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Snapshot of Tanzania


mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births


of people live below the poverty line


lack access to improved sanitation

Tanzania has been spared the internal strife that has blighted many African states. But domestic stability has not translated into economic prosperity and many Tanzanians still live in poverty.

The modern nation was formed 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.

Despite that stability, many Tanzanians live in poverty. Most of this 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 benefiting as much as others.

The country’s poverty rate has come down from 34.4 per cent in 2007 to 26.8 per cent in 2016, 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. As President he drew criticism for his approach to the press after he shut down several newspapers for publishing articles that were critical of the government.

Many of the poorest Tanzanians in rural and regional areas struggle to access basic services, including safe water and proper sanitation, adequate healthcare and good education. 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 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.

Agnes Hotay

Letter from Compassion Tanzania Country Director Agnes Hotay

Dear Sponsor, Greetings in the name of Jesus. I am Agnes Hotay; I have been the Country Director of Compassion Tanzania for the last three years, but I joined the ministry 14 years ago. I have been married for 15 years and my husband and I are blessed with three children: Hannah (13), Joshua (10), and Caleb (5). My best moments are during praising and worshiping God. I love singing, especially leading worship songs.

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Ombaja’s Wise Investment

Ombaja never met his father, who died before he was born. When he was just two years old, his mother died, and he has no memory of her, either. Like other orphaned children in his village, he was left to live with his grandmother. His future looked dire.

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Prayer requests for Tanzania

  • Pray for all the all the children who recently completed primary school. May God be with them as they wait to be selected to join secondary school. Pray that they will be encouraged and supported in their education.
  • Thank God for His healing for Nasma, a Compassion assisted girl who was suffering from severe back pain. Doctors have prescribed medication and she has been able to return to school while she continues her treatment. Pray for her long-term health, that she will make a full recovery and be pain-free.
  • Pray for new survival projects that are opening soon in Mwanza, in the Lake Victoria region. Pray for new project workers as they undergo training and prepare to begin registering mums and babies. Pray that this will be a powerful ministry for the local churches to help the most vulnerable in their communities.
  • Pray for Magori, a one-year-old girl who was admitted to hospital recently and diagnosed with malaria and a urinary tract infection. Pray for healing for her and strength for her family. She has received medicine and has been discharged from the hospital. Please pray for a full recovery.
  • Pray for the regions and communities that have been flooded recently, particularly in the nation’s northeast where the floods have been particularly bad. Pray for the local church as they support and stand with hundreds of families who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Pray for strength, resilience and God’s grace as they rebuild.
  • Pray for Compassion Tanzania national staff as they gather for an end-of-year retreat to review the year and plan for the years to come. Pray for their relationships to grow and flourish; pray for travelling mercies and good health as they gather together.

Stories from Compassion in Tanzania

03 Mar, 2015

8 Powerful Photos of Children's Rooms in the Developing World

These photos are a fascinating, and at times confronting, insight into the lives of children around the world in Compassion’s program... Read more

05 Dec, 2019

For This Church Pastor, Overcoming Poverty is Personal

On the day his church launches a partnership with Compassion, Pastor Godfrey Yona looks forward to the mission of releasing children from poverty in his community in Tanzania … and explains why he takes it so personally... Read more

10 Jun, 2020

What is Albinism? Five Things You Should Know

Born with albinism, Selinah, Grace, and Yona face real challenges. Here are five things they want you to know... Read more