Empowering Girls to Pursue Their Dreams
In Tanzania, only approximately 30% of adolescent girls are enrolled in secondary education. The dropout rate is due to a complex set of circumstances, so, to do our part in supporting girls’ choices, St Jude’s introduced a clear strategy to encourage the education and empowerment of girls at the school and tertiary levels.
St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School
The biggest milestone of St Jude’s strategic plan, to encourage women in education, was opening St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School in January 2020. The purpose of opening this new facility was to grant even more females the opportunity for free, quality education. The new school particularly encourages female students to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects for it’s recognized that more Tanzanian women leaders are needed in these fields.
By opening the girls’ secondary school, St Jude’s was able to offer more scholarships to female students in Form 1.
In Tanzania’s schooling system, there are three key stages. The first is primary school which comprises of seven years education from Standard 1 to 7. Then there is secondary school, with Ordinary Level (O Level) studies going from Form 1 to Form 4, and Advanced Level (A-Level) studies from Form 5 to 6.
As of 2022, the Standard 1 and 2 intake of girls was 75% which is a milestone to celebrate. Also, when it comes to national figures for women in tertiary education, the female-to-male ratio is approximately 1-to-28. However, at St Jude’s the ratio is equal to one female for every male studying at university.
At St Jude’s, females are encouraged to participate in healthy competition with their male counterparts. This can be seen with the National Examination results of 2022 where the females outperformed their male counterparts. Female students are also actively participating in extracurricular activities where they can develop 21st-century soft-skills.
One such female student, Even Ernest Mbise, participated in the Mathlete competition hosted by Strathmore University in Kenya. The team comprised of herself and five other male students. Up against many other schools, the St Jude’s team came first in the competition, with Even coming in sixth place for the individual scoring. This inspirational story of female empowerment is one of many at The School of St Jude.
At St Jude’s, education is seen as the key to a promising future for students and in creating the future leaders of tomorrow for the community. The focus on empowering females to receive an education and pursue their ambitions has a far-reaching impact throughout the entire country.
St Jude’s Encourages Entrepreneurship
At The School of St Jude, the significant impact entrepreneurship has on a community and a nation is widely acknowledged. Students that show potential in either innovative or social entrepreneurship are encouraged and nurtured by the school. This is demonstrated by the statistical data that tell a story of how the entrepreneurial graduates of St Jude’s have contributed to the economic development and growth of their communities.
Over the last four years, 30 businesses have been successfully established by St Jude’s alumni, which has led to the creation of over 250 new employment opportunities and the mentorship of more than 2,000 people nationwide.
How does entrepreneurship benefit a nation?
St Jude’s recognizes that the significance of entrepreneurship extends beyond the business world. The three main roles entrepreneurship plays in society include accelerating economic growth, promoting innovation, and cultivating societal change.
1. Accelerating Economic Growth
At St Jude’s, it is understood that entrepreneurship ventures can act as the wheel of the nation’s economic growth. The acceleration of economic development results from the conception of new products or services that stimulate new employment opportunities. These new jobs are generally entry-level positions that are valuable to unskilled job searchers. It provides new opportunities for these members of the community to become skilled professionals which has a ripple effect on the economic growth of the entire nation.
2. Promoting Innovation
St Jude’s also has initiatives that encourage innovation at the school including the Science Day where students showcase the innovative projects they have been working on. It is important to stimulate innovation as it plays a major role in solving either technological or societal problems the community faces
3. Cultivating societal change
By introducing new or improved products or services, entrepreneurs have the potential to leverage underutilized resources in effective and beneficial ways while bettering the welfare of their communities.
The Green Venture
In December 2015, St Jude’s alumni Edmund Tarimo founded Green Venture. This initiative aims to address the problem of plastic waste by using innovative technologies to turn the waste into durable building materials. Hence the fitting slogan Transforming Trash Into Treasure.
