“Address critical issues”: Catholic Relief Services to U.S. Vice President in Tanzania

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington DC in 2022. Credit: US Embassy Tanzania

Officials of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Tanzania have urged the U.S. Vice President who started her week-long tour of three African nations on Monday, March 27 to “address critical issues”, including climate change challenge that the East African nation is facing.

In a report published Monday, March 27, the officials of the humanitarian arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) say that Kamala Harris’ visit to Tanzania scheduled for March 29 will happen at a time when CRS will be celebrating its 60th anniversary of presence in the East African country.

“CRS welcomes Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Tanzania to address critical issues related to food security and climate adaptation, economic empowerment of women, and inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” CRS officials say. 

In the report, the President and CEO of CRS says Tanzania has been experiencing adverse effects of climate change, including “unprecedented levels of food insecurity”.

“We see the impact of climate change in so many countries around the world, including Tanzania. It has led to unprecedented levels of food insecurity and threatens the livelihoods of farmers in many countries where CRS works,” Sean Callahan says.


Mr. Callahan says CRS looks forward to continued partnership with the U.S. government in addressing Tanzania’s challenges, saying the collaboration has helped mitigate the effects of climate change.

The official says that the entity also works with “national partners and local communities to build resilience to climate change, reduce food insecurity, address gender issues, and ensure young people have access to markets and financial services.”

In the report, CRS head of office in Tanzania, Marilyn Chottah, says that the entity has empowered farmers in the country for the past 60 years.

“By supporting young farmers to increase their production and access to finance and markets, we are not only helping families thrive, but we are also supporting the entire country to prosper,” Ms. Chottah says.

She adds, “In line with the government’s efforts, we see the great potential of working with the private sector to create development at scale.”

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Ms. Chottah says that Tanzania has an opportunity to export agricultural output in the region and the whole of Africa if the country’s government considers “a significant increase in the budget for agriculture.”

An increase in the budget for agriculture “could help address the food crisis in the Horn of Africa as a consequence of factors like climate change,” she further says.

In the report published March 27, CRS officials say that for the last six decades, their entity has “supported young people with economic opportunities and worked with local partners and communities in Tanzania to build sustainable economic development”.

To advance this mission, the entity’s officials say, “CRS has implemented U.S government-funded programs in the country, including Soya ni Pesa, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food for Progress program.”

They say that the programs that are done in partnership with Caritas Tanzania and other local partners have engaged about 69,000 small-scale farmers in improved soya production and small-scale female farmers in poultry production, helping to expand their access to the market and supply chains.


CRS also engages young people in coffee production through agriculture and livelihood programs in several regions of the country, they further say.

Engaging young people, CRS officials say, “helps to improve their access to modern coffee production methods, and credit services, and to promote gender equality in the business. Due to improved and sustainable production, young farmers can now access financial assistance, better supplies, and a wider coffee market.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.