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Youth power in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the largest countries in East Africa and home to over 120 different tribal groups. ICS volunteers carry out projects on the eastern island of Zanzibar and in rural villages in the central region of the country – but how exactly is their work helping the people of Tanzania? 

a map of tanzania
Tanzania is in East Africa.

What do ICS volunteers do in Tanzania?  

ICS volunteers stood in a room, gathered around notes and working together
© Andy Aitchison / VSO

Improving education within primary schools 

Whilst education in Tanzania has generally improved and 95% of children now receive at least some schooling, the quality of that education remains poor across much of the country.  

a group of students in tanzania stood at a desk talking to an ics volunteer
© ©VSO
A Community Action Day in Lindi, Tanzania.

Overcrowding in classrooms, meagre resources and poor facilities mean that schools are often unengaging places to learn in, and only around half of children pass their maths exams in year seven. 

VSO ICS volunteers have been taking part a range of educational projects since 2013. Volunteers in districts from Bukoba to Kamachumu are engaging children, teachers and parents in an exciting range of activities such as sports days, inter-school competitions, while also providing more creative classroom resources. 

Supporting farmers against climate change 

In the Muleba district, in northern Tanzania, most people are reliant on farming to make a living. But that’s becoming more difficult, as the consequences of climate change are hitting people hard, with drought, disease and extreme weather becoming more common. 

ICS volunteers are working with parents from farming backgrounds to improve their agricultural and entrepreneurship skills, informing them about key topics such as record keeping, marketing and business planning.  

Students stood in a classroom, with boys taking a photo of a big sheet of notes
© Andrew Aitchison / VSO
Volunteers holding a session to encourage sustainable business within the community in Morogoro.

Improving sanitation in rural villages 

With just 25 million of Tanzania’s 57 million-strong population having access to clean water, it’s vital that sanitation improves, with the supply of safe water an urgent priority. 

Kennedy Mmari volunteered with Raleigh ICS in his home country back in 2013. Having grown up in an urban environment, Kennedy was shocked to discover that rural areas did not have access to clean water and a decent sanitation system. 

A group of ICS volunteers stood together smiling
© Kennedy Mmari
Kennedy and his ICS team.

“When we arrived, they were drinking from boreholes in the ground,” he says. “Most of the time without filtering or boiling the water, and in some cases, sharing the water source with animals.”  

During his placement, his team conducted field research and campaigned to raise awareness on the need for good sanitation. And the difference he found when returning to the village to visit after his placement was overwhelming.  

“Villagers were accessing clean water and schoolchildren had access to fully-functioning new latrines, built in partnership with local people and project partners. But one of the things that most impressed me was the increased level of awareness following our campaigns.” 

Empowering the youth 

Volunteers in Mtwara, in southeastern Tanzania, are taking part in a new project aiming to create safe spaces and platforms for young people to raise their voices and have their opinions heard.  

In a country where cultural norms present serious barriers for young people hoping to become active citizens, ICS volunteers have been creating positive relationships between young people and government representatives. They’ve also organised training days to help young people gain entrepreneurial skills and to raise their awareness of national policies. 

three people sat on chairs outside talking with hills in the background
© Andy Aitchison / VSO
ICS volunteers are focusing on entrepreneurial skills.

Challenging social norms around disability in Zanzibar 

For many disabled people in Tanzania, life can be hard. Stereotypes and stigmas about disability are still a part of everyday life in many areas and communities lack an understanding of what it means to be disabled.  

two women from tanzania sat on the floor next to an ICS volunteer
© Andy Aitchison / VSO
A community event held by ICS in Kidatu Social Hall working with local families with children with disabilities.
a young boy sat reading a book with his mother and sister
© Andy Aitchison / VSO
15 year old Abdulkadir Hamisi has been able to return to education.

This can have terrible effects for young people with disabilities, who are often not prepared for lives as independent adults.  Many schools lack facilities such as ramps or lifts and teachers are not used to assisting students with additional needs.  

One child impacted by the work of volunteers is 15-year-old Abdulkadir Hamisi. He was taken out of school due to his epilepsy but after attending disability awareness sessions run by ICS volunteers, he has now been able to return to school and continue his education.  

Work beyond placement: turning students into SDG ambassadors   

With funding from the In-Country Volunteer Alumni Grant, volunteers Kisare Lutambi, 27, and Jossam Josiah, 26, wanted to continue making an impact in Tanzania after their ICS placements. They reached over 1,000 students in the districts of Lindi and Dar es Salaam to raise awareness of the UN targets for international development.  

 ”The project helped these school children to realise that they have the potential to drive change in their communities.”  
Kisare Lutambi

Students were carefully trained in skills such as presenting, public speaking, and report writing in order to be effective Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ambassadors to their peers. 

"I was inspired to raise awareness for the SDGs because I felt it would be an amazing opportunity for young people to increase their awareness of global issues and create active citizens,” says Kisare. ”The project helped these school children to realise that they have the potential to drive change in their communities.”   

a group of school children outside holding signs
Kisare Lutambi and Jossam Josiah reached 1,077 students from five different schools.

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ICS is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which projects the UK as a force for good in the world, including reducing poverty and tackling global challenges.

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