Latest update

Tanzania was initially hesitant to acknowledge the dangers of COVID-19 or take steps to prevent its spread. This began to change in March 2021, when a new President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, was sworn in. Because of limited testing and access to public data, it is difficult to know the full extent of the spread of the virus in Tanzania. The nation's vaccination program commenced in mid-2021 and the government is now encouraging the population to follow appropriate health measures to stop the virus from spreading.

Our local church partners in Tanzania have largely been operating as normal throughout the pandemic. Increased hygiene and sanitation measures have been implemented at each child development centre. Staff are also working with children and their families to educate them on COVID-19 prevention. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have delivered over 95,000 food packs and 157,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

Watch the video update below to hear more from our Tanzanian neighbours.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Tanzania?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Centres in Tanzania have reopened and are holding normal program activities.

    Hygiene kits and multiple hand-washing stations are available at every centre. Classrooms and playground equipment are regularly sanitised. Staff members continue to educate children on COVID-19 prevention.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered in Tanzania, although delivery to and from your sponsored child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope.

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Tanzania. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Tanzania who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray for the continued healing of Esther’s mother, who is recovering from her appendix operation.
  • Praise God for allowing doctors to quickly identify and treat a young boy’s swelling on his hip without further complications.
  • Pray that God’s peace would be with Hassan as he has an operation to correct his leg.
  • Pray that God would be with the family and local church who are grieving the loss of their pastor, leader and father.
  • Praise God for His continued wisdom and guidance for the National Office team as they make decisions for the future.
  • Pray for peace and strength for the women who are expecting their babies to arrive in the upcoming months.
  • Pray for the continued health and safety of the people of Tanzania.
  • Pray that God’s comfort and peace would be with fifteen families who lost their loved ones in car accidents in Morogoro.
Soap making in Tanzania

Soap making in Tanzania

Praise God for the innovation of the Church during the time of COVID-19. One Tanzanian church is employing local mothers to make soap, providing them with an income to care for their children, including two-year-old Samir.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Centres in Tanzania have reopened and are holding normal program activities with increased sanitation and hygiene precautions in place.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Tanzania

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for six hours on Saturday.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 attend for six hours on Saturday and two hours during the week.
  • Students aged 12 to 18 attend for four hours on Saturday and four hours on a weekday.
  • Students aged 19 and older attend the centre for four hours during the week.
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Compassion Program Activities in Tanzania

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Compassion assisted children in Tanzania typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays, as well as a couple of hours after school during the week. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Tanzania.

8:00am - Breakfast and a time of devotion. When they arrive, children are usually given tea served with a snack, usually an egg, bread or buns.

9:00am - Spiritual lessons, when children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch and social time. Children usually share in a meal that comprises rice and beef, beans, ugali (stiff porridge) and fruit. Local staff aim to increase children’s protein intake.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene tips. Example topics include how to prevent malaria and HIV transmission.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are encouraged to join in activities such as sports, games, camping, and tree-planting and cleanliness activities in the community. They also participate in public celebrations such as AIDS Day, the Day of the African Child or Uhuru Day. Additionally, parents and caregivers are offered parenting classes.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Tanzania

524

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

22%

of people live below the poverty line

84%

of people lack access to improved sanitation

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.

In 2015, John Magufuli was elected President on a platform of economic reform and a promise to tackle corruption. As a former minister for works, he had earned a reputation as someone who could deliver big projects and manage budgets with a tight fist.

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.

This will be a key challenge for decision-makers as the next federal election approaches in late 2020.

Meanwhile, local churches across the country are working hard to nurture and protect vulnerable children, to ensure they have opportunities to develop and experience a hope more powerful than poverty.

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