The United Republic of Tanzania (the Union of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar) has a population of 44.9 million, with 70% based in rural areas. There is a large youth population with 44.1% of the country’s population aged below 15 years of age. The Human Development Index ranks Tanzania at 148 among 169 countries and 66th out of 134 countries on the gender index. A quarter of all households in Mainland Tanzania are women-headed, and a fifth for Zanzibar. A vast majority of these households are characterised as resource poor, compared to those headed by males.

Almost 33.6% of the population are below the basic needs poverty line, as are 24.5% of female headed households. Per capita income was $652 USD in 2012.

Tanzania’s extractive industry, currently dominated by gold mining, contributed to around 3.7% of the GDP and 45% of foreign exchange earnings in 2012. There is a very rapid expansion of the oil and gas industry. Major natural gas finds in the last six months has fuelled debates on the “resource curse”, and led to violent political unrest in these regions.

Tanzania is a stable multi-party democracy but has seen increased religious and political tension, with sporadic violence and demonstrations both in Zanzibar and on the mainland.The number of female members of parliament (MP) in Tanzania has continued to grow, now at 36%, but mainly through Temporary Special Measures (TSM). Out of 126 female MPs from a total 357 MPs, only nine of the women were elected. The Zanzibar House of Representatives has 27 women out of 81 MPs, among them, only two members were elected.

Discrimination, abuse and violence against women and girls (VAWG) is wide-spread and common in Tanzania due to patriarchal and traditional norms. Two out of five women in the 15 to 49 age range have experienced physical violence. One out of ten women aged 15 to 49 years have experienced forced sexual intercourse against their will. Levels of discrimination, intolerance and violence against people with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersex gender identities are extremely high, along with violence and killing of older women (often in relation to accusations of witchcraft). People with albinism have also been the target of violence and killings.

Our programmes

Women lead and participate in decision making

Leadership and participation is crucial to UN Women Tanzania due to an ongoing constitutional review and national elections coming up in 2015. It is also a priority for UN Women Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) with a regional programme emerging and also through the Africa Centre for Transformative and Inclusive Leadership (ACTIL). UN Women Tanzania will partner with UNDP to support women’s platforms in parliament and the House of Representatives through the Legislatures Support Programme (LSP) and will focus on strengthening the capacities of national parliaments in the mainland and Zanzibar. We will also work with Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in the mainland and Zanzibar to promote women’s participation in electoral process and voters and candidates. UN Women Tanzania will also work to mitigate and address violence against women in elections.

Women are economically empowered and benefit from development

UN Women Tanzania is levering broader programmatic work of other UN agencies in the area of economic empowerment as part of the One UN Tanzania Youth Employment Programme. We are also partnering with the Ministry of Trade to improve access to finance for women entrepreneurs and traders through dialogue with private financial institutions. With the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) women entrepreneurs and traders will be trained on entrepreneurial and marketing skills. With SIDO and the Tanzania Women Chambers of Commerce, informal women traders will be trained on international buyer requirements, rights and duties of exporters and importers and custom procedures. UN Women Tanzania will support national platforms for women’s cross border traders’ associations and networks for dealing with women’s rights issues. We will partner with Barefoot College in India through the Barefoot Solar Initiative to further women’s economic empowerment. UN Women Tanzania will collaborate with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VEDA) to economically empower women and girls in the oil and gas sector, as well as other initiatives to engage in regional initiatives on energy and the extractive industries. Beyond the supply side, UN Women will invest in key civil society organisations, such as SIDO, Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce, NCA and Gender and Sustainable Energy Network to build capacities and skills of women in selected communities in trade, business development, renewable energy technologies so as they benefit from existing opportunities and engage in advocacy mapping key issues for women’s empowerment.

Women and girls live a life free from violence

UN Women Tanzania will support the review of discriminatory laws and promote services such as legal aid for survivors of violence. We will support policy work to implement national strategies and action plans on violence against women. Efforts will continue to ensure national and local partners have access to evidence-based and international good practices to respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG). UN Women Tanzania will ensure that there is a coordinated UN-system action to prevent and eliminate VAWG including interagency initiatives such as the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign. In terms of HIV and AIDS, UN Women Tanzania will support the Tanzanian AIDS commission and strengthen the policy framework to ensure women living with HIV and Aids can access resources and services.

Accountability for gender equality commitments and priorities in governance and national planning

UN Women Tanzania will spearhead work in the area of governance and national planning and budgeting, with special emphasis on building the capacities of national women’s machineries to engage in policy decisions under the Big Results Now initiative.