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Peace Corps' official publication on Tanzania is The Peace Corps Welcomes You to Tanzania : A Peace Corps Publication for New Volunteers. This book is mailed to Peace Corps Invitees that have been invited to serve in Tanzania . To view this book click here This publication is revised every couple of years with the bulk of the responsibility for editing/updating the content placed on Peace Corps/Tanzania Country Director (CD). A problem with the publication is the CD usually has more important things to do so little priority is placed on the publication. Another shortcoming of the book is that the CD leads of very different lifestyle in Tanzania than PCV’s do, so the subjective statements in the book can vary greatly from what volunteers actually say.

The solution is this page. It is based on the information in The Peace Corps Welcomes You to Tanzania , however, PCV's in CAMEROON and RPCV’s who served in Tanzania actively edit items and add content to this page to keep in updated.



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.

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Ag Economics 1985 1989
Ag Education 1981 1992
Ag Extension 1966 2007
Animal Husband 1997 2007
Animal Husband Lg 1983 1997
Crop Extension 1961 2007
Farm Mechanics 1984 1985
Fisheries Marine 1987 1989
Business Business Advising 1982 1989
Computer Science 2003 2008
Cooperatives 1989 1989
NGO Advising 2005 2005
Crisis Corps Crisis Corps 1992 2004
Education Bus. Ed/Sectl Skl 1993 1995
English Teacher 1963 2007
Fisheries Fresh 1981 1989
Gen. Construction 1981 1981
Home Economics 1982 1989
Library Science 1985 1989
Math Teacher Trainer 1993 1993
Occupat. Therapy 1983 1983
Prim-Ed/Teach Trn 1989 2007
Science Teacher Trainer 1992 1993
Secondary-Ed Math 1965 2008
Secondary-Ed Sci. 1967 2008
Environment Comm Forestry Ext 1986 1997
Environmental Ed. 1991 2002
Forestry 1981 2007
Protected Areas Management 1985 1992
Health Disease Control 1981 1981
Envir. and Water Resource 1981 1994
Health Extension 2003 2007
Home Econ/Ext. 1981 1982
Hygiene Ed/Sanitation 1981 1989
Nursing 1981 1983
Master's International Masters Internationalist 2001 2001
Other Unique Skill 1963 1999
UNV United Nations Volunteer 1977 1989
Youth and Community Development Appropriate Tech. 1985 1987
Commun. Serv/Deg. 1981 2007
Mechanics 1981 1991
Road Const/Engin. 1989 1989

History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Tanzania.

As a relatively small player in a country of almost 36 million people, Peace Corps/Tanzania recognizes the need for a strategic vision that focuses on niche areas, where a small number of dedicated Volunteers can make a significant difference. Our projects are in areas where we can play a catalytic or model-building role while meeting Tanzania’s real, identified needs. Thus, our projects in education, health, and the environment have the potential to make a real difference in Tanzania. Our focus on youth, particularly in the areas of environmental education, empowerment of girls, and HIV/AIDS prevention and care, serves our overall “country theme” as it empowers young people to take greater control of their lives and to be responsible, active members of their communities.

The education project continues to play a critical role in math and science education by serving students and teachers in schools, particularly girls’ schools and rural schools. We encourage out-of-classroom initiatives by providing resources and training opportunities for youth leadership and activism by employing peer education models. In January 2003, Peace Corps/Tanzania and the Ministry of Education and Culture initiated a pilot program focusing on computer education. To expand information and communication technology (ICT) in Tanzania, four ICT Volunteers assigned to the education sector began work in 2004.

The environment project addresses community development with activities such as animal raising, tree planting, and changing nonsustainable agricultural practices. It increasingly focuses on youth—the farmers of tomorrow—through educational activities for primary school students and out-ofschool youth. Volunteers in this project work with other Peace Corps sectors to promote girls’ empowerment and to address health concerns, including HIV/AIDS, at the grass-roots level.

Volunteers in the health education project work with partner agencies and government structures to reach students, out-of–school youth, and teachers. The work focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness but other basic health issues are also addressed. Volunteers engage in direct work with students, but also work with teachers to enable them to confidently teach topics such as sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, and life skills that are part of the national curriculum. Volunteers may also participate in health education activities at health centers and in their communities.

Recognizing the seriousness of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, all Peace Corps/Tanzania Volunteers receive training in strategies for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and are encouraged to be involved in these activities in their communities. In 2006, Peace Corps/Tanzania is moving into the area of care by providing nutrition education to those hardest hit by the pandemic—people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) and orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). Health and environment Volunteers will be trained in establishing home gardens and effective permaculture so they can show PLWHAS and OVCS how to getter better nutrition from food produced through these activities.

The AIDS pandemic strikes across all social strata in many Peace Corps countries. The loss of teachers has crippled education systems, while illness and disability drains family income and forces governments and donors to redirect limited resources from other priorities. The fear and uncertainty AIDS causes has led to increased domestic violence and stigmatizing of people living with HIV/AIDS, isolating them from friends and family and cutting them off from economic opportunities.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will confront these issues on a very personal level. It is important to be aware of the high emotional toll that disease, death, and violence can have on Volunteers. As you strive to integrate into your community, you will develop relationships with local people who might die during your service. Because of the AIDS pandemic, some volunteers will be regularly meeting with HIV positive people and working with training staff, office staff and host family members living with AIDS. Volunteers need to prepare themselves to embrace these relationships in a sensitive and positive manner. Likewise, malaria and malnutrition, motor vehicle accidents and other unintentional injuries, domestic violence and corporal punishment are problems a Volunteer may confront. You will need to anticipate these situations and utilize supportive resources available throughout your training and service to maintain your own emotional strength, so that you can continue to be of service to your community.



The history of Tanzania begins with the dawn of our species. Most experts agree that the earliest humans originated in fertile regions of East Africa. Cushitic-speaking people from southern Ethiopia migrated through the eastern part of the Great Rift Valley into north-central Tanzania during the first millennium B.C. Early cattle herders found an unoccupied niche in the virgin grasslands and coexisted with the Khoisan hunters and gatherers who were already there. During the first millennium A.D., Bantu-speaking peoples originating from west-central Africa filtered into western Tanzania and the fertile volcanic mountains of the northeast. These iron-working cultivators preferred wetter areas and thus avoided the dry savannas that were already occupied by hunters and gatherers and pastoralists.

Early residents of Tanzania’s coastal region experienced heavy Eastern, rather than African, cultural influences and thus developed a different culture from the people living in the interior. Merchants from Egypt, Assyria, Phoenicia, Greece, India, Arabia, Persia, and China were already visiting this region during the first century A.D. By the ninth century, Arabs and Shirazi Persians were significant traders on the coast, and large numbers of them settled on the offshore islands. In time, the Arab and Shirazi communities intermingled with the Bantu-speaking mainland groups and a new culture—the Swahili—was born.

