BBC Swahili - Swahili

Our Mission

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.

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Development Philosophy

Since our inception, we have dedicated ourselves to doing things a different way. Our unique management and development philosophies have allowed us to implement creative and valuable programming that has the potentail to make a lasting positive difference in people's lives. While the Kiteto CERC has been ground-breaking in terms of education development in Tanzania, the structures that we set in place for governing and evaluating our work are perhaps more influential as they set a model for effective grassroots development work.

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Our History

Jifunze began in a teacher’s living room in Kibaya, Tanzania where female secondary school students gathered to study every night. Their eyes straining to read against the flickering flame of the kerosene lamp, they conjured up the idea of building the community’s first education resource centre. Inspired by these creative young women, Christina Gabriel, a local primary school teacher who was born and raised in Kibaya, and Carrie Oelberger, a visiting secondary school teacher from the United States who was living with Christina, began working on their dream to develop a space for female students to study. Christina sought a piece of land on which to build a small study centre, while Carrie officially founded "Jifunze" in the United States, naming the NGO after the Swahili word for learning. Since those humble beginnings in 1999, Jifunze has now grown into a well-known and well-respected non-profit organization which has successfully handed over our seed project, the Kiteto Community Education Resource Centre (CERC), to the the local district government.

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Newsletters & Reports

Nourishing Minds: Jifunze's Quarterly Newsletter

Nourishing Minds is a bi-annual newsletter published by Jifunze. Below you may open archived editions of past newsletters. If you would like to join the Nourishing Minds mailing list (either post or email) please send the appropriate contact information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Press Coverage of Our Work