End Caning for Children in Tanzania Schools

by Virtues Project International Association
End Caning for Children in Tanzania Schools
End Caning for Children in Tanzania Schools
End Caning for Children in Tanzania Schools
End Caning for Children in Tanzania Schools

In Tanzania, caning is identified as the leading form of physical violence experienced by schoolchildren.  According to a 2020 report, schoolchildren reported feeling unsafe at home, in the school setting, and on their way to and from school.  Children named teachers and parents/guardians as the main perpetrators of the various forms of violence that they have experienced.

Our mission at Bright Jamii Initiative is to eliminate all forms of violence in schools by promoting The Virtues Project as an alternative positive disciplinary measure that will strengthen relationships among children, teachers, and parents; and by promoting life skills to build resilience in children.

We have been able to sustain engagement with 5 schools, reaching 250 children through school Bright Clubs, and 4547 children indirectly through Bright Clubs Reach Program where students use the arts to reach out to their fellow students and parents during parent-teacher conferences.  We engage and train teachers in the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project.

One of our five schools, Bright Hope School has seen a transformation from our engagement, now declares themselves to be a Virtues Project school, and invites Bright Jamiii Initiative to keep strengthening the capacity of their teachers and help them establish a system that will eliminate all forms of violence in their school.  

Children are using the strategies of The Virtues Project in their daily interactions with family, friends, and other people they meet on the street.  They have reduced their risk of being exposed to violence.  Here are some of their stories about using the strategies of The Virtues Project in their daily encounters:


It was Saturday, my mother told me to rush to the market and buy tomatoes, at that moment I had other work to do so I decided to ask my young sister to go to the market instead. My mother told my young sister not to go and I should go by myself at the market, then my young sister refused to go to the market as my mother told her. After that we both refused to go to the market, my mother said that if I did not go then I would not have food for that day and I decided to accept it all. Later I took the money and rushed to the market and bought all the food items that mother asked for (tomatoes, onions and carrots). Later at night, I remembered about the virtue of obedience and respect and I knew that I made a mistake. I started to tell my mother, “Mom! Mom! I'm sorry!” my mother replied, “how can I forgive you while you made me angry”. Then I started to kneel down before my mother and saying, “mom! we are thought to forgive others when they make us angry Am sorry, I will not do it again”. My mother replied, “I forgive you”. Since that day I started to be a good listener, I respect elders and youngsters. 


A good thing I did in my home land, I told kids who were fighting each other to stop fighting, if they fight, they will hurt themselves and cause of conflict among their parents, because they will argue with each other like, “why did your child beat my child” therefore they must continue to play with peace and happiness.



One day when I was walking around, accidentally I pushed a young lady, I immediately remembered to ask for forgiveness, so I asked her to forgive me. But she told me, “What will ‘sorry’ help?”  I was quiet, she started to insult me and claimed that she would beat me. I told her that I am sorry, she asked me, “didn’t you see me?” I replied, “yes I did not see you”, she asked, “you can’t, see?” I replied “I can see '' she asked, “then why did you push me?”, “then let me teach you discipline”. She grabbed a stick, and I remembered we learned to be courageous to protect ourselves from violence and so I cried loud so people can hear, I said “am sorry sister, I did not intend to push you. Please do not punish me”. she replied “why? you are a kid I am going to beat you”. I was very scared. Suddenly a man passing heard me and asked what happened there. I told him everything, then the man told that young lady, “why don't you have mercy for the kid?”, forgive her, it was accidentally”. The young lady forgave me and walked away. I thanked that man for his mercy.


At school always my friend Christina has not been given pocket money for daily school using, also she always does not have breakfast in the morning because her mother does not love her and other students at school humiliates her also there is no one to give her hope. I remembered being kind to others and I helped her by giving her 500 because I had been given 1500. Thank you, this is my story.


One day we were playing at the school compound, suddenly a teacher called us and said, “you kids, come” we went and a teacher told us to sweep the office, immediately Fidensia started to have stomach ache she said, “Mwantime, escort me to the toilet”. When we were there, we found no water, I tried virtues of love and kindness and I took my bottle with water and give it to her.

Another day, my friend and I had a fight and we all did not talk to each other. One day I was thinking and went to ask for forgiveness even though she was the one who started a fight. So, I asked her a forgiveness and she forgive me. I told her “Even if someone wronged you, you just ask for forgiveness you should not fight”, she understood. Till today when she had a fight with anybody, she goes ask for forgiveness.THIS STORY WRITTEN BY YOUR BELOVED ONE MWANTIME, I LOVE BRIGHT JAMII


There is a woman in our street, who always does not give her child food. But I saw the child and decided to be generous and took the food from our home and gave it to that child.

 Another story is, it was Sunday when I was on the journey, I saw a kid wandering around but I had mercy for the kid. I took all of my money and gave it to the kid so the kid can use it for food.

 The other day It was Tuesday, when I was on my way out of school, I saw a child crying and told me that he owed money to her friend because he lost it. I helped that child with some money.

