Women’s Empowerment Event is a Huge Success!

On a cool summer in August, over one hundred Empower Tanzania supporters  gathered at Vivian’s Diner & Drinks in Des Moines to celebrate the work we’ve done and to help launch us into an even better, more ambitious tomorrow. Board members, staff members, volunteers, founders, and friends all gathered to share stories, bid on silent auction items, drink sangria, and eat a fabulous dinner curated by Vivian’s staff. Not only were we given the privilege of the sharing  stories of the people we serve in Tanzania, but together we raised over $10,000 for our women’s empowerment projects in rural Tanzania!! We are so grateful to all who attended and all who donated. So often we spend our time looking ahead to what we’ve yet to do, but the Women’s Empowerment Event allowed us to pause and celebrate the work our teams in the states and in Tanzania has done so faithfully over the years. To view an alum of photos from the event, click HERE.

Our incredible volunteers made this night happen:

Before sitting down to dinner, guests enjoyed appetizers, sangria, and a new video produced by ETI highlighting our work towards women’s empowerment in Tanzania:

Dinner was outstanding and as people finished their dessert, we were thrilled for the opportunity to thank our honorary hosts, Dr. Jeff and Ali Carithers:

How do we empower women?

We’re currently in the midst of a Mother’s Day campaign in which we’re working hard to raise $3,000 for our women’s empowerment programming through the sale of some pretty beautiful jewelry made in Tanzania. Because of our generous business sponsor, Onion Grove Mercantile, we’re offering supporters the chance to donate $30, receive a pair of earrings, and be assured that their money will go toward the women of rural Tanzania. Continue reading

An Empower Tanzania Ag Update

 

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Which animals are changing the lives of agricultural entrepreneurs in Tanzania? Goats, ducks, and chickens. Each animal helps farmers greatly increase their status and income. Eating meat, milk, and eggs benefits their health and the extra income can improve all aspects of life, including allowing parents to send their children to school. A third quarter visit to 31 farms conducted by Steven M. Kihoko, PLFO Same District,  and Mr. Joseph Kimbwereza, project manager, was successful.  Continue reading

Goats are changing lives!

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Goats are amazing!!  On a recent visit to Tanzania, Empower Tanzania staffer Sheri Krumm and volunteer Sarah Svorinic visited the newest expansion of the Integrated Farming Project….goats in Masandare!  It was so exciting to meet our new farmers, and see what an impact this project is already having in their lives.

Continue reading

Integrated Farming class of 2014!!!

Empower Tanzania’s EPIC Integrated Farming Project doubled in size this week as the first annual new farmer training took place in Hedaru!  Twenty-one new farmers attended the three day seminar to learn how to prepare to receive their new dairy goats in July.  Topics covered included care and feeding of the goats, how to breed them and deliver the kids, and how to take care of the medical needs of the animals.  There was also extensive training in the specialized construction of the pens that allow the goats to live in a healthy environment, and allow the farmers to harvest the manure for composting. Continue reading

The POWER of goats!

What is the most powerful force in Tanzania?
A person with a dream and a way to get there!

Integrated farming appeals to women in the Same District., who do most of the farming.  Improved techniques that bring increased income impact them in a huge way.

Integrated farming appeals to women in the Same District., who do most of the farming. Improved techniques that bring increased income impact them in a huge way.

Integrated farming appeals to women in the Same District., who do much of the farming. Improved techniques that bring increased income impact them in a huge way.  Women make up at least 50% of all our participants in the project. Continue reading

Integrated Farming

In 2014, Empower Tanzania’s Nanny Project is getting a new name:

The Integrated Farming Project

Why?  Because our farmers are branching out way beyond goats!

chicken

In mid-2013, the farmers voted to spend their continuing education money on a short course in poultry farming that has succeeded beyond our wildest imaginations, and trust me, we have WILD imaginations!  Ten farmers were trained for 3 days to build safe and sterile chicken houses, and to raise chickens not just for home consumption, but for market.  In the Same District, over half the chickens in the market must be imported from South Africa each week, because there is such a shortage of farmers able to produce large numbers of birds and eggs.

Can you say market void?!

