Uwezo Tanzania is a Non-Governmental Organization operating in Tanzania mainland, committed to improving competencies in literacy and numeracy among children in Tanzania through an innovative, citizen-driven community engagement and public accountability approach to social change.
Uwezo meaning “capability” in Kiswahili. is a citizen-led assessment initiative that was introduced in 2009 in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, hosted by the various organization (Tenmet in Tanzania, UNGOF in Uganda and WERK in Kenya) to fill the learning assessment gap by generating new information/evidence on children’s literacy and numeracy learning levels in a manner that informs the public, stimulates countrywide debate, and creates pressure for policy change from the bottom-up.
Later from 2012 to 2019 Uwezo in the three countries were merged to Twaweza East Africa. In 2020 all Uwezo entities were fully registered as an independent NGOs/ Company in Tanzania, Kenya and Ugnada.
Uwezo Tanzania’s main goals are to contribute to improved learning outcomes by generating independent data on levels of learning outcomes especially in basic literacy and numeracy among children aged 6-16 years, to stimulate evidence-based policies that would result in equitable learning for all children and community engagement for stimulating citizens to take actions to improve learning outcomes for children.
For the past 10 years, Uwezo Tanzania has conducted a citizen-led learning assessment in 159 districts of Tanzania mainland, and the results revealed that there are many children who are in school but not learning adequately. For example, Uwezo 2019 assessment report reveals that 62% of children in class 3 could read fluently a Kiswahili story while only 48% of the children in class 7 could read a simple English story of class 2 level. These findings are used to engage with policy actors and citizens to address the learning crisis. Uwezo has used the citizen-led learning assessment approach and methodology pioneered by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in India, in which trained citizen volunteers conduct learning assessments on children’s competencies in literacy and numeracy at the households.
Currently, Uwezo Tanzania implements “Jifunze”, a learning initiative to support children who are lagging behind in literacy and numeracy, and mobilizes communities for collective action to improve learning outcomes such as through Community Assessment and Extended Feedback. Uwezo enables policymakers, parents, students, local communities, and the general public at large to become aware of actual levels of children’s literacy and numeracy, and build on that awareness to stimulate community collective response and policy change for improved learning across Tanzania.