Located in East Africa, Tanzania borders eight countries. Tanzania is a low-income country. It is graded 152/187 in the UN Human Development Index.
Education in Tanzania
Tanzania’s education system is poor, with high drop out rates especially among girls, and gender based violence endemic in schools and communities. At a national level girls’ enrolment in school is lower than boys, drop-out rates are higher and performance is worse. In Tanzania, only primary education is compulsory and, as a result, it has the world’s lowest rate of transition from primary to secondary school. Only 36% of children go on to secondary education with the majority of those that make it through being boys.
Getting a secondary education is a real fight for girls in Tanzania. More than 8,000 girls drop out of secondary school annually due to pregnancy, there is poor cooperation between teachers and parents who often believe their daughter should be at home helping with domestic chores, or worse, forced into marriage too young. Boys are generally believed to be more intelligent than girls. All of these pressures lead to poor exam results for those who sit them, compounding a girls’ lack of confidence.
In pastoralist communities, such as the Maasai, drop-out rates and poor performance among girls is further increased by family displacement, initiation ceremonies (Esoto), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early and forced marriage. In Tanzania teenage girls have a 20% chance of being married. Teenage pastoralist girls have a 70%-90% chance of being married.
Despite the challenges we have reasons to be cheerful about the future, thanks to a new £1million Equal Rights to Quality Education grant from Comic Relief. Up to 60,000 students stand to benefit from this five-year project, enabling us to improve the life chance of many more pastoralist girls. Read more here.
Land Rights Issues in Tanzania
Pastoralist and hunter gatherer lifestyles depend upon access to land for grazing cattle, which is the foundation of their well-being. Land rights are absolutely integral to their social and economic security.
Pastoralist and hunter-gatherer communities throughout northern Tanzania are highly vulnerable because of a growing range of pressures and threats linked to tourism, climate change and land-grabbing. The Northern rangelands hold growing commercial value through activities such as wildlife tourism and commercial agriculture, such as biofuels. These pressures, reflecting growing demand for land on the part of foreign commercial interests and Tanzanian political elites, are manifested in a range of new conflicts over land in indigenous areas. These communities, entirely dependent on natural resources, are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.
A pastoralist woman in these communities is subjected to further insecurities and are denied their own property and are dependent on men. Due to the patriarchal nature of these communities, women are subject to discrimination and excluded from any decision making processes. They have no independent means of generating income to provide for their families.
What are we doing about it?
We work through the following partners in Tanzania to help girls, women and communities access an education and gain land rights. We work to empower women as agents for change, through successfully establishing women’s traditional community forums and creating girls clubs to support girls in gaining an education.