Why We Work in Tanzania

  • There are approximately 8.7 million children under 8 years old (20% of the population). This means that the quality of coverage of health and education services for young children remains low, ultimately impacting their ability to reach development milestones.
  • High levels of poverty negatively affects children in Tanzania meaning the majority of families live in ‘generalised insecurity’. A shock such as an illness or drought can push many families into vulnerability, seriously risking the health and welfare of its members, with women and children the most at risk.

Early childhood indicators in Tanzania highlight important progress but also significant pervasive challenges faced by young children:

  • More than 100,000 children under-5 still die every year.
  • Nutritional stunting due to malnutrition for children under 5-years remains high at 35%.
  • Early Education quality is poor with Teacher pupil ratios averaging nationally 1:183 in government schools.

How Are We Addressing These Issues

Integrated School Readiness Programme

“Watoto Wetu, Tunu Yetu” Improved Early Learning for 3-5 Year Olds, Dodoma

Barriers to Early Childhood Education

Our programme works on the ground in targeted districts where the needs are greatest to improve quality and access to early years education for the most vulnerable communities.

Our approach is to work in the regions of the country where the needs of young children are the greatest. We work in Mwanza, Morogoro and Dodoma regions to improve early childhood experiences for many thousands of children. We complement this work by engaging with other organisations at the national level to influence policy and advocate for increased resourcing of services to young children such that all children in Tanzania can have the best start in life.

Our approach combines working on the ground in targeted communities in the regions of Mwanza, Morogoro and Dodoma, with engagement at the national level to bring evidence of our work, and the work of others, to decision makers to inform and influence policy. We believe this approach builds strong national policies that recognize the importance of investing in all young children, alongside examples of good practice implementation that ensures every child the best start in life.

Case Study

Monica Kibena – Creates Her Dream Classroom

One of the ‘star-teachers’ of Children in Crossfire’s Irish Aid-supported Integrated School Readiness Programme, Monica immediately grasped the principles of play-based learning for young children at the training conducted by CiC in June 2018.

“I have always dreamed of a perfect classroom” says pre-primary teacher Monica Kibena of Madizini Primary School in Morogoro. “this programme allows me to experience my dream in a government school.”

When she got back to her school, she lobbied the school leadership for resources to transform her classroom and bring her dreams to reality.

“Together with parents, we started making locally sourced materials for the learning corners that develop children’s pre-reading, pre-writing, arithmetic skills,” she says and adds that if it was not for lack of space in her classroom of 155 children, she would have added more resources.

When she got back to her school, she lobbied the school leadership for resources to transform her classroom and bring her dreams to reality.

“Together with parents, we started making locally sourced materials for the learning corners that develop children’s pre-reading, pre-writing, arithmetic skills,” she says and adds that if it was not for lack of space in her classroom of 155 children, she would have added more resources.

Past Programmes

Talk to Your Baby

The more words were spoken to a baby in the first year of life, the better their understanding of language.  It supports the baby’s ability to learn to speak, eventually, read and help him or she do better in school.  Our Talk to Your Baby Programme trains parents throughout Tanzania in three separate two-hour training sessions.

To view the Kiswahili version click here.

What Mothers and Fathers are Taught

Talking to Your Baby from Birth:

  • Strengthens family bonds and improves communication
  • Increases baby’s understanding of words and what they mean
  • Increases spoken vocabulary at two years of age
  • Gives stronger grounding in learning to read
  • Gives children an opportunity to reach their potential in school

Relevant Documents

Please find below some useful documentation relating to the ‘Talk to your Baby’ programme.

Fursa Kwa Watoto

Over recent years, Tanzania successfully reached the MDG for 100% enrolment in Primary School – a great achievement. However, a few years later in 2012, Tanzania had its worse set of Primary school results for a generation – only 31% of children passed primary school. There are many complex reasons for this, one of which is the very low levels of access to pre-primary education prior to entering Standard 1.

Only around 35% of children in Tanzania have experienced any kind of early childhood education before they enter primary school. There is plenty of evidence that access to preschool is directly correlated to long-term learning outcomes. And it’s our objective with this programme to demonstrate that when children access quality pre-primary education, they are more ready for school and have better long-term learning outcomes.

“I like coming to school because every day I play and look at pictures from books.” -Pre-primary child, Fumbuni, June 2016

Activities include training pre-primary teachers and developing learning kits for the classroom, engaging parents in early learning at home, strengthening school committees to prioritise pre-primary classes and strengthening local education authorities to better resource pre-primary education in their budgeting processes.

The project works in 120 schools in 2 regions of Kilimanjaro and Mwanza and will benefit around 27,000 children over 4 years.

Relevant Documents

Below you can find relevant documents to the Fursa Kwa Watoto programme.

Fursa Kwa Watoto Programme Brief: PDF Download