Kamitei has developed an innovative approach aimed at improving the education of children in rural communities in Tanzania. The Community Eduation Improvement Program (CEI Program) consists of two main elements:
- Improving the schools in the village through investments in basic facilities (buildings, desks), teaching materials;
- Providing selected students with scholarships to pursue advanced education in fields that provide good employment prospects (e.g. tourism, veterinary, nursing).
Key principles of the CEI Program are that it is based on long term partnerships with local communities, our contributions are structured as co-investments (i.e. typically a matching or multiplying mechanism) and the community has an important say in setting investment priorities. Once the community contributions are collected, Kamitei provides its part of the funds to invest in:
- Teacher training, school visitations & teacher workshops;
- Teacher incentives (aiming to reduce absenteeism);
- Supply of books and teaching aids;
- Support for investments in school facilities and furniture (class rooms, desks, chairs, etc);
- Kamitei exams (to supplement national exams, the results of which proved unreliable).
In practical terms this works as follows: Kamitei identifies communities that are keen to improve the education opportunities for their children. Kamitei then explains the CEI Program to the adult population of the community in a traditional plenary community meeting. The community then votes on whether they are willing to participate and invest their money in education. If approved, the contributions are collected from the villagers and when the community has agreed on how to invest the funds, Kamitei provides its part of the funds.
Teacher Training & Support
A key pillar in our approach to improve the academic performance of the primary schools that we support consists of coaching and training of headteachers and teachers. We have two full-time field education officers – experienced (head)teachers themselves – who do frequent visitations to all the primary schools that we support.
Additionally, we organise a teacher training workshop and collective feedback sessions every year to introduce new teaching methods and capture the learnings.
We use the mechanisms of a semi-annual bonus arrangement and regular meetings with community leaders to provide overall governance towards teacher attendance, efforts and performance.
In cases of significant teacher shortages – a common challenge in rural Tanzania – we aim to complement the existing teacher contingent with local volunteer teachers who receive guidance from our field education officers as well as a small monthly allowance.