The charity was founded by Trustee Joy Skipper after she climbed Kilimanjaro and was struck by the need for a vehicle to raise funds and support projects in the north Tanzania region. Joy returned from Kilimanjaro in January 2001 and began the long process of applying for charity status. The charity was officially registered under the name 'Friends of Tanzania'.
When Joy set up the charity she said: "My passion for Africa inspired me to start the charity and it was most important for me that we tried to help the people of Tanzania to help themselves - to give them the opportunities that we all have and take for granted. One of the main things we take for granted is travelling the world, and it is important that we 'put something back' to thank those that welcome us to their country and into their lives."
In June 2003 Friends of Tanzania, working with tour operators Gane and Marshall, set up a cycle ride from Tinga Tinga to the Rift Valley Escarpment. This arduous ride brought together several people interested in developing the charity and several projects were launched, including the provision of school furniture, water pipelines and Aids awareness through drama .
In 2006 the charity expanded the scope of its work to include more irrigation projects and also a medical aid programme in Ethiopia. At this point the charity registered the new name 'Community Projects Africa'.