Africa School Assistance Project (ASAP) commits to creating a replicable model in rural Tanzania that supports girls in myriad ways to access and succeed in secondary school, thereby improving the likelihood that they will pursue tertiary education and/or employment. Ultimately, this commitment will empower girls to improve their lives, ignite change, and create a 'chain of inspiration' for future generations.
The Kupanda Project For Girls will initially target 288 girls in its first three years. The combination of Project elements will ultimately improve access, retention, and learning outcomes for the girls. Specifically, The Kupanda Project will:
1) Build a school dormitory for 144 girls, providing them a safe haven in which to live and study. Groundbreaking for Phase One of the dorm occurred in June 2014 and will be completed by January 2015. The full dormitory will be completed by October 2015.
2) Provide wrap-around services to improve the girls' health, sanitation, and nutrition, allowing them to keep up with the academic rigors of school. In addition to shelter, the dormitories will provide girls with healthy food, clean water, access to sanitary toilets and showers, electricity to study after dark, and computers.
3) Improve learning outcomes through school-based initiatives, including an intensive learner-centered teacher training program for 30 teachers (with ongoing teacher support). Additionally, increase the amount of educational resources available (textbooks, computers/computer training), build three science labs (biology, chemistry and physics), and develop a remedial Foundations Program to help students get up to grade-level in their studies, and;
4) Inspire girls and teach life skills through a Girls' Leadership Program (including business skills development) that motivates young Tanzanian women to believe their presence and abilities can ignite change in their communities.
ASAP has seven years of experience working in close partnership with communities and the government to develop quality holistic community schools with high academic outcomes in rural areas of Tanzania. The organization's community-owned development model is efficient, effective, sustainable, replicable, and culturally appropriate.
ASAP brings its model for school development, full project experience (project design and implementation), Tanzanian network (community partners & local/regional/national government relations), and partial funding to this Commitment To Action.
January - April 2015
- Program design, including Girl's Leadership Program, Teacher Training, and Foundations Program
May - October 2015
- Construction and completion of dormitory for 144 girls
- Construction and completion of three science labs (physics, chemistry, and biology)
- Installation of computers and computer lab
- Ongoing program design
- Ongoing teacher training
- Monitoring & evaluation design
- Girls move into dormitory (beginning of school year)
- Wrap-around services launched (water, nutrition, sanitation, nutrition, electricity, and Foundations Program)
- Girls Leadership Program launched
- Science labs ready for use
- Computers ready for use
- Monitoring & evaluation launched
January 2016 - December 2018
- Program implementation
- Monitoring & evaluation (ongoing)
In rural Tanzania, like most of East Africa, a severe shortage of secondary schools, inadequate teacher training, and scarcity of educational resources precludes two-thirds of students from receiving a secondary education. The situation for girls is even more bleak. In Tanzania, similar to most of East Africa, a dismal five percent of girls in rural areas who begin secondary school actually graduate.
There are many factors that depress girls' enrollment and graduation rates. Some of these factors include:
- If girls have to walk long distances to attend school, which is often the case, they may be at risk of rape. Early pregnancy ends a girls' opportunity for an education.
- If girls have access to school, but can't go when they are menstruating due to a lack of toilets and sanitary facilities, the girls fall behind in their studies and drop out.
- If girls are hungry, thirsty, or sick, they can't adequately learn.
- If girls lack access to proper learning resources such as books, computers, science labs, and trained teachers, then they likely won't adequately learn or pass their exams and will be forced to drop out.
- If girls do not see that they have opportunities equal to boys in their culture then they may never aspire to tertiary education, future employment, or owning a business.
Despite this, the benefits of education for girls are indisputable. Girls who receive a secondary education will marry later, have higher family incomes, tolerate less domestic violence, have fewer children and at an older age, and give their children better care, thereby reducing infant mortality rates. Additionally, AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls with some education. Developing programs with a focus on girls' education is an especially effective way to promote holistic social development in East Africa.
There are many efforts underway to improve girls' education in rural Tanzania. Some focus on increasing access, some on teacher training, some on mentoring the most promising girls to develop leadership skills and business acumen, and others on addressing AIDS prevention or family planning. These initiatives can be very effective, but are often implemented in a disconnected way from each other, only addressing discreet parts of the problem.
Africa School Assistance Project (ASAP) believes that no isolated solution will vastly improve girls' secondary education because girls face challenges in many areas of their lives. However, when these solutions are implemented synergistically, the impact can be deep and lasting.