Community Based Inclusive Development promoting Inclusive Education in Zanzibar
- School Enrolment
- MECP-Z - The Madrasa Early Childhood Programme Zanzibar
- Country of Implementation
- 3 out of 11 districts of Zanzibar
- Start Year
- First published
“Through this in-service training we see that we can help every child.” A female participant in the training project
In 2014, the Tanzanian NGO Madrasa Early Childhood Programme-Zanzibar (MECP-Z) in cooperation with the Norwegian Association for Disabled launched a project to improve enrolment of children with disabilities in pre- and primary schools. It focuses on the training of teachers in inclusive methods and intervention, as well as on fostering greater community awareness by working with parents and administrators. The project has been implemented in three of Zanzibar’s eleven districts, and in 2018 more than 4,300 children with disabilities were enrolled.
Due to cultural traditions and stigma, children with disabilities in Tanzania are often hidden from society by their families.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Targeting children from zero to eight years, the programme started with a door-to-door campaign to engage parents in discussions about Inclusive Education and to provide information about health services available for children with disabilities. Local disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) provided input to the programme’s design. The model includes a teacher-training programme on early childhood development designed especially for children with disabilities, with a focus on play-based teaching. In addition, the programme covers three other aspects of disability for teachers: identification, intervention, and referral. The trainings take place over two days of courses for each module, which are then introduced to pilot schools. Children with disabilities attend pre- and primary schools together with children without disabilities. Sign language interpreters and special visual learning materials facilitate inclusion. In 2018, 876 children with disabilities were enrolled in pre-primary education.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project receives funding from international NGOs and corporate social responsibility grants. Between 2016 and 2019, the organization has received $1.5 million for its community-based work. MECP-Z wants to scale the programme to all eleven districts of Zanzibar with the support of local DPOs and local governments. Common evaluations from similar programmes implemented in Zambia and Malawi will further improve the programme’s design. As an outcome of the work done by MECP-Z, community-based inclusive development is now a part of Zanzibar’s new disability policy, and the organization is advocating for a special unit dealing with Inclusive Education within the Ministry of Education.