 Also, near home, there is a child who does not being loved by her mother but I saw that the child had being given hard works by her mother, the child was doing laundry, cook, wash dishes, clean the whole house, the child does not even got time to play, the child does not get time to for studying. I was feeling mercy for her, I helped her with other home chores and I was cooking food for her till the situation became better for her to have time to study for some time. Thanks to those who read this story. 


Our Way Forward in 2022:

It is inspiring to see how teachers and students respond to the program and the transformation they experience. In promoting comprehensive child protection to ensure children are safe, this year (2022), we are going to strengthen parenting clubs to empower and support them to use the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project in their parenting practices as part of the positive parenting practice.

 We are aiming at initiating 5 parenting clubs, engaging parents of the schools we work with, and with collaboration from VPIA and support from GlobalGiving, we remain optimistic to raise at least $5,000 this year to be able to do that.  We thank you all for your ongoing emotional and financial support.  You make our work possible. 







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Bright Jamii Initiative (BJI) with the support of Virtues Project International Association (VPIA), has been promoting character development by implementing The Virtues Project model in a number of schools in Tanzania, in line with the National Plan of Action to end Violence Against Women and Children 2017/2022. With VPIA support, BJI has been able to use The Virtues Project model to contribute to creating safer schools and enabling children to develop life skills necessary for their welfare. 

Following is a report on BJI activites over the past few months. As our year will soon be coming to a close, this is a time of reporting, reflecting and planning with teachers and education authorities: 

Sixteen club sessions were facilitated in this quarter, reaching 177 students in three schools. Students learned about their rights and associated virtues they could call on for self-protection and the protection of others.  Focus on reporting acts of violence and claiming their rights to keep themselves and others safe was done through a study and development of artistic presentations that culminated in a comic book about child rights and breaking the silence on acts of violence. 

In September, the Bright Club at Mtoni Primary School reached 2320 fellow students, including Students with Disability, through an Inquisitive Arts performance at school.  Club members presented drawings that showed domestic violence to children and also their rights to leisure, play and education.  The presenters were able to connect with their audience who then shared those feelings of connection.  Some expressed experiencing an "aha moment"  with the content and some recognized these situations in their lives.

In August & September, BJI facilitated teacher Virtues Project refresher sessions at two primary schools, aimed at strengthening safe school environments using The Virtues Project model. There were 42 participants including head teachers and guidance and counseling staff. The sessions covered identifying a child who is experiencing violence, creating conducive environments for children to report acts of violence, offering counseling to child victims of violence, and using virtues to reduce corporal punishment. 

 As a result of these sessions, teachers requested to have more training on The Virtues Project with a focus on restorative justice, alternatives to punishment, and the legal framework surrounding corporal punishment in Tanzania, the Education Act 2002. The next session will be held at the end of November, and our hope is that three schools will participate.

Insufficient funding has been a roadblock to ensure engagement and harmonious functioning of the Comprehensive Child Protection Tripartite (students, teachers and parents).  BJI put more effort into engaging students and teachers, but engagement of the parents is critical for comprehensive child protection to ensure children are also safe at home.

The use of inquisitive arts as an approach and tool of teaching, which is also adopted by the students as their way to create awareness among their fellow students on child rights and child participation in ending violence against children, has helped children to develop the virtues necessary to break the silence against violence leading to more cases being reported at school and the positive transformation of character among children who attend the Bright Club programs.  A transformation so impressive that the teachers are more willing to participate in the training to learn more about character development and The Virtues Project model!

Children experience violence at home as well and that affects their ability to study and keeps the cycle of violence going. Therefore, BJI with the support from VPIA, plans to raise more funds to be able to engage parents and focus on a few pilot areas documenting results that can be used for advocacy and positively influencing the legal framework in Tanzania to eliminate corporal punishment. 

Thank you for your support and generosity.  You are making a difference in the work we are able to do and the lives of those we serve, students, teachers and parents.

Inquisitive Arts
Inquisitive Arts
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Young Mothers during group business plan learning
Young Mothers during group business plan learning

“As young girls, at times you feel ignored as everyone expects that you are an adult enough to care for your child and give them all their needs” ~ Young Mother

Having spotted the high number of children like Mtoni and Mbagala roaming around in the streets with no adult supervision, the project team conducted a simple survey and found out that the majority of these children belong to young mothers between the age 15-30 -- most of them being victims and /or survivors of rape, child marriage, and child pregnancy and were abandoned by the father of these children.

This year, with your generous support, these 100 mothers have obtained space to learn positive parenting skills through The Virtues ProjectTM while also creating small business groups (at least 10 per group) that are designed to enable them to establish a source of income to provide for themselves and their children. The young mothers through this Parenting Club have started by learning and practicing The Virtues ProjectTM strategies of “Speaking the Language of Virtues” and “Recognizing the Teachable Moment” for building their resilience as young women while also enriching their skills in parenting. Meanwhile, the young mothers have started sessions to help them build up their business plans for kick-starting implementation of their business in their groups.

You are indeed making a difference in the lives of these mothers and their children!  Hardly a day passes without one or another of these proud young mothers expressing how grateful they are for your helpfulness and generosity.

