By Fiona Imbali.
The OAIC management team recently visited Tanzania’s clusters for the Livelihoods programme to monitor progress of the implementation process. Areas visited included Rorya, Mwanza, and Geita. Farmers in Riagati Rorya continue to experience tremendous improvement in their farming practices as a result of trainings organised by OAIC. From Maize and sorghum farming to livestock keeping as well as engaging in forestry activities where different species of trees are planted. Smart farming techniques continue to yield commendable results.
A group of old women in their fifties mostly widows in Nyota Nyambogo area in Rorya Tanzania founded a group in 2017 to empower themselves as they thrive in their small ways. The founders of the group Risper Salimia; Rosa Joshua; Maritha Salimia; Julia Oguok and Priscah Joseph noted that the objective of the group is to uplift the standards of the old women who were wallowing in poverty. Roho Nyota church which they belong to has helped them to strategise on how to develop themselves and build their capacities to enhance their livelihoods.
“With the help of the church we have been able to hire a 4 acre piece of land where we plant millet and maize. We meet twice per month and in each session we contribute Tshs 2,000 (USD 0.88) which will go towards the development of the group through investing in profitable ventures. We have managed to buy a cow that will give us milk. We also have plans to construct a fish pond which will benefit us and our community by providing the much needed protein as a way of ensuring our self-sufficiency. Rearing chickens both for eggs and meat is also a plan for the group,” noted Julia Oguok the group’s chairlady.
Expensive inputs; unavailability of ready markets, lack of quality seeds for both food crops and trees; lack of water for irrigation as well as post harvest storage challenges continue to be the top challenges for farmers in Rorya. Nevertheless, they’re embracing local solutions to these challenges such as developing liquid and compost manure as well as starting seed banks to cushion them from unscrupulous businessmen and middlemen.
Mama Rosa, the General Secretary of the group notes that the proceeds from farming enables them pay school fees for their children, purchase school uniform as well as bicycles that enables their children to attend school with ease. Yogo Yogo and Evaline Atieno the Farmer Resource Persons continue to engage such groups and offer training on diverse sustainable livelihoods processes to empower them.
Ven. John Gichimu urged churches to support those trained by OAIC from their congregations to enable them reach out to more congregations and communities. “Churches should ensure they follow up on the TOTs and FRPs who have been trained to support them and ensure they are successful and empower the communities.” The Roho Nyota church also has some land under tree cover as they’re also keen on conservation issues.