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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

US foundation to dish out USD1m to Tanzania SMEs

6th March 2012

The United States African Development Foundation (ADF) has approved a grant to the tune of USD1m for Tanzania to serve the marginalised and other underserved populations.

Speaking to this paper in an emailed interview, the Foundation’s country programme coordinator, Godfrey Kassanga, said the grant would fund not more than 10 grantees.

In a year the organisation receives on average 110 applications although the number may vary depending on the outreach programme, he said.

“ADF has a limited funding basket, which for example, for the United States government Fiscal Year 2012 that started from October 2011 to September 2012, the foundation approved USD1m for the Tanzania Programme. This fund is simply called Community Reinvestment Grant Fund,” he said.

Explaining further, he said again they review all grant application, and a time lag can extend from 3 to 6 months, sometimes to even 9 months before we actually fund a new applicant.

“This is because our application passes through a number of stages to ensure it suites ADF mission in Tanzania, and secondly it should really present the actual society need,” he said.

In obtaining an assurance whether or not grant programme benefits the poor, he said, the organisation prefers to seek and document success stories although that does not happen more often, he said.

In the lifetime of the grant, he said, they normally visit the groups and occasionally tour a few group members to see if at all they first exist and second have any changes from the ordinary life before funding.

In Tanzania, the organisation started the funding programme since 1986 with a focus on exporting enterprises engaged in agriculture and agro-processing activities. Currently there are 22 active grantees with a total commitment of nearly USD4m, he said.

He revealed that the organisation has two major priorities when considering a request for funding a project.

The application should actually come from an African community group or organisation that represents its own development priorities and includes the participation of the poor in setting project objectives, he said.

Besides, he said, it must represent a project that provides maximum benefit to an underserved and marginalised population group.

Further, he said, project applications are evaluated on the basis of potential benefits to the community, potential for job creation, workers income improvements, long term profitability, and managerial strengths and capabilities.

The community group/organization seeking funding assistance from ADF should be 100 percent African-owned and managed.

A number of groups have through ADF Grant Programme improved and developed their businesses from domestic to international markets. They include Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO), Karatu Development Association (KDA) and Nyirefami Limited.

Others are Classic Home Care in Tanga, Golden Food Products Limited (GFP) in Arusha and Tanga, and other groups in Morogoro like Mbingu Organic Cocoa Outgrowers Association (MOCOA) and TanFeeds.

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