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Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change in Tanzania

Story by Transformations February 3rd, 2017

Transformations: Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change in Tanzania is a collaborative photojournalism project intended to increase dialogue and further understanding of international partnerships that address complex global challenges. Through individual and organizational stories we invite you to actively engage in a new narrative on international cooperation and solidarity.

This initiative is rooted in the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness, a set of mutually shared values guiding the development work of civil society organizations (CSOs) worldwide. These include to: respect and promote human rights and social justice; embody gender equality and equity while promoting women and girls’ rights; focus on people’s empowerment, democratic ownership and participation; promote environmental sustainability; practice transparency and accountability; pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity; create and share knowledge and commit to mutual learning; and commit to realizing positive sustainable change.

Through this exhibit we invite you to learn about the work of CPAR and CPAR Tanzania to empower farmers and their communities in addressing issues of climate change, food security, gender equity and youth skills development.

The stories presented were documented by OCIC and Allan Lissner, Praxis Pictures, during a visit to Tanzania in November 2016. We extend our deepest gratitude to our organizational partners and to the many individuals and communities that shared their experiences and opened their hearts and their homes to us.

This initiative was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.




Welcome to Tanzania, an East African country famous for its vast wilderness and wide variety of animal habitats, including 16 national parks, and numerous game and forest reserves. The United Republic of Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, and is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south; and by the Indian Ocean to the east. With a population of 53.47 million (2015), Tanzania is comprised of several ethnic, linguistic and religious groups that speak more than 125 different languages, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa. [i] Of these, Swahili and English are its two official languages.

According to its 2015 Climate Action Plan, “Tanzania is experiencing adverse impacts of climate change… resulting in extreme weather events that have had major economic costs in the country, and have affected millions of people and their livelihoods.”[ii] Tanzania produces negligible emissions of greenhouse gases (both total and per capita), and has 88 million hectares of land areas, of which 48.1 million are forested. This land is creating a currently estimated total of 9 trillion tonnes of carbon stock, which implies that Tanzania is a net sink. This means that the trees in Tanzania can absorb more CO2 emissions than what Tanzania produces, thereby helping to reduce global CO2 emissions. [ii]

In 2012 Tanzania ranked 159 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index, with approximately 68% of its population living on less than $1.25 a day, and 16% of children under five years of age malnourished.[iii] Among the most prominent challenges it faces in poverty reduction are unsustainable harvesting of its natural resources, and climate change. In addition, there are very few resources for Tanzanians in terms of credit services, infrastructure, or availability to improved agricultural technologies, which further exacerbates hunger and poverty.[iv]

In the United Nations 2014 Gender Inequality Index Tanzania ranked 125 out of 155 countries. While it has made some progress towards gender equality over the last decade, key challenges remain in terms of inequitable access to and ownership of land and resources, low participation of women at all levels of decision-making, gender-based violence, and exclusion of women from the economy.[iv] Tanzania is also challenged to reduce extreme hunger and malnutrition. In particular, children in its rural areas suffer substantially higher rates of malnutrition and chronic hunger, in part due to low rural sector productivity arising from inadequate infrastructure investment; limited access to farm inputs, extension services and credit; limited technology, trade and marketing support; and heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources.[iv]

In October 2015 Tanzania elected a new President, John Magufuli. Many Tanzanians are hopeful that they will be able to work with his government to bring about positive change for the country and its citizens.

While not the primary focus of this photojournalism initiative, these contextual issues had a bearing on the work of CPAR during the time the following stories were documented.

MEET cpar

Founded in 1984 in response to the famine in Ethiopia, CPAR is a non-profit organization working in partnership with vulnerable communities and diverse organizations to overcome poverty and build healthy communities across Africa. CPAR has offices and locally implemented programs in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi, which are fully managed by national staff. The primary focus of CPAR’s work is to support community efforts to address the determinants of health by increasing access to nutritious food and clean water; improving hygiene and sanitation practices; promoting primary health care services; and developing sustainable livelihoods. CPAR and CPAR Tanzania work together on project design, proposal development and monitoring and evaluation, and CPAR Tanzania manages project implementation.

In this exhibit we share photos and stories of several women, men and children impacted by CPAR’s Farmer Field Schools and Junior Farmer Field Schools, two of the six current projects they are undertaking together in the vicinity of the Rubana River, in Bunda District, Northern Tanzania. These provide a glimpse into the efforts of farmers, communities, students, and their schools to integrate sustainable approaches to food production and livelihood development by: encouraging gender equality; through alternative energy production, such as biogas; and with village community banking (VICOBA).


