Category Archives: PZ News and Events

Welcome Adrian Maganga!


Project Zawadi is very happy to announce the addition of Adrian Maganga to our Tanzania-based leadership team! Adrian specializes in teacher professional development and is leading efforts both locally and nationally to expand opportunities for teachers and more fully incorporate a student-centered approach to teaching and learning. Utilizing local, national, and international resources, Adrian coordinates Project Zawadi’s efforts in this area with local primary and secondary school partners and a consortium of national education experts.

Adrian comes to Project Zawadi with a strong education background. Graduating from Ruaha University College with a BA in Education, Adrian began his career as a trade development representative for one of Tanzania’s top telecommunications companies, working as a regional lead on Mpesa (a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service). From that position, he transitioned into teaching English and History at Mihingo Secondary School, where he crossed paths with visiting Project Zawadi Board Member Ian Keith. Inspired by his visit and teachers like Adrian that he met, Ian started a program called Tenda Teachers to promote the student-centered approach to teaching and advocate for increased professional development for Tanzanian teachers.

Adrian quickly joined the Tenda Teachers team as Co-Director and began setting groundwork for developing and implementing teacher trainings. He was a founding member of the National Alliance for Teacher Professional Development, and was instrumental in organizing two national meetings of educators and education professionals to promote the goal of increasing the quality of teaching and learning through professional development and accountability.

Locally in Nyamuswa, he organizes and implements the yearly English Bridge program to provide intensive English training. This gives students transitioning to secondary school a head start because the language of instruction switches from Swahili to English. He also conducts teacher trainings modeling the student-centered approach and has been working on the development of e-modules that can be distributed to teachers nationwide. All this work was done in a volunteer capacity and while continuing to teach, and most recently, working as Head of School (principal) at Nyamang’uta Secondary School.

In January 2018, Adrian officially joined the Project Zawadi team full-time. He now has an opportunity to serve a wider community of teachers and students than he otherwise could have in his work at a single school.

Adrian has definitely hit the ground running in our rural Nyamuswa office. He is continuing in his work with the Alliance, English Bridge, and e-module programs. Additionally, he has taken the lead as we develop closer partnerships with local schools and communities. He is working to kick off our Model Schools initiative that will provide infrastructure, professional development, and co-curricular support to schools following a plan developed by the school and local community and addressing their stated priorities.

Adrian lives in Nyamuswa with his wife, Joyce (who is also a secondary school teacher), and their two children, Alvin and Alicia. Originally from the Kigoma region of Tanzania, his educational experience and expertise offers a unique connection to teachers and schools. We are so excited by Adrian’s energy, passion and knowledge, and look forward to seeing how the Tenda Teachers program of Project Zawadi develops through his leadership!

Karibu sana, Adrian!

New Year, New Vision

New Year, New Vision
New Year, New Vision

In this season of New Year’s resolutions, the turning of the calendar to 2018 marks a new chapter for Project Zawadi. Throughout 2017, our talented Board delved deep into a comprehensive strategic planning effort for the organization. After nearly two decades of existence, it was time to check in with our founding principles, evaluate the progress of our program towards accomplishing our mission, and cast an eye to the future direction for Project Zawadi.

Guided through this process by an accomplished strategic planning consultant, we are so happy with the results of this effort and the clear direction it provides for our future work! Our unwavering support of Tanzanian children as they pursue education as a means for achieving self-reliance was reaffirmed. But it became clear through this process that there is an opportunity for us to have an even greater impact in the years to come.

So over several months of evaluation, research, and discussion, we developed a strategic plan that reflects our role within the changing conditions in Tanzanian education and incorporates the lessons learned over the past 17 years of Project Zawadi programming. This new plan holds true to our core values and founding principles, provides a clear long-range strategy for advancing our mission, and charts an exciting path forward with specific strategic goals to help us make sure we’re staying on track.

Over the coming months, we look forward to sharing these new aspects of the programs with you through a series of blog and social media posts.

We’ll introduce you to:

  • some new faces of our local partners;
  • our evolving approach to improving education including an aspect that we are tentatively calling the Model Schools Program;
  • the Tenda Teachers Program that is working to specifically provide professional development to teachers and improve the quality of education for all local students;
  • some updates to the Sponsorship Program and the continued progress of PZ sponsored students.
Easy ways to stay connected and up to date on our progress:

Letters from Sponsors to Students

We are often asked if it is appropriate for sponsors to send a letter directly to their sponsored student(s).  The answer is a resounding yes!  The children love to hear from you and very much appreciate receiving personal notes from their sponsors.

