In many rural areas of Tanzania, economic opportunity is scarce. While some families are still able to subsist with bartering and small farming, the lack of actualized cash and traditional employment translates directly into a lower enrollment in schools, younger age of arranged marriages and pregnancies, a lack of access to healthcare, and a statistical exclusion of girls in development. Tanzania’s poverty headcount ratio stands starkly at $1.90 a day for 49.4% of the population. Many families struggle to earn the income necessary to enroll in schools and pay for the associated costs such as uniforms, books, and materials. Furthermore, enrollment in traditional schools has seen a dramatic decrease in the past two years due to the many effects of COVID-19. Unplanned pregnancies and severe financial instability resulted in many young girls specifically, being excluded from traditional schooling. Once access to schools is taken away, there are no real educational opportunities for these young women anymore.
Jifundishe has a very unique approach to education as it provides a free library with educational resources to local villagers. The library is considered much more a “community center” than a library and is an oasis in a landscape that is devoid of educational opportunities and materials that are freely accessible.