The Rubana River in Bunda District, Tanzania, surrounded by the Rubana Forest. Both are vital natural habitats at risk of disappearing because of drought, the growing human population, and increased human activity.

CPAR and CPAR Tanzania are working with farmers and students in 11 rural communities surrounding the Rubana River -- the boundary separating residential areas from the Serengeti National Park -- to heal the forest, increase agricultural production, rehabilitate lands and riverbanks, and regenerate vegetation and to reduce wood consumption.


Jitume Farmer Field School Group, Migungani Village

CPAR began this work in the Rubana River area in June 2015 by meeting government authorities, village leaders and community members to present the aims and objectives of the Farmer Field School project, and to build relationships and trust. This process coincided with the fall national election, raising questions about CPAR’s intentions and political affiliations, in some communities. There were concerns that the project may influence participants in some candidates’ favour, or be withdrawn if they did not win. Through continuous dialogue CPAR staff were able to build awareness and understanding of the goals of the project and of CPAR’s role as an independent development actor in its own right, focused on the needs and priorities of community members. As a result, 11 communities agreed to join CPAR and were organized into 33 Farmer Field School groups. The project now has members from different political backgrounds and leanings who are working together to address common goals.

strengthening food security through shared knowledge


Whereas the farmers’ traditional practice was to throw seeds over a wide area, CPAR Farmer Field School group members in Bunda District have learned to space seeds, and to plant them in rows. The farmers say that earlier they could harvest about 5 sacks of maize from 1 acre of land, but now they are able to harvest up to 15 sacks from the same plot.

The Farmer Field School approach provides opportunities for group members to test and adapt alternative farming practices -- such as how to use fertilizer and cover crops to maintain the nutrients and moisture in the soil -- as a community. Through this model CPAR helps to build the knowledge and capacity of local farmers by introducing them to new technology and information on experimental demonstration plots. CPAR also provides group members with better seeds and farming tools, and with training on conservation agriculture, pest management and sustainable animal husbandry. Through this project Farmer Field School members have also teamed up with local research institutions to test drought resistant seeds and cuttings on their demonstration plots.

Each Farmer Field School Group is comprised of 15 women and 15 men. From within this group of 30 one female and one male facilitator are elected and provided extensive training, which they then share with the rest of the group. The group also elects a Chair, Vice Chair, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and Treasurer. With guidance from CPAR the group then develops plans, objectives, and a constitution and bylaws, which serve to guide their work and build their capacity in governance issues. CPAR believes that creating space for shared learning and experimentation leads to new ideas and the sharing of expertise, from which an enabling environment of farmers helping each other and themselves emerges.


Tabu Kabisi and Steria Thomas, Kunzugu Village

Farmers are invited to participate in Farmer Field Schools based on a number of criteria including their interest in participating, and a willingness to learn about environmental conservation efforts related to agriculture. Knowledge gained in the Farmer Field Schools is shared throughout the community so that it is not only the participating farmers who benefit. Neighbors and relatives are welcome to observe the trainings and apply what they learn to their own farms. Collective learning and sharing helps improve social and political skills within the community, and the Farmer Field School pay-it-forward approach allows group members to receive seedlings, goats or crop seeds from CPAR, with the expectation that once they have increased food production they must pass along a percentage in-kind, along with training, to other community members.


Mazingira Farmer Field School Group, Kunzugu Village

Many farmers practice traditional beekeeping, which can be dangerous, as the sting of their “hot" bees can be deadly. Despite the risks, farmers are motivated to produce honey for cooking or medicine and as a source of income from sales of surplus amounts. Additionally, bees are good for the environment and are needed to pollinate crops like papaya and beans. With traditional beekeeping methods farmers can harvest three to five litres of honey, twice per year. CPAR is introducing modern methods of beekeeping using wooden boxes, which can be up to five times more productive than traditional methods, and yield a harvest of up to 15 litres of honey, twice per year.


