Maarifa ni Ufunguo, “Knowledge is the Key”, is a leading Tanzanian Non-Governmental Organization based in Arusha working in the field of education and development.
The Organization has achieved national and international preeminence due to the effect of the work that it has been doing since it was formed in 1999. Maarifa works with and through the impoverished and marginalized groups in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara Regions with the aim of advocating for equitable, accessible, affordable, good quality education, which is ethically managed; promotes social integration and develops citizens with the capacity and motivation to address problems of ignorance and poverty and achieve their own development.
Maarifa, as we are generally known, is a Tanzanian NGO, initiated in 1998. Its history goes far back in the second half of 1998, when education stakeholders convened a meeting in Arusha to discuss matters pertaining to a crisis in Tanzanian education in terms of provision and lack of focus. Many were dissatisfied with the prevailing situation and many education professionals lacked motivation. This condition led to the formation of Maarifa by a small group of committed individuals to address this problem.
In March 1999, Maarifa was legally registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 212) with its headquarters in TASO (Tanzania Agricultural Society) ground in Arusha. Since its inception, Maarifa has increasingly taken root locally in Arusha, Manyara and Kilimanjaro regions and nationally through contributions to government activities, and national education networks such as TENMET (Tanzania Education Network/Mtandao wa Elimu Tanzania), Tanzania Early Childhood Network (TECDEN) and internationally through linking up with international NGOs (Non-governmental Organization), coalitions like Africa Network Campaign for Education For All (ANCEFA), donors and other agencies outside the country.
Maarifa believes that good quality education is the best and reliable means for one’s development. It established itself and got legitimacy to work as an educational and development organization with commitment to making a difference locally, nationally and internationally, through learning and developing as an organization and through projects that focus on the needs of the poor and marginalized in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara in that order. The organization addresses the needs of the impoverished and marginalized groups in Arusha municipal, Longido, and Monduli in Arusha region, Hai and Moshi rural in Kilimanjaro and Babati and Mbulu in Mnyara region.