Tanzania Map

Tanzania Map

A Tanzania map shows that this tropical country contains diverse geographical features, including mountains, highlands, and coastal areas. 


The Location


The Population


The Religion

Christian, Muslim, indigenous beliefs

The Weather

  • This is a typical market in Tanzania. Sadly, drought has hit the country hard in recent years, causing food prices to rise beyond the means of many poor families. Tanzania Woman Buying Produce
  • Excitement at Compassion center activities is contagious! These children are eager to study God’s Word and interact with teachers. Tanzania Children Raising Hands
  • Subsistence farming in Tanzania, using only traditional tools and methods, is hard work, often for little return. Tanzania Women Hoeing the Ground
  • Women work at the Compassion country headquarters to process and distribute sponsor letters, which mean so much to children. Tanzania Staff Reading Sponsor Letters
  • Children line up to wash their hands before a meal. Good hygiene practices are an important lesson of the Compassion program. Tanzania Children Washing Hands
  • Singing is a favorite activity at Compassion-assisted centers on program days, and these children are obviously happy to be doing it! Tanzania Young Children in Church

Overview: Tanzania

Although Tanzania is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa, it remains desperately poor. The country hosts the largest refugee population in Africa because of conflicts in neighboring Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Refugee camps, which house thousands of children in Tanzania, have little access to clean water, sanitary conditions or education.

Nearly 90 percent of Tanzanians struggle to survive on less than U.S.$1.25 a day. The country has few exports, and agriculture is the primary source of income. Many regions, however, are plagued by drought.

Tanzania is a land of contrast. The northern region is made up of farmland and has the rich culture of the Maasai people. But in major cities like Arusha, thousands live in crowded slums where drug abuse and prostitution are common.

On the coastal areas near Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean, families make their living fishing and taking tourists to some of the country’s parks and reserves. But even as Tanzania has seen growing tourism and prosperity, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen.


Culture Corner

Tanzania Culture


(fried bananas or plantains)

Prepare ndizi kaanga (fried bananas or plantains), a typical Tanzanian dish.


  • 8 whole plantains or green bananas, peeled
  • Lemon juice
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  • Butter, melted
  • Nutmeg


Melt butter in a frying pan. Cut and quarter the bananas or plantains.

Dip the banana pieces in lemon juice and place them in the buttered frying pan. Lightly brown, remove, and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with nutmeg and brown sugar, if desired. (Ndizi is typically not sweetened in Tanzania.)


Life in Tanzania

Tanzania is a tropical country with diverse geographical features, including mountains, highlands and coastal areas. About 40 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural production, working either as independent subsistence farmers or as paid laborers on larger farms. Urban residents typically make a living by buying and selling in markets.

About 120 ethnic tribes live in Tanzania and speak different languages, but all are joined by Kiswahili, the national language. About one-third of Tanzanians are Muslims. Another third follow Christianity, and the remainder hold traditional, animist beliefs.

Popular foods include goat, chicken, mutton, ugali (cornmeal porridge) and corn. Tea is a favorite beverage. Masks, animals, people and other items carved from ebony or rosewood are common art forms. Batiks and hand-woven baskets are also popular.

Children at Home

Most Compassion-assisted children in Tanzania live in the city, in abandoned buildings with no electricity or running water. Their homes often are just a few feet away from raw sewage, and the crowded living conditions aid the spread of disease.

The squatter houses are poorly built and many of them fall during heavy rain or storms. The rainy season also brings malaria and other diseases that most families cannot afford to treat.


Community Issues and Concerns Community in Tanzania

The roadways of Tanzania are lined with deep ditches filled with stagnant water, a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This treatable and preventable disease can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women and young children. In fact, malaria is the primary cause of death among Tanzanian children.

Mothers who contract malaria during pregnancy run the risk of having low-birth-weight babies, stillbirths and premature babies. Every year, more than 60,000 people in Tanzania die from malaria.

Nearly 9 percent of the population has AIDS or HIV, although some studies say the rate is even higher. AIDS has orphaned nearly a million children, and thousands more must assume adult household responsibilities in order to care for ailing parents.

Local Needs and Challenges

Impoverished families often live on less than $2 per day, and inflation has doubled food prices in recent years. This has triggered an influx of young people from rural to urban settings in search of work. In the villages, finding potable water is a daily struggle, and sanitation is poor. The country’s education system is overloaded, and many children leave school early.


Schools and Education Education in Tanzania

The government now requires primary education for children, and enrollment rates have increased in the last five years. However, higher enrollment has led to crowded classrooms of up to 60 students each. And secondary school attendance remains stagnant, with only 20 percent of students moving beyond primary education.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Child development centers 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 a sponsor who helps provide for their daily physical needs.


Working Through the Local Church

Compassion and local churches partner together to rescue children from poverty. Because of its resources, cultural expertise and local knowledge, the church is in a unique and vital position to put in place Compassion’s holistic child development curriculum. Such curriculum focuses on children’s spiritual, physical, cognitive and emotional needs. Teachers use games, music, drama and other methods to share the gospel with children who are eager to learn about Christ’s life and love for them. Children also learn about hygiene, nutrition, leadership and other crucial lessons that they share with their parents at home. Such interaction improves communication in families.

How Compassion Works in Tanzania Compassion in Tanzania

Compassion’s work in Tanzania began in 1999. Currently, more than 67,000 children participate in 269 child development centers.

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide Tanzanian children with a long-term program of physical, educational, social and spiritual development. Through this partnership between Compassion and local churches, children in need have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and fulfill their potential in Christ.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

The Partnership Facilitator is the key link between Compassion and the local church. The facilitator shares Compassion’s vision with church partners and oversees its implementation at centers. Partnership Facilitator Godbless Mwanga, for example, strives to ensure a respectful and trusting relationship between the church and families so that all involved are blessed.

Godbless must travel 12 to 14 hours by bus, motorcycle taxi or car to reach some of the 12 centers he oversees, but he is passionate about children and eager to work to further Compassion’s mission. He frequently interacts with students, pastors and child-care workers to organize training, activities and meetings, as well as to solve various types of communication problems.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the government’s effort to provide educational facilities for the students in secondary schools.
  • Pray that the church will grow, especially in Islamic communities.
  • Pray that crime rates in Tanzania’s growing urban areas will decrease.
  • Pray for the children in rural communities who must leave school to work on their families’ farms.