This morning, we got word from Elias Leasa, who manages this project, that he is seeing huge progress.  Elias recently graduated with a degree in business that he is really enjoying using with our farmers, and I think it’s safe to say, they are enjoying it also.  Here is the email.

Good morning dada Sheri,

Happy new year 2014. It is a new year and everything now is new to us.

I’m much excited to write to you that I’m starting to see the product of the entrepreneurship training we have conducted in Hedaru. People life are changing toward high income earning.

Today in the morning I visited Hedaru to  see the progress of the farmers.

During entrepreneurship training about chicken-keeping, I taught farmers how they will become rich via chickens.  I told them to think about producing chicks and selling it and I suggested to them the good way is to buy an incubator. Finally Tunzo bought the first incubator, and will begin to sell chicks in the village.  Please find herewith the attached pictures of Tunzo’s Incubator.

yours, 
Elias Leasa

Head farmer, Tunzo Simon with his wife and their new incubator, purchased with money he earned raising goats in the Empower Tanzania Integrated Farming Project.

Head farmer, Tunzo Simon with his wife and their new incubator, purchased with money he earned raising goats in the Empower Tanzania Integrated Farming Project.

 

Tunzo's incubator

Tunzo’s incubator

This is a very significant update from Elias. Thanks to Empower Tanzania partners,  St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Ames, Iowa, who did a fundraiser for Christmas to start more poultry farmers in Hedaru, we will have an additional 20+ farmers going through training and starting farms in Hedaru in 2014.

We are also in the midst of fundraising on Crowdrise.com to begin a new Integrated Farming site in Masandare, Tanzania.  That site will begin with ten goat farmers, like Hedaru, and eventually grow into gardening and chickens.  If you want to help out with this incredible project, click here to go make a donation.

Chickens added to Nanny Project

Chickens are the newest residents at ten of our Nanny Project Farms in Hedaru, improving breakfasts every day!  Each year the farmers choose a new product to add to their farms, and this year, poultry was the unanimous winner in the unofficial farmer poll.  It appears that it was a good idea.

Chickens are easy to raise, and begin earning their keep almost immediately.  Six hens will product 3-4 eggs a day from the start.

Chickens are easy to raise, and begin earning their keep almost immediately. Five hens will product 3-4 eggs a day from the start.

 

Ten farmers are participating in this farm expansion using the model Empower Tanzania has developed.

  1. They attend a 3-day seminar on poultry keeping.  They are taught how to build chicken houses and take care of their birds, including how to make the feed from local available products, and how to keep the birds in a clean environment to prevent disease.
  2. They visit a few very successful poultry operations, and are able to ask questions and see the concepts in action.
  3. They return home, and are responsible for building a chicken house, at their own expense, and getting everything ready to receive the birds.
  4. Once they pass inspection by the committee, they get 5 females and a cock.
Nanny Project farmer, Tunzo Simon

Nanny Project farmer, Tunzo Simon

 

Tunzo Simon is so inspired by a woman he saw raising 300 chickens, and the concept that this could be much more than just a small family business, he has built a chicken house large enough for 200-300 birds, and has plans to expand to as many as 500.  Mr. Simon’s response, when asked about his training was, “I am seeing poultry in a whole new way.  The old Tunzo is now gone, and in his place is a new Tunzo with a much larger vision!”

Tunzo is one of the original Nanny Project farmers, and was elected by his fellow farmers to be the leader of the farmers in the project.  His job is to visit the sites, encourage the individual farmers, and help the committee identify and organize training that will help the farmers grow and expand their farms.  He is instrumental in the success of the program.

 

 

 

 

Chicken coops come in different sizes.  This one is designed to have several dozen hens, feeding eggs to the family for daily protein, and selling some at market.

Chicken coops come in different sizes. This one is designed to have several dozen hens, giving eggs to the family for daily protein, with enough extra to sell at the market.

Tunzo working on building his new chicken coop.

Tunzo working on building his new chicken coop.

Tunzo's finished chicken coop will house several hundred birds, and allow them space to be outside, but safe from predators.

Tunzo’s finished chicken coop will house several hundred birds, and allow them space to be outside, but safe from predators.

