The work of Jeshi la Wokovu (The Salvation Army in Kiswahili, the language in which the gospel is primarily preached in Tanzania) began in 1933 when the country was known as Tanganyika. Shortly after achieving independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964. Tanzania became a separate Salvation Army command in 1998 and was elevated to territory status in 2008.
The territory has more than 7,300 soldiers, 4,400 junior soldiers, 160 officers and 150 employees at 82 corps, 57 outposts and seven institutions, including a college for business management and administration, a secondary school, a vocational training center, a primary school for the physically handicapped, a girl’s home and a hostel and conference center. Social service programs offered by the territory include anti-trafficking, health, nutrition, counseling, literacy, microcredit and goat banking projects.
Slightly larger than twice the size of California, Tanzania is bordered by three of the largest lakes on the African continent: Lake Victoria (the world’s second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world’s second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) in the southwest. The country also is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa and one of only two mountains on the continent with glaciers (the other being Mount Kenya).
With a population of nearly 52.5 million, nearly 70 percent of Tanzania’s people live below the poverty line. More than 60 percent identify themselves as Christian and 35 percent as Muslim with the rest unaffiliated or practicing folk religions. Some regions of the country are almost entirely Muslim. Although Kiswahili (or Swahili) is the official language, English is the primary language of commerce, administration and higher education.
Although Tanzania has one of the world’s poorest economies in terms of per capita income, it has achieved high growth rates based on its vast natural resources (diamonds, gold and iron) and tourism. Tanzania has largely transitioned to a market economy, but its government retains a presence in sectors such as banking, energy, telecommunications and mining.