Child laborers in Tanzania who participated in EDC’s radio-based education program, Mambo Elimu, performed as well as students in the state-run public school system on recent standard national exams. The positive scores in grade four have convinced the Tanzanian government to take up the program now that initial funding from the U.S. Department of Labor has ended. The government now maintains more than 175 Mambo Elimu learning centers throughout the country and broadcasts the radio programs for free.
“Once people in the communities heard about the passing rate of the first cohort, the programs became more popular and the children became more confident. They knew they were enrolled in a program that was solid,” says Suzanne Simard of EDC’s International Development Division (IDD).
IDD developed the Mambo Elimu program to follow the national primary curriculum and to bring basic education to mostly rural areas. In these areas, up to one third of local children labor in such exploitative conditions as farm workers, miners, domestic servants, and prostitutes. Mambo Elimu’s curriculum of 400 radio lessons teach Swahili, mathematics, English, science, social studies, and essential life skills to more than 10,000 out-of-school children. The lessons also help integrate children into the formal school system or vocational programs to prepare them for less dangerous work in the years ahead.
Originally published on September 1, 2006