Beth McDougall


Organization: Maarifa Ni Ufunguo (Knowledge is the Key)
Location: Arusha, Tanzania
Year: 2010

MRP/Thesis abstract:

Participatory Development: Understanding the implications of community participation in the Secondary Education Development Program in Arusha City, Tanzania

Participatory development is a popular but contested concept that has been widely adopted by mainstream development initiatives to improve education. In Tanzania, participatory development has a long and complex history and is a crucial component of its most recent initiative to enhance the secondary education system – the Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP). This study examines how communities are involved in SEDP and explores the wider implications of community participation in the program. Four major findings are drawn from this analysis. First, there is a disconnect between the ways in which SEDP policy, and program stakeholders, tend to define ‘community,’ and ‘community participation.’ Second, the types and levels of community involvement in SEDP are impacted by the socio-economic and political contexts of communities. Third, respondents are highly aware and concerned about the stratification of their education system, and link this stratification to the type of community participation that is solicited by SEDP. Lastly, respondents seem to feel that if permitted the appropriate political space, their participation in SEDP has the potential to change attitudes and values.