Students, especially girls, in the Mara region of Tanzania have limited opportunities to learn about careers that are in high demand in the region and the skills needed to pursue those careers. Further, self-sufficiency is a key focus for schools in the region to ensure that students are ready for life once they graduate from primary, secondary, or high school.
In 2016, EdSystems met with a variety of stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Mara Region Chamber of Commerce, teachers, administrators, and students to understand the high-growth sectors in Tanzania and to probe whether students in the Mara region were being prepared for careers in those sectors. The findings indicated that schools needed a framework to build career awareness among students.
Since 2017, EdSystems has partnered with Tanzania Development Support and 4-H Tanzania to implement a career awareness and exploration program designed to help students deepen their awareness of and build competencies and skills in fields that are in high demand in Tanzania. Using the 4-H model, the program engages students in various ways, including hands-on activities, inviting guest speakers, and helping students develop a personal plan to accomplish their self-identified career pathway.
Students in secondary school clubs self-select a career interest and participate in different tracts that teach lessons that are specific to their career interests, including agriculture and environmental conservation, healthcare, business development and management, creative arts, and information and communication technologies. Students in each tract participate in public awareness and income-generating activities that fund club supplies.
The program has served more than 700 youth in seven schools each year and has shown promising results. For example, several schools have successfully cultivated enterprise gardens that produce fresh vegetables that support a school lunch program; students demonstrate an understanding of supply and demand and have gained the skills needed to start a business. EdSystems has supported the work by providing ongoing training to the program coordinator and teachers, monitoring program progress, and sharing lessons learned in student engagement from the Success Network SAC. Most recently, building from the Illinois PaCE Framework, EdSystems co-designed a local PaCE Framework that reflects the key transition points in the Tanzanian education system from primary through secondary and high school. In 2024, EdSystems will focus on supporting teachers in implementing the framework and evaluating program effectiveness.