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DVV International Tanzania – A New Departure

24 March 2021 | Frauke Heinze | DVV International Tanzania Innovative Practice

DVV International embarked on its new project in Tanzania in 2020. Working closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), which is responsible for overseeing the sector, DVV International intends to contribute to building a robust and sustainable adult education and learning (ALE) system for the country. Integrated functional adult literacy is on the map, but existing programmes lack coordination and streamlining to reach the target group more effectively.

DVV Tanzania 2

On the 2nd February 2021 DVV International officially launched its program “Support for Adult Education System Building in Tanzania” during a workshop at the University of Dar es Salaam. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Dr. Leonard Akwilapo and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Regine Hess, attended the workshop as guests of honour.

In her opening remarks the German Ambassador underlined the impact that adult learning and education has on literacy and numeracy, equal access to education, skills for employment and income-generation. As a cross-cutting enabler it also contributes to health, poverty reduction, local economic development, climate change and promotion of gender equality.

DVV Tanzania

The Permanent Secretary highlighted the importance of DVV International programme to revitalize the sector. He expressed the MoEST strong commitment to put a well-functioning adult learning and education system in place – a system that provides complementary learning opportunities for adults in Tanzania, fosters their personal development and promotes a knowledge-based society that is able to tackle today’s challenges.

Project design

Together with stakeholders an ambitious plan has been drafted, focusing on three levels - macro, meso, and micro. On the macro level, DVV International is assisting the MoEST in assessing the current status of implementation of the existing programmes. It is intended to establish a steering group comprising of governmental and civil society partners to advise and guide the process of reviewing, analyzing, consolidating, and streamlining existing ALE programmes, and enhancing cross-sectoral coordination, management and monitoring.

The activities at meso level are intended to support macro-level activities and create a linkage with micro-level pilot activities. Using the results of the ALE system assessment, the MoEST and other stakeholders in the sector are enabled to establish an integrated ALE structure involving all government sector offices and stakeholders involved in the sector. The results of the assessment will indicate the kind of structure needed for effective implementation of integrated ALE service delivery at micro level. DVV International will focus on technical support in the form of training, and mentoring. It is foreseen that both institutional and individual capacity building of staff and managers are required.

On the micro level, DVV International set about establishing and piloting Community Learning Centres (CLC), places where adults can access a variety of integrated ALE services and learning opportunities. Learning methodologies could be improved versions of existing Tanzanian methodologies. These projects at micro level will ultimately inform all decisions about ALE system building and evidence-based influencing of strategies and policies at macro level over the long term.

In keeping with this holistic approach, the introduction of the programme’s system building approach will draw on the regional experience DVV International has gained in implementing ALE programmes in Uganda (since 1985) and Ethiopia (since 1995). The DVV International’s regional office for East Africa will be relocated from Addis to Dar es Salaam in June 2021.


DVV International has a long-standing presence in the East/Horn of Africa region with country offices in Uganda and Ethiopia. Outreach activities to other countries in the region took place in the form of conferences, meetings and exchange visits. Representatives from the Tanzanian ALE sector were invited to a workshop in Uganda exploring the root causes behind consistent high levels of illiteracy in East Africa in 2014. It has shown that like other countries in the region Tanzania has similar challenges in the sector, but also has best practices that can be showcased.

This form of periodic outreach to Tanzania has continued since 2016 with annual visits by the DVV International Regional Director to different stakeholders from both government and civil society to understand the work in the sector better. A group of government and civil society stakeholders was also invited to Ethiopia at the end of 2017 to observe and learn from the CLC model in Ethiopia.

The group could relate this experience to former similar structures in Tanzania and appreciated the updated Ethiopian model that involves multi-sectoral government offices to deliver training and services at CLCs. During workshops, Tanzanian participants also explored the opportunity to revitalize CLCs in Tanzania and expressed interest in knowing more about the ALE System Building Approach.

Meanwhile, DVV International approached its main donor, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and requested to include Tanzania as one of the target countries in the East/Horn of Africa regional profile along similar funding lines and objectives as the other countries in the region. Since 2020 Tanzania has been included in the DVV International regional portfolio with the first funding phase 2020-2022 in a nine years’ programme cycle.