During the late 19th century, European explorers and missionaries used Zanzibar as a point of departure for the mainland. Their travels helped define future colonial boundaries and paved the way for Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries.

In its desire to establish an economic and political foothold among other European powers, a newly unified Germany entered mainland Tanzania in 1884 and signed a series of agreements with local rulers that ceded administrative and commercial protection to Germany. With the onset of World War I, Germany lost control of mainland Tanzania. Great Britain took over and renamed the mainland Tanganyika. In 1922, the League of Nations consigned Tanganyika to the British Empire under its mandate system.

It was not until 1961 that Tanganyika gained independence from Britain, with Julius Nyerere as the country’s first president. In January 1964, revolutionary forces overthrew the sultan of Zanzibar, and three months later, the mainland and the islands of Zanzibar joined to become the United Republic of Tanzania.


The United Republic of Tanzania was formed on April 26, 1964, by the adoption of the Act of Union between Tanganyika and the islands of Zanzibar. The nation is governed under a Constitution formulated in 1977.

The chief executive of Tanzania is a president, currently Jakaya Kikwete, who is popularly elected to a five-year term. The president appoints a vice president, prime minister, and cabinet. Tanzania has a unicameral National Assembly with 244 members, 169 of whom are popularly elected to terms of five years. The rest of the members are elected by the National Assembly, are appointed by the president, or sit by virtue of being commissioners of the country’s regions. The mainland is divided into 20 regions, Zanzibar’s Unguja island is divided into three regions, and Zanzibar’s Pemba island is split into two regions.


The economy of Tanzania is primarily agricultural. About 80 percent of the economically active population is engaged in farming, and agricultural products account for about 85 percent of annual exports. The country is the world’s largest producer of cloves. Other products include tea, coffee, cashew nuts, sisal, timber, and cotton. In recent years, the mining industry has developed significantly, with gold, tanzanite, and diamonds providing jobs and income. The manufacturing sector is small and growing slowly.

With per capita income at an estimated $270 a year in 2002, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Government programs once called for a form of socialism that kept people poor but relatively equal. Those policies were abandoned in the mid-1980s in favor of a free-enterprise system, which has generated more wealth, but also more disparity of income.

People and Culture

The population of Tanzania consists of more than 120 native African groups, the majority of whom speak a Bantu language. The largest groups are the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, each representing about a fifth of the population. Tanzania is also home to people of Indian, Pakistani, and Goan origin, and small Arab and European communities.

The population of Tanzania is estimated to be close to 32 million, giving the country a population density of 106 people per square mile. The population distribution is irregular, with high densities in the fertile areas around Mount Kilimanjaro and the shores of Lake Victoria and comparatively low densities in much of the interior.

Muslims, Christians, and those with indigenous beliefs make up relatively equal proportions of Tanzania’s population. Muslims live mainly along the coast and on Zanzibar, while Christians reside primarily inland and in the larger cities. Animist beliefs are still strong in many areas of the country.


The landscape of mainland Tanzania is generally flat along the coast, but a plateau with an average altitude of about 4,000 feet constitutes the majority of the country. Isolated mountain groups rise in the northeast and southwest. The volcanic Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet) is located near the northeastern border. Three of the great lakes of Africa lie on the Tanzanian border: Lake Victoria in the northwest, Lake Nyasa (also called Lake Malawi) in the southwest, and Lake Tanganyika in the west. The latter two rivers lie in the Great Rift Valley, a tremendous geological fault system that extends from the Middle East to Mozambique.

Zanzibar consists of the islands of Unguja and Pemba. Separated from the mainland by a channel that is some 25 miles wide, Unguja is about 55 miles long and covers an area of 640 square miles. It is the largest coral island off the coast of Africa. Pemba, some 25 miles northwest of Unguja, is about 42 miles long and has an area of 380 square miles.

Elevation and distance from the sea control the climate of Tanzania. The mainland coast along the Indian Ocean is warm and tropical, with temperatures averaging 80 degrees Fahrenheit and annual rainfall ranging from 30 to 55 inches. The inland plateau is hot and dry, with annual rainfall averaging as few as 20 inches. The semi-temperate highlands in the northeast and southwest receive more water and can get quite chilly.


Following is a list of websites for additional information about the Peace Corps and Tanzania and to connect you to returned Volunteers and other invitees. Please keep in mind that although we try to make sure all these links are active and current, we cannot guarantee it.

A note of caution: As you surf the Internet, be aware that you may find bulletin boards and chat rooms in which people are free to express opinions about the Peace Corps based on their own experiences, including comments by those who were unhappy with their choice to serve in the Peace Corps. These opinions are not those of the Peace Corps or the U.S. government, and we hope you will keep in mind that no two people experience their service in the same way.

General Information About Tanzania

On this site, you can learn anything from what time it is in Dar es Salaam to how to convert from the dollar to the Tanzanian shilling.

Visit this site for general travel advice about almost any country in the world.

The U.S. State Department’s website issues background notes periodically about countries around the world. Find Tanzania and learn more about its social and political history.

This site includes links to all the official sites for governments worldwide.

This online world atlas includes maps and geographical information, and each country page contains links to other sites, such as the Library of Congress, that contain comprehensive historical, social, and political background.

This United Nations site allows you to search for statistical information for member states of the U.N.

This site provides an additional source of current and historical information about countries around the world.

Connect With Returned Volunteers and Other Invitees

This is the site of the National Peace Corps Association, made up of returned Volunteers. On this site you can find links to all the Web pages of the “friends of” groups for most countries of service, made up of former Volunteers who served in those countries. There are also regional groups who frequently get together for social events and local Volunteer activities. Or go straight to the Friends of Tanzania site: www.fotanzania.org.

This site is known as the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Web Ring. Browse the Web ring and see what former Volunteers are saying about their service.

This site is hosted by a group of returned Volunteer writers. It is a monthly online publication of essays and Volunteer accounts of their Peace Corps service.

The bulletin board hosted by this site provides an easy way to connect with former Tanzania Volunteers.

Online Articles/Current News Sites About Tanzania

News and radio from the Tanzanian perspective

Site of a Tanzanian weekly published in English

International Development Sites

Thorough information on the AIDS epidemic from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

An overview of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s projects in Tanzania

Recommended Books

  1. Chinweizu (ed.). Voices From Twentieth-Century Africa: Griots and Towncriers. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989.
  2. Fitzpatrick, Mary. Lonely Planet: Tanzania. Lonely Planet Publications, 2005. 21
  3. Maddox, Gregory, James L. Giblin, and Isaria N. Kimambo (eds.). Custodians of the Land: Ecology and Culture in the History of Tanzania. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1996.
  4. Pakenham, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent From 1876 to 1912. New York: Random House, 1991.
  5. Yeager, Rodger. Tanzania: An African Experiment (2nd rev. ed.). San Francisco: Westview Press, 1991.

