Making progress to leaving no-one behind

By Benedicto Hosea – Project Leader

“I did not know how to adopt the best farming methods until I found other farmers benefiting from improved and sustainable farming run by Mboni ya Vijana (MVG) at Zeze. The farming results registered by MVG’s beneficiaries in 2016/2017 farming season, encouraged me to adapt modern and best farming practice to increase agricultural yields for my family’s food and income and I have now changed my attitude to farming. My maize farm gives me happiness and health and my family is getting enough food and income this year from my farm crops. I have never been able to have good maize farm like this I have this year.” This is the narrative by Steven when I visited his maize farm in February 2018. Steven is a 27 year old married with 2 children. He is a peasant who has used traditional farming methods since he started farming at the age of 16. He has never harvested more than 2 maize sacks per acre but this year he is going to harvest more than 16 after his sustainable farming training and isupport from MVG.

Yudesia is an old female aged 60 living with 2 grandchildren and her husband. Before MVG started supporting her she was unable to feed them or send them to school due to poor agricultural production. She now says; “I have never seen good maize like these of this year. The training I got on sustainable farming and farming implements such as improved seeds and fertilizer are making a huge difference to all our lives. I am going to harvest huge maize that will help me and my family for all the next year.” As the farm looks, Yudesia is likely going to harvest between 15 and 24 sacks of maize in April 2018 from the acre on which she has previously been harvesting less than a sack of maize in a year.

Hwago is a married man with the family size of 9 persons. He is managing 1 acre with better farming methods as directed to by MGV. Hwago is pleased to have that opportunity which he has never got for 42 years of his working on farming sector. Field visit made by Mboni ya Vijana Group to monitor clients progresses, reached Hwago and his feelings toward the scheme and his farm been these; “I am older enough I have many experiences in farming at Zeze. I have never had good farm like this despite that it is attacked by armyworms. I have no one children went to Secondary School because I have not financial ability to do that. To get food only for my family, needed me to work to someone’s’ farm and get paid for food. I hadn’t enough time to work on my farm than paying labour to other small farmers. Even the small scale I managed, I harvested very little to support my family. Good luck, this year I am proud of this scheme. I have not yet harvested but I have much courage to succeed like other who have succeeded in the last spell. The reality is that, we are not the past but we are the new generation.” Hwago said.

Ibrahim Ashery is a single young man aged 22 years old benefiting with sustainable farming managing one acre under the scheme. He is very well focussed to change his life before having a marriage through agriculture. Here is his story; “I am still a young man and I have not went even to school for secondary education because of my parent’s income poverty. I cannot compete for formal employment than competing in agricultural production and business. I am very luck that we have this sustainable farming scheme at Zeze and I am the one among other beneficiaries. I am changing my life and my future family. The training and farming implement support I get from Mboni ya Vijana, is the complete liberation. I am sure, I am no longer absolute poor but I am the next farmer’s leader.” Ibrahim stated. His farm is very good with maize and he expects to expand it in the next farm season if he is blessed to best health.

It was difficult matter to understand the opportunities in Agriculture before the interventions made by MVG to impact farmers” was the statement Felis made when visited at his farm and asked how he considers the scheme. “Last year I was supported in improved farming methods education and implements to maintain one acre. I harvested 18 sacks of maize from which I sold 10 sacks with the price of 78,000 TZS per sack. I made money worth 780,000 TZS while remaining with 8 sacks for food. Before the scheme, I had the ability to make 230,000 TZS only from agriculture. From there, I recognized that agriculture is the only employment that can give me better life. I have expanded my farm from 1 acre to 4 acres this year which I am with improved farming techniques. I am sure I am going to build my house and start new business from the yields of this year. Felis is just a 22 years old man born and living at Zeze village who got married after the first harvest in the last year.

Improved Small Scale Farming (ISSF) scheme is becoming popular at Zeze village and Kasulu district as well following its impacts to the community. Many people are adapting to its strategy to make difference in their lives from the lessons learned from the scheme. Instead of being supporting maize farming only, the scheme is embarking as well on beans and sunflowers production so as to expand the rooms for clients to run business farming and improve their families’ ability to meeting both food and income demands.

