Umoja's target population are Tanzania's high numbers of unemployed youth. 55.33% of the unemployed population are youth. Our beneficiaries are young men and women (ratio 50:50), who lack alternatives in terms of education or employment.

The Need

Urbanisation is high in Arusha, with many having moved to the city in search of work in industries such as agriculture, mining, and tourism. These industries, however, are unable to support the fast growing population. Many young people in Tanzania have become disillusioned with the rural life and migrate to urban areas in search for a better life. This has led to high levels of unemployment, especially for those with little or no education.

Education in Tanzania

While school enrolment in Tanzania has increased steadily since 2007, in particular primary levels, the country’s education system is still in a dire state. Only primary education is publicly funded and so many young people do not go on to Secondary School. The completion rate at primary level is only 65%, and less than 20% of those students go on to secondary education. 

This is despite the Tanzanian Government’s acknowledgment of the consequences of providing inadequate education to its citizens. A report published by the United Republic of Tanzania Ministry of Education and Culture in April 2003 declared “sustainable development will only take place if there is increased and improved levels of education. Lack of basic education undermines all efforts to improve health and nutrition, and impedes efforts to address the cause of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other illnesses”. In short, the report stated that lack of education contributes to a general decrease in living standards and directly impedes the economic progress of the nation. 

The country’s poorest are most affected by the government’s lack of investment in the national education system. Not only do many of them find the cost of secondary education prohibitively high, but they are also the most likely to find themselves pressured by their families into joining the workforce so they can contribute as a wage earner. Without a proper education, however, it is difficult to find jobs that provide an adequate income, and in many cases people are unable to find employment at all. 

Education in Arusha

Evidence of this failure in the education system can be seen throughout Arusha and the surrounding area. Findings from a survey administered when researching the need for an institution like The Umoja Centre showed the majority of young people were not currently enrolled in any sort of formal education, despite not having successfully completed secondary education (and in some cases, not even primary education).

The survey also revealed findings consistent with those of the Tanzania Ministry of Education and Culture; namely, that lack of basic education undermines efforts to improve other aspects of their lives. Specifically, it revealed that many of these young adults, often the ones with the least education, lacked knowledge of how to access information about their rights, health and welfare. It also showed that they were unaware of the wide range of careers potentially available to them.