Latest update

The government of Tanzania is not reporting about cases of COVID-19. The US Embassy in Tanzania warns that, given the presumed ongoing community transmission in Dar es Salaam and other locations, the risk of contracting the coronavirus remains high. However, tourists who test negative for COVID-19 are being welcomed into the country. Schools reopened after three months of closure, making Tanzania the first country in East Africa to allow students to return to school. Masks and social distancing are no longer 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.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff members have been able to distribute 54,744 food packs and 96,652 hygiene kits to families and provide medical support to 12,146 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:

  • Complete healing for Julius, who is recovering from hip surgery.
  • God would continue to provide comfort and peace to Kudra and Nelly as they continue to grow and become all God has called them to be.
  • Wisdom and guidance for the local church partners as they prepare to reopen the centres while desiring to keep the children safe.
  • Encouragement and inspiration for the Training Team as they prepare to continue to provide training sessions and information to the staff.
  • God’s Will would be accomplished in the upcoming elections.
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: 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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