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Smashing Barriers To Education

We are part of the movement to smash the barriers keeping girls out of school. Through collaboration and allyship, GEC offers assets to help achieve a local vision for the future. We support but don’t lead; we link arms with local change-makers on their initiatives centered on educating girls.


GEC brings social change through the transformational power of girls education and our fight for global gender equality. We link arms in allyship with local change agents in rural, under-served regions in developing economies where high rates of gender inequality and economic poverty persist.

We help girls transform their own lives through education.




A gender-equal world where all girls are in school and no longer barred from fulfilling and life-equipping education simply because they are a girl.


Honesty & Integrity

We maintain the highest ethical standards; we are open and forthright.


We leverage the resources and expertise of our collaborative partners.


We are curious, open-minded and continuous learners.


We create and support connections; collaboration is the key to how we do our work.


We are resourceful and adaptive. We respond to opportunities with deliberate pace and action.

Cultural Sensitivity

We are empathetic and value diversity in all forms.

Our Journey

We believe in a simple premise – girls deserve to go to school. 

Girls Education Collaborative grew out of a group of committed, thoughtful people from Buffalo, NY, who saw an opportunity to partner with a locally-led effort in an underserved area of Tanzania to provide safe, quality education for girls.

Opportunity in Global Girls Education

Led by Anne Robinson Wadsworth who has a background in education and expertise in global girls education, these individuals, informed by the work of the Buffalo Tanzania Education Project (BTEP), a university-community initiative of the University at Buffalo, sought to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa in Tanzania who at the same time were seeking a partner to help their vision come true. Their vision was the Kitenga School for Girls. First conceptualized over twenty years ago, this community of Tanzanian nuns had a model of change and a vision on how to transform a community through the transformative power of girls education.

Being sensitive to the understanding that the world does not need another organization without a compelling reason for its existence, interested BTEP members first became a “thinking group,” to determine how they could add value to the field of global girls education. Despite the growing global conversation and the emerging yet compelling data on the impact of educating girls, relatively few organizations were working directly with communities and taking their lead to support the creation or strengthening of educational opportunities for girls. They explored the need, options, and logistics, and it became clear there were huge spaces to be filled in supporting the education of girls. That group launched GEC as a non-profit corporation in January 2012 with Wadsworth at the helm.

Developing an Innovative Partnership Model

We believed that we could make a difference by taking an innovative approach, choosing to do our work by joining hands with locally-led initiatives seeking partnerships and allies to help their own community-identified priorities find a pathway to fruition. The model was always to work with community-driven initiatives in geographies where other people were not working and where the girls were facing the greatest obstacles and barriers.

With this in mind, we engaged thoughtfully and deeply with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa, whose goal was to lift up a community of women living in critical poverty and facing endemic destructive cultural traditions by creating the Kitenga Secondary School for Girls. Our discovery efforts around the Sisters convinced us that their initiative had enormous opportunity. We also recognized that no other members of the international development community were stepping up to provide otherwise unattainable resources and support.

In its first year, GEC leveraged a seed grant from the Peter C. Cornell Trust Fund in Buffalo and raised almost $150,000 toward the Kitenga Secondary School for Girls.

Realizing a Vision in Rural Tanzania

Fast forward nine years, and GEC has played a pivotal role in helping fulfill a local vision in rural Tanzania to build an extraordinary school for marginalized girls. By securing more than $2M in financial support, program management when needed and thought partnership, GEC became an integral part of transforming the lives of girls attending the Kitenga Girls Secondary School. The secondary school is Phase One, to be followed by a primary school.

By acting as an ally and  catalyst to locally driven, led, and owned initiatives, GEC equips marginalized, at-risk girls with education and life skills to help them develop their own agency and realize their fullest potential. GEC works to leverage the resources and expertise of our collaborative partners and donors, and in turn, bring previously untapped assets to community initiatives. None of this would be possible without the dedication and support of our Impact Allies and our entire community of support.

Linking Arms with Our Partners

GEC seeks to make long-lasting change, provide responsive funding, and collaborate with local partners to be an asset in their efforts. When the Sisters asked us to not only be a funder but also to project manage a good part of the capital projects necessary to open the school, we welcomed the invitation and linked arms to become true partners in collaboration. This type of invitation has continued, and GEC has played a pivotal role in helping fulfill the local vision to build an extraordinary school for marginalized girls.

Looking Toward the Future

Today, GEC is a US-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit that supports and promotes the efforts of local change-makers working to create gender equity through the power of education in their communities.  The Kitenga Girls Secondary School is now in its fifth year and providing a residential education for over 120 students. When the school is fully built-out, enrollment will climb towards 500 students. 

With time, GEC will develop additional partnerships modeled on this one.  For now, a deliberate course has been chosen to ‘scale’ by deepening our engagement and commitment to this young initiative in Kitenga Village, Tanzania. We believe the greatest impact we can now make is to keep fueling its boundless potential, while building a solid footing for an enduring future.




Click here to learn more about our first cohort of these very important advisors.

Our Team

The power of GEC lies within everybody who has rolled up their sleeves to support our mission.

Anne Robinson Wadsworth

Executive Director

Guillemette Dejean

Community Manager

Joseph T. Beecher

Board Member

Robert Berger

Board Member

Christine Brown, DO

Secretary, Board of Directors

Latricia Davis

Board Member

Georgia Dachille

Vice Chair, Board of Directors

Ryan Knowles

Chair and Treasurer, Board of Directors

Robynn Rich

Board Member

Raj Suchak

Board Member

Brianne Szopinski

Board Member

Join the Movement

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