Jun 25, 2020

Our Work during Coronavirus

Tutors prepare to return to school
Tutors prepare to return to school

As with the rest of the world, Tanzania has had to adjust to a new normal in the face of Coronavirus. Primary schools have been out of session in Tanzania since March 16th, but we are excited that they will be opening up again on June 29! 

During this closure, we have spent our time doing special health and sanitation workshops with our tutors and are prepping our staff with the necessary PPE to continue our important work. This was all made possibly through our generous donors who contributed on Giving Tuesday Now. We don’t know what we would do without all of you.

Once we’re back to school on June 29, we will have a lot of catching up to do. Some children will have suffered for lack of the structured classroom environment and returning to school will be a big challenge for many. As you know, Toa assesses students in March each year in order to group the students into Tier One (typically developed), Tier Two (slightly lagging), and Tier Three (delayed development) cohorts. Although we were unable to finish our testing before the lockdown began, we are ready now to hit the ground running. By the end of July, all testing should be completed and we will be able to begin our remedial and referral services from the beginning of August. As life resumes a kind of normality, we are aware that these services are more needed than ever before! 

Despite the school closures, we have been hard at work analyzing our progress until now and we are excited to measure our impact on students from 2019. According to our Early Childhood Education Platform, Toa tests all incoming Standard One students a few months into the school year. Our tutors provide special remedial services to students who test below a baseline score of 80%. To track their progress, we test these students two more times over the course of 11 months. As you can see in this chart, for 2019-2020, the baseline test showed 296 students unable to achieve a passing score out of 449 tested (66%). One year later, only 13 students (3%) were unable to achieve a passing score. Our tutors and students have made impressive progress!

We are thrilled to have been recognized and honored by the Lord Mayor of Moshi, Ray Mboya. Augustino went to accept the hati ya pongezi (congratulatory document). We were nominated for the award by the headmistress of Jamhuri Primary School, Mwalimu Mashauri, for the classroom refurbishment project of her school.

Student Progress Chart
Student Progress Chart
Accepting the Congratulatory Document
Accepting the Congratulatory Document
Feb 27, 2020

We Started 2020 Strong

In 2019, we more than doubled the number of schools in which we provide services, bringing the total to 9 public primary school sites across 8 wards of Moshi Municipality, Kilimanjaro Region. This expansion went so well that The Toa Nafasi Project’s American founder, Sarah Rosenbloom, made the decision to turn over management to local leadership. Thus, 2020 began under wholly Tanzanian direction with Deputy Director, Augustino Valerian; Assistant Deputy Director, Emmanuel Mnubi; and Tutor Leader, Hyasinta Macha. Under these local leaders, Toa Nafasi expanded to 2 more schools, bringing the total number to 11 school sites across 10 wards. 

 

In order to handle last year’s expansion, we added 15 formerly underemployed local women to our corps of tutors. In 2020, Augustino, Ema, and Hyasinta hired and trained 4 more women to help with the new expansion, bringing the total number of tutors to 30. Providing employment opportunities such as these is an additional benefit of The Toa Nafasi Project.

 

Our tutors have started the new school year by observing the new Standard One students to get to know them and have a baseline knowledge of each student’s capacities and proclivities. By March, they will begin the formal evaluation process which includes an individual assessment for each child so we know which students will need the extra support.

 

Under local leadership, we can only expect to strengthen our partnerships in the community. All of Toa’s expansion is made possible through our strong relationship with the District Education Office in Moshi as they help to facilitate relationships with the government school administrations. Additionally, The NationalStrategy for Inclusive Education, published in 2009 by the Tanzania Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, called on non-governmental organizations to work with government bodies to achieve its inclusive education goals, and The Toa Nafasi Project has answered that call. We hope to be able to continue to do that for a long time to come!

Our leadership team- Augustino (L), Hyasinta, Ema
Our leadership team- Augustino (L), Hyasinta, Ema

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Dec 2, 2019

The Toa Nafasi Project - Going towards 2020

Young girl working
Young girl working

We will be expanding our services once again next year, this time in 2 more schools in 2 more wards: Kaloleni Primary School in Kaloleni Ward and Jitegemee Primary School in Pasua Ward.  Thus, by 2020, we will have nearly reached halfway to our goal of having a Toa presence in 1 school in each of the 21 wards in Moshi Municipality.  Still quite a ways to go, but it’s a triumph of sorts.

In order to accommodate the new influx of pupils, we have already hired and begun to train 3 new tutors – Walimu Pendonsiana, Hajra, and Sauda – for a total of 29 local women who work assiduously under Hyasinta’s careful guidance.  We also hired an office manager to stay full-time at our office in Moshi town.

The graphic below shows the breakdown of our 2019 Tier 3 students at each of the current 9 participating school sites per the results of our initial assessment in April.  As we have reached 6 months into our intervention, the 2nd assessment has just been completed so we should see a lot of change very shortly.  (Check out Mwalimu Happyness congratulating a student on completing her test below!)  We should have those test results by the end of the year in time for our Q4 report.

Young boy working
Young boy working
Young boy and his tutor
Young boy and his tutor
Tutor with students
Tutor with students

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