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Camfed and Worldreader Announce Pioneering Learning Technology Partnership

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Tanzania girl

Photo: Worldreader, Tanzania

Camfed and Worldreader have just announced a ground-breaking learning technology partnership, supported by a grant from the Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF).

The two organisations will be working closely with Camfed’s partner communities in Tanzania, using the latest e-reader technology in support of a new curriculum to push up learning outcomes for girls at rural government schools, ensuring their successful transition to secondary school.

This is an extremely exciting opportunity to improve the success and quality of girls’ education in rural, impoverished communities of the Iringa District in Tanzania by supporting remedial literacy in a sustainable way,” says Camfed’s Regional Executive Director Angeline Murimirwa. “It is an innovative approach which brings together Worldreader’s technological solution for addressing literacy with Camfed’s community-led model for the delivery of girls’ education.

Removing the Barriers to Girls’ Secondary Education in Tanzania

Msaada Balula is Co-Director (Operations & Finance) at Camfed Tanzania. “Poverty is the main barrier to girls’ secondary education,” he explains. “The cost of secondary school fees, books and supplies, and the distance to schools from remote villages is a huge issue, compounded by a lack of books and literacy materials at rural schools, and a lack of highly qualified (especially female) teachers. In Tanzania, there is an additional barrier, as the teaching language currently switches from Swahili to English at secondary level. Without access to learning resources and support, children find it incredibly difficult to acquire the English literacy and language skills required to learn and pass their exams across the curriculum in secondary school. The national transition rate from primary to secondary school is only 59.5%, and this is compounded by a female drop-out rate of 27% at Form 1, and 33% at Form 2, when students sit the National Exam.

Young Women Graduates Supporting the Next Generation

Camfed works in 119 of the poorest rural districts across five African countries, partnering with communities to break down the barriers to girls’ education by providing and catalysing the different resources required for girls to go to school, succeed and lead change. In Tanzania alone, Camfed partners with 562 rural government schools. Under the HDIF grant pilot, Worldreader and Camfed will deliver nearly 80,000 Swahili and English books, via e-readers, to 25 partner schools, reaching 4500 students over two years. E-reader content will include Camfed’s own “Learning to Learn English” study guide, devised with young people in rural communities, as well as relevant supplementary reading materials from local and international publishers, provided by Worldreader. The materials will support a new curriculum with a literacy focus, devised as part of the project, and delivered by “Learner Guides,” young women graduates in the CAMA alumnae network, who were supported through school by Camfed. These young women use their own experience of rural poverty to support the next generation of vulnerable students through school, helping them to study effectively, stay in school, and lead independent lives after graduation.

Worldreader is thrilled to partner with Camfed to transform girls’ prospects in rural Tanzania,” says Colin McElwee, Co-Founder, Worldreader. “Our cost-effective e-reader technology enables us to solve the issue of delivering remedial literacy materials in a simple and straight-forward way. Devices will carry a range of selected, appropriate reading in both Swahili and English, designed to promote enjoyment of reading and development of literacy skills outside formal lessons, and bringing learning resources to schools where printed books are scarce.

Scaling Social and Technological Innovation for Quality Education

Over the past 25 years, Camfed has shown the enormous potential unlocked when girls are supported through secondary school and into a secure livelihood, as encapsulated by the 33,111 CAMA members, who are now transforming local schools, their communities and nations. “This technology, at scale, has the potential to revolutionise our contribution to quality education by drastically increasing the quantity and quality of reading and learning materials in students’ hands,changing the lives of young women of this generation, and generations to come,” Angeline Murimirwa concludes.

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