Our #FarmForTheFuture project has been progressing in great strides. We and our partners on the ground in Tanzania are incredibly excited about everyone’s achievements! Read on for an overview of what we’ve been up to.
The project kicked off with six consecutive days of all-day training for 30 women. We were excited to be able to partner with the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on this.
Rights awareness and empowerment
Our local women’s empowerment partner KWIECO has been instrumental in providing foundational legal awareness training. Legal officer Elizabeth Mushi has held training sessions on human rights and laws relating to gender equality and empowerment. Initially she focused on legal issues around marriage and land ownership, two important legal areas for rural women in Tanzania. 90 % of our participants said it was the first time they had ever had such a discussion, and all of them found the training extremely useful, reporting that they now understood their rights at both family and community levels.
Group meetings and project sustainability
The group meets every Wednesday afternoon to discuss their development towards establishing a future-proof co-operative, including microfinance plans and marketing strategies. To improve their collective savings, everyone has agreed to make a compulsory contribution – the amount is determined by the most that the poorest of them can afford to save, 1000 Tanzanian Shillings each week, approximately 30 British pence.
Learning best practice to #FarmForTheFuture
The project’s teaching farm in their village is supported by SEVIA, a Dutch agricultural skills training project. The women have been given practical training on various farming techniques which enable them to increase their agricultural outputs, improving produce quality and yields. Our project manager Stuart has been working together with each woman to assess what she wants to grow and evaluating individual needs for seeds and fertilizers. We have begun to purchase these supplies and other necessary equipment so that women can start implementing what they’ve already learned on their own plots. To ensure the co-op remains sustainable and to ensure future support for its members, each farmer will pay the group back in small regular instalments.
We’ve made great progress towards establishing a new local nursery, which will care for sixteen children between two and five years of age. We have agreed a contract with one of our key hotel partners, the Stella Maris Lodge, that the new nursery will be based in their new community building. Children and moms alike are thrilled!
The project will soon be holding meetings with the women’s husbands and partners as well as the village leaders to involve them in the process to come. Their backing is key, and by engaging them early on we aim to ensure that they fully support the women’s rights – and their success!
Even before the project stared, hotels’ produce requirements were scoped and a ‘wish list’ of sorts created – this ensures we focus on growing commercially viable produce. One of our next steps will be to update the hotel partners on everyone’s progress, so that they can prepare for the purchase and delivery of the first harvests.
Thank you to all those who supported our crowdfunding efforts!