Edmund first had his idea and presented it to the St Jude’s Science Day and the idea blossomed into a successful, impactful business it is today. He began this initiative in Arusha, Tanzania. He was motivated by the complex societal issues of displacement and plastic waste that resulted from his witnessing floods in Dar Es Salaam when he was fifteen years old. The floods destroyed 700 mud houses and displaced all the residents. His entrepreneurial mindset led him to solving both the societal issues of plastic waste and displacement due to nondurable building materials. He achieved this by creating high-quality building products from plastic lumber, that is termite and water-resistant with higher tensile strength than typical wood. His entrepreneurial contribution to Tanzania won his initiative the “Best Circular Economy Business” title at the world’s largest green business challenge Climate Launch Pad in 2020.
All in all, St Jude’s supports and encourages entrepreneurship in students for it is recognized as having a positive impact on Tanzania’s economic development and societal growth. What’s more, social entrepreneurship finds innovative solutions to complex global societal challenges which ripple positive change extending beyond the Tanzanian borders and into the world.
After the students of St Jude’s have finished their schooling, they have the opportunity to either continue their studies at the tertiary or college level or opt to find jobs in their chosen professions. The school also developed the Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Scholarship Program to assist students with pursuing their future aspirations. So where are they now?
Beyond St Jude’s
The Beyond St Jude’s Scholarship Program (BSJSP) has two main components; community service and higher education. Graduates have the opportunity to apply for the BSJSP in Form or Form 6.
There are three key stages of schooling in Tanzania. It starts with seven years of primary school from Standard 1 to 7. Then four years of secondary school from Form 1 to Form 4 in Ordinary Level (O Level) studies. Lastly, students complete two more years of secondary school from Form 5 to 6 in Advanced Level (A Level) studies.
The first chance graduates can apply for BSJSP is the Alternative Path Program, which is an initiative that was created for Form 4 graduates who wish to take an alternative path to finishing their final two years of schooling. They participate in a Community Service Semester, before joining higher education in college to pursue diploma or certificate courses.
Our Form 6 graduates can apply for BSJSP and must successfully complete a Community Service Year (CSY) before they go on to access higher education through a Tertiary scholarship.
During community service component of the program, our graduates have the option of either giving back to their communities by teaching at government schools or they can volunteer to work with one of St Jude’s internal Head Office teams.
If students choose to volunteer internally with St Jude’s, they’ll gain valuable skills in areas such as marketing, communications and data analytics. The soft and hard skillsets they attain will prepare them for real-world professional settings and increase their chances of employability.
The students that volunteer to teach at government schools play a vital role in addressing the country’s problem of teacher shortages. On average, government school classes have 65 students to one teacher.
Since the inception of the community service initiative, over 100,000 government school students across 70 schools have experienced the far-reaching rippling effect of St Jude’s. It has also saved government schools over $1.3M in teachers' salaries.
Students at University or College
Since 2015, over 400 St Jude’s graduates have attended either university or college supported by the BSJSP. Those students that do not get a scholarship through Beyond St Jude’s will typically apply for external scholarships or government loans that will help support their pathway into tertiary education. In a country where only 8% of tertiary-aged young adults go to higher education, 97% of St Jude’s alumni that go on to study at the tertiary level; that is twelve times the national rate.
Since 2015, St Jude’s alumni have studied at 45 different universities within Tanzania and in 13 different countries spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Currently, alumni are studying in countries such as the United States, Botswana, Mauritius, Russia, Germany, Malaysia, Costa Rica and more. The fields of study include business, STEM, medicine, and agriculture.
The students abroad demonstrate high adaptability and tenacity in the face of adversity, such as Elibariki Ngitoria, who graduated from St Jude’s in 2015. Driven by his future aspiration of becoming a Doctor, Elibariki has been studying at Tula University in Russia where he had to learn Russian to be able to undertake a Bachelor of General Medicine. It is student stories such as his that inspire hope