Sister Janepha discusses technology before returning to Tanzania
Anne’s first visit to Tanzania, meeting with Sisters who are trained health care workers
In Tanzania, less than 20% of children go to secondary school (UNESCO, 2006)
Girls are passionate learners
Girls Education Collaborative (GEC) was incubated within the Buffalo Tanzania Education Project (BTEP), a university-community initiative of the University at Buffalo’s Center for Educational Collaboration. In order to broaden and deepen the good work BTEP was already doing with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa, members of BTEP were invited by Dr. Mara Huber (BTEP founder) and Anne Wadsworth (girls education advocate) to consider the formation of a separate, partner organization. As data was collected, models explored and inventory taken of who was doing what, it became clear there was a desperate need for more engagement at the grassroots level. Despite the amount of global conversation, the compelling data on the impact of educating girls and the advocacy campaigns, relatively few organizations were working directly with communities to support the creation or strengthening of educational opportunities for girls.
Being sensitive to the understanding that the world does not need another organization without a compelling reason for its existence, interested BTEP members first became a “thinking group.” They explored the need, options and logistics and it became clear there were huge spaces to be filled in supporting the education of girls. That group become a more formal Steering Committee and launched GEC as a non-profit corporation in January 2012.
In March 2012, the Board of Directors was expanded from the original three trustees, founder Anne Wadsworth was named Executive Director and the Peter C. Cornell Trust Fund became the first funder. In its first year, GEC leveraged that first small seed grant and raised almost $150,000 in gifts and pledges toward the Kitenga School for Girls.
Kitenga is GEC’s first project and the intent is to support, enhance and accelerate the work and vision already being generated by our partners, the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (IHSA). A Tanzanian faith-based community, the IHSA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for its extended neighbors, especially women and girls. An order of about 150, they primarily serve the Mara Region of Tanzania and are based in Musoma, along the shores of Lake Victoria. They have a track record of successfully advocating for and providing services to the most marginalized. Examples of their work in education include having run one of the highest performing secondary schools for girls in the region and currently managing a school for deaf, mute and mentally disabled children. For more than 20 years they have operated an agricultural project, health clinic and primary school in Baracki, a village similar to Kitenga.
Almost thirty years ago, the Sisters were granted 1,000 acres by the Government of Tanzania for a community development project. The Sisters’ goal was to ’empower the local women’ by creating a residential school for girls. Over the years a health clinic was established, vocational programs were run and a kindergarten program for boys and girls was started. But the Sisters struggled to build and open their dream of a residential school to serve the region’s marginalized and vulnerable girls. Seven years ago, GEC joined hands with the Sisters to help make their vision come true. Through the development of a deep partnership and collaboration, and after five years of hard work by all, the Kitenga Secondary School for Girls was launched in 2017.
We are fortunate and honored to be working with the Sisters and joining them in their vision to empower the women of Kitenga and improve lives for all through the power of education.
Please join us in creating better futures for the world’s girls. Securely donate using a credit card by clicking Give Here.
Or you can mail a check to:
Girls Education Collaborative
640 Ellicott Street
dig at the Innovation Center
Buffalo, NY 14203
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