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Mobile Phones Mean Success for Female Students in Tanzania

Sara and Warda, SEGA students, hold new mobile phones, which are key to their future success.

Sara and Warda, SEGA students, hold new mobile phones, which are key to their future success.

At a rural girls’ school in northern Tanzania, staff know that education is the first step to empowering their students. Ask them what the second step is, and they will say mobile phones.

When a woman has a mobile phone in rural Tanzania and other African countries, she has access to a number of tools and services that will help her succeed in life, according to Laura DeDominicis , executive director of Nurturing Minds. “A phone allows her to make secure banking transactions, monitor customer markets for her business, track changing weather patterns for her crops, and receive health care reminders and updates.”

At the SEGA School in Morogoro, Tanzania, each eleventh-grade graduate receives a mobile phone, thanks to Kidogo Kidogo, an organization that sells iPhone cases. Kidogo Kidogo is Swahili for “little by little.” When they sell two phone cases, Kidogo Kidogo donates a mobile phone, a phone number and 5,000 Tanzanian schillings of mobile credits to a woman in Tanzania.

Kidogo Kidogo has partnered with Nurturing Minds for two years to provide phones for all of their students graduating from the first level of secondary school, which is equivalent to eleventh grade in the U.S. system. Some of the graduates will continue their education in grades twelve and thirteen. Others will start businesses or attend vocational schools. In all cases, a phone is essential to success.

Nurturing Minds helps educate Tanzanian girls who are poor, marginalized and at-risk of becoming involved in exploitative forms of child labor. It supports the residential SEGA school for motivated Tanzanian girls who otherwise are unable to attend school due to extreme poverty.

SEGA graduate Rhoda was one of the students in Tanzania who passed the exams necessary to attend the last two years of “advanced level” secondary school. She is studying physics, chemistry and biology. Rhoda uses her phone to stay in touch with her family and friends and to receive money from home to pay for books and school fees. After graduation, Rhoda hopes to study business at a Tanzanian university and then to start a business of her own.

Other SEGA graduates are preparing for college and using their mobile phones to stay in contact with their support systems, including family, friends and SEGA teachers, which will ensure they achieve their goals.

Learn more about why educating girls is key to ending poverty here.