April 2016: Update from Didia

On April 23rd, we travelled to Didia to see the opening ceremony of our second Early Chilhood Development Centre.

Didia plaque unveiled

In 2013, Lara’s Foundation funded the construction of an Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) in Ndala, Tanzania.

Thank you very much. We appreciate what Lara’s Foundation, Save the Children and Raleigh International have done for us. We face many challenges when it comes to education, especially in early childhood development. We can now take a step ahead into providing better futures for our children through education. So we thank you, all the organisations, our donors and all the volunteers who have contributed from the start until today. You are most welcome here in Ndala.” Dixon, the Village Executive Officer in Ndala

In 2015, we funded a similar project to bring an ECD to the marginalised children in the rural community of Didia, Shinyanga. Collaborating once again with Save the Children and Raleigh International.

This new project aligned with the focus of Lara’s Foundation by providing the necessary early years education to the children of Didia, enabling them to progress to further education without disadvantage, thus improving their access to education in this low-income community and improving their quality of life.

The Proposal

Raleigh International would be delighted if Lara’s Foundation would support the construction of a further ECD Centre in Didia, Shinyanga. Building is planned to commence between Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016 at a cost of £28,875.

To date, through a partnership with Save the Children, Raleigh International have built three Early Childhood Development Centres in the Shinyanga region, at Ndala, Salawe and Chibe (currently under construction), with more planned for 2016 and beyond.

Background on Didia, Shinyanga Region, Tanzania

Raleigh and our partner, Save the Children, have identified the village of Didia in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania as a priority area to support with the construction of an Early Childhood Development Centre. They are ready to initiate the project, but are unable to do so without the necessary funds.

Didia has been selected as the beneficiary community following an extensive assessment by Save the Children. The results show that:

– The construction of an ECD is a key priority area identified by the community and local government. It will address issues affecting children, especially orphans and vulnerable children in Didia, including literacy, language learning, health, nutrition and psychosocial support, which are vital for their future development.

– There is no permanent ECD facility for children in Didia. Currently the pre-school at Didia shares a classroom at the primary school. When the classroom is in use the pre-school children sit under a tree for their classes.

– The pre-school is also at further risk as the need increases and more children enrol each year.

– Thanks to awareness raising through Raleigh volunteers, community members are more aware of the value of education for their children, hence increased enrolment of children at Didia pre-school.

– Community members and the local government have donated land and started to clear the construction site in preparation for building a new ECD Centre.

Development Challenges in Tanzania

Recent economic growth in Tanzania has been impressive, but this has yet to lift the majority of the population out of poverty. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and faces significant development challenges. Basic services, particularly pre-school education are not easily accessible and further serve to marginalise communities and restrict livelihoods. In 2009-2012 pre-primary school participation was 35% (http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/tanzania_statistics.html) and with limited or no access to pre-school, children are unlikely to attain the level of literacy and numeracy that will promote enrolment at, or completion of primary school.

Worldwide, an estimated 200 million children under the age of 5 fail to meet developmental potential (http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/tanzania_statistics.html). This is often attributed to poverty, inadequate learning opportunities and nutritional deficiencies. Early Childhood Development refers to a child’s linguistic, physical, social, emotional and cognitive well-being before the age of 8, and is proven to be one of the most cost effective of interventions. Through receiving good quality early childhood development, children are less likely to drop out of school and on average learn more in later life. It has also been estimated that the return on investment for an intervention focusing on Early Childhood Development is approximately 18 per cent.

Tanzania’s pre-primary education policy was developed in 1995 as part of the Government’s broader Education and Training Policy. It outlines the importance of children being provided with pre-education skills, including literacy and numeracy, before beginning their primary education. However, most existing preschools are in urban settings and therefore too far away for children living in the rural communities to attend. As a result of this, 65% of Tanzanian children enter primary school with no formal early learning experience.

Raleigh International intends to provide pre-education centre’s known as Early Childhood Development Centre’s for rural and vulnerable communities, reaching the children and families who have the most need in these communities.

