Latest update

The government of Tanzania has not released information about cases of COVID-19 since 29 April, but the US Embassy in Tanzania warns that, given the presumed ongoing community transmission in Dar es Salaam and other locations, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains high. The embassy also says that health care facilities have become overwhelmed, which could result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care. However, tourists who test negative are being welcomed into the country. Schools are open. Masks and social distancing are not required.

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COVID-19 in Tanzania

How is Compassion currently operating in Tanzania?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Compassion child development centres reopened for group activities on 5 September.

    Children come in shifts so they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible. 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.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, local staff have been able to distribute about 56,000 food packs and 104,000 hygiene kits to families and provide medical support to more than 19,000 individuals.

  • 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:

  • Wisdom for the doctors as they seek to determine the cause of Neema's leg condition.
  • God would heal and give doctors wisdom as they treat Abela’s ear condition.
  • Stanley’s complete recovery from the sickle cell so he can return to doing the things he loves.
  • Children would remember all that they have learned and recall it during the national exams this month.
  • Safety and protection of the staff, families and children as they prepare to celebrate the holiday season.
  • Doctors would be able to diagnose and treat the stomach pain and discomfort a staff member is experiencing.
  • God would provide the right people at the right time to be a part of the Compassion Tanzania team.
  • God’s comfort and love would surround a staff member and their family as they grieve the recent passing of their child.
  • God would continue to encourage pastors as they continue to serve and care for the people in their communities, not only physically but spiritually.
  • During this rainy season, pray that God’s protection would be with the children and families who live in areas prone to flooding.
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

Crisis Reports from Tanzania

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    Flooding Caused by Underground Streams, Majengo – Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania (Final Crisis Update) 17 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    Due to heavy rains, some underground streams have overflowed and caused flooding in the Majengo–Moshi area. The flooding damaged many buildings.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 0

    New information

    Using Disaster Relief funds, the local church was able to level the playground, repair broken floors, and divert water channels away from the church premises.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the local church partner as they restored the property and repaired damages to provide a safer environment.

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    Flooding in Western Tanzania (Final Crisis Update) 17 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The Western region of Tanzania was experiencing heavy rains and flooding since September. The most affected districts are Bariadi, Itilima, and Maswa.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 23

    New information

    The national staff and local church partners supported the affected families using Disaster Relief funds. They provided bedding and household items, as well as shelter renovations to help stabilise each family. All families are now safely back in their homes and back to normal activities.

    Prayer

    Thanks for your prayers for the affected children and their families.

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Tanzania are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

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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Stories from Compassion around the world

15 May, 2017

When Looking Different Makes You Fear For Your Life

In addition to the difficulties of growing up in poverty, Yona was born with a disease which makes his white skin stand out in stark contrast to his friends in Tanzania. It causes severe medical issues, but worse of all, it causes him to live in fear for his life. .. Read more

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more

29 May, 2020

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Developing World's Economy?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a major impact on those living in poverty, likely for years to come. Learn how... Read more