Economic empowerment looks different in every community, and tends to be woven into nearly every project. Current focus areas include farming as a family income source, livestock and horticulture, community-based alternative education programs, irrigation, infrastructure, and access to clean water. Here are a few examples of how we work:
- In 2010, the Nanny Project began as a way to give farmers in the village of Hedaru the skills to grow more nutritious food in larger quantity on small pieces of land around their homes. The concept was simple: train 20 people in animal husbandry and gardening, give them each two pregnant dairy goats, and help them learn to support each other as they build their farms. The project requires each new farmer to pass an animal forward to help someone else begin a farm, and pass an animal backward to help support the cost of the ongoing training. The project was very successful. Fourteen farmers qualified to receive animals and 32 animals were purchased, including three breeding males, and from this beginning, there have been many unanticipated accomplishments. Two strong leaders rose up from the group. One man named Tunzo took the lead and directed the entire group of farmers. One woman named Nietiwe became a trainer and started helping other farmers. As a team, they have been able to help every one of the farmers experience success with their goat farms. In some cases, the farmers have added bio-gas cooking systems, new latrines for their families, remodeled their homes, installed clean water systems, introduced other kinds of animals, and purchased motorcycles to use in gathering grasses to feed the animals. They started tracking profit and loss, and now farm as a business, not just to feed their own families. Other farmers in the area are noticing the progress of our Nanny Farmers and want to know how they too can participate. In a rural community that does not easily accept new ways of doing things, people are very open to the ideas this project has taught because they see the results of those new ideas living right next door.
- Empower Tanzania supports projects to rehabilitate broken wells and to dig new ones improving health and enabling increasing amounts of agriculture. It is estimated that 1 in 7 people worldwide live without access to clean water. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery, and other illnesses. Ninety percent of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are in children under five years old. Thanks to some very generous donations in 2014, Phase 1 of the Katahe Water Project is fully funded and about to begin. This is a big victory for the people of this small Maasai village in northeastern Tanzania. This community currently depends on the nearby Pangani River, which is notorious for crocodiles and rock pythons, both capable of attacking children as they collect water and eating unsuspecting goats as they drink. To the people who live and raise animals in this dry desert, the well will make an enormous difference. Digging began this spring.