The Flaviana Matata Foundation (FMF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (registered in the U.S. in 2014) that works to ensure girls and young women have the resources and opportunities they need to complete their education, find employment, and/or start their own businesses - ultimately helping them to fulfil their dreams. Flaviana Matata, a renowned model, businesswoman and philanthropist founded FMF at the end of 2011 because of her passion and deep commitment to using education as a tool to transform the lives of girls in Tanzania.
Growing up in Shinyanga, a city in northern Tanzania, Flaviana’s family always prioritized the importance of education, especially for girls. Flaviana created FMF as her way of giving
back to her community. FMF has grown from initially only providing scholarships to pay for school fees, to supporting the multiple needs of girls so that they can feel safe throughout their entire education, and have the skills and support they need to get a job or start a business.
Since 2012, FMF has reached over 4,500 students. This has included providing students with needed school supplies as well as renovating and refurbishing school infrastructure, (e.g. classrooms, toilets, installing clean water systems and building teachers’ housing). Other accomplishments include distributing toiletry boxes to girls to use during their menstrual cycle and purchasing desks and chairs for all students. FMF has also been able to provide 15 girls with full scholarships to stay in school and, the first class of girls graduated from high-school in June, 2018. The next phase of FMF will be to ensure that these same young women have the support they need to go to university or vocational school.
FMF is creating a world where girls can stay in school and grow up to become leaders who are
confident, economically independent, and supportive of their communities.
FMF ensures that Tanzanian girls and young women have the resources and opportunities they
need to complete their education, find employment, and/or start their own businesses -
ultimately helping them to fulfil their dreams.
We focus on girls and young women - We prioritize girls and young women because when girls stay in school, they have better economic, social and health outcomes. We focus on education because it is a tool to address gender inequality and ensure that girls, particularly girls who are vulnerable, have the same opportunities that boys do. We make sure that our work is informed by the girls we support themselves and we believe girls and young women have a critical role to play in improving the quality of our work. We also recognize the importance of working with men and boys to keep girls in school.
We make long-term investments - We make long-term investments because we are committed to seeing girls succeed. We are committed to supporting a girl from childhood, through adolescence, and into young adulthood. We provide scholarships, pocket money, uniforms and everything a girl needs to be and stay in school over the course of their entire education so that the stresses that come with being economically poor, do not interfere with a girl’s chance of excelling in school and getting the education she deserves. We work with communities, schools and the Tanzanian government because we want our work to have a lasting impact.
We provide girls with safe spaces - We provide girls with safe spaces so that they can freely express themselves and feel safe when they are at school. We partner with organizations to form “Girls Clubs” so that girls can learn skills that will help them navigate relationships, understand their bodies, become leaders and tap into their agency to fulfill their dreams. We keep girls at the center of our school renovation/refurbishment efforts and ensure they have access to clean and running water, clean toilets, and sanitary pads so that they do not miss school during their menstrual cycle.
We ensure that girls have a strong support system - We ensure that girls have a strong support system that includes their families, communities, schools a, d mentors. In addition to working with individual families, FMF forms strong relationships with schools and ommunities to help girls stay in school. We believe that it is important for Tanzanian girls to be exposed to and have relationships with ambitious and successful Tanzanian women who serve as role models and help girls define and achieve their dreams.
We help girls have choices - Our founder uses her platform in the fashion industry and as an entrepreneur to advocate for girls’ education and gender equality around the world. This
includes advocating to reform the laws and systems that keep women economically poor and perpetuate gender norms that prevent girls from fulfilling their dreams. We believe that not all girls are the same and that girls deserve to have choices. While some young women choose to go to university after high-school, other young women want to go to vocational school and/or start a business. Because of this, FMF provides scholarships for girls to attend university or vocational school. We also help girls with training to build their skills around entrepreneurship and support with starting their own businesses.
We believe in paying it forward - We believe that the best mentors and role models for younger girls are women who are FMF program graduates. After each girl has finished the program, they are encouraged to “pay it forward” by mentoring younger girls still in the program and supporting FMF’s mission with donations, fundraising support, partnership building and becoming champions of gender equality and girls’ education.
FMF helps girls stay in school throughout their entire education and gives them the tools, resources and opportunities they need to have a brighter future and fulfil their dreams. The organization achieves its mission by providing girls across Tanzania scholarships to stay in school:
1. Scholarships that pay for all the costs associated with keeping girls in school - FMF provides scholarships to girls who are excelling at school, but whose families cannot afford to pay their school fees and all the costs associated with keeping them in school. FMF works with the Tanzanian Ministry of Education and schools to select girls for the organization’s scholarship program. In addition to paying for school fees over the course of a girl’s entire education, (i.e. until she graduates from university or vocational school), FMF provides schools with stationery kits (for all students) and girls with uniforms, transportation to and from school, meals, rent for accommodation (if needed), an allowance for toiletries and feminine hygiene products, and pocket money.
2. School renovations and refurbishment that improve learning and make girls feel safe - FMF works with government (public) schools and their surrounding communities because we want to ensure that our work has a lasting impact. We renovate and refurbish school infrastructure and are currently working with one community in Bagamoyo to refurbish a school that was identified by the Ministry of Education.
3. Girls clubs & mentorship that builds confidence and helps girls tap into their agency - FMF
forms partnerships with organizations to establish and facilitate “Girls Clubs” to ensure that girls are building the skills they need to build confidence, leadership skills and tap into their agency from a young age. “Girls Clubs” are a safe space for girls to learn about their body, get the tools they need to have healthy relationships and freely express themselves to their peers. FMF’s mentorship program connects each girl to a successful Tanzanian woman, including FMF graduates, who work with them over the course of their education to define and realize their dreams.
4. Job and entrepreneurial skills and opportunities that help girls get jobs or start businesses FMF helps young women write a CV, learn how to interview for a job and get internships before they finish university or vocational school. FMF also trains young women and gives them small amounts of seed funding to start their own business and cooperatives. Young women who are interested in getting trained as nail technicians and starting mobile nail salons have the option to do this via LAVY, the founder’s company that is headquartered in Tanzania. LAVY manufactures and distributes nail care products. Over the next few years, FMF will be creating an innovation hub for girls to learn business skills related to beauty.
5. A platform to advocate for girls’ education - FMF uses our founder’s platform in the fashion industry to bring attention to girls' education and advocate for gender equality. This includes advocating to reform laws and systems around the world that keep women economically poor and perpetuate gender norms that prevent girls from fulfil their dreams. Over the next few years FMF will be working more in this area.