Mshangano Secondary School is located seven kilometeres from Songea in Southern Tanzania. The average household income in Mshangano is approximately £250, well below the absolute poverty threshold. It was founded by the local community, but struggled due to lack of finance and poor academic performance and was forced to close. The community approached COCO's partners Hoja Project for help and advice, and the school was reopened. Since then, its exam results have improved from being outside the top 100 schools in the region, to being inside the top 10. There are currently 146 students at Mshangano Secondary School.
This year COCO invested in laboratory equipment for the school so that students can learn interactively and have the necessary equipment to sit national practical science exams.
Although the school has improved with little improvement to infrastructure, some improvements are necessary to maintain the high quality of education and improve it further. One priority is to install rainwater harvesting on the school buildings, to provide a permanent source of water, even throughout the dry season. The water will then be used to help develop a food forest at the school, to grow nutritious food for students to eat and reduce food costs, with excess produce being sold to generate income and sustain the school.
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