Tanzania

 

Room to Read Tanzania works with the government to scale efforts that ensure the best results in primary school literacy education. Our work also safeguards girls’ rights to quality education, supporting them to stay in school, improve their standard of living and contribute to national development.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Disease, Poverty Hinder Development

Tanzania became an independent nation in 1961 after many years of European colonization. While there has been relative political stability, Tanzania suffers from high levels of poverty, widespread disease, and a lack of development. Almost 90 percent of Tanzanians live on less than $2 a day and economic hardship is especially prevalent in rural areas, where about three quarters of the population live. The country also suffers from frequent epidemics of HIV and malaria, which are Tanzania’s leading causes of death.

Our Work in Tanzania

Room to Read Tanzania operates across the Mvomero, Bagamoyo and Kibaha District Councils and is the country’s only organization focused on both literacy and girls’ education. Since the introduction of Room to Read’s Literacy Program, the government has introduced a library period in Room to Read-supported primary schools for individual, paired and shared reading before checking out books. In addition, our Literacy Program is enhancing the culture of reading in students’ families. Parents are now checking out books for their own reading as well, demonstrating their engagement and commitment to supporting lifelong, independent readers.

In Tanzania, the transition into secondary school is when girls are most vulnerable to dropping out, so our Girls’ Education Program staff monitors warning signs. When a girl is at the highest risk of dropping out, we work closely with parents to stress the importance of staying in school and how Room to Read can help. Girls are also trained in Life Skills, to equip them with the necessary skills to make their own informed decisions.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Overcrowded Schools, Lack of Qualified Teachers

With a large portion of the population under the age of 14, improving the education system in Tanzania is a challenge — and a major opportunity to alleviate widespread poverty. While there was a push for universal primary education and increased enrollment since Tanzania’s independence in 1961, over the years challenges including an extreme shortage of adequately trained teachers remain. By the 1990s, less than half of primary school teachers met the minimum qualifications set by the Ministry of Education. In 2001, the country introduced the Primary Education Development Program which aimed at increasing enrollment in primary education, improving the quality of primary education, improving the teaching and learning environment as well as improving the institutional arrangement. In addition, free primary education was insisted upon by the government. This realized a tremendous grade one enrollment rate, from 59% in 2000 to 98% in 2015. The increased pressure on the primary school system also led to insufficient facilities and materials, and severe overcrowding with student to teacher ratios as high as 100:1. The government then introduced the Secondary Education Development Program in 2004 to increase the number of Tanzanian youths completing secondary school with acceptable learning outcomes. As a result, net secondary school enrollment has also expanded quickly: from 6 percent in 2001 to over 30 percent in 2011.

Challenges Moving from Swahili to English

While overcrowding and a lack of trained teachers hamper students’ transition from primary to secondary school, more is at play. School instruction switches from Swahili to English at the beginning of secondary school, presenting an additional challenge for students who are not yet literate in the language. In fact, most children are disadvantaged at this point; literacy rates at the completion of primary school are 63 percent in Swahili and 30 percent in English.

Tanzania’s Gender Gap

A large gender gap also exists within education in Tanzania due to additional obstacles for girls’ rights to education. Along with cultural prejudices, where boys are favored to girls when it come to school enrollment, female students struggle with inadequate sanitation facilities in schools, pressures from families to marry in order for the families to collect dowries and have children early. Girls accounted for 63 percent of all secondary school dropouts in 2010, and those who do not drop out often fall behind.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Room to Read Partnership Poised to Help 1.4 Million Children

Tanzania is Room to Read’s newest country of operation, having launched our programs in the country in 2011. After just four years of work in Tanzania, we are excited to have an opportunity to greatly scale our impact by partnering with the government, USAID and RTI International to improve literacy education in the country. Room to Read will help develop materials used for literacy education in grades 1 – 4, impacting an estimated 1.4 million Tanzanian primary school students in both Tanzania’s Mainland and in Zanzibar.

Pilot Program Helps Keep Girls in School

To identify girls most at risk of dropping out of school and to provide them with extra support, we developed an early warning system, which we piloted in Tanzania in 2015. Our staff tracked a set of four risk factors among our program participants: missing school, failing an exam, missing life skills sessions and parents missing family meetings.

The results were striking: Girls who showed one or more of these risk factors were more than four times as likely to drop out of school as those who showed none. Parent meeting attendance and school attendance were especially predictive of a girl’s dropout.

Being able to predict which girls are most likely to drop out helps us offer support earlier. Findings from the pilot in Tanzania are now informing the development of a global risk-tracking system, which we are rolling out worldwide in 2016.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Join Our Team

Room to Read Tanzania
Plot 36 Ileje Street, Off Cocacola Road
Mikocheni B, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Phone: +255-22-278 0507

More local information coming soon!

Rehema for President

Empowering girls through life skills in Tanzania.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.
Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

16 books

Children in Tanzanian schools with Room to Read libraries checked out, on average, more than 16 books per student.

16 books

Children in Tanzanian schools with Room to Read libraries checked out, on average, more than 16 books per student.

99%

Of the 283 Girls' Education Program students required to take a “gatekeeping exam” in 2015, all but two passed and advanced to the next grade.

99%

Of the 283 Girls' Education Program students required to take a “gatekeeping exam” in 2015, all but two passed and advanced to the next grade.

The Latest from Tanzania

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

An Early Warning System in Tanzania Helps Girls Succeed


October 10, 2016

Girls' Education, Africa

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

A Former Dropout Empowers Tanzanian Girls to Stay in School


May 27, 2016

Girls' Education, Africa

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

#ThankstoEducation I See a Future for the Girls in My Community


November 12, 2015

Girls' Education, Africa

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

Show and Tell: Children's Reading Day in Tanzania


January 10, 2014

Literacy, Africa

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Working with Parents to Support Girls’ Education in Tanzania


October 29, 2013

Girls' Education, Africa

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

An Engineer in the Making: Kurlithlimli’s Story


May 09, 2013

Girls' Education, Africa

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Video Blog from Tanzania: Building a Strong Foundation for Education


April 04, 2013

Literacy, Tanzania

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

Upendo's Promise: Paying it Forward in Tanzania


March 25, 2013

Girls' Education, Africa

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Tanzania. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

"Education Equals Empowerment", Huffington Post


June 08, 2012

Girls' Education, Tanzania

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