Books About the History of the Peace Corps

  1. Hoffman, Elizabeth Cobbs. All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960’s. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
  2. Rice, Gerald T. The Bold Experiment: JFK’s Peace Corps. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985.
  3. Stossel, Scott. Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2004.

Books on the Volunteer Experience

  1. Dirlam, Sharon. Beyond Siberia: Two Years in a Forgotten Place. Santa Barbara, CA: McSeas Books, 2004.
  2. Casebolt, Marjorie DeMoss. Margarita: A Guatemalan Peace Corps Experience. Gig Harbor, WA: Red Apple Publishing, 2000.
  3. Erdman, Sarah. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village. New York, NY: Picador, 2003.
  4. Hessler, Peter. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. New York, NY: Perennial, 2001.
  5. Kennedy, Geraldine (ed.). From the Center of the Earth: Stories out of the Peace Corps. Santa Monica, CA: Clover Park Press, 1991.
  6. Thompsen, Moritz. Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1997 (reprint).




Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you expect U.S. standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. Airmail can take up to a minimum of two to three weeks to arrive in Tanzania and sometimes can take two weeks or more to get to your site. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately, this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Advise your family and friends that mail delivery can be sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly; also advise them to number their letters for tracking purposes and to include “Airmail” on their envelopes.

Once you begin your Volunteer service, you can have mail sent directly to your site or to the Peace Corps office in Dar es Salaam. Education Volunteers often receive mail through their school’s post office box, while other Volunteers usually rent a post office box in a nearby town. Most Volunteers find that their mail arrives faster when it goes directly to their site. During pre-service training, you will receive mail at the Peace Corps training site.

The address is:

“Your Name”, PCT

Peace Corps Training Site

PO Box 9123

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Packages sent via surface mail normally take three to six months to reach Tanzania from the United States. Packages sent by air take from three to eight weeks. Hefty duty fees may be imposed on certain items. Although Volunteers can have packages sent to the Peace Corps office in Dar es Salaam, you are strongly advised to have them sent directly to your site. For your first six months of service, Peace Corps/ Tanzania will pay the cost of clearing one package through customs and forwarding it to you at your site (a maximum of 15,000 shillings, or about $15). After that, with rare exceptions, Peace Corps will not clear additional packages for you unless there is a firm work-related reason that has been pre-approved by your supervisor for the shipment. We recommend that you wait to have packages sent until you get to your site and know what you really want or need.


Most large cities, regional capitals, and many smaller towns have domestic long-distance service, while regional capitals and all large cities have overseas service. Most Volunteers have cellphones (which should be purchased in Tanzania to ensure compatibility with local cellphone services) and find that text messaging friends and the office in-country to be a fast, reliable, and inexpensive way to communicate.

Because long-distance phone service is expensive, we recommend that you have friends and family call from the United States rather than placing calls yourself from Tanzania. Because it sometimes takes several hours (on either end) to get a call through, you should not plan on regular phone calls as the primary means of communication with loved ones back home.

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access

Environment Volunteers are discouraged from bringing personal computers to Tanzania as their sites seldom have electricity. Many education and school health Volunteer sites have electricity, so a laptop computer can be a convenience, but is certainly not a necessity. Limited repair facilities, the potential for theft, and fluctuating electrical currents make for short computer lifespans. Most Volunteers do not bring computers to Tanzania.

Access to the Internet, e-mail, and word processing is common in larger cites and becoming increasingly available in towns nationwide. Computers with Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as limited Internet access, are available at the Peace Corps office in Dar es Salaam.

Most Volunteers can access e-mail at least once a month, though a Volunteer may, on occasion, travel to a nearby town and find the network is not functioning.

Housing and Site Location

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.

Volunteer housing, which is usually similar to that of Tanzanians living in the same community, is generally modest but comfortable. Housing varies in size, but all houses are made of either cement block or fired brick with tin or tile roofs. Houses have at least two rooms and are sometimes furnished with a bed, a table, chairs, and possibly other items. Volunteers receive a settling-in allowance to assist them in obtaining basic household items and in purchasing a cellphone. Volunteer sites are located anywhere from a few hours to a few days from Dar es Salaam. Proximity to the nearest fellow Peace Corps Volunteer varies from site to site. Your nearest ex-patriate neighbor might be a British (Voluntary Service Overseas, or VSO) or Japanese (Japanese International Cooperation Agency, or JICA) volunteer.

Volunteers generally are placed alone and live alone, although having two Volunteers at one site or even in one house or sharing housing with a host country national is a possibility. The phrase “live alone” may be misleading, however. Tanzania has a collectivist or group-based culture, which means that American concepts of privacy and personal space are neither understood nor always respected. Neighborhood children will be in and out of your house on a regular basis, and adult neighbors and colleagues will be part of your daily life.

Some Volunteers have electricity and running water, but the quality and reliability of both are often poor. These services become scarcer as sites become more rural; in these areas, water may come from a community well or river, and evening light is often limited to candles and lanterns. Whatever the circumstances, it is important that you remain flexible while you adjust to your new lifestyle.

Living Allowance and Money Management

As a Volunteer, you will receive a modest but sufficient living allowance, paid in Tanzania shillings, that will allow you to live at the same economic level as your Tanzanian colleagues. Nevertheless, in many cases, your remuneration will be greater than your counterpart’s or supervisor’s salary. The amount of this allowance is based on regular surveys of Volunteers and the cost of living in Tanzania and is intended to cover food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, transportation, reading materials, and other incidentals. The living allowance (currently equivalent to about $165 per month) is paid bimonthly into Volunteers’ local bank accounts, so your ability to manage funds wisely is important.

You will also receive a settling-in allowance, which includes funds to purchase a cellphone, basic household furnishings, kitchen equipment, linens and other items to make your new house a home. Peace Corps will also provide bicycles to Volunteers who want them. A helmet (provided by the Peace Corps) must be worn at all times when riding your bicycle. Finally, you will receive a leave allowance of $24 per month (standard in all Peace Corps countries), paid in local currency along with your living allowance.

Volunteers suggest that you bring cash or credit cards for vacation travel. Credit cards are accepted only at the more expensive tourist destinations, but it is possible to get cash advances via credit cards (for a fee) in Arusha and Dar es Salaam. However, keep in mind that credit card fraud is a significant problem in Tanzania. Most stores and hotels will only accept Visa Card. Volunteers who rely on MasterCard may struggle to find places to use them.

