Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is one of Africa's Great Lakes, and was named by the first European to discover the lake, John Hanning Speke, in honor of Queen Victoria of the U.K. Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake, and crosses the borders of Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. The Tanzanian territory of Lake Victoria is located in the country's northwest region, where Compassion's ministry is primarily located in Mwanza and Shingaya - two of Tanzania's 30 regions. Many people in Mwanza, located along the shore of Lake Victoria, work in the fishing industry.

Tanzania

Lake Region

  • In their pursuit of water, these children have come across a rain puddle. Unsafe water can lead to waterborne illnesses that threaten their health. In their pursuit of water, these children have come across a rain puddle. Unsafe water can lead to waterborne illnesses that threaten their health.
  • At their Compassion center, these children have the opportunity to gain the computer skills so vital to their future. At their Compassion center, these children have the opportunity to gain the computer skills so vital to their future.
  • Compassion centers are safe, welcoming places where children have the opportunity to read, do their homework or just socialize together. Compassion centers are safe, welcoming places where children have the opportunity to read, do their homework or just socialize together.
  • Sponsored children regularly write to their sponsors. And they are so encouraged when they receive letters back from their sponsors. Sponsored children regularly write to their sponsors. And they are so encouraged when they  receive letters back from their sponsors.
  • Like children everywhere, these children are looking for fun and community. Compassion helps them grow in every area of life. Like children everywhere, these children are looking for fun and community. Compassion helps them grow in every area of life.
  • Children in the lake region spend many hours in the daily task of collecting water for their families' use. Children in the lake region spend many hours in the daily task of collecting water for their families' use.
  • Families here follow many traditional practices, such as women and children eating together, while men eat separately. Families here follow many traditional practices, such as women and children eating together, while men eat separately.
 
TANZANIA OVERVIEW

Population

49,639,138

Religion

Christian

Weather

 
A Glimpse of Poverty in Tanzania's Lake Region Tanzania Overview
  • In Tanzania’s northwest region bordering Lake Victoria, education levels are low. Uneducated themselves, parents don’t see the value in sending their children to school.
  • Parents believe that as soon as they are able, children should work to supplement the family’s meager income.
  • Children are often seen working alongside their parents fishing or farming the family’s small plot of land.
  • Most parents depend on rain for farming, and during the frequent droughts, families’ economic condition deteriorates.
  • The average income per capita is less than U.S.$1 per day – not nearly enough to provide for children’s most basic needs.
  • Most poor families in this region can barely afford two meals per day.
  • The lack of potable water is a huge issue.
  • Although Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, is nearby, many families do not have reliable and safe sources of water. As a result, waterborne diseases are a constant threat to children’s health.
LIFE
In Tanzania's Lake Region

Geography & Climate

  • Tanzania is a tropical country with diverse geographical features, including mountains, highlands and coastal areas.
  • This region is covered primarily by forests and game reserves suitable for agriculture and livestock, with a few outlying areas that are rocky and mountainous.
  • Crossing over the borders of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake.
  • The Tanzanian portion of the lake lies in the country’s northwest, where Compassion’s ministry is found primarily in Mwanza and Shinyanga, two of Tanzania’s 30 regions.

Economy

The area’s main source of income is agriculture, including farming and livestock. Most of the country’s cotton is grown in the lake region, and other crops include sorghum, cassava, tobacco and peanuts.

Apart from agriculture, gold and diamond mines are another major source of income.

The region also leads the country in cattle raising.

In Mwanza, located along the shore of Lake Victoria, many people work in the fishing industry.

Unemployment is high, and the average wage in these two regions does not exceed U.S.$20 per month.    

Children at Home

Children in Tanzania’s lake region come from nomadic families who move around frequently.

Children at home

Their homes are rudimentary huts or even temporary tents.

At the child development centers, children — often for the first time — feel what it is like to have four sturdy walls and shelter from the elements. Partner churches in this region are, quite literally, a home away from home.

COMMUNITY
Tanzania Community
Issues and Concerns
  • Every year, 60,000 people in Tanzania die from malaria. Eighty percent of these people are children younger than age 5.
  • HIV and AIDS are also prevalent here, and when the government launched a testing campaign, nearly 6 percent of those who participated tested HIV-positive.
  • The stigma surrounding AIDS is severe, and many people refuse treatment in order to keep their diagnosis secret.
Local Needs and Challenges

Lack of clean water

In Shinyanga, one of the country’s driest regions, access to water is limited. Children have to walk long distances to collect water, often from unsafe sources that lead to life-threatening illnesses.

Serious illness

Malaria is a threat to children in both Shinyanga and Mwanza, as is HIV/AIDS, estimated to affect 5.8 percent of Mwanza’s adult population.

Poor education

Schools in these regions are typically overcrowded, and qualified teachers are few.

EDUCATION
Tanzania education
Schools and Education
  • The lake region has some of the poorest quality schools in the country. The number of children enrolled is low, despite the government’s efforts.
  • The main reason for low enrollment and attendance is the nomadic lifestyle of those living here. Families move from place to place in search of grass for their livestock, and children cannot settle into a school routine.
  • The few existing schools in the lake region are understaffed, as qualified teachers are hesitant to move to these remote areas.
  • In order to meet the demand of the number of children living here, an estimated 300 more schools would need to be built.
  • The average class size is between 50 and 60 students.
  • One consequence of the lack of education here is a growing sense of superstition. Witchcraft is common, and human sacrifice is still practiced in some communities.

Compassion Tanzania works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and we provide additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Child development centers in the lake region are a place of safety and security for registered children.

While their parents spend their days harvesting and selling in the market, Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center.

They also feel the love of sponsors, who help provide for their daily physical needs.

What Compassion Sponsorship Provides

In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to Tanzania’s children in need, providing:  

  • regular nutritious meals and snacks
  • health checkups and medical care as needed
  • school uniforms, fees and supplies to ensure all assisted children attend school. Among the region’s Compassion centers, averaging 280 assisted children each, there is not a single child who is not in school.
  • extra tutoring at centers to encourage children to stay in school and excel at their studies
  • spiritual hope to communities throughout the region. Through the influence of their children, caregivers who would have never before given the church any thought are now committed members.
  • the opportunity for sponsors to give special monetary gifts to their sponsored children. Some families have used these gifts to improve their lives by establishing small businesses or renovating their homes.