Using Social Media to Help Tanzanian Children

This blog reviews the status of social media being used by nonprofits assisting children in Tanzania. In the last 5 years the number of child/ youth focused charities in Africa has increased significantly, in this sample set 58% are new charities, less than 5 years old. We can theorize that social media and the increase in safari tourism may have a part in prompting this increase in awareness for Tanzania’s youth and orphaned children which have helped increase assistance.

Figure 1: Tanzanian Feeding Program

The majority of youth assistance is focused on education to help build the future leaders of Tanzania, an East African country about the size of California, Oregon and Nevada combined.  This review looked at 66 nonprofits found by utilizing a Google search on “Tanzania and children”, plus a review of GuideStar and Charity Vault for Tanzania missions. All charities collect funds in the U.S. for use in Tanzania as a major part of their focus, many also had an avenue for U.S. volunteers to engage directly in Tanzania. The mix of 66 nonprofits all were U.S. nonprofits but many had partner NGO (non-government organizations) in Tanzania. The majority 61% were focused on providing education, which included kindergarten, primary and a few secondary schools. In Tanzania Kindergarten is required before entering school but is not government funded, which can isolate rural children from an education. Both primary and secondary education is government funded but uniforms are required and locations can be very far away. Many youth do not go past 8th grade due to secondary school access. Most of these nonprofits expressed the importance of education to changing Tanzania’s third world position. Next was helping to bring healthcare at 15% of the sample; in addition to basic health concerns Tanzania infant mortality is three time the world average (, HIV/Aid and malaria are also major concerns. Organizations focused on both education & health accounted for another 10%. Then there was a set of nonprofits we will call Villages – in this 11% of the sample the organizations purchased land and helped to build a village including, water, roads, housing, schools and medical clinics. Finally a couple focused on water supply. The distribution of these non-profits in the U.S. is shown in Figure 2. A detailed summary of the charities reviewed is available in excel by requesting it in a blog response or by e-mail ( ). I have learned that tables and blogs are not always friendly partners and decided the e-mail approach was easier for a list of 66. This summary is not a complete list of all U.S. based youth charities focused in Tanzania but the 66 nonprofits are a representative cross section of charities that came to the top of the search methods used and had a primary focus in Tanzania. In the details of this analysis it was interesting that there was no significant overlap in the physical locations or specific populations being served by the many nonprofits examined.Of this cross section most organizations had a website as their prime social media element and accepted on-line donations.  There were a few charities that either relied on a blog or video as their only social media outreach. Figure 3 shows the major social media applications found actively in use in April 2012.

The methods used for on-line donations included Paypal 51%, Networkforgood (NWFG)18%, Razoo 11% and a variety of secure web site applications 20%.

In evaluating blogs we gave organizations credit for activity in news and newsletters as long as there were more than 3 posts in a year. Figure 4 shows a breakdown of blog styles used.

In general we found many nonprofits were very open about projects and progress whether they used a formal blog post or newsletters and posts often had many pictures. The formal blogs were either web based blogs or organizations used the WordPress blog site and one used Blogspot. Videos were also popular either posted on Utube 67% of the time or on the website. In addition to the social media activities listed there were single uses each of Squidoo , , Stumbleupon and Google+ and 3 uses of Filckr .

The implementation quality of the various social media tools was not evaluated but did vary greatly. Developing a method to rate a nonprofit organization’s implementation may be useful to help improve overall effectiveness. Most of these organizations had great stories to tell and enjoyed sharing projects desired, in process and completed with many real pictures which were the most interesting component of many sites. For now the charity table (available upon request) offers nonprofits working in Tanzania the opportunity to evaluate how similar organizations are using social media, the table includes the organization name, website URL, state, which form of social media they use, their start year and area of focus. I have provided an example table of 5 selections of the more social media active nonprofits.  Also if you want to learn more financially about a nonprofit consider GuideStar and Charity Vault which are great sources for 501c nonprofit status and most recent tax filings. Both sites rate charities on their transparency and provide access to U.S. government registration, tax and annual reports. Several websites did show links to both GuideStar and Charity Vault to help new donors in their evaluation and to show transparency of financials.

Five Star Charity Table (partial list)

Name   (State) Donate F B L T G+ Video Other SM Start
Aid for Africa (MD) NWFG X Web X X Utube 2004
Asante Africa Foundation (CA) Paypal X WP X Utube Squidoo   Flicker 2006
Educate Tanzania (MN) Razoo X Web X Utube 2011
Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (MA) Paypal X WP X 2007
Tanzania Development Support (IL) PayPal   & Ammado Web X X Flickr   Guidestar 2008

Table notes: F=Facebook; B=Blog; L=LinkedIn; T=Twitter; G+=Google Plus

I strongly recommend looking at some of the sites listed to compare websites, the use of social media and to find new ideas for fundraising. There is a fairly new organization for African charities to network called Kabissa , I have requested that they add a Group focused on Tanzania to share information on projects, local resources, and tips for communicating with local tribes and government to help nonprofits share their experiences. I am hopeful we can get some networking active with the many wonderful supporter of Tanzania’s development.

To learn more about Tanzania a couple of good references include the Tanzania government website and the CIA website . Poverty and Health are great issues for this East African country of over 43 million people with rural areas only having 45% drinking water within the home, an infant mortality rate 3 times the world average, 5.6% of the population with HIV/Aids and a 70% literacy rate with few people having more than a primary school education ( Tanzania is home to some of the world’s largest wildlife preserves and therefor a popular safari destination.


About Debra Breed

Marketing Director focused on understanding the what and where of customer expectations.
This entry was posted in Social Media Tools, Tanzania and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Using Social Media to Help Tanzanian Children

  1. donnersie says:

    Your explanation of the economic barriers to education (need for tuition money, need for uniforms) helped make the uphill battle these children and their families face real. Thank you for the chart – it helps clarify the options and I think makes the potential donor more comfortable with the options.

  2. Bonnie says:

    You brought to life the real need of these children by the use of detail and the charts.

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