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USAID CATALYZE Education Finance Activity - Tanzania


USAID CATALYZE EduFinance Tanzania seeks to improve learning outcomes for disadvantaged children and youth by mobilizing private capital for the non-state education sector in Tanzania

  • Project Duration: Apr 2021 – Sep 2025
  • Geographic Focus: Tanzania — Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Dodoma, and other secondary urban, suburban, and peri-urban areas
  • Implementers: Palladium International, Opportunity International

The Challenge

Tanzania has a young, growing population. High fertility rates have led to a growing school-aged population, which is increasing demand for basic education services. Yet the state's ability to finance the capital and operating costs of a quality education system has not kept pace with demand. While primary enrollment rates are still relatively high (net rate of 83%), net enrollment rates are much lower for secondary (27%) and tertiary (3%) education. 

Our Approach

Opportunity is partnering with local financial institutions to increase access to quality education in Tanzania by mobilizing private finance for institutions delivering high-quality education services and responding to the educactional impact of COVID-19. Ultimately, we aim to achieve improved learning outcomes for children and youth in Tanzania, in particular the most marginalized and vulnerable. 

Market research by CATALYZE EduFinance revealed that nearly 700,000 learners attend one of the 2,600 non-state schools (private or faith-based) in Tanzania. An estimated 8% of primary level students and 20% of secondary students attend a non-state school. Demand for these schools is driven by parents' preference for English as the language of instruction, smaller classroom sizes, modern teaching techniques, and better quality and accountability of teachers.

EduFinance Tanzania believes that private sector engagement and private capital investment in the education sector can expand access to education and improve learning outcomes—specifically in the areas of pre-primary and secondary education access. CATALYZE aims to:

  1. mobilize investment into the low-cost school sector through partnerships with financial institutions, and 
  2. provide technical assistance to financial institution partners to launch and grow dedicated EduFinance loan portfolios.

Through these partners, low-cost school proprietors gain access to critical financing through school improvement loans (SILs) to invest in their schools by expanding classrooms, adding seats, building washrooms, and improving infrastructure and equipment. School fee loans (SFLs) are also lent to parents to ensure they can send and keep all their children in school. Lastly, CATALYZE EduFinance Tanzania aims to provide technical assistance to schools offering early childhood care and education (ECCE) with the aim of equipping school leaders and teachers to run sustainable schools that increase access to quality ECCE. 


Mobilize Finance and Increase Access to Education

  • Mobilize US $7.8 million from private investors and local financial institutions to finance low-cost schools. 
  • Finance 483 low-cost non-state schools to reach 57,000+ learners in Tanzania. 
  • Provide technical assistance to financial institutions, including market research, policies and process assessment, loan product development, staff training, business intelligence portfolio analysis, pilot protocol planning and support, and more

Improve Education Quality 

  • Engage 150 low-cost schools offering pre-primary classes in the holistic three-year Quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). 
  • Equip school leaders to run sustainable schools that increase access to quality education. 

Project Details




USAID/CATALYZE, implemented by Palladium


Victoria Finance, Mwalimu Commercial Bank, Equity Tanzania, Stanbic Bank, Letshego, AMANA, CRDB



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Through robust partnerships with organizations, financial institutions, and funders, Opportunity International is implementing a wide range of education initiatives in communities and countries around the world.

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