HelpAge International has worked in Tanzania since 1993. We work with partners to:

  • Support the development of social protection policies that recognise a universal social pension as a right of all older people.
  • Improve access to free, age-friendly health services for older men and women and prevent and manage chronic illnesses.
  • Ensure older men and women who are care givers or are living with HIV and AIDS themselves are included in government HIV and AIDS policies and strategies.
  • Empower older men and women to claim their rights and seek protection from violence and discrimination.

Life story: Margaret, 61

Margaret's health has been improving (c) Natalie Idehen/HelpAge International

(c) Natalie Idehen/HelpAge International

Margaret's health has been improving

Margaret is 61 and a widow. She looks after three of her grandchildren and has been a member of the active ageing group, the Amleset Tewodros club, for one year.

"I take care of my three grandchildren on my own. It's very difficult and I don't have the money to support them. I get only a little help from my children. Sometimes I skip meals so my grandchildren can go to school. It is better for me not to eat; they should go to school. Everything I have I give to them.

"When I was younger I had a good life with a monthly salary. I worked as a prison officer and then as a police officer. I was in the police force for 28 years. After I retired I had a lot of financial worries. I had to wait six months to get my police pension. It's only a small amount of money. I suffered from high blood pressure and depression because I did not have enough money to survive.

"When you don't work anymore, people don't visit you. I was very lonely and angry at everyone. I felt like I was dying before I joined the group.

"Now I am in the Amleset Tewodros club, I'm exercising again. We do exercise classes, water pumping, weaving baskets and playing games like cards. I have learnt a lot of things about being healthy. I know that I should eat a balanced diet with protein and vitamins and that I should stay active.

"I am in much better health now. I don't have depression anymore or high blood pressure. I find comfort in the group. I have company so I am no longer lonely. I also get information about my rights. Now I know that I should get free healthcare.

"I have learnt so much from the group it shown me the light; the way forward."

Supporting older people in Tanzania

Over the last year, we have worked in several areas to support older people:


  • We have worked with the Ministry of Health to establish age-friendly health services in 13 districts across Tanzania.
  • As a result of our advocacy work, the Government has introduced a new policy that provides free access to healthcare for older people aged 60 year and over.


  • Thanks to our influence the final draft of the Tanzanian National HIV/AIDS policy reflects the impact of the disease on older people.
  • We have provided 500,000 older carers and people living with HIV with information, counselling and referrals through our network of peer educators and home-based carers.

Income security

  • We have worked with the government to support the development and design of a universal pension scheme.
  • We continue to support livelihood activities by enabling older people to start small businesses ranging from agriculture to petty trading.


  • Following research carried out in collaboration with Durham University on the impact of mobility on older people, their needs were included in the Draft National Transport Policy Framework.
  • The study also led to HelpAge Tanzania looking at ways to use new technologies to address mobility challenges.

What next?

We now aim to:

  • get more older people talking directly to officials about their needs through our Age Demands Action campaign to ensure older people's rights are protected
  • continue to push for the immediate implementation of a non-contributory pension for all older people and free access to age-friendly health services
  • ensure that older people are included in all HIV and AIDS treatment programmes and services
  • work with human rights organisations to challenge harmful beliefs and traditions that lead to the persecution of older people due to allegations of witchcraft.

Our affiliates

Saidia Wazee Karagwe (SAWAKA), Tanzania Mission to the Poor and Disabled (PADI)

Our partners

Tanzania Older People's Forum (TOP)
Tanzania Social Protection Network
Morogoro Elderly People Organization (MOREPEO)
Saidia Wazee Tanzania (SAWATA) Dodoma - Dodoma Region
Saidia Wazee Tanzania (SAWAKA) - Kagera Region
Tanzania Mission to the Poor and Disabled (PADI) - Ruvuma Region
Chama Cha Wastaafu na Wazee waLindi (CHAWALI) - Lindi Region
Arusha Retired People's Association (CHAWAMA) - Arusha Region
Songea Older People's Forum (SOPF) - Ruvuma Region
Saidia Wazee Tanzania (SAWATA) - Mara Region
Chama cha Wastaafu Mtwara (CHAWAMU) - Mtwara Region
Saidia Wazee Tanzania (SAWATA - Kasulu) - Kigoma Region
Tanzania Women Leaders on Agriculture & Environment (TAWLAE) - Shinyanga Region
Shidepha+ Kahama - Shinyanga Region
Kilio cha Waathirika na Waathiriwa wa Ukimwi Mbarali (KIWWAUMBA) - Mbarali, Mbeya Region
Nassa Brotherhood Society for the Aged (NABROHO) - Mwanza Region
Magu Poverty Eradication Rehabilitation Center (MAPERECE) - Mwanza Region
Africa Women Aids Group (AFRIWAG) - Tanga Region
Iramba Help Older People Economic Groups Association (IRAHOPEGA) - Iramba, Singida Region
Moshi Poverty Stricken Elders Association (MOPSEA) - Kilimanjaro Region
Organisation of Ukerewe Ageing and Development (ORUKADE) - Ukerewe District
Walio Katika Mapambano na AIDS Tanzania (WAMATA) - Dar es Salaam Region
Service to Widows, Orphans and Little-ones Organization (SWOLO) - Mbeya Region
Care for Vulnerable People (CAVUPA) - Arusha Region
Chama cha Wastaafu Bukoba - Kagera Region
Kwa Wazee Bukoba - Kagera Region
Jumuiya ya Wastaafu Zanzibar (JUWAZA) - Zanzibar
Southern Highlands Senility Organization (SHISO) - Iringa Region
Mwananyamala Women Development (MWAWODE) - Dar es Salaam Region
The Good Samaritan Social Services Trust (GSSST) - Kibaha, Coast Region
Chama Cha Wazee Mpanda - Katavi Region

Our donors

Irish AidSIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)DFID through African Community Access Programme, Pfizer Inc, BMZ (German government), Southern African Development Community (SADC), UK aid through the AcT Programme, HelpAge Deutchland, HelpAge USA, Age International, Swiss Development Cooperation

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Striking facts

  • 45 million people live in Tanzania - 2.3 million are estimated to be older people.

  • Tanzania is one of the world’s poorest countries with over 12 million people living in poverty.

  • 96% of older people do not have a secure income.

  • 40% of primary carers to Tanzania’s 2 million orphaned and vulnerable children are older people.

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HelpAge International
134 Migombani Street, Regent Estate, Mikocheni 'A'
PO Box 9846, Dar es Salaam,

Tel1: +255 22 270 0169 
Tel2: +255 22 277 4796        
Fax: +255 22 277 5894

Email: haitz@helpagetz.org
Mobile: +255 741 336101    

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