12 million Tanzanians live below the poverty line, a number almost unchanged over the last decade. A significant proportion of the population also hover just above the poverty line, and have very limited access to healthcare, quality education, and a decent standard of living. Under-nutrition remains one of the largest threats to human development in Tanzania and hits children the hardest by hindering their long-term physical and intellectual development.
Join us in Tanzania as we work to ensure children can reach their full potential. Universal primary education has drastically increased enrollment with more than 80% of primary school-age children attending, yet the quality of education offered and the increasing student dropout rates are a huge concern. With just 33% of children enrolling in secondary school, our volunteer work focuses on girls and boys from preschool to teenage years to maximize their education as a pathway out of poverty.
Where you’ll stay in Tanzania
Your home-base in Bagamoyo is located on a safe, quiet street in a residential neighborhood that is close to the beach, a health center, internet cafe, post office, and a market. Plenty of volunteers take a pre-breakfast stroll on the sand and spend their afternoons relaxing by the Indian Ocean.
Another nearby destination worth checking out is the Bagamoyo Arts University and local craft market, a great place to find the perfect memento of your time in East Africa. Many volunteers take advantage of the university’s proximity by taking classes in drumming, dance, painting, or sculpture.
Your accommodations offer a common area perfect for getting to know your fellow volunteers or curling up with a good book, and living areas are communal with more than enough space to store your personal belongings. With no shortage of mouthwatering fresh fruit juices, ndizi (bananas), ugali (a doughy and delicious way to soak up any sauce or stew), and Tanzanian coffee, the kitchen will likely become a favorite hangout! And you’ll never be too far from the superstar Bagamoyo staff who are available to offer support.
Who will support you
Born in the Kilimanjaro region, Thea Mushi came to the program after serving as Country Director for eight years at the Irish Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). She’s been involved with the program since 2003, and has plenty of experience working with international volunteers like you. She is a trained accountant and social and community development worker, and is particularly passionate about the power of education on her community’s youth. Mama Thea, as she is called, loves to dance and has a huge, warm smile. She’s known for her contagious laughter and beautiful singing voice.
In Kilimanjaro, many children have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. These children are often abused or abandoned as their families struggle to provide for their most basic needs. The youngest generations are forced to grow up too quickly. Recapture and share the joy of childhood when you work with The Child Development Project. As a role model, you’ll challenge a child’s imagination and open it to new possibilities. Your love and attention may be the only opportunity for one-on-one interaction in a child’s day, sparking newfound interest for both learning and play, and contributing to often-needed self-esteem.
Education is essential for communities, particularly when health issues such as malaria and HIV/AIDS are prominent. As part of The Global Health Project, your efforts to provide education and outreach surrounding important health topics, and support women and communities in factors that impact the social determinants of health will improve the health of entire communities. By connecting and sharing resources and information, communities are better prepared to take charge of their own healthcare needs.
Things to do
Practice your Swahili, the official and national language of Tanzania, twice a week with a local teacher right in the comfort of your Home-Base. Start with the basics before graduating to the advanced lessons. You’ll find yourself communicating more effectively at your volunteer assignment, and haggling like an expert at the market in no time.
Cook Tanzanian Cuisine
Learn how to prepare traditional Tanzanian dishes during cooking classes with our amazing cook. You’ll become acquainted with common ingredients like cardamom, saffron, and coriander, as well as how each dish fits within broader cultural traditions.
Learn About Tanzanian History
Weekly discussions hosted by staff and guest speakers will help provide context to your experience. You’ll enjoy an incredible variety of relevant topics including common greetings and local slang, everyday dress, rituals and ceremonies, “Tanzanian Flex Time,” gender issues, education, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Visit a Local Family
What better way to learn about life in Kilimanjaro than from the experts – local families. Visit the home of a local family to learn first-hand about family structures and cultural norms, including the significance of being a guest in someone’s house. Join a family for tea and take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions and share your own story, too.
Safari in the North
If you’re not yet familiar with Africa’s “Big Five,” study up. Soon you’ll be reciting this list of the five most sought after animal encounters on command, and after a visit to the savannah, you’ll have your own stories to share. Watch as water buffalo graze along a river’s edge, herds of elephants walk out of the African night and into view, leopards zip across grassy flats, rhinos wander between shady oases, and lions sun themselves on rocky outcrops.
Live Like a Local
Hit the markets to pick up some beautiful kangas — brightly colored fabric with popular sayings or morals printed on them — and take them to the local seamstress and you’ll be decked out in a custom-made outfit in no time! Join your new friends at a downtown café, where you can share some fresh Tanzanian coffee and socialize in Swahili, or just jam to some East African reggae.