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.
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!