In late 1998 seed of an idea formed as many criminal offenders were arrested in Daraja Mbili. We conducted a survey to try and understand the causes for the increase in crimes. It was revealed that the source of the problem was illiteracy and low priority to education. We started to invest in education so as reduce the number of youth who were frequently involved in crimes.
In year 1999 an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre was established and given the name Elimu Children Center with the aim of providing ECD services to vulnerable children and parenting education to community members. For consecutive four years the center involved community members on ECD program and enabled over 548 children to attend at the centre, improved their behavior, health and each year graduates were transitioned to primary schools for primary education. This raised awareness of community members on the importance of investing on ECD programs. In year 2003 Elimu established another ECD center at Themi ward. By 2005 the organization expanded its operation to two wards and started to realize the demand and number of children who would benefit from ECD programmes hence seen the importance of being registered as an NGO and expanding its operation to a wide community.
In September, 2006 Elimu Community Light (ECOLI) was registered as an NGO with registration No. OONGO/1699 and started to set the operation through developing strategic plan and fundraising initiatives. In the same year ECOLI received small funding support from Kitchen Table Charities Trust that enabled to strengthen the implementation of ECD programs in two ECD centers including teachers capacity building, children feeding program and parents engagement from the whole period of year 2007. The demand increased whereby enrollment rose to 274 children annually that led the organization to expand its ECD program from wards to district level.
In year 2008 ECOLI rs.
From years 2012-2013 ECOLI implemented various project including, Promote Child Protection and Development Awareness to the Community members, Child-caregivers, parents and professionals funded by Caucus for Children Rights (CCR) in year 2012/13; Through this project parents, teachers and community leaders became aware on Children protection practices and how to deal with Children rights issues at home, in the schools and in the community. Improve Early Childhood Development Initiatives in Maasai Communities funded by Touchstone Trust in year 2012/13 whereby 10 communities based ECD centers established and 2 preprimary schools were strengthened and 25 ECD teachers and caregivers trained.
Also through Firelight Foundation support from year 2012-2016 ECOLI implemented the project to improve children learning outcome in five wards by strengthened ECD model practices at the community levels through teachers training, developing play endearing materials, engage parents and community at large to improve provision ECD services at ECD centers and nurturing children at homes environment. Through this program five ECD centers developed and became resource centers in five wards and empowered 54 other ECD teachers on playing, teaching and learning methodologies, parents’ involvement, parenting education, dealing with children psychosocial needs and nutrition support. This program benefited over 10,000 children who transitioned form home to school, also empowered 6584 parents on parenting education, child protection, support ECD services in the community, and provide children’s basic needs.
Also in Year 2015 ECOLI continued to expand its operation by supporting Most Vulnerable Children (MVC) to access education and health through Social Action Trust Fund. To date ECOLI has supported total of 186 MVC with scholastic materials, uniforms, health insurance, tuition fees and other institution contributions at primary, secondary, colleges and universities education levels.
From 2017 to date ECOLI has expanded in areas of institution capacity and project operations whereby ECOLI managed to build its own offices. Furthermore, ECOLI has expanded its project operations in improving literacy and numeracy capabilities to lower grades children from preprimary to grade II at five public primary schools in Arusha city council. Through its operation total of 45 teachers have been empowered on pedagogical skills; 1027 parents involved in supporting their children in learning processes, over 1924 children were empowered with literacy and numeracy skills.