US invests 140bn/- in education, youth tools

08Dec 2021
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
US invests 140bn/- in education, youth tools
  • Lauds government for letting young mothers resume classes

​​​​​​​EDUCATION and youth programmes in the country are being beefed up by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) by $60m in projects being conducted closely with the Union and Zanzibar governments.

Dr Donald Wright.

Dr Donald Wright, the resident US ambassador, said here yesterday that the agency is working with government agencies to create systems, tools, teaching and learning materials, complementing this with conducive school environments allowing children to learn to read, do mathematics and reach their full potential.

The envoy strongly commended the government decision to allow pregnant girls and young mothers to proceed with their studies in the formal education system. Gracing the ‘’Let them learn’ project closeout envoy during a working tour of Arusha,

”I would like to take a moment to recognize the government of Tanzania’s recently announced policy change in allowing pregnant schoolgirls the opportunity to pursue their education as they choose after they become mothers,” he pointedly remarked.

While Tanzania marks 60 years of independence, the people of the United States have also registered 60 years of cooperation with Tanzania, he said, underlining that the move to allow pregnant girls back in class “indicates a more inclusive approach to education and a positive step forward for its citizens.”

The pillar of USAID work in Tanzania is to protect the most vulnerable, precisely girls and young women, work that includes bolstering retention of girls in school, addressing social norms and early marriage, among others, he said.

Early pregnancies will be sorted out by addressing constraints that Tanzanian girls face while in school and in communities, such that they are more likely to complete their education, leading to better health for them and their children.

Ensuring an education leads to increased employment opportunities, higher incomes and a reduction in poverty for their households and communities, he emphasised.

Since 2016, the US backed, ‘Let them learn’ initiative has played a leading role in supporting adolescent girls and young women’s education, fostering chances of a more prosperous life and promoting gender equality.

Covering 108 public schools in Tarime, Musoma, and Karatu districts as well as Arusha City and Musoma municipality, the ‘Let them learn’ project pursued activities encouraging self-esteem and aspirational attitudes, helping adolescent girls to stay safe and healthy- Specific interventions included formation of adolescent clubs along with savings and lending groups, officials noted.

The Protect Our Youth (POY) clubs empowered girls and boys with knowledge, skills and a support network to navigate life challenges. Academic clubs focused on science, mathematics, along with information and communications technology, in particular for girls.

While it lasted, the project touched more than 52,000 young people across Arusha and Mara regions who received these key resources and inputs. The savings and lending groups under the ‘Livelihood Improvements for Mothers and Caregivers of Adolescents’ (LLMCA) program strengthened families’ capacity to support girls’ education.

LIMCA groups saved nearly $2m (upwards of 4.2bn/-) helping to pay for school fees and other expenses for their children’s education, they added.