Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles


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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Ministry of Community Development, Women Affairs and Children (12 June 1996)
General policy

There is no officially recognized disability policy in Tanzania.

Since the adoption of the Rules the Government has facilitated the formation of an association addressing the needs and demands of persons with disabilities.


The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by general legislation. The judicial mechanism available to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is due process (legal remedy through courts).

The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities only with respect to the right to parenthood/family. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training rehabilitation and counselling, and independent living.

No new legislation concerning disability has been enacted since the adoption of the Rules.


There are rules ensuring accessibility of the build environment requiring that public places and the outdoor environment are made accessible. Accessibility in the build environment is observed by a national authority, local Governments and the organizers/providers of services. The only measure promoted by the Government in order to facilitate accessibility in the build environment is ensuring access to public places. There are no special transport arrangements for persons with disabilities. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: economic/budgetary factors, technical factors, lack of planning and design-capacity, and lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.

Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status. It is not used as the first language in education of deaf people, and not recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are no Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities. The only service provided to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others is literature in Braille.

Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is a national umbrella organization where the following organizations are represented: the Tanzania Association of the Deaf, the Tanzania League of the Blind, the Albino Association, the Tanzania Society for Palsy and Mental Retardation. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations of persons with disabilities are sometimes consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. The Government gives financial and organizational/logistic support to organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in legislature, to some extent in Government, judicial authorities, and political parties and to a great extent in NGOs. The organizations have the role to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.

Co-ordination of work

The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Labour and Youth. The committee includes representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, and from organizations of persons with disabilities. The Government does not expect the co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development or to perform other tasks. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes, improved integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, and more effective use of resources.

The adoption of the Rules has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy "because most of the things need to be reconsidered and are necessary to be addressed by the policy".

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