Safe homes

Funding required: $89,400

Beneficiaries: 23 children and youth from 10 families

Completion date: August 2023

Country: Tanzania

Executive summary

Many families in the areas of Bukoba, Bariadi, and Shirati in Tanzania live in overcrowded, poorly constructed homes. Most people’s livelihoods depend on small business activities, subsistence farming and day labour. As a result, households often cannot meet basic physical needs, such as food, housing, water and sanitation.

Families with low incomes cannot afford durable construction materials; instead, they build homes with walls of mud and logs and thatched roofs. These homes are easily damaged during Tanzania’s rainy season. Between 2020 and 2022, the Kagera region experienced heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds. Flooding weakened the mud foundations of some homes, destabilized walls, damaged roofs and wiped out food supplies. These precarious homes risk further damage or collapse in future storms.

People who lost their homes were forced to seek shelter with extended families or neighbours, which led to overcrowding. Most of these homes have two rooms, with a single room accommodating six or more people. In overcrowded homes, children and adults of the opposite gender sleep together. This leaves children open to sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, parents often send their children and youth to sleep in neighbours’ homes. Children are left exposed to danger as they travel, sometimes three or four miles, in the dark.

Another issue with the villagers’ homes is limited lighting and inadequate heating. Poor lighting leads to eyestrain and makes it difficult for children to do their homework. Inadequate heating negatively affects the health of children and youth. Damp homes are also fertile breeding grounds for bacteria and disease. In addition, when many people live together without a proper bathroom or washing facilities, disease spreads more easily. Children from overcrowded homes are more likely to suffer respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Children miss more days of school due to frequent illness.

With your help, Compassion Tanzania will collaborate with four local church partners to construct homes for ten families of 23 Compassion beneficiaries living in dire conditions. These simple but sturdy homes will have a room for the parents, plus spaces for girls and boys to sleep separately. Living in a safe, well-ventilated, properly lit home will change the lives of these 23 children and youth. Their physical and mental health will improve, and the danger of being sexually abused will be reduced. With improved health, the children will be able to attend school more frequently and complete their homework. Doing better in school will contribute to lifelong success as they qualify for better jobs. In addition, parents can pass these well-built homes on to the next generation.


Did you know

According to the Africa Housing Finance Yearbook 2021, 70 per cent of housing in Tanzania is self-built, which leads to a proliferation of substandard homes.


Compassion Tanzania works in partnership with more than 500 local churches from 21 regions in Tanzania to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name and has served more than 111,000 children and youth. Compassion Tanzania staff interviewed caregivers of the 827 Compassion beneficiaries in the Bukoba, Bariadi and Shirati areas. They identified ten families of 23 Compassion-assisted children in critical need of improved shelter. Caregivers from these families earn their living through agriculture and livestock. Bukoba is dominated by coffee, tea, banana, beans, vanilla, yams, sweet potatoes, sugarcane and modest animal husbandry. Fishing is also widely practised in the area around Lake Victoria. Caregivers in Shirati and Bariadi are animal keepers and farmers and to a great extent, depend on seasonal rainfall. However, during the rainy season, flooding damages their houses and wipes out food supplies, or forces them to sell what little food reserve they do have to replace their belongings.

Compassion Tanzania knows that the quality of the home has a substantial impact on health. A warm, dry and secure home is associated with better health. Poor quality housing, which could include overcrowding, dilapidation or dampness, can impact on children’s development in a range of ways such as their physical and mental health and education. Bad housing affects children’s ability to learn at school and study at home. Children in unfit and overcrowded homes miss school more frequently due to illness and infection. The lower educational attainment and health problems associated with insecure housing in childhood impact on opportunities in adulthood, including increasing the likelihood of unemployment or working in low-paid jobs.

The need

Compassion staff in Tanzania interviewed caregivers of 827 Compassion beneficiaries and were alarmed to learn the poor living conditions of ten families, in particular. Already experiencing overcrowding, poor lighting and dilapidated homes, these families suffered further damage to their houses with each storm, putting children’s safety—and their lives—at risk. Compassion staff knew these families could not afford to rebuild their homes on their own; they need help.

Compassion Tanzania is committed to ensuring 23 of the children and youth assisted by centres in Bukoba, Bariadi and Shirati are properly housed. Your gift will enable frontline church partners to collaborate with families to construct ten homes with three or more rooms using local labour and materials. These safe, secure homes will provide an environment in which children can thrive. No longer worrying about their houses collapsing on them, children and youth will able to sleep well and study in a larger space, setting them up for a future free from poverty.

What your gift will do

Your gift will provide 10 families from TZ0292, TZ0705, TZ0910 and TZ0991 with new homes of at least three rooms:

  • Sturdy construction materials
  • Labour
  • Monitoring and evaluation


  • Local contribution: US$4,989.56
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Tanzania will work with frontline church partners to manage the funds. Funds will be disbursed to frontline church partners as the project progresses.
  • Monitoring and follow-up: Partnership facilitators will work with frontline church partners and specialists to monitor this project from implementation to completion. Frequent field visits will be done to monitor progress. Beneficiary families will allocate resources to keep the homes in good repair for the future generation.

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.