Encouraging gender equality

Joyce Mazera, Chair of the Farmer Field School Group in Nyamatoke Village

A single mother and grandmother that supports her five children and six grandchildren, Joyce Mazera's typical day begins at 4:00 am, when she rises to work in her field, accompanied by the children who help her farm, and also collect water. Joyce typically returns home at 11:00 am to prepare their first meal of the day, a lunch of cassava leaves, sardines, and ugali -- a dish made of maize, millet or sorghum flour, boiled to a dough-like consistency. In the afternoon Joyce takes time to clean her house and dishes before she leaves to open her small open-air shop, where she sells beer to the locals. At about 9:00 pm she returns home to prepare a second meal for her family, before heading to bed at 11:00 pm.

Despite her busy schedule, Joyce is an active member of the Nyamatoke Village Farmer Field School, and was recently elected Chair. Joyce says that being a single mother is really hard and that she faces many challenges, including paying school fees for the children under her care, but with training from CPAR on gender equality, things are changing for women in the community. Before the trainings traditional beliefs were such that men and women had different roles and the men would not help with “women’s work.” However, CPAR’s trainings have helped educate the community about gender equality and the men are much more willing to help their wives and listen to the women in the community because they now realize that the women can offer good ideas.


“Since I joined CPAR I have learned a lot. I have learned about farming, and I have realized that as a farmer I am an important part of this world. I have learned that even government officials need me. I have realized that farming is my full-time job, just like someone that works with a pen and a computer. Through CPAR I have learned that the world has [Global] Goals, and that I am in the Goals. I have realized the relationship between the environment and the trees, and now I feel like I want to fly.”

Magdalena Mashauri, Treasurer of Mazingira Farmer Field School Group, Kunzugu Village

Magdalena first heard about CPAR at a village meeting two years ago, and has been involved with CPAR ever since. Magdalena says she has already seen significant improvements on her farm, in terms of crop quality and production. She grows maize, rice and cassava. Before she used traditional methods, but at CPAR’s workshops she learned about spacing the seeds and planting them in rows, mixing in manure with the soil for fertilizer, and cultivating smaller pieces of land. She is now getting far better yields than she did before, and shares that overall production levels of staple food crops have at least doubled, and in some cases tripled, for farmers participating in Farmer Field School groups, and income levels overall have also tripled. The average number of meals eaten per day during the lean season has increased among vulnerable populations by 65%.


Limbu Elias Chenge (right) first heard about CPAR at a village meeting. He has now been involved with CPAR for a year and a half, and he and his wife, Kija L Masanja (left), are now getting far better yields on their farm. From their one acre of land they used to harvest three to six sacks of maize, but now they get 10-13 sacks.

To help mitigate risks associated with unpredictable rainfall patterns and changing growing seasons, caused by climate change, CPAR promotes the concept of conservation agriculture. Conservation agriculture is based on three principles to improve agricultural productivity: minimal soil disturbance to prevent removal of the fertile top soil; maintaining a year round soil cover through crop residues left on the field; and intercropping, to promote favourable crop associations and provide insurance in case one crop is lost.

To build the capacity of Farmer Field School members, early training efforts focus on basic improved agronomic practices. These include things like timely land preparation, seed sowing and weeding, proper spacing and row planting, and pest and disease management. Other important components include manure preparation and application, and good harvesting practices and storage techniques. When used consistently, these practices help farmers maximize production returns and move towards achieving farming goals without doing harm to the soil.


(Left to right) Edward Hangaya Kabisi, Grace Pasaka, Mary John Yapanda and Maria Mpanda, Members of Mazingira Farmer Field School Group, Kunzugu Village

Group members from Kunzugu Village point out that these trainings have helped bring their community together as one. A big part of the Farmer Field School approach is building group cohesiveness and collaboration by creating a space for shared learning and experimentation. This leads to new ideas and the sharing of expertise, from which an enabling environment of farmers helping each other and themselves emerges. To further enhance discovery and learning, the curriculum includes special topic sessions. Issues affecting the community are put forward by group members and discussed regularly. Special topics include human rights, gender equality, family planning, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, and other issues affecting the community’s quality of life.

This year a lot of emphasis has been placed on gender equality and leadership skills, with open discussion on the roles of women and men, and the benefits of working collaboratively and making decisions together. Leadership training and discussions focus on the importance of being a leader, rather than a ruler. By targeting women’s participation, women and men work alongside each other and see the assets each offer, which stimulates recognition of the strengths of the women in particular, and their ability to be effective leaders, decision makers and income earners.

