Earlier this year, we completed our classroom and toilet refurbishment project with NGO Friends of Tanzania which is comprised primarily of returned Peace Corps volunteers. Our collaboration involved 3 phases that we previously posted about here and here. We made improvements at 10 out of the 11 public primary schools in which Toa Nafasi has a presence because, even though we don’t normally deal in things, materials, construction, etc, we do realize that a good physical environment is just as important as the academic and social-emotional learning environment we already address through our usual programming.
With a small grant from FOT, we were able to make some significant changes, most recently at Korongoni Primary School where we repaired 8 toilets (floors, painting, and door locks); Moshi Primary School where we repaired 3 classrooms (painting walls, floors, and door locks); Magereza Primary School where we repaired 2 classrooms (roofing); and Msandaka Primary School where we repaired 2 classrooms (floors and roofing).
These repairs not only improve the learning environment for the students we teach in the Toa program but also for the pupils and faculty of the whole school.
The project was not completed without various challenges in each phase. In Phase 3, some heads of schools were not well prepared to receive this project while parents in other schools were not showing up for work as we requested community participation from parents. In solving these problems, we made an MoU for all parties with the District Education Officer as a witness.
Now that all three phases are completed, we are still supporting the project through sharing the proper use of toilets and classrooms to the students, for example, how to keep toilets and classrooms clean and to avoid improper usage to make them last.
Elisha Tarimo, a student from Mnazi Primary School, which was included in Phase 2, says, “I am very happy now I can use the toilet and shut the door. I have missed this privacy for so long. Now I don’t have to worry about anyone while using the toilet.”
Mwajuma Mashauri, Headmistress from Jamhuri Primary School, which was part of Phase 1, says, “I feel special and honored to receive this project in my school. Our buildings look attractive and make our school look like the school I dreamed about every day. My pupils are now sitting in well-maintained classrooms which makes learning easy and fun because the environment looks nice.”
A parent, Charles Matemba, says, “Most of us parents are not ready to take our time and serve our community, but this project unites us and we are all here today to support this project for the benefit of our children.”
Some photos of the project’s “before” and “after” looks are below as is a video made by FOT especially about Toa’s work in this final phase! Enjoy!!