Food and Diet

The staple food in Tanzania is maize (corn), which is prepared as a thick porridge called ugali and eaten with vegetables or beans. Meat and chicken are almost always available, and fish is plentiful in the coastal and lake areas. Many fruits and vegetables grow in Tanzania (though not all items are available year-round), and with a little creativity, you should be able to enjoy a varied diet. Most Volunteers prepare their own food, although after becoming more familiar with their sites, some Volunteers hire someone to help with household work, including cooking.

Volunteers who are vegetarian will be able to eat well in Tanzania after becoming familiar with local foods and their preparation. Vegans may have to be flexible to meet their nutritional needs. Most Tanzanians are not familiar with vegetarianism and normally will not be prepared to serve a vegetarian meal if you are a guest in their home. (It is a sign of good hospitality to serve meat to one’s guests.) Volunteers who are vegetarians will often be asked why they do not eat meat. Every Volunteer has a different way of answering this question. Some simply say they do not like meat; some say their religion has rules about meat (whether that is true or not); and some say they choose not to eat meat for health reasons. In any case, a sensitive explanation of your dietary preferences is likely to be accepted.

One former Volunteer offers this advice on handling situations involving food: “When a Volunteer is offered some food or drink they do not like, they will often refuse it and say they do not want anything, or may claim they are not hungry or thirsty. Try to find something you will eat or drink and thank them for it. If you do not like beer or soda, maybe have some tea. If you do not like meat, have some beans or potatoes. You cannot simply refuse everything—they will not stop asking until you accept something from them. Enjoy what you can, and be polite and gracious for what you cannot tolerate.”


Volunteers’ primary mode of long-distance transport is public buses. For shorter excursions, Volunteers use a daladala or a bicycle. A daladala is a minibus or small pickup truck that carries people and goods. (Yes, chickens could end up in your lap!) Buses and daladalas travel between or within towns on irregular schedules (i.e., when full), so travel in Tanzania is never a predictable affair. Many Volunteers find that in country travel options are one of the biggest difficulties they encounter. While there are more buses available every year, this can make the roads even more crowded and dangerous for travel.

Geography and Climate

Tanzania, located in southeastern Africa, borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; the Indian Ocean to the east;

Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia to the south; and Zaire, Burundi, and Rwanda to the west. The country includes the islands of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. The total area of Tanzania is 378,035 square miles (945,087 square kilometers).

Because the country is south of the equator, the seasons will be the opposite of what you are accustomed to. In June, July, and August (the cold season), temperatures range from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the lowlands and on the coast to 40 to 50 degrees in the highlands. The hottest months of the year are November, December, and January when temperatures in the highlands range from 70 to 80 degrees and those in the lowlands range from 90 to 105 degrees, with considerable humidity. The rainy season starts in late November or early December and continues through April. The rest of the year is dry, but many highland areas have showers and mist year-round. A jacket or fleece top is recommended for the cool season, and loose-fitting cotton clothes are recommended for the hot season.

The landscape of Tanzania is quite diverse. The north is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point on the African continent, as well as Mount Meru and Hanang, the third and fifth highest points in East Africa, respectively. The north is also home to numerous game parks, including the Serengeti plain and Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage site. The surrounding areas in the Great Rift Valley are also popular tourist destinations.

Tanzania contains or borders several important lakes. Lake Manyara and Lake Natron in the northern interior feature great migrations of flamingos and stunning scenery. On the northern border is Lake Victoria, the mouth of the White Nile River and the location of major commercial fishing operations. To the west lie Lake Tanganyika and, farther south, Lake Nyasa (also called Lake Malawi).

Social Activities

Larger towns often have discos and bars, which can become very lively on both weekdays and weekends. The most common form of entertainment is socializing with friends and neighbors. Some Volunteers visit other Volunteers on weekends and holidays. Although we encourage Volunteers to remain at their sites as much as possible in order to develop relationships with people in their community, we recognize that an occasional trip to the capital or to visit friends is important as well.

Tanzania has several television stations that broadcast nationwide. These stations have limited programming, but they offer a few programs from South Africa, the United States, and Europe. Satellite television is available in many cities. Tanzanian radio is quite good if you are in an area that receives FM broadcasts. Volunteers placed in rural areas rely on shortwave radio broadcasts from the BBC, Voice of America, or Radio Deutsche Wella. There are several modern cinemas in Dar es Salaam, and some hotels and bars show videos of American or European films.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

Norms for dress are much more conservative in Tanzania than in the United States. In the United States, we view our clothes as a reflection of our individuality; in Tanzania, people view one’s dress as a sign of respect for others. Tanzanians do not appreciate clothes that are dirty, have holes in them, or are too revealing or too casual. Wearing such clothes will reduce both the amount of respect you gain and your effectiveness at work. While some of your counterparts may dress in seemingly worn or shabby clothes, this will be due to economics rather than choice. The likelihood is that they are wearing their best. A foreigner who wears ragged, unmended clothing, however, is likely to be considered an affront.

Although considered fashionable in the United States, accessories like nose and tongue rings and earrings on men are frowned upon in Tanzania. This is particularly true in rural areas. Volunteers who accessorize in this way may encounter negative feelings or feedback from the people with whom they live and work. This might be because they think you are gay (homosexuality is not widely accepted in Tanzania) or because they think you are unprofessionally dressed.

Whether you work as a teacher, health educator, or environmentalist, you will be perceived as a high-status professional. You will be “on duty” seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and will need to make every effort to conform to the behavior and dress expected of educated and high-status people in your school or community. One of the difficulties of finding your place as a Peace Corps Volunteer is fitting into the local culture while maintaining your own cultural identity and acting like a professional at the same time. It is not always an easy situation to resolve, but the Peace Corps will provide you with guidelines and recommendations.

Working effectively in another culture requires a certain level of sacrifice and flexibility that can be difficult for some people. The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to behave in a manner that will foster respect within their community or school and reflect well on the Peace Corps. Behavior that jeopardizes the Peace Corps program or your personal safety cannot be tolerated and could lead to administrative separation—a decision by the Peace Corps to terminate your service. If you have reservations about your ability or willingness to make these accommodations, you should reevaluate your decision to become a Volunteer.

Personal Safety

More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault can occur but are rare Most Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help Volunteers reduce their risks and enhance their safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Tanzania. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your own safety and well-being.

Rewards and Frustrations

Although the potential for job satisfaction in Tanzania is very high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. Perceptions of time, status, privacy, protocol, and efficiency are often very different from those in America. The lack of basic infrastructure can be challenging, and host agencies do not always provide expected support in a timely manner.