Farmers say they are energized by the support they are receiving from CPAR, and are working together to apply their skills and knowledge to make changes to their food security situations. Interest in environmental protection is high and is catching on beyond the Farmer Field School Groups to non-members in the larger community.

INTRODUCING Biogas to help improve lives and the environment


While attending an open village meeting with CPAR, Limbu Chenge (right) learned about biogas. He received training from CPAR and has now been able to test and adapt the biogas system that was built on his land, as a demo system.

Changes in climate, erratic weather patterns, and the cutting down of trees are creating more frequent droughts in the area. CPAR is working with farmers to reduce these effects by providing them with tree seedlings to plant on their farms, and by encouraging them to switch to alternative fuel sources, like biogas. One of the benefits of a biogas system is that it reduces dependency on wood or coal for cooking.

“A lot of people have been watching our progress with doubts,” he said. “It took two months to set up, and initial expenses were high, but now that its working, other farmers in Mihale Village can see it and want to try it themselves.”

CPAR is constructing one biogas demonstration system in each of the 11 villages involved in the project.


Kija Masanja and Limbu Chenge demonstrate how they mix fresh cow dung with water in the first chamber of the biogas system.The second chamber produces methane gas, which is sent into the house through pipes, and the third is the slurry chamber, which produces fertilizer used on the fields or to feed the pigs and chickens.

The introduction of biofuel has been transformative for Farmer Field School members like Limbu, and his family. His wife Kija now saves up to eight hours per day that she used to spend collecting firewood for cooking. With this time she is now able to help with farming, take care of other household responsibilities, or rest. And as they are now able to cook a meal in about 20 minutes, Limbu says that he can also help share the responsibility. The only challenge he has found with the biogas system, he says, is getting enough manure if the animals don’t eat well during a drought. In those cases he asks community members on neighbouring farms for their help.


Grace Pasaka (third from left) makes tea with members of the Mazingira Farmer Field School Group in Kunzugu Village, in under 10 minutes. This task used to take her over half an hour, not including the time needed to collect firewood, and used to produce smoke in her kitchen.

Fellow Farmer Field School group members Magdalena Mashauri and Mary Joan Apanda note that the number of trees being cut down for firewood in the community is decreasing, due in part to conserving the trees, but also due to the use of special efficiency stoves for cooking. The Mazingira group received conservation awareness training and learned about the importance of trees from CPAR. Group members want to maximize the training they have received, and have been sharing their knowledge with the wider community. Mary Joan Apanda says that before the training they didn’t know that trees were part of the viability of rain, but now they know that conserving trees is important.

Paying-it-Forward with Village Community Banking


Catherine Marwa, Migungani Village, shows her VICOBA accounts book with pride.

In addition to agricultural and gender equality trainings, Tanzania further supports Farmer Field School groups with Village Community Banks (VICOBA) that provide low income farmers with access to small loans and saving opportunities. Throughout the year farmers purchase shares in the group’s VICOBA program, and when they need it they can take out loans to invest in small businesses such as shops, crop purchase and resale, or to reinvest in their agricultural activities. CPAR provides training on how to record entries and write receipts, and provides tools, such as accounting books and a safe to keep the money. The safe has three locks, which are kept by three people that do not live on the same street, so that no one can access the money alone.

To-date, 29 of CPAR Tanzania’s Farmer Field School Groups have formed Village Community Banks and have members making twice-monthly contributions to their communal savings. The financial bond among group members adds another level of commitment to each other, and to the community.


Maria Joseph Juma, a member of the Nyamatoke Village Farmer Field School Group, took a VICOBA loan to purchase a milling machine and to open a small business. She now grinds local villagers maize and other grains for 100 Tanzanian shillings (approximately $0.06 CAD) per cup. On a good day, Maria Joseph can make as much as 15,000 TSH (approximately $8.87 CAD). Before taking her loan Maria Joseph says she didn’t have a way to earn an income to support her family of eleven.


(Left to right) Christina Marwa, Yakobo Marwa, Jackson Marwa, Catherine Marwa, Baraka Marwa, Marwa Maswi, Selina Marwa, Magreth Chacha and Emanuel Marwa, in front of their home in Migungani Village.

