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Knowledge for development. Creating conducive learning environment for secondary school students from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

The problem of access to education for people from the poorest social classes is common in many countries in East Africa. The Tanzanian region of Dar es Salaam also struggles with it. The chances of poor youth to complete high school and continue their education at higher education levels are very low there. One of the main reasons is the lack of appropriate conditions for education and access to basic educational materials, such as textbooks.

The project is a response to the problem of reduced educational opportunities of poor youth from Dar es Salaam. The project provides conditions favourable to education for high school students. District of Dar es Salaam – Upanga, where the project will be implemented, has 8 high schools, 8 secondary schools (colleges) and a number of primary schools in the area. Due to the large infrastructure needs, apart from the educational facilities other institutions are also created. One of these is Don Bosco Youth Centre, which acts supportively to traditional schools: providing a place to study, conducting sports activities, organizing workshops and seminars, raising the subjects important to young people and training young leaders.

Creating appropriate learning environment for the youth and providing access to educational materials lead to better academic performance, increase in the level of education and a higher percentage of high school graduation. In consequence, raising personal qualifications of the young Centre users will increase their chances to find a good job in order to earn their living. This project complements the activities of the project from 2011 “Supporting integral development of Youth from poor districts of Dar es Salaam by ensuring access to the sport infrastructure and extracurricular activities”. Then in the framework of the project playground at the Centre was renovated, sanitary facilities were built, a number of sport trainings and a training for leaders and teachers were conducted.

Knowledge for development. Creating conducive learning environment for secondary school students from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

The project will be implemented in the period from 1 March to 31 December 2015 in Dar es Salaam in Upanga district at the Don Bosco Youth Centre. The main activities of the project include: modernization and adaptation of three rooms for a future library, reading room and computer room; equipment of library facilities with educational materials, trainings in operating computers and a course preparing the youth to take education in high school.

Beneficiaries of the project are young people living in the city of Dar es Salaam, who do not have proper conditions for education nor resources to purchase textbooks necessary in high schools. The project will have a direct positive impact on the lives of 250 girls and boys who are daily users of libraries equipped in the framework of the project. Some of them – 40 people – will participate in additional trainings. Other group of beneficiaries consists of young workers who work every day in Don Bosco Youth Centre Upanga. In the framework of the project 10 of them will be trained in acquisition of educational information, use of computers for educational purposes and library science. This knowledge will allow them to increase their effectiveness, which will be useful in everyday work with young people.

The indirect beneficiaries of the project will be approx. 2 000 people – family members of people who benefit by the Centre and raise there their qualifications.

Knowledge for development. Creating conducive learning environment for secondary school students from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

The project was implemented between 1 March and 31 December 2015. Its activities included renovation of rooms housing the library, the reading room and the computer lab. The project also established a room with access to an alternative energy source and the internet. Also as a result of its implementation, the project equipped the library with a computer and a substantial book collection: more than 4,000 volumes were purchased, indexed and catalogued, including textbooks, items from the compulsory and supplementary reading lists in English and Swahili, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, etc. The computer laboratory was equipped with ten computers with software and internet access.

Two people attended the computer science training course for librarians. In addition, ten staff members and youth leaders participated in the training course that included the use of a computer and acquisition and dissemination of scientific information. More than 100 people participated in a foundation course for young people on using a computer. As a result, around 120 people used the computer lab in the course of the project. Project activities also included a secondary school education preparatory course, which was attended by nearly 40 young students.