Empowering Communities

Jambiani Educational Centre, Zanzibar

By June 24, 2016 February 24th, 2020 No Comments
To Jambiani Centre is an education and community space for the people of Jambiani, where we can run our own education programs and community projects.
African Impact and African Impact Foundation have been running an education project in Jambiani, Zanzibar since 2008. Part of this education project includes adult English classes, helping men and women in the community improve their English to enhance their employment opportunities. The programme started with only 8 students, but rapidly grew to a regular attendance of over 100 students who come from all over Zanzibar and Tanzania. During this time, more than 60 of our adult English students graduated and went on to do a diploma in Hotel Management & Hospitality at the Jambiani Tourism Training Institute (JTTI)

Our long-term objective was always to build our own education and community centre for the people of Jambiani, where we can run our own education programs and community projects. However, for the past seven years, we have been dependent on the generosity of others in terms of premises to hold our classes, including the NGO Hands across Borders, the Jambiani Tourism Training Institute and the local high school.

The English centre currently teaches classes from Monday to Thursday for 2 hours each afternoon, offering instruction to all levels; from beginners through to advanced English. Some students start off unable to write the alphabet having never been to school, while others are able to debate on world issues and want to further their education and career opportunities but cannot afford university fees. When possible, foreign languages such as French, German, Italian and Spanish are taught after the English lessons, to further equip the students with skills to make them more employable for the booming tourism industry in the region. It really is an interesting mix of ability, age and opinions in the classes.

In the initial years of The English Centre, facilities were used at the Jambiani Tourism Training Institute (JTTI) to teach the adult English classes. However the centre expanded, with the help of The World Bank, to build a small beach bungalow guesthouse on the same site as the school, to be used for ‘hands-on’ training for the Diploma students. The guesthouse is managed by JTTI but run by the Diploma students.

This is a really exciting project for the school, but a big change for the project’s English short-course students. The current teaching area (sheltered decking at the front of JTTI, next to the bar and restaurant area) is now in full use by the Diploma students, so a new location in needed to accommodate the 100+ English students.

Without donations for this project, the English students will have to cease their education until enough funds have been acquired to build a new learning centre. Renting premises in not an option as all buildings in Jambiani village are residential homes, government schools, small businesses or hotels and guesthouses.

Former African Impact volunteers very kindly donated the money to purchase a plot of land, and our next goal is to build a permanent and secure building for the Adult English classes so that we can continue to increase adult literacy rates within the Jambiani community. Along with the language classrooms, the future Jambiani Educational Community Centre will have a fruit garden and will host additional short-courses based on the needs of the community.

A large donation was given from a school group from Kuwait who volunteered which was enough to purchase the land in Jambiani where the new Jambiani Educational Community Centre will be built. Work has now been started by the volunteers, local volunteers, the Dulla Boy Football team and local builders. They have worked hard to get the road and walls completed, the land is now secured with a gate and a lot of loose coral rocks has been cleared that will be used to build the main buildings. With this cleared land, we’ve begun a community garden, which we are hoping our women’s group will take over so that they can have a supply of not only fruit and vegetables , but have additional means to boost their incomes they can sell the produce to the chefs at the African Impact volunteer accommodation.

Short Term Impact: The construction of the building is giving work to some of the local builders.

Long Term Impact: Initially the centre will primarily provide English courses but in the future we hope to offer computing and business courses as well as a sports and recreational area and playground for local children and also a community fruit/vegetable garden. Through the provision of these services, the centre is hoped to become a cornerstone of social and educational development in Jambiani village.

Education is regarded as the key factor that will help the next generation to better their prospects and at the same time assist the older generation who are unable to further their socio-economic development. To this end, any person who shows academic ability is helped by their extended family to further their studies. The local government school has an enrollment of almost 1300 students from Standard 1 (7 years old) to Form 4 (17 years old). Due to the fact that the language of instruction is English, many students fail the government exams and have to drop out of school. On average, less than 20% of the students pass their government exams. Those that continue past Form 4 must travel to Stone Town to continue their schooling and many families cannot afford the travel and meal expenses. In 2012 over 100 students in Jambiani sat their Standard 7 exams and less than 2% passed. The remaining students, who are aged 13-15 years, will leave school with no leaving certificate and having to work to support their families for little or no pay. Job opportunities are very limited.

Seaweed farmers, who are predominantly women, earn 10-20 cents per dried kilo of seaweed, which gives them an annual income of between $12 and $60 (USD) per year. If they have small children, they pay $6 per year for nursery care. The women work six to eight hours in the seaweed plantations and usually cannot sell their seaweed for three months per year due to a world-wide glut on the market. However, they must still continue to plant, harvest and dry the seaweed as they do not know when sales will start to come in again. Fishermen rarely venture outside the reef and therefore catch only small reef fish, octopus and squid, which they sell at the local market to those who can afford it. What they don’t sell they use to feed their own families.

Subsistence farming provides cassava, coconuts, papayas, limes and spinach for the families’ consumption. Most other food items must be bought with what little money the family can scrape together. This difficult lifestyle affects families’ diets and health negatively.

There has only been limited development of natural and human resources in Zanzibar, which has lagged behind that of the mainland. Zanzibar – known internationally as the Spice Island – has a rich cultural heritage and is set within a physical environment of considerable natural beauty. Zanzibar’s island setting provides a wonderful contrast to the mainland, which is known for its wildlife parks. There has been a significant amount of investment from Europe and South Africa in hotel development, but unfortunately without sufficient complementary development in the indigenous tourism sector.

Rural communities – especially young people – are increasingly excluded from the benefits of tourism. Rural youth drawn by the ‘glamour’ of tourism realistically have very little chance of benefiting formally and are forsaking education for casual, menial labour in hotels. Work tends to be casual and seasonal, leading to a further increase in the numbers of disaffected young people. Although concern has been expressed and the problem acknowledged little action has been taken to improve the educational and employment opportunities for rural people.

The Jambiani Centre in Jambiani, Zanzibar was established to provide English classes to the local community with the aim for these students to attend a 3 tier programme (beginners, intermediate, advanced) to then ultimately attain employment after graduation. Over the past 3 years, we have seen Jambiani Centre made into a beautiful space that provides free Kiswahili and English courses to over 100 students a year.

  • 2017: We made significant progress on the centre with a completed toilet block, running water, and desks for the community learners. Our next stage is to install electricity.
  • 2018: Funds raised were used on the construction of essential structures which included a well, water tower, pump, plumbing and piping as well as electricity being installed. However, we noticed a group of these graduates leaving these courses were still not attaining employment. From there, we identified the lack of attaining employment was caused by their absence of computer skills which is now a requirement in many tourism and local jobs. Therefore, we launched the expansion of Jambiani Centre to include a Computer Centre which will aim to increase the percentage of students attaining employment.
  • 2019: We will continue to fundraise to refurbish and expand the centre to provide additional computer services and programmes for the local community.