Marwa Maswi joined CPAR in June 2015, and was elected Chair of his local Farmer Field School Group, and introduced to VICOBA. Within the group the Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and Deputy Secretary work together, but Marwa oversees its functioning and ensures that its accounts are in order. Marwa says that after having VICOBA the group has seen a lot of advantages. For example, members, in including women, have taken lots to start small businesses, pay school fees for their children, or to seek emergency medical attention. To take a loan a member much fill out a form and indicate what they can guarantee against the loan, such as a chair or five cows. Before VICOBA villages has no similar access to credit, and were too ashamed to ask friends or family for money, if they could even find someone with the funds to help.


Christina Mwita and her husband, Mwita Chinchibera, used to live with their seven children in a small house made with mud walls and a grass roof. Now their family lives in a modern home with brick walls and plush, comfortable couches. They started building it with money they had saved from farming before joining CPAR, and the VICOBA loans they have since been able to access allowed them to complete construction and furnish their new home much more quickly. To-date they they have taken out three loans and were able to pay them back with interest. Mwita is a member of a different Feld Farmer Group than Christina, and says he is happy to see his wife collaborating with other people. He says they have had a lot of success with VICOBA and have even bought a motorbike, which makes it easier to go to town when needed. Christina agrees and says she’s proud to have VICOBA.

addressing adverse impacts of climate change


As the climate in Tanzania changes it affects not only local communities, but also local wildlife. Finding water and food has become increasingly difficult for the animals in the Serengeti National Park, on the other side of the Rubana River. The communities bordering the park are seeing more and more animals venturing out of the park area and into residential and agricultural areas, in search of food. Farmers say that an entire field of watermelons, maize or tomatoes can be devoured in a couple of hours by hungry hippos. Despite all their hard work and gains made in crop harvests due to trainings received from CPAR, farmers are extremely vulnerable to animal encroachment.


Mwita Kasawa, Farmer Field School member in Butakale Village, stands next to his maize storage structure, emptied and destroyed by 20 elephants the night before. Mwita says that last year he was able to increase his harvest to more than 20 sacks of maize, but elephants came and ate it too. One or two elephants can devour a family's entire harvest in one night.


With profits from his farming activities and loans taken through VICOBA, Mwita is in the process of building a new brick home (right), which he says will make it easier to keep food safe from the elephants and other animals. He and his family currently live in a home built of traditional materials (centre), which he says an adult elephant could easily knock down if it felt threatened or smelled food inside it. The traditional Maasai boma (left) is currently where his children sleep. Mwita says that when the elephants come at night it is unsafe, and they have to stay inside.

In some cases the Tanzanian government has responded to the situation by offering farmers affected by the encroachment of animals up to 100,000 TSH (approx. $59 CAD), and encouraging them to move to a different area. The farmers say they don’t want to move and leave their homes and crops.


Magdalena Mashauri, Treasurer of the Mazingira Farmer Field School Group in Kunzugu Village, says that these problems with the animals started seven or eight years ago. She recalls that when she was a child there was a lot of food, and rains were enough. She remembers playing in the fields and under a lot of trees. The grass was very green and she didn’t know what elephants looked like, because she had never seen one. Now elephants come frequently to the village looking for food.

One day a big herd of 200 elephants came and they had to call the District Commissioner and game wardens to chase away the elephants. Of course the animals are protected, so the villagers cannot harm them. All the farmers can do is make a lot of noise and wave their flashlights to try and scare them away. Many farmers frequently spend the whole night in their fields, with flashlights, to try to protect their crops. Those that live closer to Lake Victoria and the Rubana River worry more about hippos, while those who live further inland have more trouble with elephants, zebras and wildebeests. Magdalena says two of the greatest challenges she faces are destructive animals, and erratic weather.


investing in irrigation agriculture

A single father of two, Malongo Mashimo has been as a member of CPAR’s Farmer Field School in Nyatwali Village since its inception. He says CPAR has given him education and improved tools in agriculture and VICOBA.

Traditionally the main activity in Nyatwali Village was fishing in Lake Victoria, but due to climate change, there are no longer as many fish in the lake. Like many others, Malongo had to switch to farming. He now grows vegetables, tomatoes, maize, millet and rice, and keeps chickens and goats. In addition to receiving support and training from CPAR, Malongo has received improved quality seeds and good quality chickens, and has learned how to rear them. With CPAR's help Malongo and other community members spent a week digging a 300 metre long trench from the lake, in order to bring water closer to their fields. They now have an irrigation system that pumps water from the nearby lake through a hose, which he uses to water his field twice a week. He goes to his field every morning and spends a few hours inspecting his crops for disease and pests. He says the area where his field is located is particularly susceptible to large animals.

