Tanzania | ActionAid UK

Tanzania

ActionAid has been working in Tanzania since 1997. We help children to go to and stay in school, we train communities in sustainable agriculture, and we support women and girls at risk of violence.

Why we work in Tanzania

Tanzania is a large country in East Africa. It was formed in 1964 from the territory of Tanganyika and the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar, which still has a separate government and legal system. The economy boomed until the early 1980s, when drought and war with Uganda created instability. Tanzania is now one of the world’s poorest countries.

TZ
  • 10
    One out of every ten women has been raped.1
  • 100
    1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.2
  • 25
    Only one in four girls goes to secondary school.3

Cassava, maize and rice are Tanzania’s main food crops. Food shortages are very common, with around a third of each harvest lost due to a lack of storage facilities. Unreliable rains, infertile soil and traditional farming practices also contribute to a lack of food security. Nearly half of children have stunted growth.

One in three Tanzanian members of parliament is female. Yet women and girls face many issues including violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and early pregnancy. Domestic violence is common – many women accept it as a normal part of life. Teenage girls are especially vulnerable to HIV, which affects 1.5 million people in the country.

Maua Juma, 11.

Maua Juma (left), 11 with her mother and siblings outside their house. Maua Juma is going to school thanks to an education project in her community, supported by ActionAid

Photo: Kate Holt/ActionAid

What we do in Tanzania

Helping children get an education

Although nearly all children in Tanzania are enrolled in primary school, in some areas less than half of girls finish their primary education. Many students drop out because of a lack of basic materials and poor classroom conditions. 

Through our local partners, ActionAid works with communities to develop school systems and help more girls to enrol in and succeed at school. In the short term, we provide schools with essential items such as desks, books, pens and footballs, as well as training the community to lobby their local government for better facilities in the long run.

Our children’s clubs also give children the chance to learn about their rights. In 2016 we helped over 2,000 children to stay in school.

Tackling hunger

In 2016 approximately 80% of Tanzanians relied on subsistence farming. This means millions of people are extremely vulnerable to food shortages if the rains are late or seeds fail to germinate.

Local staff work with communities to establish savings groups where women can save money, take affordable loans and learn farming skills such as irrigation and compost-making. 

We work to provide communities with better access to water by digging boreholes and training them on how to repair them. In 2016, ActionAid provided three new boreholes on the island of Mafia, giving 571 people access to safe drinking water.

Keeping girls safe from harm

Discrimination, abuse and violence against women and girls are widespread in Tanzania. Two out of five women have experienced physical violence in their lifetime, and many women are not aware that laws exist to protect them. 

ActionAid supports women by delivering training workshops in women’s rights and domestic law so that they can seek justice if they are harmed. Women and girls who have experienced violence can also receive counselling, legal advice and care in specialised shelters run by local staff.

How we’re changing lives for good in Tanzania

Read stories of some of the women and girls we’ve helped.

You may also be interested in…

Find out how you can support a child, and their community, through child sponsorship.

Read our latest stories from the girls, projects and communities we work with.

We work across Africa, Asia and Latin America, every day, all year round.

Footnotes