Dubbed Dodoma’s Women in Agriculture and Business Initiative (DWABI), the project is carried out in Chamwino and Mpwapwa districts and implemented by the Sustainable Agriculture of Tanzania (SAT) with support from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
Janet Maro, SAT executive director said in an interview that the three-year project focuses on equipping the women with essential skills; knowledge and equipment to enable them improve their income and nutrition intake and food security through agroecological farming and home gardens.
“We launched the project in 2019 and its implementation will go until 2022. The project also aims to increase women’s income through income-generating activities as a result of entrepreneurship training. It will also improve access to market information through Information and Communication Technology (ICT),” she said.
According to her, in the first component, the project strengthens agricultural production. Through coaching by SAT facilitators, the women establish demonstration fields and get trained in agroecological agriculture.
“Besides, there is a special training in water-saving methods of growing vegetables that is particularly suitable for improving nutrition. Here, women establish small gardens in their homes areas which in turn help them to get enough veggies for family and surplus for sale. While growing various types of vegetables, the groups are also taught on soil and water management techniques,” she said.
Maro further said that, so far over 90 saving groups have been introduced and linked to SAT Saving and Lending Group (SSLG) Model so as to get access to micro-financial services.
She further noted that the women are also quipped with mobile phones to facilitate the use of ICT for market information delivery and share market information markets on a weekly basis.
Some of the beneficiaries on their part expressed their joy commending SAT for coming up with the project which has transformed lives of a number of women in the dry land region of Dodoma.
“Since I completed primary school six years ago, I’ve been trying hard to find opportunities to make my life better. I felt I need more education. So, when I heard, there would be this project implemented by SAT in our village, I took the chance. Since then, two years ago i have made big steps. Producing and selling baobab sweets is very profitable. Then, I learnt how to save money and to get loans for further business activities,” said Eides Ndeya, a beneficiary from Kingiti village.
She added; “In the meantime, I have bought three acres of land, and groundnut seeds and my kitchen garden produces enough to sell vegetables on the market. When I got sick, my group assisted me through the social security fund in which we all contribute in.”
Mariam Jonas, a beneficiary from Kikombo village said “With what I earned from farming this year, I bought one male and three female rabbits. Two of them already gave birth to nine bunnies. I consider this and my other activities as long-term projects. After two years, I expect to have enough income and savings to construct a new house, and to enable my daughter Jane to study further."
According to her, the training she attended in Morogoro, has made her become a farmer-to-farmer facilitator, a job which has raised several poor women towards having improved income.