Tanzanians’ views of Americans often come from the television shows, movies, or pop stars they see or hear. They generally perceive Americans as being very rich, so you are likely to be regularly asked for money. The way American women behave and are treated in our culture is also an area of considerable curiosity and surprise to Tanzanians. Confronting these issues is part of what makes the Peace Corps experience so special. Although bridging cross-cultural differences will potentially be the hardest thing you ever do, it is also likely to be one of the most fulfilling.

It is a special time to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania. With the devastating AIDS epidemic dramatically affecting all sectors of Tanzanian society, your efforts in working with youth and community members will be more important than those of any other time in Peace Corps/Tanzania’s history. You will be given a great deal of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. You will often need to motivate yourself and others with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback on, your work. Development is a slow process. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results. Nevertheless, most Volunteers leave Tanzania feeling that they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, your service is sure to be a life-altering experience.


Overview of Pre-Service Training

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.

Technical Training

Technical training will prepare you to work in Tanzania by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Tanzanian experts, and current Volunteers conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.

You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with representatives of the Tanzanian agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.

Language Training

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, they help you integrate into your community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Tanzanian language instructors teach formal language classes six days a week in small groups of about four people. Kiswahili is also introduced in the health, cultural, and technical components of training.

Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.

Cross-Cultural Training

As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Tanzanian host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Tanzania. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community assessment and mobilization, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.

Health Training

During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in Tanzania. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered. All Volunteers receive training on basic HIV/AIDS information as well as strategies and approaches for awareness and prevention activities they can carry out in their communities.

Safety Training

During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.

Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service

In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, there are usually three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:

The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.


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.

Health Issues in Tanzania

The most common health problems in Tanzania are ones that also exist in the United States, that is, colds, diarrhea, skin infections, headaches, minor injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and adjustment disorders. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Tanzania because environmental factors in-country raise the risk of, or exacerbate the severity of, certain illnesses and injuries.

Illnesses specific to Tanzania are those typical of other tropical countries, such as malaria, schistosomiasis, gastrointestinal disorders, typhoid fever, and hepatitis. All of these are preventable with appropriate knowledge and interventions. You will be vaccinated in-country against hepatitis A and B, meningitis, tetanus, typhoid, and rabies. Because malaria is endemic in Tanzania, taking antimalarial medication is required of all Volunteers. If you do not want to take malaria prophylaxis, you should not come to Tanzania.

Tanzania is one of the countries most affected by the AIDS pandemic, which can impact anyone, males and females, adults and children, regardless of sexual orientation. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue.

Alcohol is an integral part of many social interactions in Tanzania, and you may feel pressure to drink in these situations. If you have any problems with use of alcohol, be sure that you can manage this type of pressure before accepting an assignment in Tanzania. Currently, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings exist only in the capital and Arusha.

Helping You Stay Healthy

The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to stay healthy. Upon your arrival in Tanzania, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first-aid needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this chapter.

During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies through the medical officer. However, you will be responsible for your own supply of prescription drugs and any other specific medical supplies you require, as we will not order these items during training. Please bring a three-month supply of any prescription drugs you use, since they may not be available here and it may take several months for shipments to arrive.

You will have physical examinations at midservice and at the end of your service. If you develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer in Tanzania will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Tanzania, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.

Maintaining Your Health

As a Volunteer, you must accept a certain amount of responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The old adage “An ounce of prevention …” becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Tanzania is to take the following preventive measures:

Malaria is endemic in most of Tanzania and is present throughout the year. The disease can kill you if left untreated, so prevention and early recognition of infection are extremely important. It is mandatory that you take malaria prophylaxis, and other preventive measures (such as sleeping under a mosquito net) are strongly encouraged. You will learn how to make a blood slide diagnosis and how to treat malaria if you become infected.

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection that can be contracted by swimming or wading in infected water. Lake Victoria and most other freshwater bodies in the country harbor the parasite. Symptoms can take time to develop, so the Peace Corps routinely screens for the infection at the end of Volunteer service.

Many other illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken. These illnesses include food poisoning, parasitic infections, hepatitis A, dysentery, tapeworms, and typhoid fever. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Tanzania during pre-service training.

Abstinence is the only certain choice for prevention of HIV/ AIDS and other STDs. You are taking risks if you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is a host country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STDs.

Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Contraceptive methods are available without charge from the medical officer.

It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the medical office or other designated facility for scheduled immunizations, and that you let your medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses and injuries.

Women’s Health Information

Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical attention but also have programmatic ramifications. The Peace Corps is responsible for determining the medical risk and the availability of appropriate medical care if the Volunteer remains in-country. Given the circumstances under which Volunteers live and work in Peace Corps countries, it is rare that the Peace Corps’ medical and programmatic standards for continued service during pregnancy can be met.

If feminine hygiene products are not available for you to purchase on the local market, the Peace Corps medical officer in Tanzania will provide them. If you require a specific feminine hygiene product, please bring your own supply.

Your Peace Corps Medical Kit

The Peace Corps medical officer provides Volunteers with a medical kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office.

Medical Kit Contents

Ace bandages
Adhesive tape
American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook
Antacid tablets (Tums)
Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)
Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)
Butterfly closures
Calamine lotion
Cepacol lozenges
Dental floss
Diphenhydramine HCL 25 mg (Benadryl)
Insect repellent stick (Cutter’s)
Iodine tablets (for water purification)
Lip balm (Chapstick)
Oral rehydration salts
Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)
Pseudoephedrine HCL 30 mg (Sudafed)
Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)
Sterile gauze pads
Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)
Tinactin (antifungal cream)

Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist

If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your examination reports to the Peace Corps, you must immediately notify the Office of Medical Services. Failure to disclose new illnesses, injuries, allergies, or pregnancy can endanger your health and may jeopardize your eligibility to serve.

If your dental exam was done more than a year ago, or if your physical exam is more than two years old, contact the Office of Medical Services to find out whether you need to update your records. If your dentist or Peace Corps dental consultant has recommended that you undergo dental treatment or repair, you must complete that work and make sure your dentist sends requested confirmation reports or X-rays to the Office of Medical Services.

If you wish to avoid having duplicate vaccinations, contact your physician’s office, obtain a copy of your immunization record, and bring it to your pre-departure orientation. If you have any immunizations prior to Peace Corps service, the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for the cost. The Peace Corps will provide all the immunizations necessary for your overseas assignment, either at your pre-departure orientation or shortly after you arrive in Tanzania. You do not need to begin taking malaria medication prior to your stateside orientation.

Bring a three-month supply of any prescription or over-thecounter medication you use on a regular basis, including birth control pills. Although the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for this three-month supply, it will order refills during your service. While awaiting shipment—which can take several months—you will be dependent on your own medication supply. The Peace Corps will not pay for herbal or nonprescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements.

You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, but they might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about carrying a three-month supply of prescription drugs.

