Between The Islands Education Scholarship (BIES)

In collaboration with local NGO Saidia Zanzibar ( ZOP helps support the ongoing education of children whose families were affected by the 2011 MV Spice Islander passenger ferry  disaster, after the boat sunk off the coast of Zanzibar on 10th September 2011.

The ferry, which was carrying at least 800 people, was travelling along the Pemba Channel between Unguja (Zanzibar) and its sister island of Pemba, when it capsized. Two hundred and three victims were confirmed dead and 1,370 were reported missing. The majority of the reported dead were women and children who were returning to Pemba after school holidays.

Due to its experience in providing outreach support, ZOP played an important role during the emergency response that followed the accident. ZOP volunteers were present both at the emergency centers of Maisara grounds and Nungwi where the bodies of the dead victims were collected for identification, and rescued victims were landed. The volunteers were actively involved in providing first aid and giving psychological support.

Additionally, ZOP’s involvement continued well beyond the two days of emergency response. ZOP provided first aid services during the mass mourning and memorial service, and perhaps more importantly collected data concerning the victims. This was done through the setting up of four strategically placed data collection points on the island of Unguja, where people with information regarding victims of the tragedy could report for a period of four weeks after the accident, and through the use of the vast network of localized focal points (established through ZOP’s School Health Monitoring Program) where information was collected at village level across the entire archipelago of Pemba and Unguja. The immediate aim of the data collection exercise was to identify children left behind after the death of parents or guardians.

ZOP was approached by the committee of Saidia Zanzibar, a fundraising group collecting donations from around the world to assist in the relief effort of the ferry tragedy, who wanted to initiate an educational program to support students orphaned by the tragedy. Saidia Zanzibar requested ZOP’s assistance, through their existing administration and outreach, to implement a scholarship scheme, the costs of which would be covered for the first year by Saidia Zanzibar donations. As a result, ZOP and Saidia Zanzibar have initiated a scholarship program called the Between the Islands Education Scholarship (BIES).


To assist in the education of children that have lost the ‘breadwinner’ of the family in the MV Spice Islander ferry disaster.

Program beneficiaries

Children between the age of 7-18 years who are attending primary or secondary school in Zanzibar or mainland Tanzania who satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Have been left with no parent as a result of the tragedy
  • Have lost their paternal parent in the tragedy
  • Have lost their single-maternal parent in the tragedy.

The program

During the processing of the collected data, a total of 152 children were found to be eligible for the program. Using Zantel’s ZPesa service the guardian of each student will be given TSH30, 000 every month, consisting of TSH15,000 for sustenance and TSH15,000 for school-related costs. For families that have more than four eligible siblings, each sibling will receive the full amount of TSH15,000 for school-related costs and a maximum of TSH60,000 will be given to the guardian for collective sustenance. The funds will be handed out on condition that the benefiting student does not drop out of school. ZOP coordinators will monitor families’ compliance with the above mentioned condition.

Coordination, monitoring and evaluation.

There will be a project coordinator in every district where there are beneficiaries. The Regional Coordinators (RC) will monitor the progress of every student in their respective regions. A Project Principal Coordinator (PC), who will report to the BIES Steering Committee, will monitor and evaluate the RCs. The BIES Steering Committee will also include members of the Saidia Zanzibar committee and will report to ZOP’s Executive Committee.


In the first year, 2012-13, Saidia Zanzibar will fund scholarship and administration costs, from the donations given to them by sponsors during their fundraising effort. Additional sponsors and donors will be found through ongoing awareness and fundraising initiatives to support the program beyond 2013.

Expected output

Attendance of primary and secondary school students, with a parent or parents who died in the MV Spice Islander tragedy, is maintained.