Posts Tagged ‘education’

Today Zanzibar is a part of the country of Tanzania, but the island still retains remnants of its centuries of separation from the mainland. After hundreds of years apart, it’s been just 51 years since the island joined with Tanganyika, and this history still shows in the semi-autonomous governance of the island.

So when Tanzania decided to abolish school fees in 2002, offering its students a free primary school education, Zanzibar didn’t immediately follow suit. As of July 2015, however, Zanzibar’s children can look forward to a free primary and secondary school education.

Zanzibar has long emphasized the importance of education. Its first president after unification with Tanzania, Abeid Amani Karume, announced free education within months of his election.

Ali Mohamed Shein, Zanzibar presidentAli Mohamed Shein, Zanzibar’s current president, proposed the new plan

But over the decades, budget shortfalls made the program more and more difficult to maintain. By the late 1990s, parents were obligated to pay school fees for students of all ages, a move which has led to increasing absenteeism ever since.

In the last few years incomes on Zanzibar have risen substantially, as much as 38% per capita since 2010. This increasing prosperity has led to a more robust tax base, according to current president Ali Mohamed Shein. He plans to use these government windfalls to finance the new education program.

After the mainland made the switch to publically-financed education, the number of primary school students in the country more than doubled in just a decade. The Zanzibari government hopes to see similarly positive results from this new program.

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Too often, our idea of daily life in a developing country says more about us, the viewers, than it does about the individuals we’re looking at. Our preconceived notions make it hard to truly understand others’ experiences, the first, necessary step to helping them take positive steps forward.

The Disposable Project puts the power of that all-important first impression in the hands of the people best-equipped to tell their stories: the children of Tanzania.

Started by Raul Guerrero in 2011 in Moshi, Tanzania, the project began when Guerrero simply handed 100 disposable cameras to nine schoolchildren, asking them to document their daily experiences.

Guerrero went on to offer basic photography training to the students, teaching them not only how to frame a shot, but how to use the medium to tell a story.

Credit: The Disposable Project

Guerrero collected the images the children captured—a collective portrait of their community—in a book: The Disposable Project. Proceeds from its sale go to Born to Learn, a Moshi-based NGO that gets disadvantaged children off the streets and into classrooms. Though still small and locally focused, the group has big goals, including its own dedicated school that can take in many of the thousands upon thousands of Tanzanian children currently receiving little or no education.

The images in the book offer a fascinating glimpse into the day-to-day lives of this often overlooked population. Not only are the kids involved in the project gaining valuable skills that will help them have a brighter future, they’re sharing an intimate, revealing portrait of life on the fringes.

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The Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), Tanzania’s legal bar association, is partnering with the Colom Foundation and Nashera Hotels to provide Tanzanian attorneys with advanced training opportunities in the United States.

Flaviana Charles, Vice-President of the TLS, said that the training would help keep Tanzania’s attorneys on the leading edge of international law:

“In order to stay competitive and actively respond to the challenges of rapid globalization in the legal market, TLS has continued to secure training opportunities for its members in the developed legal markets,” Ms. Charles noted.

The Colom Foundation and Nashera Hotels will cover the cost of transportation to and from the United States for the participants, as well as the cost of their accommodations during the months-long course of study. Study will take place at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The University is waiving tuition for the participants.

The program is expected to serve at least 20 Tanzanian attorneys annually, and involves a full semester of study in three different courses. The first exchange students will visit between January and May of 2015.

Participants in the program are expected to share the knowledge they gain abroad with lifelong students back home. Upon their return, they will be required to teach at preselected Tanzanian universities for free for one year.

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Students of the Orkeeswa Secondary School (located in a remote part of the Monduli district in the Arusha region) will now have the opportunity to spend three months studying at the prestigious Groton School of Massachusetts, in a cultural-exchange program meant to enrich the lives of both Tanzanian and American students. Founded in 2008, the Orkeeswa School serves a nearby Maasai community, and is the only option for formal secondary education most students in the poor, remote region have. For the past few years, Groton has been running a pilot exchange program, in which Groton students and faculty spend three weeks in the region, helping the Orkeeswa students complete much-needed projects (such as a new science building in 2010) and learning more about the Maasai students’ way of life. Based on the success of that trial, the two schools have officially agreed to a more formal exchange program, which will allow students from each of the schools to spend three months studying abroad. Groton students will have the opportunity to learn about a completely different culture, while Orkeeswa students will have access to an abundance of educational materials they could only dream of back home. One Orkeeswa student involved in the pilot program, Florah Tipapurwa, said the experience inspired her to study harder, in order to gain access to a brighter future. It also led her to petition members of the Tanzanian government to dedicate more funds to education in the country, so that other students would have a chance to become as inspired as she was. The Headmaster of the Orkeeswa school said the program not only exposed his students to different cultures, it gave them greater confidence upon their return. In the near term, that will lead to more dedicated, conscientious students. In the long term, one can hope it will help create the kinds of adults who are open-minded, driven to succeed, and passionate about learning, both from books and from individuals from different walks of life.

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In an effort to better catch and treat cervical cancers in Tanzanian women, the Tumbi Regional Referral Hospital—located in the Kibaha District on the coast—has recently installed a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) machine.

LEEP technology is used to burn away the small and mid-sized lesions that are considered the first signs of cervical cancer in women. In the early stages of the disease, LEEP treatments are highly effective.

According to Dr. Alphonse Moyo, departmental director at Tumbi Regional, LEEP technology is “painless and effective by 90%” as a treatment against early-stage cervical cancers. He noted that the machine is a vast improvement over Cryo therapies previously being used in the hospital to treat these lesions.

LEEP machines are among the most effective tools in treating early-stage cervical cancers

Early detection is key, which is why the hospital is offering both screenings and, when necessary, LEEP procedures, for free.

The hospital has been offering free screenings since 2011, in which time over 1500 women have been screened for cervical cancer. About half of the women needed additional treatment, indicating just how necessary both screening and treatment services are throughout Tanzania.

Dr. Moyo admitted that his department faces significant challenges to progress, chief amongst them lack of funding and lack of widespread awareness. He’s urging more women to get tested, as outcomes are very good when the disease is caught early; we’re hoping more hospitals nationwide follow the example he’s setting at Tumbi Regional.

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