Center for Social Impact Receives Grant for Partner School in Tanzania

Center for Social Impact Receives Grant for Partner School in Tanzania

School in Tanzania

A Fairfield University student works with students from Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as part of a service immersion experience with the Center for Social Impact.

The $54,000 grant will enable the Center’s partner school — Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — to install solar panels on an academic building and their chapel.

Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact has received a $54,000 grant from the Switzerland-based Benina Foundation to enable its partner Jesuit school, Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to install solar panels. The panels will power one of Loyola’s academic buildings and their chapel.

This is not the first time the Center for Social Impact has been awarded a grant from the Benina Foundation. Melissa Quan, director of the Center, said that a prior Benina grant in 2018 was used to pilot a virtual professional development program, pairing Fairfield University faculty with Loyola High School teachers to work on collaborative research projects.

Part of an ongoing partnership, the Center for Social Impact began working with the Tanzanian high school in 2008, in tandem with a previously offered Study Abroad program in Dar es Salaam. Quan said that 12 years later, the Center’s efforts there remain strong with continued service immersion trips and teacher development training at the school. 

In fact, the Center was preparing to send a team to visit the school this summer, before the Covid-19 pandemic put travel plans on hold. The purpose of the trip was to have been for the Fairfield envoy, including faculty and students from the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, to work with Loyola to develop a two-year hybrid professional development program (part virtual and part in-person) focused on competency-based learning — a method of teaching, assessment, and grading in which students demonstrate their understanding of, and skills related to, a topic or concept.

With this new grant for the installation of solar panels, however, transitioning more toward a virtual format may prove a viable option at the moment.

“Dar es Salaam is subject to frequent losses of power, due to poor infrastructure. The school, unfortunately, is not immune to these outages, which impacts and interrupts learning and instruction,” said Quan. “Increased consistency and reliability of power will lead to an increase in teacher willingness to commit time to learning how to use educational technology.... Further, increased capacity will enable our partnership to rely more on virtual connection over in-person professional development.”

Still, the Center hopes to resume its in-person work, aiming to reschedule the planned visit for some time in 2021. Despite travel postponements, progress still being achieved with their Tanzanian partners and Quan said that even in this time of uncertainty, the goals of the Center remain strong.

“This is our mission, and we do not have the option of taking a break from our mission.” 

For more information on the Center for Social Impact, visit

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