Meet Our Scholars

Growing Up in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania with a population of roughly one million people. Historically it has served as a center of trade, and the influence of African, Arab, European, and Indian peoples is readily apparent in everything from the food to the architecture. However, its former economic role is now greatly diminished, and the island must rely on tourism and exports of raw materials to survive.

Zanzibar is politically connected with mainland Tanzania, but maintains a semi-autonomous government that includes its own parliament and president. This political separation mirrors the economic division in which Zanzibar represents some of the poorest people in all of Tanzania. Zanzibar consistently ranks poorly in measures of health and well-being. For example, the average life expectancy is only 42 years for men and 44 years for women; the under-five mortality rate is 112 child deaths per 1,000 births; and only 65 percent of women are literate. There, a typical wage is well below $1 per day.

In Zanzibar there is great value placed on education, often called “the key to life.” But obtaining an education is not easy. Attending school, even at public institutions, costs money. At the primary level, there are no school fees, however parents still struggle with

S4Si works to target this vulnerable period in the life of these students. Given that a large number of students do not make it past primary school, our investment helps them stay in school.