The centres are not simply preschools, but safe havens for the most vulnerable children, who may be lacking other basic amenities including food and nutrition, which directly impacts children’s’ development.

An ECD Centre is a basic building often containing classrooms, teachers’ offices, a kitchen and toilets. The centres fall under village government management, with support from the District Council, ensuring that the project is sustainable and is accepted and used by the local community. Although much effort has already been made by communities by donating buildings to serve as pre-educational facilities, many of them are in a state of disrepair, and not safe or fit for purpose, due to a lack of essential facilities including toilets, educational materials and safe recreational facilities. So, with your help, we propose to develop a multi-purpose built pre-school for the community in Didia, that provides a safe learning and support environment for local children.

Our local partnerships

Raleigh International works alongside the government and a range of project partners to deliver community development initiatives in Shinyanga, where they are most needed. For this project, activities will be carried out with Save the Children.

Save the Children Tanzania, run world-class programmes to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children and challenge world leaders to keep their promises to give children a brighter future. Save the Children have been working with Raleigh since 2013 to establish Early Childhood Development Centres across the region.

Whilst working closely in partnership, Raleigh will be managing the project in terms of construction, volunteer coordination, budget management and reporting. Community groups will work alongside Save the Children, to continue their work in community engagement and to ensure acceptance and sustainability of the centre after the Raleigh team of volunteers leave.

Project details

We are requesting vital financial support from Lara’s Foundation to help give the most vulnerable children in Didia a chance to access crucial educational facilities.

The centre is a critical entry point for reaching the needs of children 0-6 years of age, who may not be captured in traditional school-based interventions. It will provide children with important skills such as basic education (reading and writing), language skills and social development, allowing them to integrate socially with peers and to learn through play and discovery. Early introduction to languages is important, as it provides the foundation for continued learning at primary school. Improved literacy will facilitate access to, and preclude marginalisation at primary school, and promote completion of education. The centre also serves as an entry point to address other needs of children, such as healthcare, food and nutritional support and psychosocial support.

The engineers are planning to build the following basic structures:

  • One standard classroom
  • Teachers’ office
  • Kitchen
  • Toilet with 4 holes (2 for girls and 2for boys, plus urinals)
  • Perimeter fence to meet Save the Children child protection policy requirements

Alongside this infrastructure project, Raleigh volunteers will be building on the work of Save the Children to engage the local community in activities such as health awareness through better hygiene (i.e. hand washing) and environmental conservation. For example, alongside the construction of the ECD Centre, workshops will be run to help local children and other members of the community understand the importance of washing their hands after going to the toilet and before eating. This work will see a decrease in diarrhoea and illness in children under five years old, because of improved hygiene practices around sanitation.

Community groups will also be created to ensure the sustainability of the project. This includes raising awareness on household agriculture using keyhole and sack gardens adjacent to the ECD. This will have a positive impact on the children, who will learn the value of gardening and growing healthy food. It will also see direct benefits to children’s health, giving them access to fresh produce both at the ECD and at home. Whilst bringing benefits to the children, it will also provide the women with increased skills and knowledge. The longer term impact will be to increase community resilience in a truly sustainable and holistic way.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting

Project activities will be regularly monitored and feedback from the community will be key to improving project effectiveness on an ongoing basis.

For the Early Childhood Development Centre we will take baseline information on current school attendance and enrolment, and report on increased access to pre-primary education and other benefits arising from the project.

Raleigh will provide Lara’s Foundation with a report at the end of the project, including photographs and a case study from a member of the local community. We are happy to discuss how we can meet further reporting needs Lara’s Foundation may have.

Costs and funding of the ECD Centre in Didia, Shinyanga Region Tanzania

Budget Breakdown Cost (GBP)
School Construction materials (bricks and cement and transport)
Build including substructure, superstructure and finishing £ 9,333
Doors, windows, roofing and electrical £ 5,147
Fencing and materials £ 3,438
Sanitation Units (bricks, cement and soakage/septic pits and transport)
Building works £ 4,565
Plumbing and installation works £ 1,672
Classrooms, office and kitchen £ 3,472
Toilets £ 1,247
Total Cost GBP £28,875