Improving science education in Tanzania
Christie McMonigal
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Calabasas, California
United States
5 Team Members


The Center for Science is a reality! Now we can multiply its impact by adding more ambassadors right away instead of waiting.

An additional $17,000 will DOUBLE the number of astronomy/science ambassadors who will:

  • Visit schools throughout Tanzania
  • Train teachers to teach hands-on, inquiry-based science
  • Teach students
  • Train government education officers in understanding science teaching and scientific concepts
  • Bring more NEW science curricula to schools throughout Tanzania
  • Provide science education resources to TWICE as many schools

This stretch goal will allow Telescopes to Tanzania to visit an ADDITIONAL 30 schools, train an ADDITIONAL 60 teachers, and directly reach an ADDITIONAL 2000 students.

The need in Tanzania is great. The need throughout east Africa, and beyond, is even greater. The Center will be a model for transforming science education throughout the region. Astronomy unlocks the door to teaching science and inspiring youth to become scientists.

Today's science students will be the future agronomists who feed the continent, doctors who treat diseases, and engineers who provide clean water technology.

Invest in the future of the world's largest continent by giving the next generation of scientists a boost!

The cost for each new ambassador includes a one-week hands-on training program, a resource package used for their training sessions including a telescope and teaching materials, 10 visits to schools through the year (including transportation), and resources to be left in each classroom that's visited.

This is the BEST way to build on this ongoing effort, to expand what has already created, and to share the gains to be made. The greater the reach, the more the government and other in-country stakeholders will take note and provide assistance. Early success will show it CAN and WILL happen.

Help us build on the momentum you have created.
Support this very important stretch goal!


We all dream of making a difference in this world. YOU can make a difference NOW by directly investing into the future of children's education in Tanzania.

The highly successful program Telescopes to Tanzania, of the international non-profit organization Astronomers Without Borders, has been actively supporting the East African nation's schools since 2011.

Tanzanian students are without textbooks and many basic educational resources we take for granted in western countries. Teacher training in science is often lacking.

Now we are building The Center for Science Education and Observatory in East Africa to provide training for teachers, hands-on laboratories, an astronomical observatory, and quality educational resources that will all have a long-lasting impact nationwide.

But this effort is about more than building a unique education center. It is about nurturing a generation of science-educated Tanzanians, and sparking a movement across the continent.

Support the Center and make a significant difference in the lives of Tanzanian students and the future of the country.


The Center for Science Education and Observatory in East Africa will:

  • Conduct astronomical and science training for teachers and students.
  • Integrate astronomy into the national teaching curriculum.
  • Develop and circulate hands-on science and astronomy teaching resources.
  • Create a model science laboratory and observatory with telescopes, computers, a portable planetarium, internet capacity, and connections to observatories and science centers worldwide.

A Standard 6 student looks through a telescope for the first time during a science workshop at Kalinga Primary School in northern Tanzania

$1 Goes Far in Tanzania

The project began with a small pool of funding - $6000 from a small group of donors. The project managers, Chuck and Sue Ruehle, contributed $5000 to cover their own airfares for the work to be done in-country. Amazing results came from this small amount of funding, including laying the foundation for an in-depth science curriculum through a 4-day workshop for curriculum review and teacher training. Science 'ambassadors' were trained to work with teachers across the country. With this momentum and strong support in several sectors in Tanzania, the project is now ready to go to the next level, building the Center for Science and Observatory and dramatically increasing the impact on science education in Tanzania.

Your may be surprised at how far your donations can go! Here are just a few examples of what your money can accomplish in Tanzania:


 What it can buy


 A  student science study kit


 One classroom mini-book handout


A day of training, room, board, and transportation for one teacher


Salary, travel, and expenses for a Tanzanian staff person to a one-day workshop


An Astronomers Without Borders "OneSky" telescope for a school in Tanzania, including shipping to Africa


A high-quality camera for the Observatory


A full year of one-day community education events and observing sessions

The $38,000 raised here will have a huge impact on science education in Tanzania. Below is a breakdown of the budget showing how the funds raised here will be used.

The Center

The Center for Science Education and Observatory in East Africa will be a dream come true for educators, students, parents, and institutions throughout Tanzania. With immense challenges to education of the country’s youth, particularly in critical areas of science and technology, the Center will provide training for teachers, hands-on laboratories for students, and resources that will have a long-lasting impact nationwide.

The Center for Science Education and Observatory in East Africa has organizational and governmental partners to help it move forward, but one critical partner is missing – YOU. This important project for the future of an entire country –a project that will also be a model for other sub-Saharan countries – needs your support. The investment in dollars is low compared to the tremendous return that the team of dedicated volunteers and partners of the Center will deliver.

Education in Tanzania

Basic science laboratories and updated science materials are scarce, and teacher training in science is often inadequate or entirely nonexistent. The situation is particularly difficult in the country’s rural districts. The passion for astronomy however is universal among young people and is a natural gateway  to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education,  which are recognized worldwide as critical fields for every country’s future.

