Private and open classes in Tanzania

Kiliflora Ltd

Product focus: Flowers
Location: Tanzania
Type: Hired labour – 1350 workers
Fairtrade certified since: 2010
Contact: Stephen George –



Supervisors at Kiliflora required the help of workers to provide regular harvest reports. Delayed recordings brought to light the huge numbers of illiterate producers working on the farm. Many Kiliflora workers – from all ages – lacked basic reading and writing skills, urging management to think of a permanent solution. After deliberations, the company decided to start adult illiteracy classes, although not all workers were keen on the idea.


When Kiliflora introduced the adult education classes in 2005, some workers were too ashamed to attend. Particularly workers at an advanced age were not willing to go back to school. As a solution, Kiliflora decided to set up both open and private classes for workers. While all employees can attend the first, workers have to specifically enroll for the private classes.

Students run through the same curriculum. Apart from reading and writing exercises, the workers learn specific skills like driving, tailoring, and catering. They also learn how to work with a computer. The private classes are being held over lunch, while the open classes can be attended after working hours.

The total cost to send a worker to school is USD 285 per year, a cost which is totally covered by the company itself. Extra costs like study books need to be covered by the students.

Below is a cost breakdown of the programme.

English course (monthly) 190 USD
Cookery course (monthly) 50 USD
Tailoring course (monthly) 30 USD
Computer total course of 3 months 50 USD
Kiswahili literacy course (monthly) 20 USD
Costs of constructing class rooms 172,000 USD


The education programme is becoming increasingly popular. Today, an average of 100 students graduates annually. Kiliflora has noticed a clear impact on its business. Workers can now draft proper records during the flower harvest and update the database via computers. Some workers were even able to secure employment in the Kiliflora offices. After taking the classes and graduating successfully, Emmanuel Ezekiel, once a security guard, became a secretary.