products. Tanzania has now become more competitive in domestic and regional markets.

Increasing Tourism

Tourism is the number one earner of foreign currency in Tanzania. In 2017, the tourism industry in Tanzania was ranked one of the fastest growing sectors in East Africa. From 2015 to 2016, there was a 15 percent increase in the number of tourists that visited Tanzania. This has helped with Tanzania’s improving economy by providing jobs and bringing in revenue to the country. In 2015, $2.9 billion had been earned from tourism, which was greatly increased by 30.4 percent in 2016 to 3.8 billion.

Growing Urban Middle Class

Around 10 percent of Tanzania’s population is a part of a small urban middle class. Although it is a small percentage of the population, it is growing at a steady rate as a direct result of Tanzania’s improving economy. Over the past few years, this group has gained political influence, purchasing power, and started to demand cheaper electricity, imported goods and improved urban social services and infrastructure. This growing middle class has motivated the government to work harder for their demands as well as for improved conditions throughout the country.

Reforms in Education

Over the past several years there have been many changes and improvements in education in Tanzania. This includes greater access to secondary education for both male and female students. This has had a large impact on Tanzania’s improving economy. Tanzania is one of the only low-income countries that has almost achieved universal access to primary education; however, there are still many obstacles keeping children from getting a good education.

Global Giving is attempting to change the lives of many children in Tanzania by placing technology in their schools to help them master their curriculum. Tanzania’s schools lack all resources, including teachers, which makes it very hard for students to learn, finish school and enter the workforce. Global Giving donates raspberry pi computers that already contain important math and science curriculum, along with tablets, laptops and phones for that can also be used to access the curriculum. Global Giving has improved the quality of education for many students in rural areas in Tanzania, which will improve their quality of life and prepare them to enter into a skilled workforce in their country.

Although there is a lot of work left to be done in reducing poverty and growing the economy of Tanzania, these are some of the important ways that the country has been improving over the past decade. A new government, advancements in agriculture, increasing tourism, a growing middle urban class and reforms in education have all had a positive effect on the economy in Tanzania.

– Ronni Winter
Photo: Flickr

development projects in tanzaniaTanzania is a stable democracy in East Africa, home to 54 million people and a rapidly growing economy. Despite concerns over the creeping authoritarianism of President John Mafuguli, Tanzania is experiencing an economic boom with 7 percent GDP growth registered in 2016. Through investments in infrastructure and energy projects, Tanzania’s government hopes to pull millions out of poverty. Here are five development projects in Tanzania:

Kikonge Dam and Hydropower Project

The African Development Bank’s African Water Facility (AWF) is providing Tanzania with a 2 million euro grant for a feasibility study for a multipurpose energy project in Kikonge, in the southwest of the country. The Kikonge dam, irrigation, and hydropower project would contribute to agricultural development in the region and improve water supply to local communities. Kikonge would boost Tanzania’s hydropower supply by 53 percent, allowing the government to invest in further development projects in Tanzania.

World Bank’s Tanzania Rural Electrification Expansion Program

The World Bank is financing a project that will connect 2.5 million poor Tanzanian households to the national electricity grid by 2021. The Tanzania Rural Electrification Expansion Program will also build the country’s renewable energy capacity and contribute to the government’s energy development projects in Tanzania. “Access to electricity is critical to extend economic opportunities and reduce poverty,” said Bella Bird, World Bank country director for Tanzania.

Nordic Development Fund’s Sustainable Charcoal Business Development Fund

The Sustainable Charcoal Business Development Fund seeks to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in Tanzania, providing sustainable charcoal for businesses as an alternative to unsustainable wood. The Nordic Development Fund’s project has succeeded in reducing deforestation and mitigating emissions, as well as contributing to local and small business development projects in Tanzania.

Dar-es-Salaam Maritime Gateway Project

The International Development Association is backing the $345 million Dar-Es-Salaam Maritime Gateway Project that will refurbish and upgrade the port of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania’s coastal former capital and largest city. The port is a hub for regional trade, with about 35 percent of its cargo going to and from landlocked neighbors in south and east Africa. As the volume of trade is set to double by 2030, the project will expand and deepen the port’s berths as well as improving its rail and transport links to support other development projects in Tanzania. “Improvement of the port’s infrastructure is long overdue,” said Deusdedit Kakoko, Director General of the Tanzania Ports Authority.

USAID’s Tusome Pamoja (Let’s Read Together) Project

USAID partners with the Tanzanian government in its flagship education project, Tusome Pamoja, or Let’s Read Together in Kiswahili, Tanzania’s most-spoken language. Launched in 2016, the project aims for improved student outcomes in Kiswahili for grades one through four in primary school, working with teachers and providing materials for students, teachers, and all stakeholders. Over five years, Tusome Pamoja seeks to reach around 1.4 million children from 3,000 elementary schools across Tanzania.

As Tanzania seeks outside investment to build newer infrastructure in its ports and cities, the government is also investing in other development projects in Tanzania targeting education, energy, and deforestation. Investments in renewable energy and electrification will connect more Tanzanians to the grid and could help the country reduce poverty and boost development beyond its impressive economic growth rate.

– Giacomo Tognini

Photo: Flickr

poverty in TanzaniaAfrican countries tend to be surrounded by the stigma of poverty and underdevelopment. However, most people are oblivious to the fact that the region is, in fact, rich in natural resources. Tanzania falls into this category. The East African nation has no dearth of wildlife, land or minerals. Despite being endowed with such advantageous conditions, the question of poverty in Tanzania arises time and time again.

About 12 million people, or 28.2 percent of the population, are living in basic needs poverty, 80 percent of which reside in rural areas. The workforce is concentrated in the agriculture industry, which employs 75 percent of Tanzanian workers. The land can only sustain a certain number of commercial farmers, leaving the majority to make ends meet via subsistence farming.

The internal production of agricultural goods is not being supported. Cereals and other grains are often imported from international markets instead of being purchased from domestic producers. Shifting production back to the country will not only employ many people, but will also stimulate the GDP.

The underlying reason for poverty in Tanzania can be attributed to a lack of education. Focusing on education for all will reduce family sizes and expand career options, especially for women. Women in Tanzania have approximately five children, according to the World Bank. 42 percent of children face malnutrition because their parents have to allot their resources according to larger family sizes. Without enough money to feed their kids, sending them school is not an option. Education programs and family planning services have both been helping to curb the population growth in Tanzania; they also give women the opportunity to provide a supplemental income with the extra time they have.

Concentrating on education from a young age is vital for alleviating poverty in Tanzania. Multiple doors of opportunity will open up for them, and they will not be trapped into subsistence farming. Training and education will make Tanzanians adept and allow them to be competitive in the international economy. When fewer people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, farmers will have more available arable land and more opportunities to pursue commercial farming.

Unlike most African nations, Tanzania did not suffer through internal strife. This gives them a leg up and increases the expectations for improvement. Tackling education should be the top priority of the government in their domestic policy.

Tanvi Wattal

Photo: Flickr