Education Empowers – A Story of Local Leadership

By Sammie Rothney

GIVE is built upon the foundation of grassroots community development. The two biggest sources of successful development are education and community leadership. We are very lucky to have witnessed those elements come into fruition within the growth in our Tanzania program. Those very elements are exemplified through a very important person in our program, Mcheni.


Any Tanzania volunteer of ours has met Mcheni. Actually, most people know of him as MC. The village of Kairo is MC’s home and since the very beginning of GIVE’s partnership with the community in 2012, he’s been around. Throwing it back to 7 years ago, MC started his journey with GIVE as a friend of our volunteers. He would help us out on the worksite while building the water tank, then hang out with everyone after volunteer hours on the beach playing soccer, or showing off card tricks at our hang out spot.

One day, MC and his cousin Coco (another GIVE legend) asked our volunteers for some English tutoring. While English is taught in school, there are limitations when learning from a non-fluent teacher with minimal resources offered in the classroom. Students are required to take exams in English to advance to secondary school, which school is completely taught in English. If students do not pass their exams, they cannot continue with their education. With the stakes high, MC and the boys of the Kairo community came to tutoring classes every day with our volunteers to gain fluency in the English language.


MC had dreams of pursuing higher education to become a teacher himself. He exchanged language lessons with our volunteers and starting teaching Swahili class during our break time. Volunteers would pay MC and his cousins $5 USD for their classes, which went directly to their Education Fund. His teaching not only funded his secondary education, it also gave him teaching experience and volunteer management experience! An excellent stepping stone to a future of being a leader in GIVE.

After completing school, MC returned back to Kairo to join our GIVE Education team as an Education Intern in 2018. As an intern, he led a few of our English classes, all while being trained by our head Education Coordinator. MC was a natural teacher, strong lesson planner, a great guide to our volunteers, and an incredible role model to the students. This year, we are very honored to have him step into the role of the head Education Coordinator, operating over 10 English classes.


It’s beyond exciting to have MC start as a student in 2012 and grow into a lead role within our program by 2019. It’s our mission to maintain sustainability within all of our programs. Local leaders are the core to establishing that program sustainability. Through the GIVE Foundation, we are committed to establishing year-round support to these local leaders who are bringing opportunity and growth to their own communities. If you want to support these grassroots initiatives that empower local leaders like MC, donate online to contribute to our mission.