Help Her Live, Learn and Earn: Thank you!

Taji Azaria from Kasapo village showing off her bumper crop of onions

Your support for our Help Her Live, Learn and Earn campaign means farmers in Tanzania have learned long-term strategies to reduce hunger and boost income.

The project worked with farmers in the remote district of Same in Tanzania to try out new farming techniques that would increase crop yields and be more resilient to climate shocks and changes in weather patterns caused by climate change.

After learning improved knowledge on how to grow onions through irrigation, I managed to influence another 11 farmers to grow onions within a village where no one previously believed that the type of soil and drought conditions could support onion production. – Moses Mfinanga

Joyce John with her onion crop
Joyce Johns with her store of harvested onions

The project also supported farmers to improve the storage and marketing of their crops.

At times I sold my onion even at loss because I did not know that I could control rotting in store. After being trained on post-harvest handling practices, everything turned around. This knowledge has not only changed my life but also my family and community as I will not stop telling others what I know. – Paulina Langeni

The project was funded by the UK government through UK Aid Match. Donations by CARE supporters to our Help Her Live, Learn and Earn campaign were matched by the UK government, with the project in Tanzania being directly funded by the UK Aid Match funds.

An arid landscape near a village in Same district, Tanzania
A typical scene of arid land in Same district
Onion crops growing in a field in Tanzania
A field of onions made possible by improved irrigation

What did the project achieve?

Increasing farmers’ yields

Onion was not a key cash crop in the Same district before the project started as farmers were not able to grow them profitably. Given not many farmers were growing onions, there was a market opportunity to be explored. Thanks to the farming techniques adopted by farmers, average yield for onion increased five-fold compared to before the project. For participating farmers, the combination of training from the project on marketing and the 500% increase in yield has led to a significant boost in income.

When I get better income through selling of my agriculture yields I will send my children to better schools to attain better education for their brighter future. I am also planning to expand to 10 acres for seed multiplication and so increase accessibility to improved seeds at affordable prices. – Athumani Ramadhani Mtaita

Production of maize – a staple food crop – increased by more than 60% as a result of farmer adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices that involved growing lablab (a type of pea) as an intercrop with maize.

Improving families’ food security

As a food security crop, the increase in maize yield has made a significant contribution in reducing household food shortages, reducing the proportion of households who said they did not have enough food during the 3-month ‘lean season’ (October to December, when people are waiting for the next harvest) from 20% at the start of the project to 1.4% at project end. Some families who said they previously survived on only one meal per day during the lean season now have enough food to take them to the next cropping season.

I am better able to face challenges of food shortage because I know the importance of storing food. Drought is what I fear the most due to unpredictable climate change. Now, I know much more and have better skills, hence more choices as compared to the situation before this project. – Simon Gasper

Improving resilience to climate shocks

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of farmers said they had adopted one or more climate-smart agriculture practice, and more than one-quarter (27%) stated that they had increased their resilience.

How did the farmers do it?

Learning improved farming techniques

The project used the Farmer Field and Business School (FFBS) approach – a hands-on, “learning by doing” method in which groups of farmers meet regularly during the course of the production cycle to experiment and learn production and marketing techniques.

Farmers learn about new agriculture technologies and test these approaches on a collectively managed demonstration plot, before applying them to their own land. They are closely supervised by trained facilitators called paraprofessionals who are selected among the community members and continue to provide technical support to farmers beyond the lifetime of the project.

The project formed 18 Farmer Field and Business Schools, with three in each of the six project villages. A total of 540 farmers (332 women, 208 men) participated in the FFBS.

I got a lot of benefits. I learned good agricultural practices specifically on the onion crop, knowing the impacts of climate change and variability, making of organic fertiliser, conservation of moisture, how to best handle the harvests so as to minimize post-harvest losses, market linkages… My family is food secured now. I have managed to build an improved house. My community respects me as I am now getting involved in almost every meeting and I am regularly invited by the extension officer to share the experience gained through this project. – Kambini Kambini

Farmers at a demonstration plot in Tanzania
Participants at the FFBS demonstration plot in Bangalala village
Terraces at a farmer demonstration plot in Tanzania
Terraces at the demonstration plot in Bangalala village
A farmer on a terrace at a farm in Tanzania
A farmer at one of the FFBS demonstration plots

Spreading the word through outreach campaigns

Outreach campaigns were designed to share the benefits of the project activities with a wider number of farmers through community meetings, banners, posters, and dramas with specific climate-smart agriculture messages. The messages included: use of improved seed varieties for high productivity; how to avoid soil erosion; agroforestry approaches; methods for controlling pests and diseases.

