The intersection of Tanzania as one of the world's poorest countries alongside its abundant natural resource wealth has fueled great interest and investment from both donors and the private sector. Tanzania is often held up as a good example of social harmony amidst an ethnically and religiously diverse country, with a stable and democratic political system. However, the country's rapid economic development in recent years is not spreading its benefits equally, and high rates of poverty continue to persist, especially in rural areas. A nascent but increasingly active civil society is beginning to challenge entrenched political and economic interests in an effort to promote greater accountability, social service provision and human development for the majority.
With roughly 75% of the population living in rural communities with inadequate access to social and financial services and transportation infrastructure, East Africa's largest nation still faces many development challenges that continue to hold down the poorest of the poor.
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|Population:||48,261,942 (July 2013 est.)|
|Size:||365,755 sq mi; slightly larger than twice the size of California|
|People Served:||1,428,615 (2013 est.)|
In 1962, one year after Tanzania celebrated its independence, a devastating drought struck the Arusha region. In response, Catholic Relief Services provided food and non-food emergency relief rations and created economic recovery projects for 85,000 affected people. Since that initial effort, CRS Tanzania has continued to work closely with the Tanzania Episcopal Conference, other faith-based and peer organizations, government, and private partners and businesses. Today, the country program supports rural livelihood, health system and institutional strengthening, vulnerable children and youth, and integrated water resource management projects that interweave socioeconomic empowerment and gender transformation.