 Legacy programs of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) such as the Galileo Teacher Training Program(GTTP) and Universe Awareness (UNAWE) have focused on teacher training and early education. Both of these programs are partners in developing the Center. The way forward is clear, and the team and partners are in place. Help us turn it in to reality.

Ngongongare head girl - Veronica Andrew and head boy Dickson Girard shared their report about the school that said: "We don't have a laboratory for biology, chemistry, and physics. This is a problem for us to learn science theory without practical experience."

In this TEDx presentation, documentary filmmaker Kai Staats described how astronomy can impact science education in developing countries, using Telescopes to Tanzania as an example.

The Plan

A non-governmental organization (NGO, known as “non-profit” organization in the US) for the Center for Science Education and Observatory is being founded in Tanzania.  Tanzanians will staff key leadership and teaching roles, partnering with others around East Africa and the international astronomical community.

The center will have two locations. The office in Usa River will coordinate curriculum development, teacher training, and operations.

The science laboratory and observatory, to be located at a secondary school adjacent to Arusha National Park, will house an astronomical observatory and have access to school facilities such as science laboratories,  teaching spaces, and  library. The laboratories will be fully equipped for astronomical demonstrations, and will provide hands-on science, mathematics, and geography training as designated in the national curriculum. 

It is important that Tanzanian professionals claim ownership of the program in order to provide the momentum and support needed once the Center has been established. Tanzanian 'ambassadors' - teachers being trained in specific areas of science (physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc.) - will travel to communities across the country to introduce science, and excite students and teachers about science, creating an inquiry-based learning program that spread across Tanzania.

The center will be financially sustainable through astro-tourism activities, with minimal support from external sources for regular operations.

Mponda Malazo our Tanzanian colleague, teaches students about solar dynamics. Another solar viewing telescope with a sun-funnel will be on its way to Tanzania soon.

The Future

The Center for Science Education and Observatory in East Africa will bring attention and financial resources to Tanzania.  As the science curriculum expands students will be prepared for a variety of science, engineering, construction and math fields, which will in turn attract business, governmental and private science research programs, and other opportunities to the country.  Quality science education will provide increased visibility for Tanzanian workers and resources in East Africa.

Students enjoy dark sky viewing in Tanzania.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 368 people in 2 months
105% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$38,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 6, 2014
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Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Thank You!

    Your name will go on our Thank You Wall to be displayed on the Astronomers Without Borders website and Facebook Page. $5 could pay for a science study kit for one student.

    80 claimed
  • $10USD
    Digital Photos

    You will receive the above perk plus a set of high-quality digital photographs of Sue and Chuck's favorite scenes from project in Tanzania. $10 could pay for one student textbook.

    59 claimed
  • $25USD

    You will receive two digital copies of the mini-books developed by the project - one in English and one in Swahili), and your name on the Thank You Wall. $25 could pay for one classroom set of mini-books.

    46 claimed
  • $50USD
    Solar Glasses

    You will receive everything above plus a pair of solar glasses like students across Africa used during the 2013 solar eclipse. (Add $5 for international shipping) $50 could pay for an optical bench, or electromagnetic spectrum teaching resources.

    13 claimed
  • $75USD
    High Quality Photo Print

    You will receive all of the above plus a high-quality print of a collage of images from the Telescopes to Tanzania program. (Add $10 for international shipping) $75 could pay for a day of training, room and board, and transportation for one teacher.

    3 claimed
  • $250USD
    Sky Viewing Pair

    You will receive a paper spectroscope kit and a pair of solar viewing glasses, plus the digital photos, mini-books and your name on the Thank You Wall. $250 could pay for an Astronomers Without Borders "One Sky" telescope for a school in Tanzania, including shipping to Africa.

    3 claimed
  • $500USD
    Sky Viewing Set

    You will receive a set of 5 spectroscopes and 5 pairs of solar glasses, plus the mini-books, digital photographs and your name on the Thank You Wall. $500 could pay for a high-quality camera for the Observatory.

    1 claimed
  • $750USD
    Photo Book

    You will receive a printed photo book of scenes from the project with a personalized thank you in the back, plus the digital photos and mini-books, and your name on the Thank You Wall. $750 could pay for a full year of one-day community education events and observing sessions.

    0 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Sky Viewing Set and Photobook

    You will receive everything from the Sky Viewing Set tier and the Photo Book tier. $1000 could pay for two computers for use in the Center and Observatory.

    4 claimed
  • $2,000USD
    Main Telescope Plaque

    $2000 pay one-third of the cost of shipping and installation of the large telescope in the Observatory. In recognition of your contribution your name, or the name of an organization of your choice, will be engraved on a personalized plaque affixed to the telescope. You will also be thanked on our Thank You Wall. If you wish us to thank a particular organization, please email us when you have made your donation.

    0 out of 3 claimed
  • $15,000USD
    Teaching Space Dedication

    $15,000 fund construction of the Observatory, including the storage room and teaching veranda. To recognize your remarkable generosity, a plaque will be erected in your honor in one of these locations (Observatory or teaching veranda) to thank you personally for making this program possible. You will also be thanked on the Thank You Wall. If you wish us to thank a particular organization, please email us once you have made your donation.

    1 out of 2 claimed
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