Project Description

CDE Overview

We use partnership as a vehicle for sustainable education improvement in East Africa.

To do this, we partner with communities to build their capacity to identify, fund, manage, and maintain their own education projects to address immediate needs. At the end of this process, we provide a grant to bring their vision to life. Then, we support them in developing the best ways to continue mobilizing local resources for future projects. Finally, we connect them to a cooperative of local schools and relevant government agencies to continue organizing their resources and advocating for their futures after we leave.

Districts and villages are chosen through careful research on the areas with the most need in the sector of education. Throughout this process, we apply a robust evaluation system to measure the impact of this partnership model on education and social engagement outcomes at the community level.

CDE Process:

  1. Identify regions, then districts, villages, and schools, with the worst education outcomes in the country. To do this, we use an array of education indicators such as exam results, student and teacher attendance, teacher training levels, student-to-classroom ratios, student-to-teacher ratios, etc. 
  2. Meet immediate needs through community-driven grants to improve primary education. To do this, our trained facilitators build local capacity to think independently and creatively about the education system, identify goals, raise capital, implement project(s), and plan for the future through a unique social engagement and project management training. Once a community completes this training and implements a successful project, they become CDE Certified, which notifies government and other NGOs that they are willing and able to direct and manage future development projects. See more about our training curriculum here.
  3. Provide structure for continued community action through local resource mobilization. This can mean ongoing community organizing, a school-based business, local savings groups, etc. depending on the specific community.
  4. Encourage future planning at the regional level. This means connecting schools to a regional CDE Cooperative where they can mobilize resources and advocate for the future of education in their communities. The CDE Cooperative will hold conferences at which school ambassadors and sector experts share best practices and innovative ideas.
  5. Produce robust statistical analysis of the impact of communitydriven education. To do this, outcomes in CDE schools are compared to those in similar schools that were not involved in the program. Analyses will include data on changes to education as well as changes in local community engagement, number and quality of community-driven development projects, advocacy in coordination with external partners, etc.

Laghonida – Current CDE Community

This photo is of Laghonida’s first meeting, at which 400 community members attended to learn more about CDE and have their voices heard regarding the future of education for their children. Laghonida Primary School has only one fully complete classroom, its 623 students and 9 teachers drink water from unprotected open wells, and its pass rate is 40%.


Mughunga – Current CDE Community

Mughunga is the home of 525 primary students and 6 teachers in Singida, Tanzania. It was the first community in the region to hire female teachers. It’s primary school has a pass rate of 38.5% and six classrooms (though only one is complete and two are dangerously unsound).


Mwamba – Future CDE Community

The primary school in the Mwamba community has only three teachers for more than 700 students. Their pit latrines are full, and their nursery classroom is structurally unsound. Though there are many issues that are obvious to the visitor, it is the local people who will know what project(s) will make the greatest difference in the academic achievement of their students. The pass rate at Mwamba is 49%.


Nduamughanga – Future CDE Community

Nduamughanga and Mwamba are future CDE communities because they are currently the control schools in the impact evaluation of the CDE program in Singida. They will participate in the program after the evaluation is complete. Last year, the 548 students at the school had the lowest pass rate of the four schools at only 26%.   The school currently has no water infrastructure available to its students and staff except for a leaking rainwater harvest tank.