A Meeting With Sarah Mtambo, Country Director for Tanzania
06.08.2009 - 07.08.2009 86 °F
According to their brochure, the International Youth Foundation, or IYF "prepares young people to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens". Based out of Baltimore, Maryland IYF operates in more than 70 countries. In Africa these include Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania. In Tanzania, their main focus is on education and health. Often times these two areas overlap, and more often than not the government falls short of what is needed. This is where IYF stands in. They envision a world where "all young people achieve their full potential and shape the future with power and confidence". In Tanzania, they are partnering with the Ministry of Education on a new project known as "Bridge IT". Working with Nokia and Vodacom, teachers are sent TVs and cell phones. The phones activate video clips of pre-recorded lesson plans, all in accordance with the school's syllabus. IYF simply sends the videos through Vodacom services with Nokia phones. At the present moment, Bridge IT is being used in 150 Tanzanian schools in 5 regions. All of the lessons are in Swahili, and all of the locations are primary schools. IYF is very proud of the successes of the program and the 2010 budget extends the program to 400 schools. Because most places lack teachers, the program makes it easier for the children to learn. It helps teachers teach rather than acting as a substitute. It is not a end all be all problem solver, but it helps. In a place like rural Tanzania, any help is welcome. The question is now, will it be sustainable, or will it disappear when the money dries up? Time will tell, but Ms. Mtambo plans on IYF being in Tanzania long term, and anything less would be "unacceptable". We certainly hope she is right.