By Irene Gaitirira
Published April 1, 2016
A telecom company has donated more than 2400 desks worth US$105000 to primary schools in Tanzania.
Tigo, the benefactor, says the desks it has donated is part of its pledge in response to government appeal for assistance to stakeholders for help in offsetting the shortage of desks in the countryâ€™s public schools; the desks from Tigo can seat more than 7000 pupils as each desk accommodates three users.
The desks have been donated to primary schools in the countryâ€™s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam; and the up-country regions of Mbeya, an agricultural town located near the Tanzanian-Zambian border; Iringa, an area famed for its timber products; and Morogoro, the home of the famous eastern arc Udzungwa mountain ranges.
Diego Gutierrez, the General Manager of Tigo, says the support is in line with Tigoâ€™s commitment to support community initiatives through its corporate social responsibility portfolio.
Peter Mizengo Pinda, the then Prime Minister, is reported to have announced in May 2014 that the East African country was facing a shortage of 1.4 million desks in its primary schools.
Saying Tanzania had only 1.8 million desks across its primary schools instead of the 3.3 million required, the Premier said it would take 12 years and US$5700000 for Tanzania to meet the 1.5 million desk deficit were it to embark on the almost impossible task of making at least 100000 desks annually.
Tigo says it heeded the Premierâ€™s plea for assistance and, together with a local charitable organization called Hassan Maajar Trust (HMT), collaborated in the initial stages in providing desks to needy primary schools in Mbeya and Iringa regions. Tigo says it has continued to support more schools ever since.
According to UNICEF, the net primary school enrollment rate shot up by 94% in 2001 when the government abolished primary school fees and made it compulsory for all children to attend school. Class-room sizes in each public primary school grew by 66% by 2011, according to the Education Sector Performance Report: 2010-2011.