AfricAid has now successfully implemented the Teaching in Action (TIA) program, an annual workshop that brings together secondary school teachers from all across Tanzania and instructs them in student-centered, participatory teaching practices. Because teachers have historically used methods of rote memorization in their classroom instruction, students often finish their time in school unprepared for their national exams and for effective participation in the Tanzanian workforce. Through TIA, Tanzanian teachers are taught techniques that help equip their students for success after graduation. AfricAid has partnered with TIA’s creator, Dr. Frances Vavrus of the University of Minnesota, to implement the first two years of the TIA program, and plans to significantly expand the program in 2009.
In addition, AfricAid is seeking to help address the shortage of medical personnel in Tanzania by facilitating the implementation of and subsequent medical paraprofessional vocational training of Tanzanian women in an Assistant Medical Officer (AMO) program to be offered at Selian Lutheran Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania. Assistant Medical Officers have much the same rights and responsibilities as medical doctors, and can see and diagnose patients, prescribe and perform more routine surgical procedures, and deal with medical problems that have established protocols, such as gynecological issues, internal medicine problems, malaria and other tropical diseases and AIDS, but may not have the depth of training needed to handle unusual or more complex medical conditions. AMO programs can provide the opportunity for young women to obtain an education past secondary school and subsequently have access to good jobs in a country where unemployment levels can reach 40%. While AMO training is considered by many to be the long-term answer to many of Africa’s health care challenges, AMOs constitute only about 7% of all sub-Saharan health workers, primarily due to a lack of both governmental and individual monetary resources. AfricAid is working to help provide some of the needed resources for this worthwhile program.
2009 will also see the launch of AfricAid's unique and groundbreaking Mother-Daughter Leadership Project. This program is designed to provide both an educational opportunity and leadership training to motivated Tanzanian girls who might not otherwise be able to attend secondary school, and who have mother figures in their lives who are committed to their educational and professional success. Tanzanian mother-daughter teams will be paired with mother-daughter teams in the U.S., who will provide scholarship funding for the Tanzanian students to attend one of AfricAid’s three partner schools. The students will be brought together each year for leadership training workshops that will include mentoring training for their mothers. Through AfricAid-forged partnerships, local businesses, service sector providers, schools, and other institutions will commit to providing employment to program participants after graduation, giving them unprecedented access to potential employers. They will also be a part of a growing network of female leaders in Tanzania, from whom they will be able to enjoy continuing support.
The program’s aims are thus three-fold: 1) provide educational opportunities to aspiring young girls, 2) afford them strong leadership training in addition to a truly meaningful education, and 3) create new and lasting bonds between mothers and daughters here and abroad.