Tanzania is an east African republic, home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and the island of Zanzibar. A former British colony, Tanzania gained independence since 1961 when it was renamed Tanganyika. Tanzania's economy is largely agriculture-based, as well as being the third largest producer of gold in Africa.
The United Republic of Tanzania is the second largest economy in the East African Community and the twelfth largest in Africa. The country is largely dependent on agriculture for employment, accounting for about half of the employed workforce. The economy has been transitioning from a command economy to a market economy since 1985. However, closing the gap between the urban and rural population remains a challenge. Poverty in Tanzania is characterised by low income and consumption, poor nutritional status, low educational attainment, less access to public services including school and health services, less access to economic opportunities and exclusion from economic, social and political processes.
Among the 1.4 million Tanzanians living with HIV/AIDS, 70.5 percent are 25 to 49 years old, and 15 percent are 15–24 years. In young women ages 15 to 24, there is an HIV prevalence rate of 3.8 percent, which is significantly higher than the 2.8 percent prevalence rate among young men in the same age group. More than half of available hospital beds are occupied by HIV-infected persons. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Tanzania is 790. This is compared with 449 in 2008 and 610.2 in 1990. In Tanzania there are only two midwives per 1,000 live births; and the lifetime risk of death during delivery for women is one in 23.
Tanzania’s two major environmental problems relate to its forests and untreated pollution.
A majority of Tanzanians rely on wood and agricultural residues for their energy needs, causing deforestation and environmental degradation. Deforested areas no longer provide a home for wildlife - leading to biodiversity loss - and are also susceptible to soil erosion.
In major towns and cities, solid and liquid wastes are left untreated. As a result, air and water are contaminated with pollutants, a major health hazard for those who live in under-privileged areas.
The country has made significant gains in access and equity in primary education. Tanzania has one of the highest net enrolment ratios in Africa, with girls’ enrollment very close to parity with boys’ at all primary education levels.
Despite these successes, many challenges persist related to retention, completion and transition to secondary education, as well as quality of education, actual learning outcomes and the relevance of skills that graduates bring to the economy. Many children enrolled in school drop out before completing primary education, especially girls. At higher levels of the education system, the situation is even worse: the net enrollment rate for lower secondary education is 30.8 percent, and for upper secondary education only 1.9 percent.
Since 1964, a vast majority of Australian volunteers have worked in the education sector, including both primary and secondary institutions. Other placements have been in agriculture and provided technical assistance through the United Nations Development Program. From 1986 until 2000 there was a hiatus in the program. The program commenced in 2000 but on a relatively small scale.
Main focus areas
Women's economic empowerment and reduction of gender violence
Volunteer assignments will strengthen the capacity of local organisations to improve gender equality outcomes particularly through women’s economic empowerment, reducing and responding to violence against women and building women’s leadership.
Improving food security and sustainable livelihoods
Volunteer assignments aim to enhance agriculture’s contribution to sustainable and inclusive growth and economic growth and food security. They will also support human capacity building in the agriculture sector.
Improving health outcomes
Volunteer assignments will focus on increasing access to quality basic health services for marginalised, poor and remote communities.
Improving accessing to water sanitation & hygiene (WASH)
Volunteer assignments will aid development of appropriate media and resources for purposes of information, knowledge sharing and awareness raising around the issue of clean water and sanitation.
Improving education outcomes
Volunteer assignments will strengthen the vocational education system through teacher training and curriculum development.