Young Mothers during group business plan learning
Young Mothers during group business plan learning
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Thank  you  for  your  generous  support.  We deeply value your giving in the time of global unprecedented pandemic that affected almost everyone in all parts  of  the world. We  feel  valued  that  children in  our  community  remained  special  to  your  heart. 

As 2020 has come to a close, we want to let you know how your support has made a huge impact for the children and schools in our community: 

 5 schools - 880 children (480 primary school and 400 in secondary schools) were part  of  our  character education  and  life  skills  clubs  using the  Virtues  Project model  to emphasize  safe  schools  and  positive  relations  amongst  teachers  and  students, as  a  means  to  eliminate  corporal  punishment.  480  children  are  ambassadors to their  fellows (about 4000 kids) in schools through their interactions and  artistic performances that influence their character. 

 4 Out of the 5 schools, serve children from the most vulnerable highly populated communities  in  Dar  es  Salaam  city  (Temeke  Municipality)  where  most  incidents  of  violence  against  children  take  place.  One school  (with  80  club  members)  are  primary  students from medium income families in Kinondoni Municipality. 

Because of the pandemic, schools were closed down  from March to June this year, our  programs  paused  too  until  July  when  schools  started  allowing  clubs  activities  to  proceed.  We appreciate your financial support that helped us to recover and  resume  with  club  activities. Because  of  your  support,  volunteers  were  able  to  visit  schools regularly. 

As a result,  post Covid19 Lockdown programs  (July-November 2020), that enabled kids  to  start  showing  improvement  in  their  character, the  Education  Coordinator  at  the  ward level wrote a letter to Temeke Municipality advising the District Education Officer  to  extend  our  collaboration  and  scale  up  to  more  schools supporting  the must  vulnerable  communities,  especially  to  enhance  teachers  with  positive  parenting  and  positive disciplining skills.  This is huge as Temeke Municipality has a  record of incidents of corporal  punishment at school that resulted into child disabilities and/or deaths. 

More kids are aware of the forms of violence and they are confident and courageous to  communicate  them  to  their  teachers,  parents,  caretakers  and  local  government  authorities –unlike before when it was normal  for acts  of  violence against children  to  remain  unreported.  It  was  encouraging  to  see  the  collaboration  amongst  teachers,  parents  and  local  government  authorities  in  addressing  the  cases  of  violence  against  children. 

With the pilot program on the use of Virtues Project as a special model for character  restoration  for the children in conflict with laws who are in the juvenile rehabilitation  centers, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children  has given us a permit to extend the time in modeling The Virtues Project in a Dar es Salaam  based center and later on scaling up to other 4 centers in Tanzania. 

We want  to express our deepest gratitude  for  your continued financial and  technical support that  has enabled  us  to be  resilient as a  social impact  organization. Because  of  your  support, we have been able to continue and expand our work to promote a culture of safety and caring in schools and families.


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This pilot project began with a goal to train 5 schools in The Virtues Project  (TVP) model, provide ongoing staff support as they implemented the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project, and then evaluate the effectiveness of this model as a replacement for the caning of children in schools. The demand for The Virtues Project in Tanzania has increased due to gross acts of violence against children as a way of disciplining them that has led to death, disability, high dropout rates, poor school performance, and more.

Evaluation of the first five schools revealed the following: 

  1. 230 students impacted, now demonstrate higher moral standards (self-discipline) and improvement in academic performance 
  2. 26 teachers and caretakers impacted, now utilizing positive discipline skills
  3. Acts of corporal punishments have reduced drastically, approximately 70% reported in the pilot schools
  4. Approximately 50% of the parents whose children are involved in the program are also starting to practice positive discipline at home, and share challenges and progress with teachers as they observe their children’s character development

The impact of this project and your giving on GlobalGiving:

  1. Strengthened Bright Jamii Initiative (BJI), the organization that provides the training
  2. Through BJI, brought TVP to 5 more schools in Dar es Salaam city, and for the first time, begin to include government schools
  3. Trained six volunteers at the BJI to support TVP in schools 
  4. Trained 15 teachers and 7 support staff 
  5. Enrolled a total of 320 students in Bright Clubs where they learn and practice TVP strategies
  6. Enabled BJI to join a small national task force with government ministries, UN agencies, and international organizations to develop the National Early Childhood Development Multi-Sectoral Plan which includes identifying and implementing programs that contribute to ending violence against children. TVP is now identified as one of those programs that can contribute to ending violence against children.

We intend to expand the project to five additional schools in the coming year.  Mobilizing resources to expand The Virtues Project requires ongoing recruiting and orientation of new volunteers, materials development and production, transport support and allowance for volunteers, teachers training, audio/visual documentation of the impact, and BJI participation in relevant local and national forums for different stakeholders, including the government, to showcase results for advocacy and seek further support.

We thank you for your continued caring and financial support for our work.  You are helping us to create safe and caring school communities for the children of Tanzania.

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Organization Information

Virtues Project International Association

Location: Calgary, AB - Canada
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @VirtuesProject
Project Leader:
Valerie Hess
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Canada
$6,990 raised of $9,000 goal
216 donations
$2,010 to go
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