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Strengthening Tanzanian school communities through our Shamba Letu project

Educational outcomes in the Manyara Region in Tanzania are some of the lowest in the country.

The primary Net Enrolment Rate (NER) is 82.4% (significantly below the national average of 95.7%), placing Manyara 24th among Tanzania’s 28 administrative regions in 2020. In the region only 66.9% of students continue on to secondary school. Whilst the pre-primary NER is low nationally (35.9%), Manyara Region is still below average at 25.8%. *NER data is not available for secondary schools by region.

In Manyara, children and families are multidimensionally poor, meaning that they are deprived in more than one area, including lack of access to education, housing, nutrition, water and sanitation.

36% of the population in Manyara suffer from malnutrition.

This significantly impacts educational outcomes. The government is trying to combat this by providing rural schools with up to 10 acres of farmland, however to date less than a third of this allocated farmland is currently put to use due to insufficient knowledge and resources.

So They Can’s Shamba Letu project aims to address this gap. With the rising costs of living exacerbating poverty in Manyara, Tanzania and increased food insecurity due to rising food, fuel and fertiliser costs, this project fundamentally protects gains made in primary and secondary education access and attainment.

Shamba Letu establishes and cultivates school farms to improve food security in vulnerable communities. The project support School Feeding Programs, which provide children with access to at least one nutritious meal a day at school, and in some cases two meals, helping to increase school attendance in communities where families live in poverty. In addition, Shamba Letu also ensures that developing children receive adequate daily nutrition for improved health, increasing children’s ability to concentrate on their learning for improved academic performance.

School communities are equipped with knowledge and skills on climate-smart agriculture so that they can cultivate high-yield crops which improve the quality and quantity of farm produce. The sale of surplus produce supports schools’ capacity to generate income, which is reinvested for student wellbeing and development activities.

Since starting Shamba Letu in 2019, significant impact has been achieved:

  • 24% improved academic performance across participating schools since inception of the project and So They Can’s holistic programming (based on Standard 7 National Primary Examination results)
  • 3,036,466 meals provided via school feeding programs through produce harvested via the school farms from 2019-2022.
  • 18 primary and secondary schools cultivate climate-smart school farms to improve food security for 10,824 (5,322 boys: 5,502 girls) vulnerable primary and secondary students.
  • 172 hectares of land utilised annually to produce high-yield climate-resilient crops.
  • 3% average increase in student enrolment in participating schools since schools commenced Shamba Letu project.

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