Two Trips Planned for Students, Community Members to Learn about UB's Tanzania Education Project

Release Date: May 17, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's Center for Educational Collaboration (CEC) will organize two trips to Tanzania in 2011 -- one for local community members and one for high school students -- in an effort to introduce individuals to the challenges, opportunities and assets related to education in Tanzania. The trips are part of the CEC's Buffalo Tanzania Education Project.

Those interested in finding out more about either trip are encouraged to attend an organizational meeting planned by the CEC to discuss itinerary, costs and arrangements; a separate meeting will be held for each trip.

The CEC will hold its first meeting -- for high school students interested in traveling to Tanzania -- at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, in Room 100 of Allen Hall at UB's South Campus. One additional meeting date will be available in June, date to be determined.

The second meeting -- for adult members of the community -- will be held 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, also in Room 100 of Allen Hall.

The community trips were developed based on the success of CEC's 2009 visit to Tanzania comprised of nine UB administrators and community leaders. The group, which met with local tribal leaders and government officials, explored the potential of partnering with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (IHSA), who are building a school for girls in a remote Tanzanian village, a community resource that can provide girls an education in a safe, modern environment.

UB's efforts have so far been centered on finding opportunities to help the IHSA construct a secondary school in the rural village of Kitenga as well as developing partnerships around economics, health, education and infrastructure and planning. Currently, there are numerous projects evolving at UB that are focused on education. Jim Hoot, PhD, UB professor and president of the Association for Childhood Education International, is partnering with the IHSA to build a pre-primary school near their current school-construction project in Kitenga. In addition to the pre-primary school, other evolving projects include the creation of a graduate class to explore challenges in Tanzania, as well as early discussions on micro-financing projects for women.

"During my first trip to Tanzania in July 2009, I had the unique and empowering opportunity to learn of the challenges and assets to education through conversations with government officials, the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa and, most importantly, the girls of the Kowak School," says Katie J. Biggie, program manager for CEC's Civic Pathways, which provides those on campus and in the community with opportunities for civic engagement.

"I returned with a further understanding of the importance of education and the strong desire to help increase educational opportunities and access, primarily for girls," she says. "I want to provide community members and students the opportunity for similar learning experiences through community-based trips to Tanzania."

The objectives of each trip will be tailored to those participating. Those taking part in the adult trip -- scheduled for January 2011 -- will meet with school administrators, education ministry officials and students about education in Tanzania. Topics of discussion will focus on equal access to education, challenges to accepting and retaining students, the value of education to the students and the resources available to build and expand schools as well as educate students.

Those on the adult trip will begin in the main port city of Dar es Salaam to learn about urban education, and then travel to the remote, rural village of Kitenga, where they will see a school under construction and speak with local residents about the importance of education, especially for girls. There is also a two-day stop in the Serengeti, where those on the trip can choose activities such as a safari, canoe trip on Lake Victoria and a visit to local village.

For more information, visit the Buffalo-Tanzania Education Project page on the CEC website at Those interested in attending are asked to contact Katie Biggie at 716-829-6170.

The two-week trip for high school students is scheduled for July 2011 and is offered with the participation of Global Explorers Inc. The trip includes visits to the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. Students will visit schools to learn about education, speak with Maasai tribe members about their culture and get a close look at the extensive biodiversity of the Serengeti.

Among the locations the students will visit are Arusha, Moshi, Mount Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park and Olduvai Gorge.

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"Tanzania is an amazing country with breathtaking views and a welcoming culture. Trip members will not only speak with students and government officials, they will also experience one of the world's most beautiful wonders, the Serengeti National Park," Biggie says. "I believe anyone who participates in either of these trips will not only learn of the value of education but will leave with a piece of Tanzania in their heart."

The two Tanzania trips are the latest activities organized by the CEC's Civic Pathways. CEC's Civic Pathways includes Kids Voting WNY, the local affiliate of Kids Voting USA, a national organization that works to secure the future of democracy by preparing young people to be educated, engaged citizens. UB Kids Voting WNY will also begin a new community endeavor designed to challenge students to identify concerns found within their community and develop strategies to improve their communities.

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