One of Malongo’s biggest challenges is dealing with hippos and other animals that come and destroy his crops. As hippos especially love the watermelons and tomatoes he grows, he says he often spends nights sleeping in his fields, which are a 45 minute walk from his home. If he does not, he says, in just a few hours the hippos could clear his entire field, destroying his whole years' work.


Monica Moses, a member of the Mazingira Farmer Field School Group, with her sons on their farm in Kunzugu Village.

Monica recounts that when she was younger the rains were enough, the weather was good, the crops were good, and the area was very green. The forest was also very thick, so elephants never came around. Now, she says, the elephants come to the village frequently. Monica says that many people in the community used to believe that trees make cattle cold, so in order to protect their livestock they cut down the tress, contributing to the desertification of the land. While this notion still exists today, Monica says they have learned from CPAR the importance of preserving the environment, and of setting an example for others in their community.

Monica and her husband Moses Odiambohave use the information provided by CPAR to try to convince others not to cut down so many trees. They have learned that the environment is the number one priority for sustaining their lives, and they are happily planting trees around their homes to protect their land from free-grazing animals, and to demonstrate their own efforts to conserve natural resources at the household level. Monica says that the farming knowledge she has received will help her get from this level of life to a better one.


Husseni Masinda (third from the left), a member of the Mazingira Farmer Field School Group, Kunzugu Village, remembers that the fields were once full of water, all the way back to the trees in the distant background. All that remains now is this small puddle. He says that the weather conditions are harsh and drought is becoming an obstacle.

Edward Ngaia Kambisi, Chair of the Mazingira group, recalls that when he was a child his father used to grow sugar cane in the field, but because of frequent drought they no longer have enough water to support such a water-intensive crop. Weather conditions are affecting farmer’s crops which is in turn affecting family food security. Husseni says that before you could find families in the village with not enough food for the next season because of poor crops, due to changes in weather. Community members tried to solve these problems, but couldn’t. Now, through CPAR, the Farmer Field School group members are receiving training on how to deal with weather changes and are working to find solutions to the challenges they face.


A dried up river bed near Butakale Village, photographed in November during the so-called rainy season. In the last 40 years Tanzania has experienced severe and recurring droughts with devastating effects to agriculture, water and energy sectors. Currently more than 70% of all natural disasters in Tanzania are climate change-related and are linked to recurrent droughts and floods. Mean seasonal rainfall is projected to decrease consistently and progressively over the coming years in most parts of the country, meaning the frequency and severity of extreme climate change related events will increase. [ii]

Malongo Mashimo, CPAR Farmer Field School member in Nyatwali Village, says that the environment has changed a lot. He recalls that when he was young the water from Lake Victoria would come up to where his home is now located. He says that rivers in the area now get dry throughout the year because there are no heavy rains, but that they used to be full, especially in the rainy season. He remembers sometimes not being able to go to school, because he couldn’t cross the river. He says that there used to be bushes all around the lake, but there aren’t many bushes anymore.

It is in response to these changes that CPAR Project Manager Innocent Leoni shares, “We are trying our level best to make sure that people will heal this river and the Rubana forest for the betterment of this generation, and the coming generations.”

Planting Seeds for Future Generations


Junior Farmer Field School Group, Kiwasi Primary School

Kiwasi Primary School was established in 1975, and currently has 202 female and 226 male students, most of whom face poverty-related challenges. Many have to walk long distances to attend school, and frequently come without exercise books, school uniforms, or even shoes. When the teachers learned of CPAR’s projects they readily decided to join their Junior Farmer Field School initiative. The teachers selected students who were very motivated, well-disciplined, and could work with others on the program.

Each Junior Farmer Field School Group has 30 students -- 15 girls and 15 boys -- the majority of whom are 12 or 13 years old. The students select one girl and one boy to be their group leaders. Similar to CPAR's adult Farmer Field School Groups, their Junior Farmer Field School Groups receive a small experimental demo plot to test different farming techniques, and trainings to help expand local agricultural knowledge. One of the primary goals of the project is to reach a point where the food that is grown on demonstration plots is used to provide lunches for students at school. To-date, 30 schools have reported starting lunch programs.


