In rural areas of the Arusha and Kilimanjaro districts of northern Tanzania, 71% of the population live on less than US$1 per day, and more than two thirds of families struggle to obtain enough food.
Many children suffer from severe health problems such as malnutrition and malaria, and an estimated 30% of children are involved in manual labour.
It is in this challenging environment that nearly 1 in 3 people is infected with HIV/AIDS, and 20% of children are orphaned by the disease.
Ace Africa Tanzania works to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, orphaned and vulnerable children as well as the many girls and women marginalised in their communities due to cultural practices and discrimination.
The organisation’s programmes work with communities to improve the wellbeing of individuals, which includes supporting sustainable living practices and child rights awareness.
Its innovative Child Rights Committees (CRCs) address cases of child abuse, female genital mutilation and early marriage, providing the basis for communities to resolve issues themselves.
The organisation also runs child-to-child health clubs in schools, where children receive counselling and education on health, HIV/AIDS, rights, nutrition, hygiene and life skills.
Sustainable living is promoted through an Agriculture and Nutrition programme through which beneficiaries learn about the production of high-value crops and water-saving techniques.
Since 2008, Ace has established 55 school-based child to-child health clubs and more than 3,700 children have received counselling.
Thanks to the provision of sanitary pads, there has been an 82% increase in regular school attendance for girls. More than 3,000 families have also been supported by Ace’s kitchen gardens, feeding 23,000 people.
Photos: Desmond Kwande