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Fifty years, fifty countries: Tanzania

By Emily Owen | 09 Nov 2018

Tanzania has vast natural resources, trades across Africa and sends peacekeepers to UN missions. And yet, 32 per cent of the population – more than 17 million people – live in extreme poverty...

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Tanzania.

Tanzania has vast natural resources, trades across Africa and sends peacekeepers to UN missions. And yet, 32 per cent of the population – more than 17 million people – live in extreme poverty. Reasons for this include lack of access to basic services, poor infrastructure and epidemics such as HIV have stalled growth and development.

Tearfund has been working alongside the people of Tanzania, with our partners and through local churches there since 1969. We praise God for determined people attending self-help groups lifting themselves out of poverty. And we thank God for the heart of local churches embracing their calling to care for the communities around them. But there’s still more to be done…

One of the problems Tearfund is tackling is the lack of electricity that hinders the education of children, slows the delivery of medical care and jeopardises the safety of people travelling at night in rural areas. Access to electricity can transform the lives of people like Peter and his wife Rachel, who live in Makutupora, central Tanzania, with their two sons, Amos (10) and John (7).

Electricity creates community
Getting electricity to rural areas is expensive! Rachel and Peter couldn’t afford electricity, they used to rely on kerosene to light up their home, which is both pricey and endangers the health of their family – the smoky fumes from kerosene lamps can cause dizziness, headaches and vomiting.

After seeing how a Tearfund-supported local self-help group was benefiting other people in their village, Peter and Rachel signed up to join the group. Through saving with the group, they have been able to take a loan to buy solar panels, as well as form new friendships within their community.

Electricity nurtures futures
Solar power has changed the lives of Rachel, Peter and their children. Their sons can now study after dark when they get back from school: ‘The children want to have more education,’ says Peter, ‘maybe to be a doctor, to be honourable people. Having solar will help them to fulfil these dreams.’

Peter works as a farmer, while Rachel is a tailor. Now that they have a solar light, Rachel can work in the evenings. By working three or four hours more every day, she has increased their monthly income from 70-80,000 TZS (£24–27) to as much as 150,000 TZS (£51).

Solar power and clean energy may not be a new concept for many of us, but it can be life-changing. And it brings new possibilities to families like this.

PLEASE PRAY

If you would like to know more, please visit our Tanzania page. And if you’ve missed any other articles in this series you can find them here.

Written by

Photo of Emily Owen

Written by Emily Owen

Emily is Tearfund’s Junior Copywriter. She loves reading and writing stories about people who change the world, so copywriting for Tearfund is a great fit.