A major focus for the Peace Corps program in Tanzania is secondary education. The country has a critical shortage of math and science teachers at the secondary school level. Due to lack of financial and human resources, the government is not able to attract the number of teachers it requires. Current Volunteers teach mathematics and science subjects in both private and public schools, as well as information and communication technology (ICT) at teacher colleges. All Volunteer teachers in secondary schools help with computer skills training.
Education Volunteers also work in resource identification and development, curriculum improvement, and extracurricular and community projects. Volunteers incorporate issues important to the surrounding community into their lesson plans, including HIV/AIDS, environmental education, and girls' empowerment.
The health education project increases basic health knowledge and improves health attitudes and behaviors of Tanzanian youth, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention. Volunteers are assigned in communities with functioning schools, primary and secondary schools, a health center/dispensary, and a functioning village government.
An environment project addresses basic village-level needs for the conservation and development of natural resources. The project has expanded to address community needs and national strategies, including the National Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan and a local government reform program that decentralized economic planning down to the district and village levels.
The project empowers Volunteers and their counterparts to make use of existing indigenous knowledge in agriculture, soil conservation, small-scale agribusiness, environmental education, home gardens, and HIV/AIDS awareness while mitigating its impact to agriculture and food security in the rural areas.
All Volunteers are involved with HIV/AIDS prevention activities. They may also help care for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) or orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) by providing nutrition education through permaculture and sustainable agriculture activities so these groups can live longer more productive lives by boosting their immune systems.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Tanzania
Peace Corps Volunteers first arrived in Tanzania (then called Tanganyika) in 1962. Since then, approximately 2,000 Volunteers have served in Tanzania, working in education, health, the environment, and agriculture. In the early years of Peace Corps/Tanzania, most Volunteers focused on education.
As a result of political disagreements over the Vietnam War and former President Julius Nyerere’s philosophy of self-reliance, the Peace Corps withdrew from Tanzania from 1969 to 1979. The Peace Corps had another, shorter period of interrupted service in 1991 and 1992 because of tensions and security concerns related to the Persian Gulf War. In 1992, a thorough evaluation of the Peace Corps’ development priorities in Tanzania led to a decision to focus efforts on revitalizing the program in secondary education. In 1996 Peace Corps/Tanzania launched an environment project, and in 2000 it initiated a school health education project. Today, Peace Corps/Tanzania has about 130 Volunteers; half of them serve in the education project, 30 percent in the environment project, and 20 percent in the health education project.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Tanzania
Volunteer sites range from towns in the far north like Bukoba, Mwanza, and Musoma on Lake Victoria to towns in the deep south like Mtwara and Lindi. No Volunteers serve along the western borders with Burundi, Rwanda, or Lake Tanganyika. Health Volunteers are assigned to communities where there is a primary and secondary school and health center. Education Volunteers are posted at or near secondary schools in both rural and urban sites, while environment Volunteers work in village communities. The determination of a Volunteer’s site is made during training, after staff members have had an opportunity to match an individual’s strengths and capabilities with the needs of the host community or school.
Main article: Training in Tanzania
Training is an essential part of Peace Corps service. Learning to live and work in a new culture and environment can be quite challenging. The goal of pre-service training is to give you enough skills and information to allow you to live and work effectively in Tanzania.
The five major components of training are technical skills, cross-cultural adaptation, language, personal health, and safety and security, which are presented in an integrated manner. You will live with a Tanzanian family and interact daily with Tanzanians during most of your training. You will also have opportunities to work with and learn from Tanzanians in real-life experiences. Education Volunteers will spend three weeks at an internship school near their host family’s home. Environmental Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn directly from farmers in the villages where their training takes place. Health Volunteers will be able to gain valuable experience in schools and health facilities near their training site. The training period can be both stressful and exhilarating. You will confront a new culture, work to gain fluency in a new language, learn new professional skills, and build support systems with others who are going through the same roller-coaster of adjustments. You will need patience, flexibility, energy, and good humor to get the most out of this rich experience. You will find the Peace Corps’ training staff ready and willing to accommodate your needs and help you get off to the best possible start. The Peace Corps anticipates that you will approach training with an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to become involved.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Tanzania
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Tanzania maintains a clinic with full-time medical officers, who assist Volunteers with their primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Tanzania at local hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an approved medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Tanzania
In Tanzania, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Tanzania.
Outside of Tanzania’s largest cities, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Tanzania
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Tanzania?
- What is the electric current in Tanzania?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Tanzania friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Tanzania?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing list for Tanzania
This section has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Tanzania and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. Luggage should be durable, lockable, and easy to carry. Because you will probably travel a lot by bus, duffel bags or small internal frame backpacks are more practical than suitcases.
- General Clothing
- For Women
- For Men
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
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Contributions to the Tanzania Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Tanzania. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Tanzania
- Friends of Tanzania
- List of resources for Tanzania
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports