Rossier Professor Visits Tanzanian Primary School Founded by Alumna

Rob Filback recently visited the Endupoto Primary School founded by Cheryl Kyle ’62. The following is a photo essay of his trip.

I recently traveled into the Maasai Steppe near Arusha, Tanzania to visit the Endupoto Primary School. Getting to Endupoto required not just our driver, Frank, from JM Tours, but an elder from Endupoto to ride along and guide the way.

Endupoto Primary school was established in 2008 and serves 239 students. For more about the history of the school and Cheryl’s involvement, see “Alumna Builds a Miracle in the Bush” in the Spring 2013 Futures in Urban Ed magazine.

What captured my attention, from an educational development perspective, was the community ownership and public-private collaboration that have emerged at Endupoto Primary School. Endupoto is supported in three ways: through charitable funds raised in the U.S., by the Tanzanian government, and through funds, provisions, and direct involvement from the surrounding Maasai community.

From the community side, the Maasai elders have exerted leadership from school’s inception. They made the original request for the school and have been a constant presence in the school’s development and operation.

The total annual cost for families is around $17.00 USD per student (uniforms are $12.50 USD and the annual school fee about $5.00 USD). For perspective, some approximate costs to families of students at other schools in the Arusha area include:

  • $30 USD/year for cook and security fee, uniform, and materials at a neighboring government rural school
  • $65 USD/year for fees, supplies, uniform at a government school in the city
  • $300 USD/year for fees and supplies at lower end private schools in the city
  • $500 USD/year for English medium private school in the city
  • $3000-$8000 USD/year for international schools in city

The collaboration and support I observed at Endupoto Primary School was inspiring. The partnership between outside supporters, government, and, most significantly, the highly engaged local Maasai community at Endupoto, may provide a model that other rural schools in Tanzania can learn from.

By Rob Filback