If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs with you—a pair and a spare. If a pair breaks, the Peace Corps will replace it, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. The Peace Corps discourages you from using contact lenses during your service to reduce your risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease. Most Peace Corps countries do not have appropriate water and sanitation to support eye care with the use of contact lenses. The Peace Corps will not supply or replace contact lenses or associated solutions unless an ophthalmologist has recommended their use for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services has given approval.

If you are eligible for Medicare, are over 50 years of age, or have a health condition that may restrict your future participation in healthcare plans, you may wish to consult an insurance specialist about unique coverage needs before your departure. The Peace Corps will provide all necessary healthcare from the time you leave for your pre-departure orientation until you complete your service. When you finish, you will be entitled to the post-service healthcare benefits described in the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. You may wish to consider keeping an existing health plan in effect during your service if you think age or pre-existing conditions might prevent you from re-enrolling in your current plan when you return home.

Safety and Security—Our Partnership

Serving as a Volunteer overseas entails certain safety and security risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a limited understanding of the local language and culture, and the perception of being a wealthy American are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Property thefts and burglaries are not uncommon. Incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although almost all Volunteers complete their two years of service without serious personal safety problems. In addition, more than 84 percent of Volunteers surveyed in the 2004 Peace Corps Volunteer Survey say they would join the Peace Corps again.

The Peace Corps approaches safety and security as a partnership with you. This Welcome Book contains sections on: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle; Peace Corps Training; and Your Health Care and Safety. All of these sections include important safety and security information.

The Peace Corps makes every effort to give Volunteers the tools they need to function in the safest and most secure way possible, because working to maximize the safety and security of Volunteers is our highest priority. Not only do we provide you with training and tools to prepare for the unexpected, but we teach you to identify and manage the risks you may encounter.

Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk

There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s control.

Based on information gathered from incident reports worldwide in 2004, the following factors stand out as risk characteristics for assaults. Assaults consist of personal crimes committed against Volunteers, and do not include property crimes (such as vandalism or theft).

Summary Strategies to Reduce Risk

Before and during service, your training will address these areas of concern so that you can reduce the risks you face.

For example, here are some strategies Volunteers employ:

Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of theft:

Support from Staff

In March 2003, the Peace Corps created the Office of Safety and Security with its mission to “foster improved communication, coordination, oversight, and accountability of all Peace Corps’ safety and security efforts.” The new office is led by an Associate Director for Safety and Security who reports to the Peace Corps Director and includes the following divisions: Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security; Information and Personnel Security; Emergency Preparedness, Plans, Training and Exercise; and Crime Statistics and Analysis.

The major responsibilities of the Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security Division are to coordinate the office’s overseas operations and direct the Peace Corps’ safety and security officers who are located in various regions around the world that have Peace Corps programs. The safety and security officers conduct security assessments; review safety trainings; train trainers and managers; train Volunteer safety wardens, local guards, and staff; develop security incident response procedures; and provide crisis management support.

If a trainee or Volunteer is the victim of a safety incident, Peace Corps staff is prepared to provide support. All Peace Corps posts have procedures in place to respond to incidents of crime committed against Volunteers. The first priority for all posts in the aftermath of an incident is to ensure that the Volunteer is safe and receiving medical treatment as needed.

After assuring the safety of the Volunteer, Peace Corps staff provide support by reassessing the Volunteer’s work site and housing arrangements and making any adjustments, as needed. In some cases, the nature of the incident may necessitate a site or housing transfer. Peace Corps staff will also assist Volunteers with preserving their rights to pursue legal sanctions against the perpetrators of the crime. It is very important that Volunteers report incidents as they occur, not only to protect their peer Volunteers, but also to preserve the future right to prosecute. Should Volunteers decide later in the process that they want to proceed with the prosecution of their assailant, this option may no longer exist if the evidence of the event has not been preserved at the time of the incident.

The country-specific data chart below shows the incidence rates and the average number of incidents of the major types of safety incidents reported by Peace Corps Volunteers/ trainees in Tanzania as compared to all other Africa region programs as a whole, from 2000–2004. It is presented to you in a somewhat technical manner for statistical accuracy.

To fully appreciate the collected data below, an explanation of the graph is provided as follows:

The incidence rate for each type of crime is the number of crime events relative to the Volunteer/trainee population. It is expressed on the chart as a ratio of crime to Volunteer and trainee years (or V/T years, which is a measure of 12 full months of V/T service) to allow for a statistically valid way to compare crime data across countries. An “incident” is a specific offense, per Peace Corps' classification of offenses, and may involve one or more Volunteer/trainee victims. For example, if two Volunteers are robbed at the same time and place, this is classified as one robbery incident.

The chart is separated into eight crime categories. These include vandalism (malicious defacement or damage of property); theft (taking without force or illegal entry); burglary (forcible entry of a residence); robbery (taking something by force); minor physical assault (attacking without a weapon with minor injuries); minor sexual assault (fondling, groping, etc.); aggravated assault (attacking with a weapon, and/or without a weapon when serious injury results); and rape (sexual intercourse without consent).

When anticipating Peace Corps Volunteer service, you should review all of the safety and security information provided to you, including the strategies to reduce risk. Throughout your training and Volunteer service, you will be expected to successfully complete all training competencies in a variety of areas including safety and security. Once in-country, use the tools and information shared with you to remain as safe and secure as possible.

What if you become a victim of a violent crime?

Few Peace Corps Volunteers are victims of violent crimes. The Peace Corps will give you information and training in how to be safe. But, just as in the U.S., crime happens, and Volunteers can become victims. When this happens, the investigative team of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is charged with helping pursue prosecution of those who perpetrate a violent crime against a Volunteer. If you become a victim of a violent crime, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute is entirely yours, and one of the tasks of the OIG is to make sure that you are fully informed of your options and help you through the process and procedures involved in going forward with prosecution should you wish to do so. If you decide to prosecute, we are here to assist you in every way we can.

Crimes that occur overseas, of course, are investigated and prosecuted by local authorities in local courts. Our role is to coordinate the investigation and evidence collection with the regional security officers (RSOs) at the U.S. embassy, local police, and local prosecutors and others to ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible under the laws of the country. OIG investigative staff has extensive experience in criminal investigation, in working sensitively with victims, and as advocates for victims. We also, may, in certain limited circumstances, arrange for the retention of a local lawyer to assist the local public prosecutor in making the case against the individual who perpetrated the violent crime.

If you do become a victim of a violent crime, first, make sure you are in a safe place and with people you trust and second, contact the country director or the Peace Corps medical officer. Immediate reporting is important to the preservation of evidence and the chances of apprehending the suspect.

