Tanzania Students Website/Wanafunzi - Tanzania
Tanzania Education and Information Services Trust (TanEdu)
on the ground project
Secondary school students
general public interested in ICT
The website www.wanafunzi.or.tz (wanafunzi means students in Swahili) is the first Tanzanian website for secondary and tertiary level students in the Swahili language. The website helps students realize the benefits of ICT by providing them with a one-stop online resource centre to empower them on issues relevant to their daily lives, study and future opportunities. Through the website, students can communicate with each other and with experts on a wide range of subjects, varying from reproductive health and HIV/AIDS to ICT. Wanafunzi was launched in 2004 and is used by 20,000 students. The website fills the information gap on issues that students may find difficult to discuss with teachers or parents.
Tanzanian students and would-be students find it extremely difficult to get educational information. This makes it hard for them to make decisions. Another problem is that websites are in English but almost all students in Tanzania understand and can speak Swahili better than English. Because of this, there is a need for Swahili websites with suitable content.
Furthermore, the website provides them with educational resources, and gives them a platform to exchange ideas and to help each other solve problems. A website is also needed because students seldom get the chance to air their views with regard to educational issues in the country.
Read more about IICD’s Tanzania Country Programme
Wanafunzi was launched early December 2004 during an event which was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education and a large group of secondary school students. Since then, the website has been providing an increasing amount of information, varying from past exam papers to information on HIV-AIDS prevention. Students visit the forum mostly to discuss issues concerning health, sexual relationships versus abstinence, education and politics.
Since mid 2006 (1,5 years after its launch) the website has been continuing independently. However, the project team has not found structural funding yet and is now running the website on a voluntary basis. The project team is exploring to use free and open source software (OSS) development to meet tailor-made software standards. OSS can be used to develop online courses. Generally, the project has a potential to expand as long as the necessary efforts, support and resources are available.
- to encourage and promote the exchange of knowledge and information among students and collaboration in doing activities
- To provide students with access to useful information and knowledge resources
- To create greater opportunities for students to participate and contribute in dialogues on issues which affect them.
- To provide a means for students to have access to educational experts and counselors
The students’ website project contributes to the national social-economic development of the country by:
- Improving students access to information
- Enhancing student’s knowledge on many educational issues, so they will be able to make right and informed decisions.
- Reducing costs involved in search for information through traveling
- Facilitating networking among students
- Encouraging collaboration in solving problems
Read more about IICD’s approach towards Education.
Sustainability of the project depends entirely on the aggressiveness of the project leaders in seeking ways to finance and support the project. Entrepreneurship skills, self-motivation skills, and other skills and strategies are essential for keeping entrepreneurial spirit strong during challenging times (source:).
The website was integrated in the Tanzania Educational Website TanEdu, but now continues as an initiative of individuals. Since the project continued independently in 2006, the project team has been running the website on a voluntary basis.
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