Tanzania Country Research Team

The Tanzania Country Research Team is a multidisciplinary group composed of 11 researchers from six different institutions worldwide, with main operations in Washington, D.C., and Dar es Salaam. The team members offer expertise in diverse disciplines including development, economics, education, political science, psychology and public policy. They bring a wealth of experience in conducting research in a developing-country context, and they have established ties in Tanzania. Key institutions represented are Georgetown University, Twaweza, the University of Dar es Salaam, and the World Bank.

Tanzania Key Researchers

Deon Filmer

Deon Filmer is a lead economist in the Research Group of the World Bank. He is a principal investigator on an evaluation of teacher and student incentives in secondary schools in Tanzania. He is a co-director of the 2018 World Development Report, which for the first time focuses on education. He has worked extensively on issues of accountability including co-authoring the book, Making Schools Work: New Evidence from Accountability Reforms, and he was a core team member of the World Bank's 2004 World Development Report 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People. In addition to his research, he has also been involved in the operations division of the Africa region.

James Habyarimana

James Habyarimana is an associate professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy and co-Director of the Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation Development and Evaluation (Gui2de). He is currently conducting a number of regional evaluations in health and education. He is a co-principal investigator of the evaluation of a secondary school teacher and student incentive program in Tanzania. A citizen of Uganda, with working knowledge of Kiswahili, he has engaged extensively with Ministries of Education in East Africa.

Other key researchers

Jacobus Cilliers

Jacobus Cilliers is an assistant teaching professor at Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy. Prior to joining McCourt he worked for the Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund at the World Bank and was also a visiting post-doctoral fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford. His research is in the area of applied micro-econometrics for development, with a focus on basic education service delivery. Current research projects are in Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. He has published in top academic journals such as Science, the Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of Human Resources. 

Aneth Komba is a senior lecturer and director for social services at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Education) (Hons.) and a Master of Arts (Education) from the University of Dar es Salaam, and a PhD from the University of Bath, where she specialized in educational leadership, management and policy studies.  She lectures in educational management and school administration; policy planning and administration; human resource management in educational organizations; and qualitative research methodology. She is an institutional coordinator of North-South-South Higher Education Institution Network Programme, and she has also participated in the Research Programme Consortium on Implementing Educational Quality in Low Income Countries (EdQual) as a Research Assistant. She also worked as a project manager of Pedagogy and Leadership Project (PAL) in Tanzania. Her research interests include: educational policies; education financing; families’ resources and children’s schooling; primary education as a poverty alleviation strategy; equity and equality in education; qualitative research methodologies; social capital and children’s schooling; and educational policy planning, management and administration.

Isaac Mbiti

Isaac Mbiti is an assistant professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia. He has published several papers on education issues in East Africa. He has co-authored a working paper that examines the potential for incentives and resources to improve learning outcomes in Tanzanian primary schools. A Kenyan citizen, fluent in Kiswahili, he has been engaged with policymakers and other stakeholders from the region.

Kitila Mkumbo

Kitila Mkumbo is a senior lecturer and previous dean of the College of Education at the University of Dar es Salaam. He is currently on sabbatical leave heading up the What Works in Education program for Twaweza East Africa, an initiative that works on education and issues concerning government transparency and responsiveness in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He has published numerous papers on education in Tanzania and has extensive relationships with officials at the Ministry of Education and the Presidential Delivery Unit.

Ken Opalo

Ken Opalo is an assistant professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His research interests include the political economy of public policy and development; legislative development; and electoral politics in emerging democracies. Ken’s current book project examines the evolution of legislatures in emerging democracies, with a focus on explaining the observed variation in the institutionalization and strength of African legislatures.

Shardul Oza

Shardul Oza is a Washington DC-based Senior Programme Manager for the RISE Tanzania Country Research Team. Based at Georgetown's Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation (gui2de), he is responsible for overall project management and implementation support for the RISE Tanzania research project. Shardul has a background in impact evaluation research, having worked for several organisations at the forefront of the evidence-based policy movement across South Asia, East Africa, and the United States.

Shwetlena Sabarwal speaking at a conference

Shwetlena Sabarwal is a senior economist at the World Bank. She is a principal author for World Bank’s World Development Report 2019 on the ‘Changing Nature of Work’ and World Development Report 2018 on ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’. She is a core team member for World Bank’s ‘Human Capital Index’. She has published in the areas of Education Economics and Labor Markets. In education, her research is on learning, effort, and incentives. In labor markets, her work has focused on entrepreneurship, gender, and networks. Shwetlena has led World Bank’s education engagement in Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Nepal. She has led multiple education and social protection impact evaluations in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She holds a PhD in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota in 2008.

Youdi Schipper

Youdi Schipper is research advisor at Twaweza East Africa, an initiative that works on education and issues concerning government transparency and responsiveness in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He is also a senior researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for International Development. His work focuses on education reform, impact evaluation and mobile data collection. He is managing KiuFunza, a nationally representative randomized trial studying the impact of teacher performance pay and school grants in public primary schools in Tanzania. Also in Tanzania, he designed and implemented Sauti za Wananchi, the first nationwide mobile phone panel survey in Africa.

Richard Shukia

Richard Shukia is a Lecturer in Child Psychology, Early Childhood Education, and Early Literacy and Numeracy Development. He works with the Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Previously, he worked as a primary school teacher, teaching languages in both lower and higher grades. His research interests revolve around early childhood education and early literacy and numeracy development and assessment. He has a background in both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, though he specializes in qualitative research designs. He has engaged in several project in the areas of 3Rs, development of teachers’ guide for inclusive education, review of early childhood education programmes, development of early childhood education programme curricula materials, and undertaken evaluative research in a variety of capacities.

Andrew Zeitlin is Assistant Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He also serves as Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development, Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, and Lead Academic for the International Growth Centre's Rwanda Program. Andrew's research focuses on the interaction of social preferences and external incentives in state capacity. His recent work has focused on incentives for the provision of education in Uganda and Rwanda.