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Stabilised mentally people working on a groundnut farm in Tanzania

Stabilised participants working on a groundnut farm 

Mental health in Tanzania

Less than 1% of the Tanzanian health budget is spent on mental health. Of the estimated 2.5 million people in Tanzania that suffer from mental illness, only 20% have access to mental health services. Those who do access services are typically locked away in poorly resourced psychiatric institutions with little prospect for recovery. Without access to a functioning mental health care service, those who become mentally ill are vulnerable to poverty, disability and HIV and AIDS, reinforcing the cycle of poor health and poverty.

Our work

We began operating in Tanzania in 2003 and since then over 124,000 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and family members have been through our programme.

Our holistic mental health and development services are delivered through:

BasicNeeds Foundation Tanzania

BasicNeeds Foundation Tanzania (formerly BasicNeeds Tanzania) has implemented eight programmes and projects in Tanzania in the service of people living with mental illness from 2003 to 2015.

Along with its partners, BasicNeeds Foundation Tanzania also made significant contributions to a progressive Mental Health Act which was passed by the Tanzanian Parliament in 2008. The Act aims to improve mental health care “by involving the community in monitoring and protecting the rights of persons with mental disorders.”

Recent projects:

Supporting self-help groups in income generating activities

This project enabled 10 self-help groups of stabilised mentally ill people in Mtwara to participate in livelihood activities, so that they could become active members of their households and communities. Training was provided to 70 stabilised people and their carers on agricultural activities, animal husbandry and cashew nut processing. They were also trained in business management skills such as bookkeeping which has enabled the group members to utilize those skills on a daily basis. The grant received for this project was also used to purchase pigs and goats, and construct local huts to keep them. The groups were also given bicycles to carry their produce such as tomatoes, cabbage and onions to market.

Our impact to date

As of December 2015, 124,638 people including those affected by mental illnesses, their carers and family members have been supported through our programme in Tanzania.

Contact information

BasicNeeds Foundation Tanzania
P.O.BOX 12864
Dar Es Salaam

Tel no.: +255 22 2127051

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