Within the Junior Farmer Field School project at Kiwasi Primary School, CPAR focuses on topics such as conservation agriculture, nutrition, hygiene, gender equality, self-esteem, and sexual reproductive health. These are extra-curricular activities, outside of the school curriculum. CPAR also provides livelihood development training in agriculture, because youth in Tanzania are suffering from unemployment. Many parents have positive views of the Junior Farmer Field School program and are supporting their children in participating in the group.

Teachers say that after the students have received gender training from CPAR they see them working together more, and enjoying their academic activities more. The Principal at Wariku Primary School says they are reinforcing gender equality at school, and teaching the students that they should be treated equally at home as well. For example, girls and boys should both be allowed the same amount of study time at home.


CPAR has constructed rainwater tanks at some of the schools where they work. Two 30,000 litre tanks were built at Kiwasi Primary School. The tanks collect rainwater from the roofs of the classrooms. Assuming each student drinks 1 litre of water per day, if the water tanks are full the school can have water for 120 days, in times of drought. Before the water tanks, the schools had problems with diarrhea. Now, they have learned to wash their hands with soap and clean, safe water, and have access to safe drinking water. These factors have significantly reduced the amount of students with stomach problems. The availability of water also helps the students farming the Junior Farmer Field School demonstration plots harvest better yields.


At Wariku Primary School students in the Junior Farmer Field School program learn how to care for goats provided by CPAR. They learn that instead of letting the goats roam, they should build them shelters and limit their movement so that they won't eat all the vegetation. The shelters also protect the goats from wild animals. By restricting the goats’ movement, they also make it easier for them to collect the manure, which they can then apply to their fields to improve soil fertility and production. Among the 30 students in the program, five come each day to care for the goats, even on weekends. As the goats reproduce, the school can sell some to pay for school supplies like chalk.

The community has welcomed the goats at school and some farmers have requested borrowing the male goat to breed with the goats on their own farms. To-date, 130 farmers have taken part in CPAR’s training on dairy goat management, which includes training focused on vaccinations, management, indoor housing, and the issue of free range goats and overstocking animals.


Wariku Primary School Junior Farmer Field School Program participants have learned that trees are important because they give clean and good air, and help to give rain. Students are enthusiastic about planting more trees and other plants around their schools and homes.

CPAR has conducted awareness raising activities in 18 schools to spur the establishment of environmental clubs. Two student groups quickly formed, and another 16 groups are in the process of forming. Ten of the 18 targeted schools have taken part in environmental conservation and tree planting trainings provided by CPAR, and two fully formed environmental clubs have planted 1,200 trees each. One school has established a tree nursery that will continue to support it and other village-based tree planting activities. CPAR provides the schools with watering cans to water the trees.


14 year old Magesa Mirobo Umri Miaka is a member of the Wariku Primary School Junior Farmer Field School Group. Magesa has applied the knowledge and skills gained through CPAR’s Junior Farmer Field Schools program to grow a vegetable garden in his own home. He planted spinach and mchicha (amaranth) and successfully harvested some crops. Magesa felt he could help his parents and decided to buy his own school supplies from the yields of his garden. Magesa wants to become a doctor in the future, and raise awareness through this life path.


Grace Pasaka, a member of the Mazingira Farmer Field School Group, her husband Pasaka Samson, Ward Councillor, and their son Miaka and new baby have a CPAR biogas system in their home, and also participate in CPAR's beekeeping program.

Children learn by watching their parents and the community around them. Sifu Akyoo, CPAR Junior Farmer Field Schools Project Manager says, “If you train a child at a young age, the children will be ambassadors for others, even in their homes, because they will pass their knowledge to their fathers and mothers. So the knowledge spillover effect is so high.”

“Our plan as CPAR Tanzania is to grow wide. Maybe in ten years we will be in more than ten regions of Tanzania, because each community needs help and needs education, not only material support. Education is better or more important than material support. Educating people, facilitating people, empowering knowledge and skills in the community, farmers and students is more than giving money,” says Delfina Edward, CPAR Tanzania Country Program Manager.


[i] “ World Bank Tanzania Country Page". World Bank. Retrieved 20 January 2017.

[ii] “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INCs)” (PDF). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved 20 January 2017.

[iii] “Country Brief”. UN Framework on Climate Change. Retrieved 20 January 2017.

[iv] “Human Development Reports. UNDP. Retrieved 20 January 2017.

Footnote: All photos © Allan Lissner/Praxis Pictures. November 2016.