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.
The project began 4 years ago with 10 farmers in Hedaru each receiving similar training and 2 pregnant goats each, plus 2 bucks for to be used for the herd. It soon expanded to organic gardening, and last year added poultry. Because of the training and support the program provides, many of the farmers are doing rainwater harvesting and water filtering, and some have built biogas units to allow them to cook on a gas stove top instead of a three-stone fire. The project has been so successful in raising incomes in the farmers’ families, as well as improving the health of the farmers and the neighbors lucky enough to buy the milk, we expanded this year to a new site in the village of Masandare, about 40 miles away.
In addition, the Integrated Farming Project Committee, responsible for overseeing the new site in Masandare, attended a 2-day training on entrepreneurship, project management skills, leadership, and the bylaws and expectations of both Empower Tanzania and this particular program. They are all volunteers from the community who donate their time to our project because they see how it can help generate a stronger economy in their village. They will be the major support group for the new farmers, and are well prepared to take on that role.
We at Empower Tanzania are eternally grateful to YOU, all our donors and supporters who made this project possible. I assure you that every one of our farmers is forever thankful you cared and contributed. We also want to thank Emmanuel Youze and the Catholic Diocese of Same who partnered with us on the new Masandare Project, and will be key in the success of that project. Of course, we can never thank our staff in Tanzania enough for the work they do. They are truly amazing! Joseph Kimbwereza just started managing this project in March and has already proven himself to be exceptional. Our Country Director, Elibariki Kisimbo, is an agriculture and community development expert, and comes with a wealth of knowledge.
We also want to give a special shout-out to Tunzo Simon, leader of the farmers in Hedaru. He is now mentoring with the Same District Agriculture Officer to become our main trainer for the entire project, and we are very excited about what he is able to do with the farmers. He will be working closely with Kilonzo Mshana who is the leader of the new farmers in Masandare, and we look forward to seeing what these two men can do together!