Saturday, November 10, 2007

African women

It is especially rewarding to see African women in leadership roles. You may remember that the Tanzanian, Asha-Rose Mtengeti-Migiro, is the Deputy responsible for day-to-day management of the UN.

Another African leader is Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank Regional Vice President for Africa. In October, she visited Tanzania to attend the Aid for Trade Conference and to make an on-the-ground assessment of the World Bank’s support in the education and water sectors.

Ezekwesili speaks with students at the Jitihada Primary School in Dar es Salaam

This World Bank website outlines her tour of Tanzanian projects supported by the World Bank.

This very upbeat report outlines the benefits of the projects that have been supported by the World Bank. However, it is a sobering reminder of the scarcity of resources for education in Tanzania.

The Jitihada Primary School was opened in 2004 to relieve crowding in neighbouring schools. Crowding in Tanzanian schools became a major problem when the government removed fees for primary schools in 2002 and millions of poor children crowded into the schools.

The Jitihada Primary School has 10 classrooms and 1,278 pupils. That is 127 pupils per classroom. It has 23 teachers. That is a student:teacher ratio of 1:56. There are 254 desks in the whole school.

This is one of the lucky schools that gets special support from a World Bank program.

Rehema Kiwalaka, one of the senior teachers at the school, explained that the school has made steady progress.

We are grateful to the development partners like the World Bank and the government who have made it possible for us to have schools like this one, which fulfils the dream of Tanzania’s children to have an education.

What a contrast at the School of St Jude where, thanks to supporters worldwide and Gemma's brilliant leadership, academically gifted children from the poorest facilities can get a world-class education.

The School of St Jude is fighting poverty through education and preparing a new generation of girls to step into the shoes of African women in leadership roles.

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