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Project information

Secondary School Libraries in Tanzania

Using a unique volunteer-led model, READ International works with teachers, school and university students to create vibrant libraries in secondary schools. These libraries provide young people with the resources they need to achieve their potential and secure a poverty free future for themselves.

February 2014 - September 2014

Charity information: READ International

READ International logo
  • Need


    Tanzania has one of the world’s highest concentrations of people living in poverty (IMF, 2012) but the Tanzanian government is committed to using education as a tool to combat poverty and has more than doubled the secondary enrolment rate since 2004. However, there is a huge gap in the provision of resources and quality of learning with the average pupil to textbook ratio 10:1.


    Tanzania and the UK share a very similar secondary school syllabus but textbooks in UK schools are routinely replaced. As a result, good quality but technically ‘out of date’ textbooks fill up school store rooms or end up in landfill. A natural recycling relationship therefore emerges between the UK and Tanzania. By increasing the number of textbooks per student, and creating a positive learning environment, we give young people the opportunity to further their education.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide resources and transform learning spaces needed to improve access to education in Tanzania


    » Transform unused spaces into vibrant libraries in secondary schools
    » Stocking each library with textbooks and locally -produced Kiswahili readers

    What success will look like

    The creation of ten new libraries in 2013/14, each stocked with a minimum of 2,000 books that are regularly loaned and returned.

    Aim 2

    Empower students and teachers to own the sustainable change they want to see in their school


    » Establish a Tanzanian student-led committee to take ownership of the project
    » Train teachers in how best to integrate reading and self-study into school routines
    » Enable librarians to maximise the value of the library to the school and wider community

    What success will look like

    Each school has contributed towards the creation of their library, has hired a librarian, and has retained its student-led Library Committee.

    Aim 3

    Empower young people in the UK and Tanzania to be peer educators and active citizens


    » Enable UK and Tanzanian university students to lead the creation of each library
    » Create additional opportunities for young people following completion of their volunteering placement

    What success will look like

    Volunteers gain vital skills and transferable experience for future employment.

  • Impact


    Analysis of examination results up until 2012 show that there has been an average 7% increase in pass rates in schools that have been part of the READ International Library Programme, this set against an overall national trend of falling examination pass rates. This year we also benefit from a qualified teacher writing a PhD on literacy in Tanzanian secondary schools, who has volunteered to monitor and evaluate our work.


    The libraries will not be sustainable if teachers and students aren't empowered to take long-term ownership. We seek to ensure sustainability by: collaborating with the Ministry of Education nationally and locally, involving students and teachers in the management of the process, including the appointment of a librarian in our selection criteria, delivering training and workshops to teachers and students.


    We will provide regular impact reports, newsletters and blogs detailing our work to date. Additional photos and videos will be available on request.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £6,354

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,488 Volunteers Training, expenses and insurance
      £1,894 Materials Library resources and renovation materials (including locally produced Kiswahili books)
      £1,283 Logistics Shipping and distribution of books
      £1,689 Project Management Direct staff and administration costs (including future monitoring and evaluation work)
  • Background


    We pride ourselves on working across Tanzania and to date we have worked in 14 regions: Kagera, Tanga, Ruvuma, Pwani, Mbeya, Mara, Kigoma, Morogoro, Mtwara, Lindi, Rukwa, Shinyanga, Singida, and Tabora.


    Each library directly benefits an average of 400 students per academic year for the 5 year life cycle of the library. The library also benefits staff and the wider community. Through this project we will create 10 libraries and change the lives of over 4,000 secondary schools students in Tanzania year on year.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been working in Tanzania since 2004 and our Library Programme has evolved since 2008 in response to feedback. We work closely with local stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and other local NGOs to make each renovation a success. Each renovation is led by our UK student volunteers in partnership with Tanzanian students from the recipient school. This collaborative, youth led process ensures a vital sense of ownership and long-term sustainability.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Montse Pejuan

    Country Director - Tanzania

    Francesca Tettamanzi

    Volunteer Manager - Tanzania

    UK And Tanzanian University Volunters

    Our student volunteers project manage the creation of libraries in partnership with each school

READ International volunteers

READ International volunteers

My favourite experience? Seeing kids peruse textbooks with a glee and interest that I have never seen a child in the UK approach a textbook with

Yemi Apampa