She becomes the second person to receive the award in Africa after former South African president, the late Nelson Mandela.
The Order of the Smile is an international award given to adults distinguished in their love, care and aid for children.
Presenting the award in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Minister for Children Affairs of Poland Marek Machalk, who is also Chancellor of the Order of Smile Award International Council said the recipients were nominated for their efforts in helping children.
He said the former first lady became the 999 person to receive the award but was second in Africa.
Among recipients of the award include Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The minister added that the award was offered to people who were tested and accepted into service of nurturing and caring for orphans and children living in difficult circumstances.
“In April this year, the international prize committee voted for the recipients and finally Anna Mkapa emerged winner of the award, as the second winner of the award in Africa," Michalak said.
He added, “Today, it is a great pleasure to present the award to the second African woman and former Tanzania First Lady Mrs Anna Mkapa.”
According to him, the International Committee for Order of Smile award went through all the processes, and discuss in detail before agreeing to give this award to her.
Speaking after receiving the award, Mama Anna Mkapa, who is Chairman of Equal Opportunity for All Trust Fund (EOTF), said she was happy to receive such an international award which recognised her efforts in bringing relief to orphans and children living in difficult environment.
She said she managed to scoop the award with the help of her husband, Benjamin Mkapa, and other stakeholders.
"If we can help children living in difficult circumstances, we will build up a smile families therefore it is everyone's responsibility to ensure we lifted the lives of these children and give them a smile in their lives," she said.
Speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Siaba Nkinga said the government recognized and hailed efforts by Mama Anna Mkapa in solving challenges facing children living in difficult situations.
“I call on the community to emulate the example set by Mama Anna Mkapa to help children living in difficult circumstances," said the PS.