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CRS in Tanzania

The juxtaposition of Tanzania as one of the world's poorest countries, and its abundant natural resource wealth has fueled great interest but also frustration from donors, the private sector and citizens at large. 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. An 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.


People Served: 803,042

Population: 51,045,882  (July 2015 est.)

Size: 365,755 sq mi; slightly larger than twice the size of California

CRS' History in Tanzania

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 organizations, government entities, private partners and businesses. Today, the country program supports agriculture, health system and institutional strengthening, vulnerable children and youth programming, and integrated water resource management projects that interweave socioeconomic empowerment and gender transformation.

Through skill sharing and capacity building, our diverse agriculture programs in Tanzania promote sustainable growth, food security and development. 

Our health work centers around HIV and AIDS care and improved opportunities for children. One of our goals is to ensure people with HIV and AIDS and their families experience better health and well-being through quality care and treatment and increased support. CRS’ THRIVE program supports thousands of children under age 5 who are affected by HIV or AIDS.  We work to strengthen the ability of small community-based organizations to deliver holistic early childhood development services while also working with caregivers on strengthening their parenting skills. 

CRS’ water programming also improves the health of children and their families. It increases access to adequate clean water supply and improved sanitation, and helps establish handwashing facilities and appropriate hygiene services.