Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa at almost 6,000 metres in elevation. Agriculture is an important part of the country’s economy, and many families continue to observe a traditional, pastoralist way of life—including the Maasai people in northern Tanzania.
The modern nation was established in 1964 when Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the United Republic of Tanzania. The constitution was amended in the 1990s to allow multi-party politics and Tanzania has enjoyed relative political peace and stability ever since.
But domestic stability has not translated into economic prosperity, and many Tanzanians still live in poverty.
The most affected group live in rural or semi-rural places and work as small-scale farmers. They remain personally vulnerable to poverty because large sections of the country are vulnerable to severe weather events. In 2019, a late onset of seasonal rains meant crops were reduced—and then flooding in some regions wiped out crops entirely.
So, while the economy has been growing, agriculture is growing slower than other sectors, meaning that the majority of families living in poverty aren’t benefitting as much as others.
The country’s poverty rate has come down over the past decade from 34.4 per cent in 2007, but the absolute number of people living in poverty has held at about 13 million, due to high population growth.
Yet access to basic services—including safe water and proper sanitation, adequate healthcare and good education—is an ongoing struggle for millions. The government’s efforts in many of these areas have been undermined as the population has grown faster than services and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, local churches across the country are working hard to nurture and protect vulnerable children, to ensure they have opportunities to develop and experience the unfailing love of God and His church.