Supporting small farmer

Since we organized improved farming to Zeze society in Nov. 2017, we have supported small farmer who have managed 107 maize farms. The growth is promising and improved maize seeds, fertilizers and better farming methods training have been the key success. The goal is the future with no hunger in families.

Enable 500 Tanzanian youth to feed their families

Summary

We believe everyone has the right to life’s basics. A roof, enough food to eat, clean water to drink and the education needed to build a brighter future. What we take for granted can only be dreamed of by communities in extreme poverty such as Zeze. But his dream isn’t impossible. It doesn’t take years of research or huge multinational organisations. It only takes the hard work of MVG, the villagers of Zeze and your donation. Will you help us to bring life’s basic needs to the people of Zeze?

Challenge

Global warming has led to a reduction in rainfall in Zeze village. The subsistence farmers find it increasingly difficult to grow enough food to feed their families, let alone have a surplus to pay for medicine or school uniforms. 40% of children in Tanzania are stunted due to malnutrition. Working with the schools, we will select families in extreme need from this income generation project and enable them to grow cash crops such as tomatoes and watermelons.

Solution

We will provide access to a water source, irrigation materials and a seedling starter kit containing sunflowers, tomatoes, water melons and local nutritional crops to all families. We will provide initial horticultural and dietary training, together with weekly monitoring visits and a support group to ensure their crops grow well. We will also provide a guaranteed market for their crops, and entrepreneurship training on maximizing their income and expanding their business.

Long-Term Impact

We will enable 500 vulnerable families to generate an income, allowing them to ensure their children have sufficient nutritious food and uniforms to attend school. They will also be able to pay for health care when they need it, and to start rising out of the extreme poverty they are currently in.

PLEASE DO YOUR DONATION HERE

Water is the key to life!

WATER IS THE KEY TO LIFE!

Water is the key to life, particularly in a village like Zeze, Kasulu, in western Tanzania. Many people were forced to get their water from this dirty pond shared with animals. So using donated money we drilled a new bore hole by hand and constructed this new rope pump. This was a huge undertaking for the village. Many people thought we could not succeed. We drilled by hand for 6 long days through solid rock, but eventually reached water 13m down. We learnt how to weld metal and created this pump – everyone is very happy! Grace says “My family got water from the dirty pond and my children were often sick. I thank God that we can now use this new pump and it is so easy to use.” The village chairman says “I am so proud of what these youth have achieved! When I saw how slowly they were cutting through rock I thought they would never succeed to reach water, but I was wrong and the whole village congratulates them.

Now we have a reliable water source we can more easily water the seedlings we’re growing. We have already distributed the first batch of water melon and tomato seedlings and the sunflower seedlings distributed are almost ready for harvesting, leading to valuable income in each family. Petronella says “with the money I will get from my sunflower seeds next month I will be able to buy school uniforms for my children, so I am very happy!”

Climate change
Streams and ponds at Zeze and neighbouring places in Kigoma region are drying as the result of climate change leading to greater challenges getting water. MVG have drilled more than 9 water wells from which the communities are using the water for development.

Almachius is the Kasulu District Development Community Officer. He knows well how much of a challenge water is for the development of Kasulu community. He visited a number of water projects where MVG has drilled and installed pumps for community use, and told the community “We have a big problem with water and deforestation but today I say we are lucky that we have youth who have made an important revolution in the water sector with their hand drilled bore holes – as no doubt all of you can see! I am very impressed they have now set up a tree nursery and are supporting their community to protect the environment. I appreciate, the work they have done. We should all participate to protect and develop the scheme which they have established, for ourselves and our children”.

New hand drilled community water pump
New hand drilled community water pump.

ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERY FAMILY IS OUR PRIDE

By Benedicto Hosea – Project Leader

We started our “Enough Food for Everyone” campaign to ensure all families have nutritious food to improve the health of the one of the most impoverished societies on the earth.

Previously in Zeze people struggled to grow enough to eat.  However your donations and support has transformed Zeze society as it is now able to feed itself. From November 2016 to June 2017, we have produced more than 218 tons of food mainly Maize.

