Frequently asked questions

Some of the most frequently asked questions are included below. If you cannot find the answer to your question please contact info@katoke.com.au

Where is Katoke?

Katoke is located in North Western Tanzania in a region where Tanzania neighbours Rwanda and Uganda.

Katoke is a generic term applied to a collection of small villages covering about 10,000 people. It gives its name to the adjacent government teachers college campus. It is located in the Muleba District, part of the Kagera Region of Tanzania. It is on the western shores of Lake Victoria, the second biggest freshwater lake in the world, and is about one degree south of the equator.

Closest capital city and airport: The closest capital city and airport is Bukoba approximately 50km (45mins by car) from Katoke.

Closest major cities: Entebbe, Uganda is approximately 350km to the north; Nairobi, Kenya is approximately 800km to the east.

What is the place of Katoke like?

Katoke and indeed Tanzania as a whole, is a safe and peaceful place with relatively little conflict and has a Christian and Muslim mix. Most villagers are caught in the poverty trap, and without assistance, have no way out.

Population/ Language: Tanzania has a population of 51 million people that speak Kiswahili, a little bit of English and various tribal languages. Secondary school, is taught in English.

Employment: 80% of the population are active in rain-fed, low technology agriculture.

Temperature and climate: Katoke has a wet (March to May and October to December) and dry season and is normally quite green and scenic. Katoke has a comfortable average temperature of between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius all year round.

Poverty: The poverty headcount ratio in Tanzania is 28.2% (National poverty headcount ratio is the percentage of the population living below the national poverty lines). The United Nations Poverty Index has listed Tanzania as 140th of 162 nations for poverty, and of the 23 regions of Tanzania, the Kagera region (where Katoke is) is one of the poorest.

Health: Life expectancy in Tanzania is around 64 years, compared to Australia’s 82. The rate of HIV is thought to be around 6% in Tanzania and in Katoke this is around 1%.

I am interested in the history of the Katoke Trust. Can you tell me more?

A brief timeline of the Katoke Trust is outlined below.

1920s | 800 acres purchased by Church Missionary Society (CMS) and given to the local Anglican diocese.

1940s | Teachers college and primary school is established in the area.

1960s | Founder of the Katoke Trust, Alan Watson, spends 4 years as an educator at the Katoke College with CMS.

1970s | Government control of educational facilities.

1998 | Founder Alan Watson returns 27 years later to Katoke. He saw that poverty was now rife and education standards had fallen to a very low level. Fewer than 50% of children ever started primary school and in this region, only 4% went on to secondary school. Because of a dramatic fall in international coffee prices (at the growers’ level), there was no money for parents to pay for education, especially for girls. Malaria was endemic as was HIV/AIDS in the surrounding villages. Not long later, the work of the Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid made a humble beginning. Having sought financial support begins with projects including a dispensary, craft, vanilla, palm oil, AIDS seminars, malaria prevention, teacher improvement programs, etc.

2007 | Planning is underway for the construction of Katoke-Lweru Secondary School. While the Katoke area had a primary school and a Teachers College, there was no secondary school at the site or in the vicinity of Katoke.

2009 | Katoke-Lweru Secondary School opens its doors to its first cohort of students.

2012 | Katoke celebrates with its first form 4 graduates who performed in the top 13% of the nation, out of more than 4,000 schools across the country.

In 2012 the work of the Trust was recognised when the President, Associate Professor Alan Watson, was invested by the Governor of New South Wales, as a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the international community and to education.

2013 | Completion of Stage I and 2 Katoke-Lweru Secondary School, including 12 classrooms, science and computer laboratories, student and staff accommodation and enrolling 330 students. Half of the students are sponsored. Fundraising to date of approximately $4 million for Trust projects.

2016 | We have more than 460 students across forms 1 to 6. We have completed further school facilities, most recently completing a boys dormitory in September 2016. We are pleased to continue our malaria/AIDS prevention, and agricultural projects in 2016. Our first form 6 students graduated in June 2016 and have been accepted into University and other tertiary courses.

Do the local students, teachers and other beneficiaries of Katoke’s activities have to be Christian to participate in the support programs?

No. While the Katoke Trust For Overseas Aid is an interdenominational Christian organisation, being motivated by the love of Christ and the view that all humans are created in the image of God, we provide aid to all people in need irrespective of race, religion or gender.

The Trust partners with the local community and churches, especially with the Anglican Church, which owns the 804 acre Katoke site where the secondary school is located.

What is the education system like in Tanzania?

Primary school

Years: 7 years of primary education for ages 7-13 – generally taught in Kiswahili.

Enrolment rates: The abolition of fees in primary schools in 2001, coupled with the compulsory requirement that parents/guardians send all children to school, has meant that 94 percent of children aged 7 to 13 years were enrolled in primary school in 2011, compared with only 59 percent in 2000.

Secondary school

Years: In Tanzania, there is 4 years of secondary ordinary level education (forms 1 to 4) followed by 2 years of secondary advanced level education (forms 5 and 6). Forms 1 to 6 are equivalent to years 7 to 12 in Australia. Secondary school is taught in English as mandated by the Government.

Students complete national exams after form 2 and form 4. Students successful in reaching the pass marks for form 4 in certain courses can continue onto forms 5 and 6.

Enrolment: Net secondary school enrolment has expanded quickly in recent years- from just 6 percent in 2000 to over 30 percent by 2011.

Challenges for the Tanzanian Education system: With rapid expansion of education in recent years some of the challenges remain:

  • Average of 66 pupils in each government primary school classroom in 2011.
  • There has been no corresponding increase in the number of trained teachers – the pupil: qualified teacher ratio stands at 49:1.
  • Most schools face extreme shortages in textbooks, desks, chairs, toilets, water supply, and hand-washing facilities.
  • On average there is one textbook for every 5 students.
  • English-language difficulties of students within schools.

