ECDAN

The Day of the African Child: Empowering Young Voices in Tanzania

By Elizabeth Joseph

July 7,2024- In honor of the Day of the African Child, celebrated on June 16, we focus on Tanzania Early Childhood Education and Care (TECEC). Read on to see how TECEC champions Tanzanian children’s right to education and quality care, and hear the voices of children who participated during the celebrations.

Envision a Tanzania where every child, regardless of background, is provided with equitable access to a high-quality education that ignites their innate potential. This is not an unachievable wish but a vision of the future that we can jointly build.

At Tanzania Early Childhood Education and Care (TECEC), we believe that every child deserves access to quality education and care—and that their voices should be heard and amplified. On June 16, we celebrated the Day of the African Child, a day designated by the African Union (AU) to raise awareness about the challenges faced by children in Africa and to promote their rights. It is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the challenges children face in Tanzania, particularly in terms of access to quality education. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), about 15 percent of children in Tanzania are out of school, and many more face challenges in accessing quality education. At TECEC, we are committed to addressing these challenges by providing education and care services to vulnerable communities.

Luchelele Ward: A Case For Change

Children in Luchelele Ward, Mwanza Region, face long distances to school, and low-income families struggle to afford quality childcare and nutritious meals. Statistics paint a grim picture. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, in 2022, the prevalence of wasting among children under 5 years old in sub-Saharan Africa was 5.8 percent, and in Tanzania, the wasting rates were 3.3 percent with a stunting rate of 30.6 percent surpassing the global estimate of 22.3 percent.

TECEC Goes Local

This year, we took our celebration of the Day of the African Child to the grassroots level, meeting with local community leaders and parents in Mwanza’s Luchelele Ward to hear the voices of young children firsthand. We wanted to understand their concerns, aspirations, and experiences with accessing education.

Children’s Voices Are Heard

We had the opportunity to hear from children who addressed the Mwanza Regional Commissioner. Their words were inspiring and a testament to the impact that our work can have. Just like any other child in Africa, Joshua has the right to thrive, survive, and access quality education. “I want to learn and play with my friends. Education is important because it will help me become a doctor one day,” said 8-year-old Joshua from Luchelele Ward. His words reflect the universal desire of children to access quality education and the freedom to be themselves. Similarly, 10-year-old Kelvin from IIemela Ward shared, “We want to learn without interruption. We want to be free to play and make mistakes. Education is our right, just as food and shelter are.”

These heartfelt expressions from Joshua and Kelvin highlight the fundamental need for quality education and the freedom to explore, learn, and grow. Education is not just a pathway to a brighter future but a fundamental right that empowers children to dream big and achieve their potential.

The Day of the African Child serves as a reminder of the crucial role education investment plays in driving development. The theme for this year is “Education for all children in Africa: The time is now,” which resonates deeply with our organization’s mission. We believe that investing in early childhood education and care is essential for building a strong foundation for future generations.

Equipping The Future, One Child At a Time

TECEC does not just listen to these voices, we empower them. Through our programs, we equip parents, caregivers, and preschool teachers to provide education and care services to children from birth to age 12 in low-income families, focusing on holistic development and child-centered approaches. Currently, we are reaching out to about 22,000 children, focusing our efforts on establishing a nurturing atmosphere that stimulates learning, creativity, and social-emotional growth.

Let us turn the Day of the African Child from a day of reflection into a day of action. Together, we can ensure every Tanzanian child has the opportunity to thrive.

See The Change in Action!

Watch Tanzania’s young leaders in action! To see media features displaying children participating in debates and expressing their future goals, click the links below: