Women Building Tanzania Initiative: STEM Education, Infrastructure, Women's Health, and Microfinance

By Aaliyah Brooks, Research Assistant 

Young girls in the rural areas of Tanzania regularly travel long distances by foot to attend school. Not having access to clean water and adequate latrines only adds to the challenges faced by young girls in the community. This socio-economic challenge contributes to public health problems, leads to sexual harassment, and interferes with girls’ education, stifling their potential. 

With the long-term goal of increasing educational opportunities (through helping incorporate a STEM curriculum), health, and safety for females in Tanzania, the Women Building Tanzania (WBT) team, together with many partners, has been working to improve the infrastructure, latrine and water issues, and lack of resources at the Kiparang'anda primary school in Tanzania. With these improvements we hope to aid in entrepreneurial empowerment as well. 

For example, Estim Construction has provided the school with water tank upgrades and electrical enhancements. They, along with Dhow Nature Foods, and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) have raised $30,000 toward building more toilets.  

Projekt Inspire and MSU’s College of Engineering also worked together and planned two STEM workshops for the primary school students--one on September 25th and another on October 1st. The Projekt Inspire web page shows several photos from the STEM workshop. Although the WBT initiative has already had considerable impact on the local community and partners in Tanzania, for the school continue to receive STEM training, much more funding is required. Additionally, we extend our deepest gratitude to all our partners and the school administration for their hard work and commitment to our mission.  

Among our partners, Days for Girls was able to provide, free of charge, the women and girls in the community with 400 reusable menstruation kits along with three trainers to teach them how to use the kits. The school and entire community are extremely grateful and filled with joy from this development--as are we. 

Members of the community have begun an application for the Network for Global Civic Engagement at MSU with the goal of launching a simultaneous partnership with Spartan Global Development Fund, an MSU RSO and non-profit, to enable the economic and entrepreneurial empowerment of women through micro-loans. Through this partnership, micro-finance loans will be provided to women to start or scale up their business. These micro-loans will be facilitated by Spartan Global and an on-the-ground field partner in Tanzania to help identify and support loan recipients. 

The project team, the Novi Public Library, and the Novi Rotary Club also began a donation drive with the Novi Library teen group to hopefully provide some of the many basic items needed at the school such as shoes, hand soap, and writing utensils. These are only a few of the things the school needs. 

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