SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania).

The city of Mwanza is located in northeastern Tanzania, on the southern shore of Lake Victoria. Mwanza is the second largest city in the country and has about 1.1 million inhabitants. Because of the port, most people in Mwanza work either in fishing or in the service sector. Many people move to the city and surrounding areas in search of a better life. However, the rapid growth means that many families have to live in inadequate housing. In addition, the HIV/AIDS pandemic remains a major challenge in the city and many children lose parental care due to the disease.

Since 2010, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mwanza.

Of houses in Mwanza are built in unplanned areas

Informal settlements

Many people move to Mwanza and the surrounding areas in search of a better life. In many cases, however, they have to live in inadequate housing. In fact, 60% of the houses in Mwanza are built in unplanned areas, which means they have no access to electricity or clean water. Many people in these informal settlements have difficulty finding formal employment and the lack of money means that their children do not receive enough nutritious food. In addition, the level of education in these areas is low. In recent years, the number of children attending school has increased thanks to efforts by the government. However, there is a significant shortage of teachers and school materials. Mwanza has some of the most overcrowded classrooms in the country.

Of the country’s population live with HIV/AIDS


As in other parts of Tanzania, the HIV/AIDS pandemic remains a major challenge in Mwanza. About 5% of the country's population is living with the disease, and the number of people affected is particularly high here. With a lack of medical care in many areas, a lot of families are at the mercy of infection. While the government is working on increasing the number of doctors and health centres, many are still affected. Some children live with the disease; others experience the indirect consequences when their parents fall ill. Without parental care or at risk of losing it, children are very vulnerable. They have to contribute to the household income or fend for themselves entirely. Some have to drop out of school and thus cannot escape the cycle of poverty.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mwanza

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Children and young people
Learn at our kindergarten and school and attend trainings
Mila shows the teacher a map of Tanzania in an SOS Children’s Villages Kindergarten. SOS Children’s Villages works hard to make sure that children stay in school for as long as possible (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania).

How your support helps in Mwanza

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.