Farmers also benefited through direct information from the Tanzania Meteorological Authority about seasonal forecasts and detailed explanations about rainfall variability.

With the weather projections I receive, I will know early enough and plant drought-tolerant crops instead of wasting resources on crops I will not harvest. At least now I understand why and when weather may change. – Rehema Msafiri

Better and fairer community management of water resources

Drought regularly occurs in Same district, which is one of Tanzania’s driest regions. Prior to the project, most households relied on traditional rain-fed agriculture. The project rehabilitated and built water storage and irrigation facilities.

An irrigation reservoir at a village in Tanzania
A reservoir to store water for irrigation
People at newly constructed irrigation storage at village in Tanzania
Newly-constructed irrigation infrastructure at Kasapo community

Management of water resources and water use at the local level is overseen by Water User Associations or Water User Groups. These groups are responsible for managing, distributing and conserving water from sources used jointly by the members of the group, and resolving conflict related to the joint use of the water resource.

I have seen so much improvement in conservation of water as more farmers now use terraces and make efficient use of water. Water resource sharing is fairer than before and people have meetings to discuss issues. – Constantine, a farmer from Bangalala

At the outset of the project, many of the Water User Groups in the project communities were not functioning effectively and not trusted by the communities, leading to mismanagement of water resources and households not conserving water. The project supported Water User Groups to improve water resource availability and access through infrastructure improvements, and by promoting community-wide awareness of water conservation practices.

This means farmers now have better access to water for irrigation, leading to improved crop production.

I now practice agriculture throughout the year since the canal in my village is rehabilitated and can provide water which we use for agriculture. We are also managing the canal in a proper manner and the water is evenly distributed to all the members. [Now] I can cultivate vegetables year-round. – Youze Pinielli Mashana

Strategic partnership with local authorities

The project worked in collaboration with Same District Council to ensure the best chance of sustainability of project activities. To improve accountability of village authorities so that they deliver what households need to continue their climate-smart agriculture and income-generating activities, the project used CARE’s Community Score Card (CSC) approach. The CSC approach creates a forum for discussion between local authorities and community members, for collective agreement on priorities for service delivery and an agreed process for assessing the service provision and providing feedback.

The project received great support from the district both in terms of technical support and sharing of resources. Involving the district during the design stage of the project, planning together for implementation, and reflecting together about progress and finding solutions to challenges, ensured that from the village to district level, the commitment and sense of ownership of the project was very high. As a result, climate-smart agriculture was integrated into the district plan and budget for financial year 2020/21.

Promoting gender equality

The project reached a total of 990 community members (704 female, 286 male) through gender dialogues with strong support from 12 male champions. Through dialogues on women’s land rights, a total of 125 women from Ruvu Jiungeni and Makanya were able to request land at the Village Council and a total of 99 acres were allocated to them. Further requests were made to local councils by women’s groups in other villages.

Endline survey results show that through gender dialogues, 52% of women confirmed that they are now mutually and equally involved with their spouses in household decision-making.

Women reported that they are now more able to make decisions about using money earned from their small business activities to buy improved agricultural inputs for the purpose of increasing yield. From January to March 2020, a total of 119 women were linked directly with inputs suppliers to buy agricultural inputs.

Promoting women’s leadership

Involvement and encouragement of women in leadership positions throughout the project has strengthened women’s confidence in being leaders and communities’ views of women as leaders. From 18 FFBS, there were 40 female leaders (compared to 25 men), six women paraprofessionals, and also two female champions who were agro-dealers in Makanya and Mgwasi village. These champions, Afiza Mbwambo in Mgwasi village and Rehema Msafiri in Makanya village, are playing a vital role in making sure the farmers access agricultural inputs within the locality and are role models for other women within their communities.

Working with local partners

The project worked with and through local partners FORUM CC, who have strong experience on climate change, and SAIPRO, who have specialism in water management. This helped the project to strengthen collaboration and capacity of trusted partners, learn technical areas of expertise from each other, and create a strong relationship to work together in future.

Farmers at a farm in Tanzania

Thank you for supporting our Help Her Live, Learn and Earn campaign – and for helping women and girls live, learn and earn their way out of poverty.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.