Catholic Relief Services
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Catholic Relief Services Celebrates 50 Years in Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, October 5, 2012—Catholic Relief Services (CRS) celebrates five decades of service in Tanzania with the motto Mshikamano Daima (a lasting commitment). This commitment began in 1962 when a severe drought devastated the Masai pastoral communities in the Arusha region. CRS responded by providing 85,000 people with food and other relief items, and introduced projects to promote economic development. CRS also supported relief programs for refugees from Rwanda and Burundi living in camps in western Tanzania.
“Our early commitment to Tanzania began only one year after the country emerged as an independent nation.” says Conor Walsh, CRS Country Representative for Tanzania. “Our goal has always been to walk in solidarity with the people of Tanzania and work with the Catholic Church, the government, other faith-based organizations, NGOs, and local communities to help strengthen people’s ability to provide for themselves.”
Today, CRS’ presence stretches across ten Tanzanian regions from the Lake Zone to the northeast, center and southwest. CRS employs close to 100 staff and maintains offices in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Mwanza. The agency’s total investment in 2013 will reach nearly $17 million USD, with projects spanning the areas of health (AIDS/HIV care and treatment, TB detection, treatment and prevention); assistance to vulnerable populations, especially orphans and HIV-affected households; water and natural resource management; and agriculture.
“We see our role as facilitating change for Tanzania’s impoverished communities,” says Walsh. “We provide technical assistance, accompaniment and capacity development, and we ensure that every shilling spent is done so in the most effective and impactful way possible. Our projects are planned with the aim of continuing on their own without the need for continued interventions. We do this by leveraging our expertise with the strengths of the local community: manpower, willpower and the desire for people to make a positive difference in their own lives.”
One of CRS Tanzania’s most recent projects promotes soybean cultivation and marketing, while working to link farmers to local markets. CRS works with the farmers to teach them essential business skills such as record keeping, quality control, purchasing wholesale, and negotiation. By helping farmers connect directly with the buyers, CRS enables them to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship: buyers benefit from one established source in the farming community, while farmers benefit because they can negotiate and establish prices directly with the buyer.
In the Mwanza and Tanga Regions, CRS will work with Catholic partners to promote early childhood development at an age when it matters most and has the greatest impact on a person’s development. The project will focus on nutrition, positive parenting and early stimulation of a child’s mental development.
“Much like our motto Mshikamano Daima, CRS seeks to have a long-term impact by carefully crafting projects that reflect the changing reality in Tanzania,” says Walsh. “Our programs have grown alongside Tanzania, and we will continue to serve its people with the same respect and commitment in the years to come. We are grateful to the government, the Church, our donors, and people of Tanzania who make our work possible.”
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in nearly 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org.