Funded by TEMBO (Canada) and officially opened in February 2016, the Longido District Learning Centre is a hub of activity for the entire Longido community where learners of all ages gather to further their informal education. It houses a room filled with books and puzzles for pre-school and primary students, a computer centre, a study hall for independent learners, classrooms and meeting rooms. It is a space for preschool programs, adult literacy classes, a tailoring program for women and community meetings. It also accommodates a host of school children who love to drop in after school to use the library. The Learning Centre has a staff of 8 including 3 qualified secondary school teachers funded by the Longido District Council.
Visit the Longido District Learning Centre
Giving Boys and Girls a Head Start for Secondary School
Pre-Form 1, coordinated by Learning in Longido (LiL), provides support for adolescent boys and girls. The program was developed in 2021 by the staff and teachers at LiL to provide an academic support program for students as they transition from primary school to secondary school. Local teachers provide instruction in core subjects such as biology, math, history and geography, while also helping the students to develop their English, the language of instruction at secondary school.
The three-month program includes a residential component for students living in more remote locations in Longido District, allowing them to access the program. Students in Longido Village join as day students. All students enjoy morning porridge and a healthy lunch break.
The grounds at the Longido District Learning Centre provide ample space for the students to play and relax before and after classes.
“The ABC’s of Sewing”
In 2019, Learning in Longido launched a new tailoring program for women. The program was open to 20 women in the community, all of whom had attended LIL’s adult literacy program. Five women from four remote villages registered for the one-year program. The women were eager to learn how to sew a school uniform. If they could learn this basic skill, they could sew for other families in their village. This would give them a small income that would help them to buy food and basic supplies for their families.
On Monday, Tuesday and Friday afternoons, the women crowded into a small room at the Learning Centre dedicated for the tailoring program. They huddled together around the treadle sewing machines and listened carefully to the instructions provided by the teacher. From outside the room, one could hear the rattling sound of the sewing machine, the voice of the teacher as she explained how to measure and cut fabric and the constant chatter of women.
At the end of the one-year program, the women had acquired the skills to sew a simple white blouse, a pleated skirt and dresses for children. Recognizing that the women wanted and needed more instruction to become independent tailors, the program was extended for an additional year. In December 2020, 19 women graduated from the project with hopes of starting a small sewing business in their villages.
In January 2021, Learning in Longido welcomed the second cohort of 20 women for the tailoring program. Today, the sewing machines continue to hum and the women continue to learn.
John Kilusu: “Education is the light and will serve me for life.”
John left Longido Secondary School in the middle of Form 3. He is from a traditional Maasai family. His father has four wives and a total of 30 children. Four of the children went to primary school; the rest have no schooling. By the time John was 18, he had been out of school for 3 years. At home, there was nothing for him to do and there was no work. He wanted to go to school but “my father is a colonial man. He is not supporting me. He gives me permission to go to school but no money.” When John heard about the Learning Centre, he was there the following week and attended the independent study program for 18 months. In 2018, John received special permission to return to secondary school and, after two years of study, he graduated from Form 4.
Today, John is in his final year of teacher’s college studying to become a physics teacher. He wants an education to help his family and to help them have better health. In his words: “Education is the light and will serve me for life”.
Margaret Obedi: “There is no centre like this in my community.”
“I am Magreth Obedi. I come from Arusha. I am a Form III student at Muklat Secondary School. I knew about the Learning Centre since 2019 when I joined the Pre-Form 1 program. Since that time I travel from Arusha to Longido in order to use the Learning Centre for tuition and self studies. There is no center like this in my community. There is only a small library at school where we are not allowed to borrow books to take home. This holiday I took four subjects for tuition: Math, chemistry, biology and physics. These are hard subjects but I like them. I always enjoy using the learning centre.”
The Longido District Learning Centre coordinates a 10-week Pre-Form 1 program for boys and girls who have completed Standard 7. This program helps prepare the students for studies at the secondary school level.