What about a gift?  This process has evolved over the years and we have come to the conclusion that equity in the gift receiving process is very important to our students.  To that end, we will be providing pre-made gift bags to all of our sponsored students.  

We will be asking all of our sponsrs to underwrite their student(s) gift bag and consider underwriting additional bags for students who do not have a one-to-one sponsor.

Each January, Project Zawadi visits Nyamuswa village to do an annual site visit.  This visit corresponds to the beginning of the new Tanzanian school year and Distribution Day events where students gather to receive their school uniforms, books and supplies.  This year, Brian, our Program Founder and President, will be visiting the village for Distribution Day.

Brian is happy to carry with him and hand deliver a personal letter and/or photos from sponsors to their sponsored student(s).  We invite all sponsors to take advantage of this opportunity to send a personal note to compliment the pre-made gift bags.

Pre-made Gift Bags for Project Zawadi students include: 
• 24 pack of Crayons
• Dual Blade Barrel Pencil Sharpener
• 3-Ring Pencil Pouch
• Child Toothbrush
• Toothbrush Cap
• 3 oz Toothpaste
• Comb
• 3 oz Fresh Scent Soap
• 2 oz Hand/Body Lotion
**NEW THIS YEAR** Grade Specific Math Flashcards or Student Dictionary 

STEP 1: Decide if you would like to underwrite a pre-made gift bag for your student(s) ($5 per gift bag) and/or send a personal letter.

STEP 2: Please mail your student letter and/or gift bag payment by Monday, January 8Print out this form to underwrite gift bags and send with your letter(s).

STEP 3: Spread the love.  Feel free to purchase extra gift bags for students who do not have a one-to-one sponsor.

Please mail letters/photos and gift bag underwriting by January 8 to:




PS.  If you have not yet renewed your sponsorship for the 2018 school year, you can do so here: . Please indicate that your donation is for “Sponsorship” in the designation field. You can also add the gift bag underwriting to your sponsorship renewal.  (Example $200 for Sponsorship + $5 for gift bag = $205 total)


PPS. If you are a new sponsor and haven’t yet been assigned a student, we will be contacting you soon with new student information.


Questions?  Comment below or send an email to Lori at

International Day of the Girl–October 11

As we honor and celebrate International Day of the Girl, a day aimed to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights,  Project Zawadi is proud to share a news article by Rotary International highlighting the achievements of sponsored student, Wanzita Ally.

Click here to check out the article! 

Wanzita spent the 2016-2017 school year in Minnesota as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.  She has since returned to Tanzania to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse.  Later this month, Wanzita (with help from A2T) will be relocating to Arusha where she will begin the Community Health Worker Course at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre School of Nursing.  Congratulations, Wanzita!

Welcome Judith Avugwi, Director of Educational Support!

Project Zawadi is thrilled to announce the addition of Ms. Judith Merinyo Avugwi to our team.  As the new Director of Educational Support, Judith joins our Tanzanian-based leadership team to offer ongoing support for PZ students in secondary and tertiary levels beyond Nyamuswa.  Ms. Avugwi’s specialty is coordinating the educational, logistical, financial, vocational and social-emotional support offered by Project Zawadi to our sponsored students.  Since joining our team in August of 2017, PZ students have benefitted from Ms. Avugwi’s mentorship and deep knowledge of the various courses of study and associated vocational opportunities available in Tanzania.  From securing students’ school forms and fees to being a compassionate and wise counselor, Judith is there to ensure Project Zawadi students transition successfully into their new schools and beyond, into adulthood.  

In 2012, Ms. Avugwi joined a research and evaluation project with the University of Minnesota.  In her capacity as a leading qualitative researcher for this project, Ms. Avugwi worked closely with Tanzanian youth completing secondary school and transitioning into higher education and adulthood.  Her mentoring, interviewing, analysis, organizing, translating, leadership and cross-cultural communication skills were so exceptional that she returned to this project for four consecutive years.  Among the many researchers on that project was PZ Board member Laura Wangsness Willemsen, with whom Ms. Avugwi later worked on her dissertation research.  Ms. Avugwi contributed significantly to both projects, and she distinguished herself as a compassionate and wise mentor to young Tanzanians, many of whom came from marginalized backgrounds similar to Project Zawadi students.  Beyond her work with the University of Minnesota, Ms. Avugwi comes to PZ with many years of rich experience and training in the NGO, evaluation, education, research and health care worlds.  She has worked in Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania with entities such as Agri-Finance Africa, World Vision and the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where she most recently served as Education Coordinator for the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons Training Program.  Ms. Avugwi holds diplomas from the Moshi University College of Cooperative and Business Studies and The Constitute College of Sokoine University of Agriculture in both Community Development (advanced diploma) and Cooperative Management.  She has presented her evaluation work at conferences in the Netherlands and Tanzania.  