Country directors and medical officers are required to report all violent crimes to the Inspector General and the RSO. This information is protected from unauthorized further disclosure by the Privacy Act. Reporting the crime also helps prevent your further victimization and protects your fellow Volunteers.

In conjunction with the RSO, the OIG does a preliminary investigation of all violent crimes against Volunteers regardless of whether the crime has been reported to local authorities or of the decision you may ultimately make to prosecute. If you are a victim of a crime, our staff will work with you through final disposition of the case. OIG staff is available 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. We may be contacted through our 24-hour violent crime hotline via telephone at 1.800.233.5874, or by e-mail at [email protected]

Security Issues in Tanzania

When it comes to your safety and security in the Peace Corps, you have to be willing to adapt your behavior and lifestyle to minimize the potential for being a target for crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime does exist in Tanzania. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking precautions. Crime at the village or town level is less frequent than in the large cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets. The following are safety concerns in Tanzania of which you should be aware:

In Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Tanzania’s two largest cities, there are certain areas where robberies and muggings are more frequent. These will be pointed out to you, and you will be advised either to avoid walking in these areas altogether or to walk there only in a group.

Modes of public transport, including buses and boats, are often in poor condition and overcrowded, and they generally travel at unsafe speeds. In addition, many roads are in disrepair. When taking public transport, it is important to use common sense, avoid traveling at night, and be careful with your valuables.

Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime

You must be prepared to take on a large responsibility for your own safety. Only you can make yourself less of a target, ensure that your house is secure, and develop relations in your community that will make you an unlikely victim of crime. In coming to Tanzania, do what you would do if you moved to a new city in the United States: Be cautious, check things out, ask questions, learn about your neighborhood, know where the more risky locations are, use common sense, and be aware. You can reduce your vulnerability to crime by integrating into your community, learning the local language, acting responsibly, and abiding by Peace Corps policies and procedures. Serving safely and effectively in Tanzania may require that you accept some restrictions on your current lifestyle.

Volunteers attract a lot of attention both in large cities and at their sites, but they are likely to receive more negative attention in highly populated centers than at their sites, where “family,” friends, and colleagues look out for them. While whistles and exclamations are fairly common on the street, this behavior can be reduced if you dress conservatively, avoid eye contact, and do not respond to unwanted attention.

In addition, keep your money out of sight by using an undergarment money belt (the kind that hangs around your neck and stays hidden under your shirt or around your waist, under skirt or trousers). Do not keep your money in outside pockets of backpacks, in back pockets, or in fanny packs. Cellphones and jewerely are a particular target. Always walk with a companion at night. Speaking the local langauge will assist you in being recognized as a member of the local community.

Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Tanzania

The Peace Corps’ approach to safety is a five-pronged plan to help you stay safe during your two-year service and includes the following: information sharing, Volunteer training, site selection criteria, a detailed emergency action plan, and protocols for addressing safety and security incidents. Tanzania’s in-country safety program is outlined below.

The Peace Corps/Tanzania office will keep Volunteers informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer newsletters and in memorandums from the country director. In the event of a critical situation or emergency, Volunteers will be contacted through the emergency communication network.

Volunteer training will include sessions to prepare you for specific safety and security issues in Tanzania. This training will prepare you to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle and exercise judgment that promotes safety and reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. Safety training is offered throughout your two-year service and is integrated into the language, cross-cultural, health, and other components of training.

Certain site selection criteria are used to determine safe housing for Volunteers before their arrival. The Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for a Volunteer’s arrival and to establish expectations of their respective roles in supporting the Volunteer. Each site is inspected before the Volunteer’s arrival to ensure placement in appropriate, safe, and secure housing and work sites. Site selection is based in part on any relevant site history; access to medical, banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets; housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.

You will also learn about Peace Corps/Tanzania’s detailed emergency action plan (EAP), which is implemented in the event of civil or political unrest or a natural disaster. When you arrive at your site, you will complete and submit a site locator form with your address, contact information, and a map to your house. If there is a security threat, Volunteers in Tanzania will gather at predetermined locations until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.

Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps medical officer. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to other Volunteers.


In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.

Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. 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.

The people of Tanzania are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present. We expect you to be understanding of the limited experience with American diversity that Tanzanians may display.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in Tanzania, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

Overview of Diversity in Tanzania

The Peace Corps staff in Tanzania recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers

The notion of gender equality as Americans understand it has been slow to take hold in Tanzania. As an American woman, however, you may be viewed as having a higher status than a Tanzanian woman. You could view this as frustrating, or you could see it as an opportunity to help change people’s views. It is possible to become a role model—if Tanzanian women see another woman being given respect and functioning in a position of authority, they may be inspired to seek the same.

Of course, American women may also be treated the same way Tanzanian women are. In Tanzanian culture, men are considered the head of the household—they speak for the other members. A woman who seems to have knowledge, skills, ideas, and opinions may be viewed as pushy or out of place, or may simply not be taken seriously. Volunteers have to develop their own strategies for addressing this challenge with sensitivity.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

The average Tanzanian is not exposed to the diversity of people and cultures that exists in America. If you are black, you are likely to be called Mwafrika (African); if you are Asian, Mchina (Chinese); if you are South Asian, Muhindi (Indian), and if you are European or Hispanic, Mzungu (foreigner). Be prepared to tolerate terms that are considered derogatory in America (e.g., “half-caste” or “colored”), an unfortunate part of Western culture that some may have unwittingly adopted.

African Americans are in a unique situation. While Tanzanians may voice their doubt as to whether you are “really American” (i.e., because you are not white, blond, and blue-eyed), you are likely to have an easier time integrating into the local culture than Caucasian Volunteers.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

While Tanzanians generally have great reverence for age, Tanzania’s legal retirement age is 60, and there is the perception that those past middle age are getting ready to “rest”. Senior Volunteers will automatically be respected for their wisdom, which is a great advantage, but may be seen as oddities, especially as most Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania are young. Tanzanians are especially curious about older female Volunteers. They are puzzled as to why they apparently have no spouse or children (even if they have the pictures to prove otherwise) and why they would leave their extended family to volunteer in Africa.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers

Tanzania is a very conservative society. Some Tanzanians deny that homosexuality exists in their culture, while others note that it is against the law. A law in Zanzibar makes homosexuality illegal, with prison sentences of 8-15 years. Thus, any display of your sexual orientation will be severely frowned upon and may affect your acceptance at work and possibly even your legal status. While physical contact between two men or two women is not uncommon, it is not likely to be sexual in nature and you should not misinterpret its meaning. Previous gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers have had to be very discreet about their orientation to prevent adverse effects on their relationships with their community and co-workers. However, you are likely to find plenty of support and understanding among the Peace Corps staff and other Volunteers.

