The team and I are here to help you learn about Peace Corps in Tanzania and to explore the joys and challenges of serving here. A vast country, with diverse but united people and astounding natural resources, Tanzania is committed to economic revival, educational improvements, and health advances. Specifically, the government and its partners have set goals to address income generation and removing barriers to help women reach their full economic potential; improving access to education, especially STEM; promoting gender equality; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; preventing communicable and non-communicable diseases; and ensuring environmental sustainability.
Peace Corps Tanzania is proud to consider itself amongst the partners working with rural communities to achieve sustainable development. Present since 1961, Tanzania is one of the Peace Corps’ oldest programs. I would like to believe, it is also one of the best in the region. We are committed to creating a thriving, responsive program through a values-driven approach focusing on professionalism, collaboration, trust, communication, inclusivity, and quality. You will be the third group since the March 2020 global COVID evacuation, so you will play a pivotal role in re-establishing the strength of Peace Corps in Tanzania.
Our Volunteers are either placed in Secondary Education, Community Health, or Sustainable Agriculture depending on your education, skills, and experience.
Secondary education is the backbone of the Peace Corps program in Tanzania. Tanzania's secondary and teacher education systems have changed dramatically over the past decade. The number of secondary schools has exploded from 927 in the year 2000 to 1,745 in 2005 and to 4200+ in 2010, and most of them are in rural locations. The growth of secondary schools is vastly out-pacing the availability of qualified teachers. Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) are increasingly one of the few - or in some cases the only - math or science teachers at their school. The purpose of the Education project is to build Tanzanian students' skills in math, sciences, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and to build Tanzanian teachers' capacity to use English and promote critical thinking skills. Peace Corps Volunteer teachers are placed in O-level and A-level schools, with a limited number of positions in Teacher's Training Colleges and other institutions of tertiary education. In addition to building student and teacher capacity, Volunteers help to improve access and use of resources at schools, and to engage the broader school community in projects focused on safe schools, gender equity, and environmental and health education, including HIV prevention.
Launched in 2000, Health Education Volunteers work closely with community health center staff and community health workers, primary and secondary school staff, and local community NGOs and Community Based Organizations to promote behavior change within health priorities. Among other activities, PCVs may assist communities to begin health clubs at primary and secondary schools, as well as with out-of-school youth groups. They may also work with village women to initiate Care Groups for better maternal and child health, help Orphan and Vulnerable Children groups to engage in skill training and income generation, and help people affected by HIV/AIDS to form groups for support and income generation activities. Health Volunteers are active in promoting the Government of Tanzania's health campaigns in their communities, such as testing days for HIV and anti-malaria bed-net campaigns. COVID-19 prevention efforts have also been added so PCVs may work in demand creation and linkages to vaccination.
The Sustainable Agriculture Project was launched in 2015 and focuses on three key areas: i) improving food availability, ii) improved food access and livelihoods, and iii) sustainable natural resource management. Agriculture Volunteers engage in a variety of activities such as animal husbandry and beekeeping, improved crop production, post-harvest management, tree planting, vegetable gardens, water conservation and management, and improved cooking stoves. Agriculture Volunteers work closely with village NGOs and CBOs to begin Farmers' Field Schools for testing new farming methods, as well as helping groups of farmers, women, youth, and people affected by HIV and AIDS to initiate Income-Generating Activities (IGAs). They help facilitate Environmental Education lessons at primary schools to support the Tanzanian national curriculum. Many Agriculture Volunteers teach about food preservation and nutrition, as well as hygiene and sanitation to improve the health and quality of life of their host communities. In addition to addressing the agriculture primary goals above, Agriculture Volunteers also address cross sector initiatives such as HIV/AIDS, Gender, Malaria, and Information Technology as well as secondary projects that meet Health and Education project objectives.
All Volunteers and their Tanzanian counterparts receive specialized training to prepare them to engage in HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness activities in their communities. The program also brings support to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) through bio-intensive perma gardens to strengthen nutrition and IGAs so these groups can live longer, more productive lives. Finally, with PEPFAR support, PCVs conduct school, organizational, and community-wide awareness and education activities to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, with a particular focus on adolescent girls and young women as well as adolescent boys and young men.
If you become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, in addition to contributing directly to important development targets, you will be part of meeting two other important Peace Corps goals. One goal is for you to connect one-on-one with the people in your community. As a Volunteer, you will live in local communities in the same houses as your Tanzanian colleagues and you will shop, eat, and socialize at the same village kiosks and sites, and in so doing, you will help Tanzanians better understand what Americans are really like. The final goal is to take your experience back home to help people in the U.S. better understand the people of Tanzania. You will become an "Ambassador of Tanzania" to the U.S. - starting with your first blog entry and continuing throughout the rest of your life.
I have no doubt that if you become a PCV in Tanzania your experience will exceed your expectations and promise your two years full of challenges (and rewards) that you will not forget!
Stephanie Joseph de Goes
Country Director, Peace Corps Tanzania