Ms. Avugwi lives in Arusha with her husband Jeff, and their two children, Joshua and Jeanelle.  Originally from a farming family in northern Tanzania, her diverse educational, professional and life experiences offer Project Zawadi students a window into various possibilities to which they might aspire as they continue to pursue their own goals.  We at Project Zawadi are grateful for Ms. Avugwi’s dynamism, passion and wisdom, and we look forward to seeing how PZ students’ lives are enriched by her leadership and service.

Karibu sana Judith!!


Spring Eco-Challenge: Water

EcoChallenge: Water

The Eco-Challenge was initiated this past Fall with the intent to create a specific ‘challenge’ project that will have a lasting positive impact on the quality of education that PZ students will receive and will be completed in a way that is eco-friendly.  The water component of the project is our first priority and is 57% complete ($12,000 raised to date).  We need to raise $9,000 more to build three water tanks at partner schools.

Funds from the Fall 2015 Eco-Challenge have been used to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies to make the eco-friendly curved bricks that will become rainwater collection tanks. Historically, the process for making baked mud bricks required the death of several trees for every structure. This new process requires no baking, it costs less, looks better and builds stronger, longer-lasting structures. Our initial goal is to build 3 water tanks at partner schools along with rain gutters and necessary materials to provide clean water for each school and teacher’s home.


  • $3,000 – Curved Brick Press (Funded by Bruce and Jackie Erickson)
  • $7,500 – Brick Storage Building
  • $10,500 – 3 Rain Water Tanks at $3,500 each

SUBTOTAL $21,000 – RAISED $12,000 – NEEDED $9,000                                 

The Spring Eco-Challenge will be launched in conjunction with the Little Libraries project. Project Zawadi is actively seeking individuals and groups who are willing to lead this initiative. Please consider joining us at one of the following levels.

Platinum level – $10,000
Gold level – $5,000
Silver level – $2,500
Bronze level – $1,000

Lead donors will be honored in the annual Project Zawadi newsletter and their names will appear on a plaque on at least one of the structures.

DONATE or PLEDGE by Friday, April 22
and celebrate Earth Day (April 22)

Donate Online Now

When donating online please note : “ECO-CHALLENGE” in the designation field.

Alternate methods of giving or pledging your gift:
To Pledge a gift by April 22, 2016 you can email or submit the paper donation / pledge form. Pledged gifts must be fulfilled by June 30, 2016.
Donations by check can be made out to “Project Zawadi” and mailed to 253 Duke Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102.
Click here for paper donation / pledge form.
Thank you to our initial Lead Donors!
Gold Level – Bruce and Jackie Erickson Bronze Level – Tim and Lisa Benroek, Megan and Barrett Ellis, Malcolm and Mary Morris, Azim Rawji and Robin Van Liew

Books for Africa: Little Libraries


Project Zawadi is thrilled to announce that it is the recipient of one container (approximately 22,000 books) to be shipped to Tanzania free of charge by Books for Africa! The free shipment is valued at $10,000!

This incredible opportunity was facilitated by Project Zawadi Board Members Ron Aminzade and Ian Keith. Ron and Ian worked with Books for Africa to identify books that would be of the greatest benefit for our community in rural Tanzania. Project Zawadi was even given the opportunity to pack a palette (about 1,000 books) of hand-selected books from the Saint Paul, MN Books for Africa warehouse that will be utilized in ongoing teacher training initiatives spearheaded by Ian.

So what to do with 22,000 books? Let’s make some Little Libraries!

Project Zawadi, in partnership with Zinduka, has decided to build Little Libraries at 15 partner schools. Here is where we need your support.


  • $3,000  – Shipment of Container from Dar es Salaam to Nyamuswa Village
  • $6,000 – Shelving and space prep at each site
  • $9,000 – TOTAL BUDGET ($600 per Little Library)
Little Library Naming Opportunities:

A donation of $600 will offer naming rights to one of the fifteen Little Libraries to be established in our core community schools (Nyamuswa Village and surrounding villages in the Chamriho Division).

A naming donation of $600 can be done individually or as what we would like to call a “Book Club Donation” where a small group of individual donors collect at least $600 in donations/pledges to name one Little Library in honor of the Book Club group.

Of course, donations of any amount are welcome to support this endeavor…putting books in the hands of students and teachers in our core community.

