Daring Girls (formerly AfricAid) has been working in Tanzania since 2001 to promote education, mentor girls, develop leaders, and transform communities.
We know that educated girls have better lives and seek positive changes in society, yet only 39% of girls in Tanzania go to secondary school, and only 3% go on to tertiary education.
In partnership with GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), Daring Girls works to support girls at a key stage in their life where access to mentorship, education, and life skills can transform the trajectory of their futures. We support programs that help younger girls stay in school and complete their lower secondary education while building critical skills that build confidence and inspire belief in their future potential. We also support mentoring programs for older adolescent girls that help them build leadership skills, as well as personal qualities like confidence and resilience, supporting them to succeed well beyond secondary school. All of the programming we support pairs girls with a university educated woman mentor who serves as a role model and example of what every girl can become: a woman who confidently designs her own future.
Where it all began
In 2001, 16 year old Ashley Shuyler founded Daring Girls (formerly AfricAid), following a life-changing trip to Tanzania five years earlier. During that trip, she met many children her age who did not have the opportunity to go to school. She learned that girls, in particular, face significant challenges in trying to obtain an education. Realizing that this leads to a cycle of poverty – and recognizing just how powerful girls’ education can be in changing the futures of individuals and communities – she established Daring Girls to help transform the landscape of opportunity for young women in Tanzania.
Hear the story, in Ashley’s words:
In our early years, Daring Girls focused on providing scholarships and direct support to Tanzanian schools. In 2010, Daring Girls adopted a more strategic approach to girls’ education to more holistically address the structural barriers facing even the most academically accomplished young women. Our new approach reflected the belief that young women, in particular those who have achieved entrance to upper secondary school, have incredible potential to become future leaders and catalysts for change in their communities. These young women, however, need additional skills, knowledge and confidence to reach their potential. It was from this knowledge that the flagship mentoring program, Kisa Project, was born. Seven years later, after the success of Kisa Project, AfricAid Tanzania (now GLAMI) launched Binti Shupavu, to support younger, more vulnerable girls in their educational journey.
Daring Girls is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado. Founded as AfricAid, Inc. in 2001, in 2010, AfricAid Tanzania (TZ) was founded with the launch of the Kisa Project. In 2020, AfricAid Tanzania became GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), a registered Tanzanian nonprofit. The two organizations work in tandem: Daring Girls and the US Board have a strong focus on fundraising and communication; and GLAMI and the GLAMI Board focus more heavily on program design, operation, implementation and measurement.
Historic Projects and Programs
Losinoni Primary School
Losinoni is a rural Maasai village that Daring Girls has partnered with since 2004. Over time, Daring Girls has provided funding for the construction of several classrooms and a much-needed school latrine facility. Daring Girls also helped fund the installation of a solar power project, giving students and teachers electricity at the school for the very first time.
Daring Girls also funds and oversees a lunch program at the school. Many of Losinoni’s 557 students walk several miles to and from school each day, while subsisting on only one meal of “ugali,” or corn porridge, in the evening. As a result, it can be difficult for the students to focus on their studies, and many decide to skip school. Since the introduction of the school lunch program at Losinoni, school attendance has increased dramatically, student concentration levels have increased, and there is more active classroom participation. In 2004, when Daring Girls commenced working with Losinoni, only 23% of Losinoni students passed the final primary exam; in 2014 this number was 87%. Daring Girls continues to send funding to support this legacy program each year.
Achieve in Africa
In 2017, Brendan Callahan joined our Board of Directors. Brendan and his wife Alyssa co-founded Achieve in Africa (AIA) in 2009 to support education in Tanzania. Their projects were impressive, and many:
Constructing Olasiti Secondary School
Without a secondary school nearby or any formal bus system, students above grade 7 in the rural village of Olasiti, Tanzania, had to rely on riding in the back of supply trucks en route to neighboring villages to attend school. Students were easily injured on these supply trucks and some female students were subjected to having relations with the drivers in exchange for paying for the rides. As a result, some female students became pregnant and had to drop out of school entirely.
The residents of the village and local government had minimal funds to contribute to build a secondary school. AIA constructed Olasiti Secondary School over several years, and the school now serves over 1,200 students each academic school year.
Renovating Olasiti Primary School
When Achieve in Africa first began working with Olasiti village, two of the classrooms in Olasiti Primary School were crumbling and unusable. AIA helped the school by tearing down the old classrooms and constructing new classrooms in their place. On a trip to Tanzania in 2011, AIA volunteers also helped to improve the school by repairing cracked floors, painting classrooms, and creating barriers around classrooms to route rainwater away from the school.
Other Achieve in Africa projects included providing school supplies and books, coordinating a pen pal program, installing solar panels to equip classrooms with electricity, and constructing a community learning center in the rural village of Ulolela in southern Tanzania.