The founders chose Tanzania for their projects due to the tremendous need and the large number of orphans. Projects are achievable in Tanzania because it is a peaceful nation and there are Tanzanian partners willing to work with OA.


Tanzania is located in East Africa on the Indian Ocean. There are 8 countries that border Tanzania: Kenya and Uganda to the North; Rwanda, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the West; and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the South. Click here for a map. It is twice the size of California geographically.

Tanzania is a beautiful country. You can go on safari in the Serengeti or Mikumi to try to see if you can find the “Big 5” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), camp in the Ngorongoro Crater, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (the tallest point in Africa), visit Lake Victoria (the world’s second largest freshwater lake), or check out the tropical island paradise at Zanzibar. There are many quality safaris and travel organizations to choose from.


The population is 63,852,892 (2022 est.)


Swahili is the official Tanzanian language, although English is taught in schools and it is the official language for commerce, government and higher education. Most people in larger cities and who have higher education speak English. On the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of mainland Tanzania, Arabic is mostly spoken. There are also many different local languages and dialects within different communities throughout Tanzania.


Tanzania is one of the poorer countries in the world. It ranks 158th our of 191 countries. Tanzania’s economy is predominately agricultural; cash crops include coffee, tea, cashews, tobacco, sugarcane, bananas, corn, and cassava. Agriculture makes up 40% of the GDP, provides 85% of the exports and employs 64% of the workforce. While the economy depends on agriculture, it thrives on gold production and tourism.


In Tanzania, School is viewed with great respect by children and parents. It is the gateway to a better future and taken very seriously. Former President, Julius Nyerere in the 1960’s, placed great importance on education. He made primary education required and funded the construction of village schools. The outcome was that, by the late 1980s, Tanzania’s literacy rate was one of the highest in Africa. But, following Nyerere’s failed agrarian socialism policies, the government funding of primary schools ended. In order for the schools to continue educating children and paying teachers’ salaries, students had to now pay fees which made school an impossible luxury for the poorest children and school enrollment quickly fell.

Public/government school is not free. 85% of children enroll, only about 65% complete. Of those just 5% complete their secondary education.

In certain cultures, particularly among the rural communities, it is considered pointless to educate female children as many of them are destined for an arranged marriage when they reach puberty (Winks, 2014).

Overview of the Education System

Pre-primary School: equivalent to preschool in the US

Primary School: equivalent to elementary and middle school in the US (Grades 1-7)

Primary school is broken down into Standards (1-7)

Secondary School: equivalent to high school in the US (Grades 8-11)

Secondary school is broken down into Forms (1-4 and those who pass a national examination can buy Form 5-6 which is like college preparation)
Form 1-4 (grades 8-11)
Form 5 and 6 (grades 12 and 13)
What is the National Examination?

An exam that is taken by every student in the country. It determines a student’s educational future. The exam typically covers 4 years’ worth of material on 10 subjects.

The first major set of national exams is at the end of Primary School. Students must pass to continue onto Secondary School. The second major set of exams is at the end of Form 2 and after Form 4. Students must pass it to continue onto Form 5.

Winks, Q. (2014). Culture Smart Tanzania. London: Kuperard.


Presently, Tanzania has a female president, President Samia Suluhu Hassan. She was the vice-president until the untimely death of President Magufuli. Today, the disparity in status between men and women is rooted in generations of patriarchal society. Women living in Tanzania are greatly marginalized. Many girls are pulled out of school first if their families cannot afford to send all of their children to school. The girls stay home to help with the younger children, family chores and duties, while boys are revered and most families keep them in school. Girls are also still expected to marry and start having children of their own at a young age, while still cooking, cleaning and perhaps working a job. (Marriages in Tanzania are often arranged and dowries are paid to the groom’s family.) Women lack the education and have low literacy rates which are reflected by their low profile in national politics and business. The government is trying to improve the status of women overall by increasing the number of women’s seats in the parliament and has included women in decision-making at the national levels. “While women are allowed to vote, produce goods for market, engage in trade, and keep some of their earnings, the campaign against discrimination is mostly a fight in the public sphere. In reality, life for most women is still far from easy (Winks, 2014).”

Winks, Q. (2014). Culture Smart Tanzania. London: Kuperard.


As Tanzania is located just south of the equator, the climate is hot and humid. Rather than having four distinct “seasons,” Tanzania has rainy and dry seasons. The main rainy season is typically between March and May, although increasingly the weather in Africa is becoming unpredictable. Tropical downpours are typical in the afternoons. June – Oct is the long dry season, followed by the “short rains” in Nov – Dec, which are much lighter than during the rainy season. Jan-Feb are usually the hottest. Temperatures average 30°C (86°F) and above during the day, and 19°C (66°F) and above at night. Temperatures of 38°C (100°F) or more are common during the afternoons.  For more comprehensive climate information, see BBC Weather Guide and scroll down for “Tanzania.” If you are traveling in one of the mountainous, remote regions, temperatures can plunge to 4°C (39°F) at night, yet turn quite warm during the day.


Meals are simple, delicious, and cooked over a wood or charcoal fire. Common dishes might include the national dish, ugali, a mixture of maize, flour and water and is similar to corn-meal, chapati (Indian flat bread), mandazi (raised fried bread), chips mayai (a french fry omelet), stir-fried cabbage and carrots, eggs, rice, fried potatoes, red beans, stewed greens, fish, chicken, stewed tomatoes, onions, avocados, papaya, bananas, plantains, and cassava.