Possible Issues for Married Volunteers

Most Peace Corps Volunteers are single, but some married couples join the Peace Corps together, and in other cases, one spouse stays in the United States. Each of these situations presents its own challenges and rewards.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

You are likely to be asked to share in religious observances, whether it is going to church, breaking the fast during Ramadan, burying an elder in a traditional ceremony, or simply giving thanks to God by saying “Namshukuru Mungu” or “Al-ham D’ililah” as part of your morning greetings. You do not have to participate in regular religious services to be a successful Volunteer in Tanzania, but participation in the religious life of your town or village will provide increased credibility and a sense of community for any Volunteer who is so inclined. Religion is deeply ingrained in the culture, which you will notice just by walking down a city street, where signs for churches, mosques, and madarasat (religious schools) and stickers proclaiming thoughts like, “This car is protected by the blood of Jesus!” abound. When meeting someone for the first time, Tanzanians often ask what his or her religion is.

The religious makeup of the country is roughly split into thirds—Muslims, Christians, and traditionalists. Muslims are the predominant group on Zanzibar (i.e., Pemba and Unguja islands) and along the coast because of the influence of Arab traders and the Omani dynasties, which lasted until the 1800s. Christians (largely Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Anglicans) predominate in the interior, although Christian missionaries travel and live throughout Tanzania. Traditional religions are practiced mostly in the northern half of the country by seminomadic tribes such as the Masai, Hadza, and Barabaig.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities

Tanzanians with physical disabilities generally are treated no differently from other Tanzanians, but there is little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States. That being said, as part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Tanzania without reasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/ Tanzania staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.


How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Tanzania?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in Tanzania?

It is 220 volts, 50 cycles. Approximately half the Volunteers in Tanzania have electricity at work or at home. But the supply is not always steady, especially in the dry season. Batteries are available, but “D” cells are more easily found than “C” cells. Some Volunteers use solar battery chargers for radios and small appliances.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. But Volunteers often bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries.

Note that credit cards cannot be used outside the largest cities and traveler’s checks can be cashed only in Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, the last three months of service, or, for teachers, the school term, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after your first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged, and any stay over 30 days requires permission from the country director. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we strongly encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

Volunteers in Tanzania do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus, minibus, or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to bicycles and walking.

What should I bring as gifts for Tanzania friends and my host family?

This is not a requirement; a token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?

Peace Corps trainees in Tanzania are assigned to individual sites after they have completed approximately two-thirds of pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. You will have the opportunity to express your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within two or three hours from another Volunteer. Some sites require a multiday journey from Dar es Salaam.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Tanzania?

International phone service from Tanzania to the United States is poor to good depending on the location. It is easier (and far cheaper) for your family and friends to call you from the United States. However, you are likely to find a phone from which you can call family and friends within a few hours of your site.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

Cellphone service is growing in many, but not all, parts of the country. About 90 percent of Volunteers in Tanzania now have cellphones, and the number is growing. Not all Volunteers have network coverage at their sites, though, but use the phones when they get to a location with coverage. Differences in technology make most U.S. cellphones incompatible with local service, so only phones purchased in Tanzania are likely to work. Cellphones are very readily available in Tanzania.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?

E-mail and Internet services are available for reasonable fees at cybercafés in all large towns and a growing number of smaller towns. Volunteers also have access to e-mail at the Peace Corps office in Dar es Salaam. Many Volunteers set up a free e-mail account (e.g., Hotmail or Yahoo) that allows them retrieve and send e-mail from any computer with Internet access. However, many sites are not near large towns, so you may not be able to communicate regularly by e-mail after training.

Deciding whether to bring a computer is difficult, with some Volunteers arguing for and others against bringing a laptop. There may not be a functioning computer or printer at your school. Many sites, and certainly all environment Volunteer sites, are in rural areas with no, limited, or sporadic electricity. If you decide to bring a computer, you should insure it and expect humidity, fluctuating current, and limited resources for repairs and replacement parts.


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.

There are numerous used clothes markets throughout Tanzania where you can purchase inexpensive clothing. Tailors can also make clothing for you. It is possible in the early weeks of training to buy most clothing you will need or to expand on what you have brought. Think of East Africa as the world’s largest thrift store; the clothing will all be familiar to you. Once at site, you can pick up quality used clothing at markets that are adequate for your service. Clothing found at markets generally range from $1-$5 for an article of clothing. In addition, clothes in Tanzania are hand washed, hung dry and ironed. Therefore, cotton items generally tend to stretch out over time and some materials are not durable enough to endure hand washing.

General Clothing

Tanzanians generally dress more conservatively than Americans do. During pre-service training and in office or school settings, you will be expected to dress professionally. This means closed-toe shoes or sandals, trousers (not jeans), and shirts with collars for men and below-the-knee dresses or skirts for women. Although you can dress more casually while at home, most Tanzanians do not approve of short shorts, tank tops, or dirty or ripped clothing.

In the following lists, items marked with an asterisk are difficult to find or very expensive to buy in Tanzania or are of poor quality.

Note: If you have a specific brand you like or a unique piece of clothing or size that is hard to find, bring enough of that item for two years (e.g., size 13 shoes or sports bras are impossible to find).

For Women

For Men


Note: hiking boots are only necessary if you’re going to be doing a lot of mountain climbing. Even then, fairly high-quality used boots are available in-country. Your best bet may be to buy a decent pair of tennis shoes which will be more than adequate 99 percent of the time. Also, flip-flops are available in abundance; don’t bring any!

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

Most toiletries are readily available in Tanzania, but you may not find your favorite brand. You will not find good-quality hairbrushes or toothbrushes, and certain items will be comparatively expensive. If tampons (Tampax) are not available near your site, they will be supplied by the Peace Corps medical officer, so you do not need to bring them. Some Volunteers have highly recommended the new anti-bacterial lotion that you can just rub on your hands.


Most household items are readily available but may not be of the best quality. If you like to cook, consider bringing some of the following items.


Volunteers often have downtime, so bringing some of the items suggested below can make a difference. But remember that most rural areas do not have electricity. Consider bringing a good supply of batteries, including solar-powered batteries or rechargeable batteries and a charger. Please note that in Tanzania the electricity that is used is 210V.


Special Considerations for Environmental Volunteers

Women: Cut back on the number of skirts you bring. And remember that loose-fitting skirts are best because you will be jumping gullies and riding bikes in them. Cut back on blouses, too. Substitute one pair of pants with a pair of Capri pants.

Men: Cut back on the number of pants. At most, bring three button-down shirts.


The following list consists of suggestions for you to consider as you prepare to live outside the United States for two years. Not all items will be relevant to everyone, and the list does not include everything you should make arrangements for.




Personal Papers


Personal Effects

Financial Management

External Links

See also

External links

Personal tools
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