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Project : “Enhancing Rural Communities towards Economic Empowerment and food Security in Semi-Arid Central and Southern Highlands of Tanzania”.

The project Goal is to contribute to improved livelihoods and sustainable development of rural communities in Tanzania through empowering smallholder farmers in marginal areas to use their knowledge, skills and resources to bring about their socio-economic development

Brief summary of the project

Despite of the long history of rigorous efforts on rural development, the much-needed social and economic development of Tanzanians living in rural areas has been hard to pin down. Today, poverty remains widespread particularly in rural areas where smallholder farmers live and most of them are poor and concentrate in smallholder agriculture to earn their living. The poverty profile indicates that about 36% of population fall below the poverty line. Regional wise poverty rankings show that Dodoma, Kigoma, Lindi, and Coast are the poorest regions. Accumulated evidence suggests that the positive macro-economic growth recorded over the last few years has so far failed to reduce poverty relatively it has made the poor people poorer and the rich richer therefore escalating the gap between the poor and the rich. Analysts attribute this to the continued neglect of sectors which attract the majority of the people particularly in the rural areas, and the uneven and slow progress in spreading economic benefits to the poor majority. Growth of the rural-based sectors mainly agriculture and informal businesses is necessary for poverty reduction since the majority of Tanzanians live in rural areas and it is where the largest share of wealth is created. Although urban poverty is growing fast, it is the rural areas that have the highest incidence of poverty, especially rural farming communities.

Through this project IFTz continue to use a broad-based approach in working with communities, touching all aspects of sustainable agriculture, food security and economic aspects for improved livelihoods of the community. It will support farmers and rural communities to promote resistant crop varieties hence farmer will be able to produce more food, improve the quality of their soil, and increase their income through income generating activities and sale of their surplus crops and manage the natural resources that exist in their village and preserve the environment for future generations. Farmers will be trained and supported to experiment with low-cost and practical farming techniques, suited to ecologically fragile semi-arid areas, establish and strengthen their VSL groups to mobilize resources within their reach and gain access to local and distant markets. Along all these intervention IFTz will also indulge itself in addressing issues that are crosscutting so as to support the main focus. These includes HIV and AIDS, Gender issues, Good governance and promote application of Indigenous knowledge in treatment of their crops, animals and at times themselves Also correspondent course will be promoted so as to impact wider community. Experience from its previous work demonstrates the need for a strong focus on sustainable agriculture, with education and training being the major means of empowering the rural people in order to move them out of poverty. Through this programme IFTz will continue to contribute to these efforts by placing added emphasis on promoting smallholder agriculture as the most viable and sustainable mode of agriculture under the changing agro-ecological and socio-economic scenarios of Tanzania.

The project targets the villages and rural areas of central semi-arid regions of Tanzania covering parts of Dodoma and Singida regions. In these areas poverty is more obvious especially in rural areas ; the area is characterized by semi arid climate with less rainfall compared to other parts of the country. The programme will specifically target 12 villages of Mpwapwa, Singida rural and Mbozi districts of Dodoma, Singida and Mbeya regions respectively. Directly the programme will work with 1,200 farmers participating directly in programme activities of which 655 and 545 are Men and women smallholder farmers respectively. The direct beneficiaries are resource poor farmers and their groups and other local institutions. The target beneficiaries will be organized in 60 groups of 20 people each ; therefore 5 groups in each target village. About 6,240 community members will be reached as indirect beneficiaries ; these are the farm households and village communities. Other beneficiaries will be members of village governments, development partners and district councils all will benefit from programme interventions. Therefore the programme will benefit about 6,240 people across the programme area which is about 24.01% of the total village population. The aim is to build local organizational and institutional capacity to enable the rural underprivileged communities play vital role in their development process and bring about their own development and improve their livelihoods.
The project is supported financially and technically by Bread for the world of Germany (Brot fur die Welt)

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