How One Organization Can Impact an Entire Community

When a student is accepted into The School of St Jude, the impact extends beyond the student’s education. Having their rights to quality education upheld has a rippling effect that affects the members of their family, such as parents and siblings, as well as the community. The way this occurs takes different forms, such as through the sharing of learning from students to parents and through the offloading of parent’s financial and mental stresses.

When it comes to the Tanzanian schooling system, there are three key stages. The first is primary school (Standard 1 to Standard 7). The next is secondary school which is comprised of Ordinary Level (Form 1 to Form 4) and Advance Level (Form 5 to Form 6). To the students and their parents, The School of St Jude is more than providing free, quality education and it is more than a school. It means more support and a future of hope.

Reducing financial stresses

For the families of St Jude’s, over their child’s thirteen years of schooling, the families save an average of US$6,500 on costs that are covered by the school; including food, boarding, education, transportation, and so on. What’s even more impressive, is that our data reveals that over the 13 years of schooling, the average family income improves by approximately 15% for each year their child is at school.

However, through St Jude’s rippling effect regarding financial and social support, after 13 years of schooling a student’s family has on average tripled their income and exceeded the Extreme Poverty Line. This is even more important as economically, those living in such extreme financial circumstances rarely improve along with the rest of a country’s economic growth. In fact, according to World Bank data, the bottom 40% of the economy in Tanzania actually had a -0.15% growth outcome over a seven year period. When we see our family’s incomes over 13 years on average

growing by 15% per year, on that is a significant difference. That’s why it’s more than education!

When you teach a child, the community learns

Our students are spreading knowledge! Quite often, our have parents who did not have the means to complete schooling beyond primary school. This makes the new knowledge our students acquire at St Jude’s invaluable to their family members and their communities.

There are many inspiring stories of how our students sharing what they learn in the classroom has touched their communities. There were some students who learnt new agricultural practices that they shared with their families to put into practice on their own farms. There were also students that were able to teach their parents English or numerical skills so that their parents were able to get better-paying jobs. The power of sharing knowledge in leading transformation, for both families and communities, cannot be understated. When students learn, parents and community’s benefit.

Less stress, more support

St Jude’s students are supported with free, quality education, onsite boarding for all secondary students, three nutritional meals a day including fruits and vegetables for snacks, around-the-clock support from teachers or boarding parents, a community of diverse school friends, as well as safe and reliable transportation between home and school for the students that do not board.

This support is invaluable to the parents as well. From a financial perspective, parents can better support the rest of their family when one of their children is being well cared for by the generosity of sponsors and the school. This also contributes to the alleviation of stress on the parent's mental well-being as they no longer need to worry about their child being in danger or in facing unreasonable hardship in attaining an education. In the end, upholding the right every child has to education ripples life-changing benefits not only in their lives but for their parents and their communities too.

St Jude’s Local Supplier Strategy

At St Jude’s, the support of local suppliers is unwavering. There are many reasons for this, with the predominating motivation being the wish to support and contribute to the economic growth of the local economy. The rippling effect of supporting our local suppliers impacts an additional 3,000 Tanzanians each year!

The Local Supplier Strategy

St Jude’s commitment to positively impacting the local economy can be seen through the school’s local supplier strategy. This strategy has been designed and adjusted to the school’s needs since its inception in 2002.

The first part of the localization strategy involves building the local supplier database. The database is looked after by the school’s Finance and Purchasing departments. It is currently made up of around 300 local suppliers. It includes around 200 locally sourced suppliers that provide the school with services, such as delivering food products or spare parts for vehicles. On top of this, there are also around 100 contracted suppliers who are specific to the Beyond St Jude’s department such as scholar’s landlords and universities. The suppliers come from regions ranging from Arusha, Babati, Tanga, Moshi, and Kahama.

The policies to build the database include sending a staff member from the Purchasing Department to Moshi to seek out new potential suppliers that offer high-quality services or products for reasonable prices. The other method includes advertising the need for specific suppliers on popular job boards, the school website, and other media. Suppliers are then given two weeks to file the appropriate documents and apply. The procedure of acquisition was designed in a manner that ensures a fair and equal chance for all the suppliers that wish to apply. For procurement of goods or services over TZS15 million (just over $6,000), the contract is put out to tender. In accordance with transparency procedures, all tenders are opened at the tender opening ceremony in front of all potential suppliers. For the winning supplier, this is the beginning of a fruitful partnership.

Once a partnership has been established, the retention of the school’s best supplier becomes the priority. The primary strategy of retention is to ensure that the supplier invoices are being paid in a timely manner.

