HelpAge International has worked in Tanzania since 1993. We take a rights-based approach and work with partners to achieve the following:
- reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS on older people and their families by working directly with them, and by influencing government policy
- raise the profile of older people in society, and make sure their voices are heard by local authorities
- strengthen the position of older women, so they can claim their rights and fight back against abuses such as witchcraft accusations
- improve older people's incomes
- fight malaria by providing mosquito nets and education.
Life story: Nyamizi, 73
(c) Jeff Williams/HelpAge International Nyamizi, 73, was accused by a neighbour of bewitching his child. She received threatening letters and was told to leave her village.
She was brutally attacked one night, but her attacker was never brought to justice.
HelpAge and partners are training paralegal advisers to assist people like Nyamizi. They have dealt with almost 20,000 cases, nearly half of them disputes over inheritance and land rights, mostly brought by older women.
Nyamizi said: "But that was a few years ago. Things are changing now and changing fast. There are not so many threatening letters these days. There is awareness of legal rights now.
"But for women living alone it's a bigger problem. And the government is not sure what to do. The government is not involved enough in these issues, though I can see other organisations (NGOs) care about this."
Supporting older people in Tanzania
- Thanks to our influence, 48 out of 132 district councils now include older people's needs in their plans and budgets.
- In the villages where we work, we have cut the number of murders related to witchcraft accusations by 90%.
- Interventions on HIV prevention, care and treatment were achieved effectively in nine districts.
- There has been a drastic drop in malaria cases in villages where we have provided insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
We now aim to:
- get more older people talking directly to officials about their needs through our Age Demands Action campaign
- continue to push for the immediate implementation of a non-contributory pension for all older people
- work with human rights organisations in challenging harmful beliefs and traditions that lead to the killing of older women and widows disinheritance
- make sure older people are part of all HIV and AIDS treatment programmes and services.
See a typical pensions day in Nshamba, Tanzania
Saidia Wazee Karagwe (SAWAKA), Tanzania Mission to the Poor and Disabled (PADI)
AFRIWAG, CHAWAMA, MORETEA, NABROHO, SHIDEPHA+, SOPF, TAWLAE, NOLA, GSSST, WAMATA
European Commission, Cordaid, JOAC (Jersey Overseas Aid Commission), World Granny, Big Lottery Fund, SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), Tanzania Media Fund, PACT Tanzania, Age UK, Family Health International, Sponsor A Grandparent, African Community Access Programme