At Katoke-Lweru Secondary School (KLSS), class sizes are capped at 40 students for form 1 to 4. Class sizes are approximately 25 in forms 5 and 6. Classrooms are fully equipped for the number of students. Every class is instructed by a qualified teacher. We pride ourselves on providing quality education!

See further information on KLSS at: Secondary School

Are donations tax-deductible?

Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid (ABN 51 742 721 573) is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient.

Donations of $2 and over to the following funds are tax deductible:

  • General donation
  • Building program (used to build school facilities)
  • Student and teacher sponsorship (used to develop students and teachers that graduate with skills to be economically self-supporting)

Funds contributed that are not tax deductible*:

  • Tickets to the Annual Dinner and other events
  • Purchase of local merchandise, auction items, raffle tickets

*To be able to offer tax deductibility on donations, Katoke’s activities must comply with the guidelines set out by the Australian Taxation Office and other government agencies. According to the Australian Taxation Office, where a material benefit is received, i.e raffle or event tickets or merchandise, unfortunately you are not entitled to claim the contribution as a tax deductible gift.

Are there any employment opportunities at Katoke?

We are an organisation run entirely by volunteers in Australia. This helps us keep our administration costs low meaning more of the funds raised go directly to projects on the ground. If you are keen to volunteer or would like more information, see Volunteer in Australia  for more details.

Some positions are available at Katoke Secondary School in Tanzania. See Volunteer in Tanzania for more details.

Note: all short-term volunteer trips to Katoke Tanzania are self-funded. However fundraising is encouraged. The Katoke Communications and Fundraising Committee can provide you with information and ideas to help you raise financial support for your volunteer trip. Contact events@katoke.com.au

We are organising an event. Can we get a Katoke ambassador to speak at our event?

Subject to availability, we can try to arrange for a suitable executive committee or sub-committee member to attend an event to give more information on the Katoke Trust and how people might like to get involved. Contact: Info@katoke.com.au

What are the best ways I can communicate with my sponsored student?

Students love to write and receive letters from the sponsors. Students are encouraged to write twice per year to their sponsor. The letters help to develop stronger relationships with the student you support.

The sponsorship committee is happy and prefers to facilitate the exchange of letters rather than students and sponsors communicating directly. This helps to protect sponsors from receiving unsolicited or inappropriate requests, protects sponsor’s personal details, and also allows for letters to be interpreted or translated where necessary. We also ask sponsors to avoid contact via social media such as facebook, which can be unhelpful for students living in a very different place.

We prefer that physical or monetary gifts are not exchanged with the students. The gift of sponsorship is already a substantial gift that can radically improve the prospects for a student and their family. When resources are limited, we would prefer to offer more students the chance for sponsorship. Gift giving can also contribute to social (e.g. jealousy or theft), administrative reasons (e.g. costs of sending gifts), or cultural issues (e.g. appropriateness of gifts).

If I need to cancel my sponsorship, what options do I have?

Your relationship with your sponsored child is valuable. For this reason, we believe that it’s important for both the sponsor and the sponsored child to continue with a sponsorship if at all possible. However, we also understand that from time to time you may experience difficulty (financial or otherwise) in being able to continue your sponsorship. Please contact the sponsorship team to discuss options available to you to decrease or cease your sponsorship: sponsorship@katoke.com.au

What happens if my sponsor student no longer attends the school or does not progress to senior school?

In the event your sponsored student no longer attends the school due to health, insufficient course results etc, we will consider how we can still continue to support the welfare of the student in other ways. If you are still willing to sponsor a student, we will seek to transfer your sponsorship to one of the many other students needing sponsorship. You will be contacted by the sponsorship committee where relevant.

How can I change my payment details?
How is money used by Katoke Trust?
What is the best way to donate to Katoke?

There are lots of ways you can make a donation or sponsorship contribution but we prefer credit card or direct debit. Recurring contributions can save us a significant amount of money in fees and administration costs, meaning more can be dedicated to our programs. If you prefer to donate by cheque, please make them payable to the Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid.

See donate / fundraise for how to donate.

What is givenow and why does Katoke use it to collect donations?

GiveNow is backed by Westpac and is Australia’s only free online donations solution for community organisations. It is a very secure and safe service, and except for fees charged by credit card merchants, the service is completely free of charge for both donors and community organisations. It also issues tax receipts immediately which saves administration for charities like Katoke run completely by volunteers.

We are however in the process of setting up the Katoke website to take direct donations straight to Katoke’s bank account. Stay tuned!

Can I leave a gift to Katoke in my will?

Yes! When creating your Will, firstly provide for family and friends, and then consider whether you can also include a gift to Katoke. See Leave a bequest for further details.

How do I know I can trust you with my money?

We are committed to earning, and keeping, the trust and confidence of our donors, sponsors and supporters through complete transparency and integrity.

Run by volunteers, virtually 100% of funds raised goes to projects on the ground.

Annual audits: We are independently audited annually here in Australia. The Secondary school is also independently audited in Tanzania.

Other compliance: Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid (ABN 51 742 721 573) is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductable Gift Recipient. We comply with all required regulations.

See further information at Governance

See related FAQs: How is money used?

When will I receive my tax receipt from Katoke?

If you donate through via the Katoke website or givenow* you will receive your tax receipt instantly via email.

If you sponsor a student and pay in monthly installments/ direct debits, you will receive your tax receipt at the end of the financial year.

If you sponsor a student with an upfront lump sum contribution, you will be acknowledged with a tax deductible receipt upfront on payment.

If you have not received your tax receipt please contact treasurer@katoke.com.au.

*See FAQ – What is givenow and why does Katoke use it?