Jifunze works alongside individuals living in under-served areas of rural Tanzania to help them create innovative, empowering and sustainable educational opportunities that will expand their possibilities for livelihood and enrich their lives.
Named after the Swahili word for learning, "jifunze" directly translates as "teaching oneself." Jifunze is an international non-profit organization which was launched by Christina Gabriel (Tanzania) and Carrie Oelberger (U.S.) in 1997 with the goal of meeting the basic educational needs of their female students. At Jifunze, we believe that the process of development is as important as the product, and we dedicate ourselves to building local capacity to manage and respond to a community's educational needs.
Jifunze's core vision is to provide rural communities with quality education. To achieve maximum impact through our programs, we began by selecting a specific area as a prototype for our strategy. Kiteto District, a remote part of northern Tanzania, was chosen due to Gabriel's close connections with the community, having lived her entire life in the district. We currently concentrate our efforts within this rural district (pop. 160,000) and work in close collaboration with the Kiteto District Council and a local democratically elected Steering Committee. Jifunze is registered as an NGO with the Ministry of Home Affairs in Tanzania and holds non-profit 501c3 status in the U.S. through its partnership with the International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment.