top of page

wesley college news

Posted below, you will find news from Wesley College. We hope that you will visit this page often, to stay connected to Mwanza, Tanzania -- our students, faculty, and partners.



Originally posted in the March 2022 newsletter

When  Wesley College opened in 2017, it started with 20 theology students,  only 3 of whom were female. Right before the break between the first  terms, I remember sitting down with one of our students, Veronica, and  asking her for ideas on how to reach more female students. I also  encouraged her to ask women in her home area if they’d be interested in  studying at Wesley College. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to  have an equal number of female and male students at Wesley College.

Fast  forward five years, and our student population is about 40 percent  female. This is better than when we started, but for us, it is still not  enough. In Tanzania, female students make up almost 50 percent of  students in secondary school, but only 30 percent in college. Given that  Tanzania’s new female president, the Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan, is  emphasizing women’s education, this is a great time to push for  increased participation of women in higher education. As usual at Wesley  College, we are committed to enrolling women–especially those in rural,  impoverished areas–who need the biggest boost to enter college.

Barriers to education for women

Many barriers face women who  are pursuing higher education in Tanzania. Most of these are centered  around family life in Tanzania. I respect this very much, but it is a  challenge.  Traditional views of the qualities of a desirable wife do  not generally include education. Many families have limited resources  and must be selective about how they invest in their future.

Women are expected to marry at  a younger age than men, meaning they have less time to finish higher  education. Wives leave their homes to become part of their husbands’  families. Since male children often support their aging parents,  investing in male children is often the only retirement plan parents  have. Thus educating sons is a higher priority. These are just a few of  the reasons why many young women–even those who attended school as  children–don’t pursue higher education.

Building a Daraja

That is why we are excited to  be launching the Daraja (“bridge” in Swahili) Program this year. It is  designed to bring awareness and education to rural communities about the  many opportunities that college provides for young women. With targeted  programs designed to address the concerns of families and the young  women themselves, Wesley College hopes not only to increase its  enrollment but also build a bridge that will connect young women to  their dreams of receiving a college education and charting their own  path in life. This is one of the school’s three pillars.

We are so thankful to the Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation for their grant to help fund our pilot of the Daraja Program and to Auburn University’s Global Studies in Human Sciences department for helping us design parts of the program.


Eric Soard

Executive Director, Wesley College Foundation


Accessibility is one of the four pillars of Wesley College Foundation. Students cannot
experience the transformative education of Wesley College without generous supporters,
interested in seeing lives changed. Gilbert was one of our featured students in 2023. He
shared how he wasn’t even able to finish high school because of his family’s financial situation and was forced into an endless string of low wage jobs just to support himself. The day he found out his studies would be supported through a scholarship he dropped everything else--recognizing this once in a life time opportunity.


Wesley College Foundation is growing. Brady Banks came on as the Director of Foundation Development; Dr. John Wayne Smith joined us as a new board member from Northwest Arkansas, and most importantly you all contributed more than ever before---making it possible to increase support to Wesley College and students in Tanzania. Gilbert is about to finish a second diploma in community development, has a small business that supports his family, and just started as the new pastor of Kalaluma United Methodist Church. He is a great example of how opportunity creates more opportunity and Wesley College Foundation is On the Move towards forming even more servant leaders for the church and community because of your support and work.

Wesley College.jpg
Wesley College-2_edited.jpg
bottom of page