In Tanzania, there are complex issues surrounding cash flow, and so it is often the case that supplier bills are not paid anywhere from three to nine months. This causes further issues with a lack of supply due to supplier's hesitation to enter into further agreements with businesses that have not yet paid for their previous services.

St Jude’s values transparency and confidence in business agreements with local suppliers. So, to ensure fairness there is a non-negotiable policy that all supplier invoices are paid within one to two weeks, which is approximately three times faster than the average business payment.

Who are our local suppliers?

St Jude’s network of local suppliers is invaluable to the school’s ability to operational efficiently. The supplier's contributions include fresh fruits and vegetables, daily bites for snacks, school supplies like uniforms, stationery, or books, and fuel or spare parts for the fleet of school buses, just to name a few.

St Jude’s provides a stable and reliable source of income for the local school suppliers with around AU$10M annually going directly into the local economy, not just through suppliers, but including our staff who also spend locally and support local businesses.

Thus, St Jude’s local supplier strategy is key to contributing to the sustainable economic growth of the community and the nation at large.

The Journey from Shamba to the Dinner Table

Are you curious about how the students of St Jude’s get their hot, nutritious meals on their dinner tables each day? As part of St Jude’s local supplier strategy, the school invests time and money into acquiring locally sourced ingredients.

Once the ingredients have been sourced and delivered, it goes through a verification process before either being stored or cooked fresh each day. These meals are then served to students for breakfast and dinner. As for tea and lunchtime, both the students and the staff at St Jude’s are nourished.

On average, over $325,000 is budgeted for food each year, with $5,800 spent on fruits and vegetables each month. Around 29,000 hot meals are served each week which adds up to over one million meals served every year! So, what exactly does the journey from Shamba (farm in Kiswahili) to the dinner table look like?

Shamba (Farms)

The word Shamba is Kiswahili for Farm. Although St Jude’s has its own Shamba at Smith Campus, cultivating different fruits and vegetables such as cucumber and sukuma wiki (a spiniach-like vegetable), it supplements the school’s ability to support the local economy, by supporting local farmers.

Once a year, tons and tons of grain are purchased during the harvesting seasons. For maize, which is the key ingredient for the nation’s most beloved dish ugali (like a stiff porridge, similar to polenta), the season is from August to September. For rice, the harvesting season tends to be from May to July. The grains are stored in a warehouse facility on Sisia Campus in Moshono, Arusha where it is divided and sent out to the different campuses on a as needed basis.

To ensure the freshness of perishable food items, such as fruits, vegetables and eggs, the school receives supplies every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This includes tea break bites such as the local favorite mandazi (a fried doughnut-like bread), bread rolls or scones which are currently purchased from the local Sunkist Bakery. So, the first part of the journey starts with the cultivation and acquisition of ingredients directly from the farmers and bakery.


The next part of the journey, delivering from the farms to the school, typically involves a wholesaler. While some wholesalers have their own farmers, most are the middlemen in the delivery process.

St Jude’s strongly believes in equal opportunity. So, to give all suppliers in the area a fair chance, tender is advertised for two weeks before farmers and wholesalers are decided upon. The contract is then awarded after a tender ceremony, which means ongoing financial support for the selected suppliers, thus creating economic growth opportunities that ripple throughout the community.

After the fresh produce has made the journey from the farmers to the school gates, in the back of a wholesaler's truck, the verification process begins.


Once the wholesalers arrive at the school’s gate with the produce, the guard will notify the Purchasing Department. There are verifiers from different teams, each contributing one staff member to be on duty each day. The verifiers will come to the gate and the verification process will begin. The food is examined to ensure all produce is of sound quality and the quantity has been measured correctly. Once that is done, a team member from the Marketing team will come to take photos which will be sent alongside a thank you email to all donors and sponsors that make the arrival of this food possible. Afterwards, the food either goes into storage or is sent over to the cooks.

Dinner Time

The food has now made it to the cooks! Generally, the food is prepared on woodfire or gas stoves. The well-trained cooks prepare the meals with passion and zest, ensuring quality, nutrition, and flavor. The students of St Jude’s gather at the dining hall where their laughter and conversation quieten down when the food has arrived on their plates.

St Jude’s views mealtimes as more than food. Mealtimes are a chance for the students to learn about the value of nutrition and how it is key to keeping their bodies and minds healthy. They will carry this knowledge with them throughout their lives and share it with loved ones to ensure the ongoing welfare of their communities long after they’ve left the dinner table.