Welcome to Jifunze's new website which aims to further our mission of working alongside individuals living in under-served areas of the world to help them create innovative, empowering and sustainable community initiatives that will expand their possibilities for livelihood and enrich their lives.
Jifunze, which was founded in 1999, initially set out to improve the educational resources available to young girls in the rural Kiteto District of Tanzania. To that end, by working with the local community and government officials, we created Tanzania's first Community Education Resource Centre (CERC) in the Kiteto District's largest town, Kibaya. Over the last ten years of development, the Kiteto CERC has become a model for sustainable educational development in rural Tanzania, and now stands as an example of what communities can achieve when provided with the right resources. Upon our success in Kiteto, which included phasing out of the day to day management of the Kiteto CERC in July 2008, Jifunze has now dedicated itself to restructuring the organization to be able to provide support and advice to others who are interested in starting similar community development projects throughout the world. This website is therefore the first step in that process and offers itself as an information resource for others interested in rural development. In the future we also plan on developing a publication regarding the best practices and lessons learned in Kiteto, as well as being able to acts as a more official sponsor to fledging grassroots groups and organizations who require assistance developing their ideas.
Please takes some time to explore our site and read through some of the disscussions already started on our forum. Or, if you have a question, please become a member and start a new topic.
From its humble beginnings, the Kiteto Community Education Resource Centre (CERC) has now become an international model for rural education. Hailed by the Tanzanian Minister of education as "the only of its kind in Tanzania" the CERC provides services for all community members; from Kindergarten students learning to read, to adults completing university degrees through a correspondence course.
As we work towards unique solutions to community development around the world, we are aware that our actions have many diverse impacts. Our initial project, the Kiteto Community Education Resource Centre (CERC), provided many benefits: to the children who were offered educational opportunities through its many programs, to the illiterate elder who gained self-confidence and learned to read as she successfully managed the community based steering committee, and to the local craftsmen whose businesses grew as a result of training and investment. We also recognize however, that the CERC negatively impacted the lives of some community members: the building altered the path used by pastoralists to bring their herds to the river, it encouraged young women to study at the CERC instead of staying at home to help with household responsibilities, and it provided competition to local teachers who offered fee based after school tutoring.