PCI has worked in Tanzania since 2008, increasing access to clean water, improving food and nutrition security among vulnerable children and families, and promoting the economic and social empowerment of women.

  • Children washing hands
  • Tanzania man
  • Tanzania women and children

The Need

Despite recent economic growth, the United Republic of Tanzania is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 159th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (UNDP 2014). While the country has experienced a healthy 7% annual growth in GDP over the last 10 years, this has not effectively translated into reduced poverty – particularly for those in rural areas. The percent of population below the poverty line dropped only eight percentage points (39% to 31%) between 1990 and 2014, falling far short of the progress needed to meet its MDG goal of 19% by 2015 (UNDP 2014). Moreover, poor nutritional outcomes continue to persist: In 2010, 42% of children remained stunted (DHS 2014). Adding to the economic burden, one third of families care for and house at least one foster or orphaned child.


PCI/Tanzania began operations in 2008 with a water and sanitation improvement project funded by the Starbucks Foundation Ethos Water Fund which provided access to clean water to 33,000 people living in the rural Manyara Region. Since that time, PCI has expanded and deepened its presence through its US Department of Agriculture-funded Food for Education program which is increasing enrollment and attendance of pre- and primary school children in Mara Region. In addition, PCI recently expanded its programming to include a USDA-funded Local Regional Procurement (LRP) program, designed to support school feeding through the procurement and distribution of locally grown food. PCI/Tanzania also partnered with Google.org and USAID to develop an innovative approach which is helping pastoralists find greener pastures for their livestock.


TECHNICAL EXPERTISE: Education, Water & Sanitation, Food & Nutrition Security, Livelihoods.

Increasing Access to Education and Improving Health

Since 2010, PCI has been implementing USDA’s Food for Education program which aims to improve literacy outcomes through the provision of school meals and help increase attendance, enrollment, and attentiveness for students within 231 schools in Musoma, Butiama, and Bunda districts. With the recent addition of the USDA-funded LRP Program, Chakula Chetu (which means “Our Food” in Swahili), PCI/Tanzania will reach an additional 16 schools in Butiama District through distribution of locally purchased foods. Chakula Chetu will foster a network of stakeholders (government leadership, market actors, schools, parents, farmers, and communities) to build sustainable capacity for a transition to locally-led school feeding.

PCI is working with local governments to provide daily school meals and increase the capacity of Village Councils and School Committees to identify and address barriers to access to school for girls and boys and mobilize communities to contribute time, funds, and in-kind goods to actively participate in all aspects of the program. To date, PCI has connected 67 farmer groups with participating schools, which have provided approximately 30 metric tons to support school meals.

In addition, PCI works hand-in-hand with a variety of local stakeholders and builds their capacity to construct and use ecological stoves, establish student-led School Health Clubs, conduct de-worming campaigns, construct school latrines and rainwater harvesting tanks, and cultivate school gardens to enhance the nutrition of school meals. To improve the quality of education, PCI improves student-to-textbook ratios and works closely with the Ministry of Education and vocational training and education officials at all levels to increase teachers’ skills through training on child-centered teaching methodologies.

Over the life of the Food for Education program, PCI will serve over 47 million meals to children who will also benefit from complementary activities in health, water and sanitation, literacy, and school-based agriculture.

Engaging Men in Infant and Young Child Feeding

In collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Purdue University, and the African Academy of Public Health, PCI will implement the EFFECTS study. The study consists of two components – Engaging Fathers For Effective Child Nutrition in Tanzania (EFFECT) and The Design and Evaluation of an Integrated Evidence-Based Nurturing Care Strategy for Families with Young Children in the First Three Years of Life in Northern Tanzania (EFFECT+). In addition to supporting the adoption of optimal infant and young child feeding practices among caregivers, EFFECTS will support the adoption of nurturing care practices between caregiver and child, and will also target the enabling environment and well-being of caregivers.

Women’s Empowerment through Innovation

PCI is enabling families to improve their quality of life by establishing Women Empowered (WE) groups that contribute to the social and economic empowerment of women through village savings and loan activities and discussion of social issues affecting women and girls. 429 WE groups have been formed in PCI’s program areas, consisting of 9,531 community members which have already accumulated over $594,000 in savings to date. Through a unique partnership with DreamStart Labs, PCI is piloting DreamSave Innovation – a fully integrated mobile technology solution for VSLs that enables millions of women around the world to access mobile banking using basic feature smart phones.

Harnessing Technology to Improve Livelihoods for Pastoralists

In 2013, with funding from USAID, PCI developed an award-winning innovation that provides semi-nomadic pastoralists with satellite-powered maps showing the density of vegetation in their traditional grazing lands. With the map, pastoralists can make better decisions on where to take their livestock to graze—an imperative decision that has become increasingly challenging due to climate change. The pilot project tested the potential of the innovation by delivering paper-based vegetation maps to pastoralists in Ethiopia and found a 78% adoption rate and 48% reduction in herd mortality. While the results demonstrated that PCI had tapped a real need that could have a transformational impact, the next challenge was to develop a scalable delivery model so that more pastoralists could access the maps. With Google.org, Fordham University, and Hoefsloot Spatial Solutions as partners, PCI developed a mobile application called AfriScout, which gives pastoralists immediate and direct access to the maps as pasture conditions change. AfriScout, which will launch in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia in 2018, not only displays up-to-date vegetation maps, but will also geolocate the user and calculate distance to desired grazing areas.

Recent Program Highlights

Building on the Food for Education program, PCI and Kansas State University implemented a rigorous, field-based nutritional efficacy study to assess changes in nutritional status among children under five through the provision of novel, fortified sorghum-based food aid products.

In partnership with Tanzania Marketing and Communication (TMARC), PCI strengthened local capacity and reduced risky sexual behavior and HIV infection among adolescents across Tanzania through the Families Matter Project funded by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With funding from the Starbucks Foundation Ethos Water Fund, PCI implemented a three-year water and sanitation project which provided access to clean water to 33,000 people living in the rural Manyara Region by constructing and rehabilitating 129 water points, forming community-led water user groups, and improving water and sanitation practices.

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