DONATE or PLEDGE by Friday, April 22
and celebrate UN World Book Day (April 23)

Donate Online Now

Donate online individually to name one (1) Little Library or make a general donate to the project (please note : “LITTLE LIBRARIES” in the designation field)

Alternate methods of giving or pledging your gift:
To Pledge a gift by April 22, 2016 you can email or submit the paper donation / pledge form. Pledged gifts must be fulfilled by June 30, 2016.
Donations by check can be made out to “Project Zawadi” and mailed to 253 Duke Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102.
Click here for paper donation / pledge form.
Thank you to the following donors who have given to name one of our Little Library sites:
Michelle and Dean Ahrenholtz & family
Ron Aminzade
Mary Baker, Shanny Dow, Dorothy Dow
Michelle Fabian
Pat and John Guyette
Robin Huselius
Lumarda Family
Clayton and Jan Kooiker
Irene and John McMorrow
Linda Miller
Malcolm and Mary Morris
Jennifer Peltzer
Gary and Diane Rumsey
Marion Wanless
Katherine Webster and Family

Chakula Challenge Update

VTC KitchenIn 2014, the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) opened its doors to boarding students, providing a safe environment for students to pursue their studies.  A kitchen, dining area, water collection system and food storage were urgently needed to provide clean, safe meals.

In the Fall of 2014 we initiated the Chakula Challenge and by the beginning of 2015, we had the funding in place to begin this significant project.

At long last the Chakula Challenge is complete and it’s a wonderful thing!

Yes, it took a little longer than we anticipated but that is only because we waited to receive training on how to use our new incredible eco-brick presses before we started construction.  It was important that we used the new presses.  These bricks are stronger, better- looking and cost less than traditional bricks.   Furthermore, this new process is eco-friendly because NO tree are cut down to bake mud bricks.

Click here to see a video of the brick making process.
Now the VTC has a beautiful new dining hall for the students (that will double as a study hall), a modern instructional kitchen and a rainwater collection system.  The VTC students are now using the dining hall and rainwater every day.  A cooking instructor has been hired and classes will start any week.  The students are now living quite comfortably at the VTC dormitory and are able to focus on their studies.

Chakula Challenge in Process
Brick by brick, the Dining Hall and Kitchen are coming together.
The interior of the Dining Hall and Kitchen during the “finishing” phase of construction.
Completed! Dining Hall outfitted with tables for studying and eating. Celebratory “Fanta” at inaugural meal.

Thank you to everyone who made the Chakula Challenge possible!  

“Kaete’s Kitchen” – Kitchen sponsored by Fred & Kaete Binter

“Williams’ Bwalo la Kula-Soma” – Dining Hall sponsored by Sandra & Peter Williams
 Thank you to our Lead Donors!
Platinum: Fred and Kaete Binter, Sandra and Peter Williams
Gold: The Benroeck Family including matching funds from Microsoft, Mike and Paula Champion, Clayton and Janice Kooiker
Silver: Bruce and Jackie Erickson
Bronze: Roger and Maureen Osborne, Betsy Parks, Azim Rawji and Robin Van Liew, Megan and Barrett Ellis, Marion Wanless and David Eidenberg, Robin Huselius and Maria Wallstedt

Additional support from: Ron Aminzade, Tanya Barnett and Jay Geck, Bill and Lisa Callahan, Penny Greenblatt, Jane and Kirk Grimm, Dennis Hamann, Barney and Janet Lee, Phil and Nancy Leinbach, Gary and Carolyn Martyn, Mitzi and Fred McCormick, Amy and Joel Nesset, Jeffrey and Mary Perril, Lorrie and Ken Porte, Jackie Prince, Ben and Brandi Roberts, Michelle Skally and Jim Doilney, Rebecca Skally and John Stanley,  Shannon and Chad Skally, Michael Talbot and Jim Glenn, Mark and Paula Tanabe, Hallie Vavrus, Thomas Wilebski

Universal Children’s Day – Friday, November 20


Last year, our donors helped us raise over $40,000 raised in one day! Project Zawadi is again embracing Universal Children’s Day as our annual giving event day.

So mark your calendars for Friday, November 20 (just 4 weeks away) and look for updates via mail, email and social media on how Project Zawadi will celebrate.  Plan your giving early as there will be matches available for gifts received or pledged by November 20 (mail post marked by November 20 counts too).

In the meantime, we’d love to connect with you electronically! Email to be added to the email list, like Project Zawadi on Facebook  or follow @ProjectZawadi  on Twitter.