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In Tanzania

Country update

This video was released in July 2022.
If you've been inspired to sponsor a child from Tanzania, visit our sponsorship page.

Pray for Tanzania

Pray with us for:

Encouragement for pastors serving the people in their communities

God’s provision for all who have lost their jobs and are struggling

Local churches in Tanzania as they seek to serve their communities

Did you know?

Tanzania is home to the tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountain’s summit is at 19,421 feet. That’s more than four times the height of Ben Nevis.

Sponsor a child in Tanzania

Child sponsorship with Compassion is a unique opportunity to provide a child with food, clean water, shelter, clothing and medical care.

Life in Tanzania

Official Country Name: United Republic of Tanzania

Capital City: Dodoma

Population: More than 65.4 million

Official Languages: Swahili, English

Life expectancy: Male 64 years, female 68 years

Population with access to safe drinking water: 57%

Infant mortality rate: 34 deaths / 1,000 live births

Percentage of children under the age of 5 underweight: 14.6%

Adult literacy rate: Male 86%, female 78%

Religion: Approximately 63% of the population identifies as Christian, 34% as Muslim, and 3% are of another/unspecified religion or none.

Percentage living on less than $2.15 a day: 44.9%

Source: CIA World Factbook, International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2022 by the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Tanzania's history is intertwined with the history of numerous other people groups from all over the world. There is history of both Asian and Arab trade settlements along the coast and in the interior of what is now the Tanzanian mainland.

When Arab traders arrived in the region in the 8th century, the area was largely inhabited by Bantu farmers who had migrated from the west and south, and by the Nilotes and related people groups from the north.

The Portuguese and the Germans occupied parts of the country in the 1500s-1700s along with traders from across the world. Great Britain took a commercial interest in Zanzibar in the 1820s and also sought to end the slave trade there.

Tanganyika (what is now mainland Tanzania) became a United Nations trust territory under British control in 1947. Over the years, the Tanganyikans increased their role in their government which finally led to independence in 1961.

In 1963, Zanzibar (the island of the coast of mainland Tanzania) became fully independent, too. Tanzania was formerly a one-party state, but in 1995 this system ended with the first democratic elections since the 1970s.

In 2012, the Tanzania Constitutional Review Commission was formed, and in June 2013 the first draft of a new constitution was completed.


Ebony or rosewood carvings of masks, animals and people are common across Tanzania. Batik is also a popular art form, whereby wax is applied to a cloth to make a pattern before dyes are applied. Hand-woven baskets are another traditional art form.

Tanzanian music is influenced by the Swahili culture, which is dominant across East Africa. In Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania, the taraab style of sung poetry, which has its origins in the middle east, is also popular.

While Tanzania doesn’t have an official language, but Swahili and English are widely spoken throughout the country.

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Hujambo? (How are you?), Sijambo. (I am fine.), Jina langu ni ... (My name is ...), Ahsante (Thank you.), Kwa kheri (Goodbye), Bei gani? (How much is this?)

Sports and Games
Children enjoy playing marbles, tag, and football. Rugby is also a popular sport in Tanzania, owing to British influence.

Typical Foods
The most popular food in Tanzania is ugali, a porridge made by boiling cornmeal. This dish is comparable to grits eaten in the southern United States. Ugali is often eaten with stew, vegetables, or meat. Goat, chicken, and mutton are the most commonly consumed meats. Roasted corn is also popular and is sold on almost every street corner. Hot tea is a popular drink and is always served when people are socialising.

Tanzania’s education system has three different levels: basic, secondary, and tertiary. Education is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of seven and 14, but many families face the additional challenge of paying for supplies and transport.

It is estimated that 5.1 million children between the ages of 7 and 17 are not in school. Significant progress was made to get 86% of children enrolled in primary school by 2016, but just 33.4% of eligible children are enrolled in lower-secondary education. Fewer still attend college or gain tertiary education.

Primary school-aged children from the poorest families are three times less likely to attend school than those from the wealthiest households.

Early marriage is an issue for girls and leads to many dropping out of school. UNICEF estimate that more than a third of all girls are married by the time they are 18.

Many other children have to work. In fact, 29.3% of children between the ages of five and 14 work in unsafe conditions in areas such as mining, quarrying, and domestic work.


Source: Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, Bureau of International Labor Affairs

Approximately 63% of the population identifies as Christian, 34% as Muslim, and 3% are of another/unspecified religion or none.
The constitution provides for freedom of religion and, since independence, the country has been governed by alternating Christian and Muslim presidents. The law prohibits preaching or distributing materials that are considered inflammatory and represent a threat to the public order.
The government has banned religious organisations from getting involved in politics. Politicians are banned from using language intended to incite one religious group against another or encourage religious groups to vote for certain political parties.
Zanzibar’s 1.3 million residents are 99% Muslim. While also subject to the constitution, the island has its own president, court system, and legislature. Muslims in Zanzibar have the option of bringing cases related to divorce, child custody, inheritance, and other issues covered by Islamic law, to a civil or qadi (Islamic court or judge) court.
Public schools may teach religious education, but it is not a part of the official national curriculum. School administrations or parent-teacher associations must approve such classes, which are taught on an occasional basis by parents or volunteers. Public school registration forms must specify a child’s religious affiliation so that administrators can assign students to the right class if one is offered.
Statistics from the International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2022 by the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Providing support in Tanzania

In a small village in Tanzania, sisters Donatha and Leokadia shared a one-bedroom home with Donatha’s son Emmanuel. They sold soap and vegetables to make ends meet, but life was a struggle. Then Donatha fe

Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.