From 18 December 2019 and 24 January 2020, I was able to complete 105 hours in volunteer activities in rural Tanzania (with Advocacy Tanzania, a nonprofit organization that I co-founded in Tanzania). Again, I volunteered for two main programs:
1) The Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) Program, a village banking program where we train and build capacity of community members on financial literacy, savings strategies, small investments, and sustainable agriculture. We launched the VSLA Program in 2011 with 70 community members. Since, the VSLA Program has served over 300 community members. During this past winter break, I was focusing the training on sustainable strategies growing traditional bananas. I also emphasized the power of small savings using the 20-30-50 budgeting/saving strategy.
2) I also continued to volunteer and spearhead the Student Success Center (SSC) Project, which we launched in the summer of 2019. The SSC Project currently provides access to free tutoring and mentoring to primary school students at one rural public school. Between May and December 2019, the SSC Project served 56 seventh grade students in math, science, English, and Kiswahili. At the end of May 2019 prior to any tutoring/mentoring sessions we tested; then we re-tested the students after a month of tutoring/mentoring at the end of June 2019, and then at the beginning of September 2019. The results are incredible. Briefly: the total class average scores increased from 54.95 on the pre-test, to 84.68 and 88.92 on the two post-tests consecutively. As one result, 50 of the 56 passed a national examination and were enrolled at a neighboring public secondary school. I was able to meet some of them this past January and they are making good progress. What is more exciting is that starting January 2020, we have expanded the SSC Project services to more students in 3-7 grades. This has been made possible by the motivation from last year and sensitization through meetings, which have risen awareness and brought up more volunteers. In addition, the 50 students from the 2019 Class are now helping out as peer tutors. Very exciting. So, over the winter I spent more time coordinating and mobilizing parents, teachers, and community leaders to garner support. I also I was overseeing the renovation of an old building (with a 2019 Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant), as well as mobilizing and educating stakeholders to establish and sustain a students' food program at the school.
I am still constantly thinking about and looking for ways these initiatives will be sustained, improved, and expanded. Many appreciations to all community volunteers and Phi Kappa Phi for the support.