COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Tanzania

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Tanzania

Last Updated: 10/19/2020

The government of Tanzania is not releasing information about cases of COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania warns that, given the presumed ongoing community transmission in Dar es Salaam and other locations, the risk of contracting the coronavirus remains high. However, tourists who test negative for COVID-19 are being welcomed into the country. Schools are open. Masks and social distancing are not required.

Compassion child development centers reopened for group activities on Sept. 5. Children attend in shifts at some centers, so they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Hygiene kits and multiple hand-washing stations are available at every center. Classrooms and playground equipment are regularly sanitized. Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff members have been able to distribute 54,744 food packs and 96,652 hygiene kits to families and provide medical support to 12,146 individuals. Staff members continue to educate children on COVID-19 prevention and spend time praying with the children for their sponsors.

COVID response in Tanzania

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Tanzania?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Tanzania, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming. Watch this video for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Centers in Tanzania have been able to reopen. Staff members carefully clean and sanitize the centers, and many centers with limited classroom space have children attending in shifts so they can maintain proper social distancing. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 54,744 food packs and 96,652 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVID response in Tanzania

child reading IconStory From the Field

Remembering life before COVID-19, Pascal recalls how he and his mother, Esther, looked forward to every Saturday — the day Pascal attended the Compassion center. Esther worked as a cook at the center, so she and 11-year-old Pascal would get ready and go together.

Sadly, when COVID-19 caused centers across Tanzania to close, Esther and Pascal faced six months of Saturdays alone at home. Their family income plunged as Pascal’s father’s business was also impacted. "Cooking at the center was the only job I had," says Esther. "When the center closed on March 28, I didn't know what to do."

She didn’t need to worry for long because the center staff stepped in, giving the family baskets of food and essentials. They also provided sanitary items and taught them about safe hygiene practices and disease prevention.

"The supplies that we were given helped us immensely. We had food to last us weeks, so instead of paying for food, my husband and I used his income to pay our rent," says Esther.

On Sept. 5, Esther and Pascal finally went back to their regular Saturday routine. Esther woke up early and prepared herself and Pascal to go to the center. "I am so happy to be back. I had missed learning and seeing all my friends," says Pascal.

The center had undergone some upgrades so that the children would be protected from transmission of the virus. Two more classrooms were added to allow for social distancing, bringing the total to eight. Compassion Tanzania was able to fund the purchase of new desks. And the children get temperature checks before entering.

While Pascal attends his classes, his mother prepares food for the children. "I was praying every day for the center to reopen," says Esther. "I am overjoyed that God has answered my prayers. I didn't know how to help my husband earn enough to feed our son, but now we have hope."

How can I pray for Tanzania?

Praise God for the safe and successful reopening of the centers. Pray that God will continue to keep the children and staff safe and healthy. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Tanzania
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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