Christian Aid in Tanzania update Jan 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Tanzania, on the east coast of Africa, gained independence peacefully in 1961. Today there is relative harmony between the country's 120 ethnic groups. While there was some unrest during the 2000 elections, it is a relatively peaceful nation in a troubled region despite severe economic hardship and food shortages. Most Tanzanians still survive on subsistence agriculture, using very basic technology.
Tanzania has received nominal debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative and donors approved the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) at the end of 2001. However, there are still massive shortfalls in spending on education, health and infrastructure.

HIV/AIDS poses one of the biggest threats to development, with 1.8 million people living with HIV, including 15 per cent of people aged between 15 and 49. By 2010 life expectancy is likely to drop from the current 65 to 37 years. The government has begun to address the issue and HIV/AIDS is a focus in the PRSP.

Christian Aid works with eight partners, including four Anglican dioceses, focusing on: improving basic living conditions in poor communities; strengthening partners; young people; HIV/AIDS; and influencing work.

Partner news

The Christian Council of Tanzania organised a consultation for Bishops to create an ecumenical joint effort to fight HIV/AIDS. The aim was to develop a framework for partnership, networking and skills improvement among churches and other related agencies, and to look at the theological context for HIV/AIDS work. The Bishops resolved to influence both the church and government, to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS issues.

The Uluguru Mountains Agricultural Development Project (UMADEP) is featured in Christian Aid's report Forgotten Farmers, Small farmers, trade and sustainable agriculture. UMADEP is introducing appropriate sustainable techniques to farmers suitable for the local conditions, aimed both at cash crop production and families' access to food. UMADEP experiment with new crops and techniques on a demonstration farm before encouraging farmers to adopt them.