fbpx Girls Education Collaborative

At the heart of GEC’s work is relationship building. Once established, a relationship creates the firmest foundation for collaborations that solve problems and/or seize opportunity. The deeper and more stable the relationship, the more dynamic and sustainable the collaboration. The purpose of such, is to work towards the shared vision of a world where no girl is out of school because of her gender, a world where girls are equipped to navigate the futures of their choosing.

In practice, what the heck does that look like? Below is a casual recap of my recent four weeks in Tanzania.


PART ONE – The Road Trip

A nighttime landing at Kilimanjaro Airport via KLM and getting all suitcases thru customs even though they were loaded with refurbished chromebooks donated by Immaculate Heart Central School. ✓First task accomplished.

The next morning I’m greeted by GEC’s long time friend, team member and driver extraordinaire, Lalashe Mollel of Touchstone Tanzania Safari. It’s time to head south and for me, see a new part of Tanzania.

With an overnight stop in Sigida to break up the drive, our destination is Tabora. Along the way, we drove thru an area where there was recent devastating flooding and a landslide – leaving more than 100 dead and unaccounted for. We passed the newly created cemetery – it was chilling, and, a reminder about how critical it is to build safe communities and not deforest our land, especially hillsides.

We were met in Tabora by Br. Ezekiel Kassanga, founder of Tumaini Open School (TOS) – a new school and a new member of our Ally funder Alliance. Ezekiel is a community change maker who left his own community of

Mwanza to work in one of Tanzania’s most difficult areas to be – if you are female. While earning his Education Masters degree he realized that almost anywhere in Tanzania, especially in economically impoverished regions, it’s a challenge to be a girl and secure your education and inalienable rights. He asked himself: of this under-served and marginalized population, who is the most marginalized? And why? And where do they live? His research pointed towards girls and young women who were mothers as the most marginalized and to this region of Tabora. Until 2021, the government of Tanzania barred them from ever returning to school after giving birth. Though the law has been repealed, there remains a great deal of stigma in doing so. Hence, Ezekiel, with the early support of the Tanzanian Development Trust, founded this innovative school to help mothers return to school and complete secondary education.

Though still in its early days, the young school has the markers of early success. A robust and dedicated teaching staff, nice facilities, a growing enrollment and a dedicated founder and leader. TOS became an Ally Organization to GEC’s Ally Funder Alliance this past December. It was really great to meet Ezekiel in person and hear more about the vision for this nascent but important school.

The next day, Lalashe and I drove 6 hours to reach Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria. The afternoon was spent with the leadership of another Ally Organization – AHIRD (who recently changed their name to SHEEO) We spent the afternoon thinking through the name change and ways they could focus their mission, build their programs and how the AFA can be supportive.

That afternoon I was joined by GEC volunteer Patricia Minter-Powell and we headed north to Mainsprings – the school and permaculture center we have been working with to create Kitenga’s new farm.

For the first time, I had the opportunity to tour the school – and what a remarkable one it is! Not sure which my favorite demonstration was – the very cool chemistry combustions or the robots they programmed (but I think it was the robots). We toured the farm again, met with their experts and laid the groundwork for further developing out Kitenga’s nascent farm.

PART TWO: Kitenga!

Another 6 hour drive north the next day and we were finally in Kitenga, a place that has become a second home to me. The moment that caused me the greatest pause and amazement? It was when I went down the first morning to join the morning parade and as I got there the students were walking to the flag. They just kept coming. And coming. So this is what 235 students look like! It truly took my breath away. So many students. Kitenga is coming into fruition.

Together with Head of School, other staff and with Guillemette working remotely from Lisbon, tremendous progress was made as we worked together on:

          • Design of a school technology lab
          • Finalizing scholarship students
          • Finishing decisions for new The Gathering Place (multi-purpose & dining center)
          • Setting the stage to expand the permaculture farm and launch Phase Two
          • Organizing water engineers to come and make a master plan for water security
          • Taking field trips to other institutions to explore alternative cooking fuels and end the practice of cooking with firewood
          • And more!


Another highlight? Spending time with GEC’s newest volunteers, who are recent Kitenga graduates and future world change-makers!

It was then a turn-around back to Arusha to meet up with a group of very special guests – the Miller / Carner family.


PART THREE – Visitors!

I escorted the extended family of ten back to Kitenga this time via something much smaller than a KLM jet. We flew across Tanzania in a small safari plane and Tanzania is as beautiful from air as it is by land.

A very joyous greeting awaited our arrival and set the stage for a deep dive into everything Kitenga over the next four days. Kitenga students often report that one of the best parts of being a student there is the visitors! They really enjoy learning about other parts of the world, new people and different cultures.


Rather than fly back to Arusha we took to the back roads and to the Serengeti for a safari. It was terrific fun, great (and up close!!) animal sightings and Masaii cultural immersion as well.

Back in Arusha, and before coming home, I had the pleasure to spend time again with the Empowered Girls (EG) team and their fearless leader Kellen Msseemmaa. EG is both an Ally Funder Alliance organization, and we contract with them to run Kitenga’s summer camp program.

Thank you to all the many, many people who helped make the trip seamless, safe, productive and fun! In sum, I learned and witnessed in a way that is unique to being together in person. To eat together. Laugh together. And tough it out together. Hoping our footprints helped make imprints towards a better future.

Anne Robinson Wadsworth is the founder and Executive Director of Girls Education Collaborative.

Photo Album

Join the Movement

Together, we can show the world that there’s nothing a girl can’t do.