Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya are using a non-profit and 27,000 volunteers in a mammoth effort to capture data about schoolchildren and so force educators to reform thousands of ailing schools. Only around 30% of Tanzanian children pass their primary school certificate, and official statistics are notoriously unreliable
Results & Impact
In their last report, published in 2015, Twaweza examined the teaching standards of 14,000 schools in three countries. When the survey first began in 2009, none of the governments involved believed the results, which have since been independently verified
The governments of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, Twaweza, Sweden and DANIDA from the Dutch embassy in Tanzania
Every year the NGO Twaweza, which is funded by the Swedish and Dutch governments, mobilises 27,000 volunteers to visit schools to gather data on resources and teacher presence and motivation. They also visit the children at their homes on Saturdays and Sundays, to compile notes on the education standards of parents, as well as the number of meals consumed by the children
Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya
Cost & Value
Running since 2009
The process of getting approvals and permissions can be challenging with schools either refusing to participate, or permissions taking time to obtain. These are overcome when Twaweza uses its government partners to clear any institutional hurdles.
An eight year partnership between a non-profit and the governments of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda has gathered data on 14,000 schools in over 423 districts in an effort to capture information and recommend improvements to how children are taught basic literacy and learning skills.
Twaweza, which was founded in 2009 and receives funding from Sweden and DANIDA from the Dutch embassy in Tanzania, aims to incubate a more effective relationship between citizens and their governments. Their primary method is to examine schools in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya and ascertain how children are being short changed by inferior education. In Tanzania alone, only one in four children leave primary school with the equivalent of a grade 2 education. Another survey, conducted in 2013, has shown that only 30.7 percent of Tanzania’s 865,534 pupils passed their Primary School Leaving Examination. Government statistics are also notoriously unreliable and susceptible to local corruption.
Each year, as part of its schools study, Twaweza’s permanent staff of 60 people mobilise 27,000 volunteers to visit school children across the three countries in six weeks. The volunteers gather information about the schools – examining teacher presence, access to roads, water, toilets, commercial centres and medical centres. “If the kids get the right skills at the right time and right age, it makes everything else so much more productive,” said Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza.
They also visit the children at their homes on Saturdays and Sundays, and compile notes on the education standards of their parents, the standard of housing the children are living in, the lighting being used, as well as the number of meals consumed by the children, including nutritional information about the amount of fruit and vegetables available. The data is then analysed and presented to governments as part of a set of recommendations which Twaweza would like to see implemented in pilot schools projects.
“It is a considerable undertaking,” said Eyakuze. “You have to factor how you find volunteers, their standards of education, their ability to take a complicated survey and extract the correct information. Also, this can only be done at weekends, when the children are at home. Parental and school permission has to be achieved. Then there’s the logistical exercise of getting the surveys and any other deliverables to often remote areas.”
A number of hurdles have to be overcome in order to complete the survey in such a short period of time. The process of getting approvals and permissions can be a challenge with schools either refusing to participate, or permissions taking time to come through. With these institutional problems arise, Twaweza relies on its government partners to overcome any such obstacles. The volunteers have to be quickly recruited and trained.
When the survey first began in 2009, none of the governments involved believed the results, according to Eyakuze. But their independent studies have since verified the results.
(Picture: Flickr/Leon F. Cabeiro)