Caritas is a Latin word. It is a functional expression of Love and in
Biblical terms, Caritas means charity.
Caritas Tanzania was established in 1971 by the decision of the Tanzania Episcopal
conference with intent to co-ordinate charitable as well as social development projects. It
assists communities and individuals in need in the areas of emergency situations,
overwhelmed by poverty or handicapped by physical disabilities. It is engaged in both
relief and development work.
The organisation exists and operates at two distinct levels, namely at National level and
Diocesan level. The National office of Caritas Tanzania under the auspices of the Tanzania
Episcopal Conference plays the role of co-ordinating the Diocesan Caritas offices and is a
member of Caritas Internationalis acts as a local partners with other International
Catholic Agencies (CIDSE).
Vision, Mission and Objectives of Caritas Tanzania
Based on the Catholic Church social teaching gospel values and principles of Love, Peace
and Justice, Caritas Tanzania envisaged a society characterised by sustainable and integral
human development Mt.25:31-36. The motto of Caritas Tanzania is "Everybody is my
The Caritas Tanzania mission is to facilitate participatory community development and
relief work by empowering people irrespective of race, ethnicity, creed, sex or age.
To facilitate the animation and empowerment of communities in their efforts to improve their living conditions in order to enhance human dignity.
To assist Church and community organisations in initiating and organising development and relief work.
To pay special attention to the needs of women and youth.
To promote and maintain good relationship with the government and other organisations in matters pertaining to the social well being of the people.
To advocate on behalf of marginalised and other disadvantaged groups in the society.
To establish and maintain good working relationship between national Caritas and
Caritas Tanzania Programs:
In order to perform its activities, Caritas Tanzania has divided itself into three sections
namely, Emergency and Relief, Women in Development and Child Care, Development and
Youth Section. Each of the sections is co-ordinating and or facilitate various programs
which reaches millions of people in the areas of relief and development. It does this in
collaboration with the International Caritas Network, the Government of Tanzania, the UN
system and local community leadership. The following programs cut across human social
needs especially the areas of refugee services, relief to victims of drought and flood
disasters, disabled persons and the development.
Caritas Tanzania aligns its project development plan to the country's national priorities,
thus projects from the sector of agriculture receive the highest priority attention followed
by the sector of education, water, health, social welfare - especially those addressing
problems of women and finally small scale industry.
Food shortage in Tanzania is an alarming problem. Unreliable weather condition has led
the country into shortage of food. There has been malnutrition cases in various areas
especially in drought prone areas.
Caritas Tanzania through development section is co-ordinating and facilitating programs
related to food security and nutrition at both national and diocesan levels.
Women In Development:
Women in Tanzania are the majority population, and they are the majority labour force in
the Agricultural Sector the main stay of the Tanzanian economy. Ironically the women
are the poorest. They do not own means of production nor do they own the product of
their labour. The majority of women do not have access to credit facilities, extension
services and relevant skills. They are also discriminated from planning and decision
making of both micro and macro projects.
In consideration to the mentioned factors, Caritas Tanzania through WID section, plays a
big role of empowering women to engage themselves in socio-economic fields within the
guidelines of the self reliance policy of the country.
This program also raise gender awareness at different levels in the development work of
the church and within the Tanzanian context. This is because Gender imbalance has
adversely affected women in development due to the existence of discriminatory and
oppressive laws and customs, unequal opportunities in education as well as concentration
of women stereo-types activities.
Caritas Tanzania is intending to start child care program in order to address children
problems. This will include strengthening of nursery schools and nutrition. It will also
address the problem of street children and child labour.
The increase of unemployment and drug abuse for youth is an alarming problem. It is not
only contributing to the growth of poverty but also threatening the existing peace. Most of
the youth and women who have any level of education are neither employed in the formal
sector nor in the informal sector. This is due to inadequate employment opportunities and
inappropriate skills acquired. On the other hand cases of youth trafficking and taking
drugs are increasing year after year as a result youth are affected mentally, physically,
socially an psychologically. For that reason there are many School dropouts. These factors
have negative impact on education and labour force.
Caritas Tanzania Youth Programme is intending to create self employment projects and
also to create awareness on negative effects of drugs and rehabilitating the victims. This
will be done in collaboration with other Church Institutions such as International
Movement Catholic Students (IMCS) TYCS the Government, Non Governmental
Organisations, the Community and in particular youth themselves.
Tanzania like other countries in Africa has been continuously facing famine and disaster
problems. This has been due to unreliable weather conditions which brought drought and
floods. The coming of El-nino which is still affecting the country has led to the poor
production of food because of floods and hence forced the country to appeal for food
assistance from outside the country.
Caritas Tanzania is co-ordinating and facilitating emergency activities in the country
especially in the area of famine food aid in nineteen (19) administrative districts. Other
emergencies and disasters are dealt with when arised.
Refugees and Social Welfare:
The refugees and social welfare problems in Tanzania has been a continuous problem.
Caritas Tanzania through the section of Emergency and Relief is providing humanitarian
assistance to the refugees and social welfare cases at both National and Diocesan levels.
1993 - 1996 was the most challenging period to Tanzania when it received more than
900,000 refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. Though many of these refugees were
repatriated, Tanzania is still receiving refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Somalia
and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There are 29 dioceses in Tanzania and in each diocese there is a Diocesan Caritas
Director/Executive Secretary assisted by three Co-ordinators namely; Development
Co-ordinator, Emergency Co-ordinator and Women/Children and Youth Co-ordinator.
The functions and activities of these sections in the dioceses are almost the same as at
National office, but all depends on their needs.
P.O. Box 2133 Dar es Salaam
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Last Updated October 1, 1998 by Ms/ Oliva Kinabo