Christopher and his wife Modesta have been married for more than 24 years and have 5 children. Previously not able to succeed in farming due to poor farming methods and lack of good seeds. They have lived in grass thatched house all of their lives. “We are all very happy with this programme because we have extra food for feeding ourselves and selling to improve our house. I have never harvested 22 sacks (2200kgs) of maize in my life but I have more than these harvests on only one acre in this season”. Christopher said.

Benedicto is working hard in his society to stand as a role model in adapting Zeze community to adapt sustainable farming and development. “I want to show our society that it is possible to change. These harvests are a demonstration to the unknown, unobserved and unsupported societies that they can make the difference that will make other persons trust change is possible”.

Honorata is a woman married to Juma and they are four in the family. She made unbelievable achievement in maize farming and harves

ting for food and for cash. “I have harvested a half of my farm and I have already plucked 56 buckets (11 sacks) of maize seeds, I am harvesting the same amount too. I will not sell the extra (60 buckets) when the bucket will be sold at 20,000Tshs and the money I will make, will help me improve my house and expand my farm

These few stories represent all the farmers who have cultivated, planted and harvested maize at Zeze village this season. Zeze community has also planted 625 palm trees planting as part of a climate change adaptation project, as well as 1600 fruit trees including oranges, mangoes, guavas, avocados and others which we know by their local names.  The world can be a better place if we can make it sufficiently productive to provide food for everyone.


Christopher and Modesta

Plaudits for our first climate change conference!

by Benedicto – Project Leader

 

agricultureAgricultural training.

We are proud of the steady progress we are achieving with Zeze community with your generous donations.

Up to now, Zeze community has not had enough food to feed its population, let alone have income security for families’ services like school uniforms, medicines, kerosene for light and more. With your support we have made a great step in making Zeze more self-sufficient in food, and able to access clean and safe water.

Sustainable Farming and food security

Agriculture in Tanzania employs more than 80% of the population and contributes more than 75% of the national GDP. It is the only source of food to everyone here. However, agriculture is experiencing several challenges including droughts, land infertility and diseases and pests. Through training and small loans to enable farmers to buy improved seeds and plant trees we are supporting the community to run more sustainable farming and improve their livelihoods.

Meliana is a woman raising a family of three children, two of whom are in secondary school. She attended our recent sustainable farming training at Zeze. She is now maintaining her maize farm better. “I am now very happy with my farm at Zeze. Since I began farming, I have never had such a crop. The crops are so impressive and I am sure I am going to feeding my family and get more money for my children school needs”.

Small Industries, businesses and income security

Zeze village lacked power therefore lacked industries and businesses opportunities. Bringing an electricity generating engine to Zeze has been a great success in setting up small industries, businesses and income generation to youth and the community as well.

Juma is a 25 year old man and the head of a family of 5. He is the one of the youth who are working at MVG workshop at Zeze. Before that he went throughout Tanzania unsuccessfully looking for employment. Since Mboni ya Vijana established their welding and carpentry workshop, he is now settled at Zeze and improving his life. “I never succeeded to get employment until I found an opportunity here. Now I am finally getting an income and supporting my family.”. Juma says.

Environmental conservation and education

Poverty and illiteracy have been major factors hindering environmental conservation. The community have been reluctant to plant trees, stop wild fire burning, or implement sustainable farming because of illiteracy and lack of knowledge about the environment and its benefits to development. So MVG has been training the community in order to bring environmental sustainability and enable the community to generate income.

Ayubu is a 22 years old married man and has the family of three. He never planted trees or long lasting plants because he believed he would die before benefiting from them. After our environmental training he has planted 58 palm oil trees for environmental conservation and income security. “Now I know planting trees is wealth to me and my family in the future. The future is made from today so I am proud to be part of trees and palm trees scheme.” said Ayubu.

Dr. Francis Njau is the national and international climate change trainer and a lecturer at the Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP) – Dodoma Tanzania. He was invited by MVG to train village leaders from four villages, NGOs leader, religion leaders, politicians, journalists and community members about Climate Change and Adaptation in our first Climate Change Conference. During his training, MVG’s initiatives were used as practical examples to the trainees. Dr. Njau says; “Zeze and Kasulu  are lucky to have such a fantastic organization. I see here excellent climate change adaptation activities. I have gone around Tanzania, East Africa, Sub-Sahara countries and Europe, and this organization is the only one I have seen achieving these developments at village level. If we support this organization, for sure Zeze village is going to be an international centre of innovation. I am going back to my college and  will bring our students here to learn from here and collaborate”.

