Transforming Tanzanian schools with Technology

by Tanzania Development Trust
Transforming Tanzanian schools with Technology
Outside classroom at Ikondo
Outside classroom at Ikondo

Many of the schools we work with have been using Shule Direct for a long time.  They particularly like the fact that their materials are designed specifically for the Tanzanian curriculum. Students greatly enjoy the quizzes, and teachers like that they can download past papers easily and access summary notes for revision.  This is particularly useful for the many teachers who have to teach outside their specialist area.

In many schools there are no maths or science teachers. Instead, where they can afford it the community bands together and pays local school leavers to take on this role. As they are only one year older than their pupils, and have no training and often few resources this is a very challenging job.  Access to resources like Shule Direct and Khan Academy is then very useful, even if teachers are only able to access it on their phones. 

But many schools do not have good enough connectivity to access resources online. Therefore, from your generous donations we have been able to purchase licences for Shule Direct offline use, as well as three projectors to enable whole classes to be able to access these resources at once, in the schools where they have a good enough electricity supply to run them, and a teacher's laptop to connect them to.

We hope to expand this provision more widely in the future.

Thank you again for your support. 

Discussing photosynthesis under the trees!
Discussing photosynthesis under the trees!
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Planting seedlings for school tree nursery
Planting seedlings for school tree nursery

In countries like Tanzania that have a very high rate of youth unemployment, teaching entrepreneurship is particularly important.  Unfortunately it doesn't feature highly on the school curriculum, so we have been helping the schools we work with to introduce it.

Many schools have now started enterprise clubs where students learn useful skills such as group work, and project planning, as well as marketing, and creating a business plan. Students have also been using Excel to calculate their profits and Publisher to create advertising posters.

Many successful projects have been started, ranging from selling snacks and stationery, growing vegetables and cooking mandazi (Tanzanian doughnuts)  These projects bring in helpful income to the students and schools.  Often this funding has been used to employ temporary science teachers in schools that previously had none. 

But special congratulations are due to Ikondo Secondary School in Kagera that won the Global School Enterprise Competition for best business plan for their poultry project, winning $400 in the process, This project supports many vulnerable students with eggs, and their winnings mean they can expand.  You can see a 2 min video about it here.. 

Thank you for your support!

Working out a business plan
Working out a business plan
Ikondo Chicken project
Ikondo Chicken project


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More girls at the FGM Safe Houses now schools shut
More girls at the FGM Safe Houses now schools shut

As in most of the world, Tanzanian schools have been closed due to COVID since March 17th.  However unlike most of the world students in the schools we work with generally do not have access to laptops, tvs, phones or online materials.  Generally they do not even have access to text books.

Therefore we have been working with teachers where we can to get get some printed material to students where possible, and also promote learning materials by radio where students can access those.

The school closures resulted in an additional FGM cutting season, and the FGM Safe Houses we work with had many more girls arriving, a particular challenge meaning they had to turn their vocational training classroom into a temporary quarantine area.

However they have been able to run English conversation classes via videoconferencing with teachers in the UK, and access materials such as Khan Academy on the Raspberry Pi we set up there. 

We have also been able to provide materials specifically tailored to the Tanzanian curriculum from SmartSchool Tanzania, that sent a hardrive of material from Dar es Salaam to Mugumu on the bus.  The staff and students at the Safe House there are now trialling it, and if it proves successful we will try to roll it out to other schools if possible.

The schools are going back on June 29th.  With extremely large classes and often a lack of running water it will be hard to keep students safe. We continue to liaise with our partner schools to help where we can.  We are particularly concerned to see whether female attendance will be reduced.  Often when times are hard, girls are married off to get cows as dowry for their family. Child marriage is illegal but common in remote communities, and we are working with schools to support girls in these particularly challenging times.

We hope you are safe and well, and thank you again for your generosity in supporting this project.

Learning English via Videoconferencing
Learning English via Videoconferencing
Lesson at the FGM safe house
Lesson at the FGM safe house
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Menstruation is an additional challenge girls face in the schools we support. 

Many cannot afford any pads and simply stay at home when they have their period, meaning they miss a lot of school and fall behind. 

Also many schools, and parents, fail to teach girls anything about menstruation. 

We are trying to address this by supporting girls clubs and providing with matrons and female staff with suitable low cost resources including films they can show through their projector.

We are also supporting a group to make low cost washable pads to distribute to the girls, but this is a huge challenge as the need is so wide spread. 


Thank you again so much for your support. 

Best wishes from rural Tanzania. 

There's a power cut as usualso I'm having to write this on a phone with low battery so cannot add any photos

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Group work in Dodoma
Group work in Dodoma

The preform one classes we are supporting have been underway in 8 schools since the end of September, benefitting over 700 students who would otherwise not be in school. 

This initiative, which we started last year, has had huge impact on the students. Primary schools are taught in Swahili, and so pupils struggle to adapt to their lessons taught in English when they start secondary school.  This programme gives them a good foundation for this transition by teaching the vocabulary they will need for their new subjects in a fun and engaging way.

Often schooling in Tanzania can be quite didactic and instructional.  In this programme teachers have used group work, games and songs to make the learning fun and encourage students to make friends with their peers.  This has been paying dividends with students making good progress and reporting how much they enjoy this way of learning.

One of the ways we have been promoting this is via a very active WhatsApp group with teachers from all of the 8 schools. They have shared photos, videos and reources that they have used, and asked questions and given advice.  This has proved to be extremely useful, particularly as these schools are in rural locations where there are few opportunities for ongoing professional development.

One of the most interesting conversations we have had recently is on the issue of menstruation and how much of an issue this is.  Many teachers and students are very embarrassed to talk about this, there are few resources and often girls cannot access the protection they need and so we are starting to work with school matrons to resolve this and have applied for supplies of reusable pads from Afripads. 

Thank you again for your support and best wishes for the festive season.

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Organization Information

Tanzania Development Trust

Location: London - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tanzdevtrust
Project Leader:
London, London United Kingdom
$7,765 raised of $10,000 goal
133 donations
$2,235 to go
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