In fact, this is exactly what Empower Tanzania hoped for.  According to the Same District Livestock Officer, nearly 50% of the chickens currently being sold in the local markets are coming from South Africa, because this part of Tanzania has a terrible chicken shortage.  The District would like to dramatically expand chicken production among local farmers, and is offering a five-day course to prepare farmers to do large-scale poultry production.  The District Government is very much in favor of Empower Tanzania adding poultry farming to our Nanny Project, so as we expand into new locations in 2014, we will expand under the new name “Integrated Farming Project” and begin farms with a choice of either chickens or goats.  We anticipate that more than half of the sites will choose to begin with chickens.

Gunge Safi Construction Pics

When you spend many months, and sometimes even a year or more planning, researching and preparing to begin a project, there is nothing quite like the high of watching it actually HAPPENING!  Gunge Safi is doing that for us right now.

Enjoy the latest round of pictures taken at the job site this week!  One of the key values of ETI is that we work in partnership with Tanzanians, and this is a beautiful example.  We have a couple of paid technicians, and a paid foreman, but everyone else you see in these pictures is donating MANY hours of their time to make this happen, and it creates a huge sense of ownership in the project.

 

In anticipation of the project beginning, villagers have spent weeks collecting stones from a location about 5 miles away, which are now ready to be transported to the site

 

Loading up the stones by hand into the truck for transport to the site

 

Stones being offloaded at the site of the intake construction

 

The stones have arrived, and the villagers begin work preparing the river bank for the gabion baskets

 

Despite the difficulty of the work, all the villagers are encouraged to come and help.

 

Technicians making gabion baskets

 

Technicians and Gunge villagers ready to do canal repair

 

Construction beginning in the canal

 

The water was dammed up temporarily to repair the failed wall. In the top left of the picture, you can see where the gabions will be placed

 

There was a lot of damage to the existing canal

 

reconstruction of the failed canal wall

 

Admiring their work

 

Excited about a beautiful job!

 

Already, the water level to the fields is beginning to rise

 

The gabion stones inside the wire cages cannot be destroyed by floods, hippos, or crocodiles.

 

The beginning of the gabion wall is in place

Nanny Project Stories: Mackline

18-year old Mackline Mcharo, and her mother

In 2010, eighteen year old Mackline Mcharo of Hedaru finished secondary school.  Like most girls in Tanzania, she could not continue her education, so she began to wonder what would happen to her.  How does a girl without a trade or a college education support herself in a rural village in Tanzania?  Typically, she gets married, and begins the cycle of farming and raising children and barely surviving that will consume the rest of her life as a subsistence farmer.  She knows her odds of contracting HIV from her husband will be high, and she knows that her future is set in stone.  That’s what it is to be a young girl in rural Tanzania.

The story, however, was destined to be different.  Mackline’s mother had been chosen to receive two pregnant goats through ETI’s new Nanny Project, and she did something any mother would understand.  She gave her youngest daughter the Goat Milk t-shirt she had been given, symbolically giving her daughter her place in the program, and in reality, giving her a future.

In January of 2011, Mackline and 14 other farmers from Hedaru (most old enough to be her parents) went to Arusha and attended two weeks of training at Tengeru Agriculture College.  Their training covered animal husbandry, and extensive education in the care and breeding of high quality dairy goats.  They also learned about a process called “Integrated Farming”, which is a kind of ecologically intelligent farming, emphasizing wise use of resources and water, and maximum food production on minimal land.

The Nanny Project farmers, home from training and excited!

For this group of farmers, it was a life-changing experience, and opened their eyes to the benefits of modern farming practices, and good stewardship of their land and resources in a way that they had never seen before.  To say they were excited when they got home would be an understatement!  Iowa project manager, Sheri Krumm of ETI’s board of directors visited in April, to find an amazing amount of hope and excitement brewing!

Since that time, Mackline has received her two pregnant goats, has had 3 kids, one of which died, and is happily looking forward to watching her budding little her grow and blossom over the next few years.

What is her dream?

Mackline wants to use the money she makes from her farming to go back to school and get more education, and she wants to use her experience to help other young girls in the village to find choices of their own.  She may be young, but she is strong, independent, and on a mission to do something with her life!