Access to Clean and Safe Water

Streams and ponds at Zeze and neighbour places in Kigoma region are drying as the result of climate change. The communities are getting challenged with its ability to access water for domestic and farming purposes. Mboni ya Vijana is solving the issue with its technology to adapting the communities to access and rely on ground water. MVG have drilled more than 5 water wells from which the communities are using the water for development.

Almachius is the Kasulu District Development Community Officer. He knows well how much of a challenge water is for the development of Kasulu community. He visited a number of water projects where MVG has drilled and installed pumps for community use, and told the community “We have a big problem with water and deforestation but today I say we are lucky that we have youth who have made an important revolution in the water sector with their hand drilled bore holes – as no doubt all of you can see! I am very impressed they have now set up a tree nursery and are supporting their community to protect the environment. I appreciate, the work they have done. We should all participate to protect and develop the scheme which they have established, for ourselves and our children”. The conference was also attended by journalists from Radio Kwizera and Star TV and featured on their channels.

 

Bees and Sunflowers in Zeze

zezetree2I was last with Benedicto in Zeze in January.  Then he was talking about his dream of constructing bee hives to improve incomes in Zeze village.

Now, thanks to many of you the hives are in place.  It hasn’t been without its challenges.  Moving the wood was delayed due to flooding during the rainy season, which also led to delays in the wood drying out sufficiently to make the hives, but last week the remaining hives were hung in the trees near the Moringa field, making 63 in total.  I’m glad I wasn’t here to witness this as it looked like a very precarious operation.

zezetreeAlready 12 hives are occupied by bees, and Benedicto is confident that by the end of July all the hives will be full, meaning they’ll be on track to harvest honey in October as planned.

20150627_152615In January a donor had given me £9 to give Benedicto, which he spent on Sunflower seeds.  These he planted during the rainy season and has just harvested more than 10 times as many.

I (briefly) helped his father in shelling these, ready to press into oil to sell.

Benedicto never asks for money.  I asked him why, as the sunflowers had been so successful, he isn’t planting more now. He explained he can only grow them in the rainy season as his land is far from water sources so irrigation is impossible now.  When pressed on what he would need to do this he explains.  If he digs down 25m with a spade he can borrow from his neighbour, he could set up a solar pump to power a drip irrigation scheme.
Such a system would transform agriculture here, and with help from generous donors he will start this in July…I’ve been promised avocados next time I visit..

Investing in honey production in Zeze village

Transforming rural lives with bees..

I first met Benedicto by chance in September and was very impressed by the cooperative he founded and his meticulously costed plans to avert poverty in his village by developing agriculture.  I returned to Zeze this week and spent two nights in the village finding out more.

Zeze is 41km from the nearest town and electricity supply.  Water is problematic.  Almost all of the inhabitants are farmers growing maize and beans, with an average annual income per family of around 300,000 shillings (£112).   This explains why many of the children have ragged clothes and no shoes.

Benedicto and his group have many plans to raise income, including growing more lucrative crops such as Moringa.  Currently his immediate concern is to put in hives before March 15th when the bees begin to swarm. He has worked out that by sourcing the wood from one farmer and carrying it on foot to the local fundi he can get the hives made for around £20 each.  He estimates each hive will generate 30 litres of honey and he has already found buyers willing to buy in bulk.  Therefore when he harvests in October he should be able to make a good profit that can be used to support projects in the village.

His problem is capital.  He has identified

150 good sites for hives. Currently he has funds for 15 hives.  He would like to set up at least 40.  Therefore he is offering anyone who invests £20 in a hive now a return of £25 in November when the honey is sold.  That’s a return on investment far better than your bank, and a good cause to boot..

If you would like to invest in a hive in Zeze village, or to know more about this project please email j.chapman@tanzdevtrust.org.