According to the latest studies of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in developing countries, more than 50 % of people work in agriculture, and about 43 % of the agricultural labor force comprises women. In Tanzania, agriculture is, with over 65 % of the people involved, the largest sector that offers jobs to the population. And data from surveys show that if women had the same conditions as men, they could increase their productivity by up to 30 %. Such an increase in productivity would improve food security and the country's economy.
Especially in the Dodoma Region, women not only play a significant role in the agricultural sector. As the Tanzanian Government has been shifting ministries and other governmental institutions to the capital city Dodoma, the urban area experienced a boom. At the same time, the rural population in the surrounding countryside is still one of the poorest in Tanzania. As it is of national interest to accelerate the development of the Dodoma Region, that’s where the Dodoma’s Women in Agriculture and Business Initiative (DWABI) comes into play.
DWABI is carried out in the districts Chamwino, Mpwapwa, and Dodoma Municipal Council, a region east of Dodoma with an area of 41,311 km² and 2,083,588 Mio. inhabitants (2012 census). Despite the crucial role of women, their access to productive resources is still severely restricted. Roughly three-quarters of the landowners are men. And if women have their own fields, they are usually smaller and less fertile. Furthermore, since access to technology, training, and finance is difficult for women, most are concerned with subsistence management, whereas men produce for the market.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that Chamwino, Mpwapwa, and Dodoma Municipal Council, where agriculture includes livestock farming, and the cultivation of maize, rice, peanuts, sunflowers, sesame, and millet, have to deal with less than 500 mm of rainfall per year. Agroecological cultivation methods based on soil and water management have the potential to increase production sustainably as well as to improve climate resilience.
The project objective is to improve the livelihoods of a total of 2250 women through participation in agricultural and entrepreneurial activities while contributing positively to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, SAT is implementing the project's second phase (2022-2024). The goal is to cement the small-scale farmers already partially organized in a model cooperative, where most empowered women practice organic agriculture to increase climate resilience and engage in value addition and entrepreneurial activities.
Since 2019 DWABI consequently aims to empower women in Dodoma through training in organic agriculture, small business and saving and lending methods, which will increase food security and gender equality. This empowerment strategy has a positive impact on the livelihood of the women and the entire community, as you may see in the Impact Stories of the first project phase.
During the first component, the project strengthened agricultural production. With the help of SAT facilitators, the women established demonstration fields and were trained in agroecological farming. Special training was also provided in water-saving methods of vegetable cultivation (sack and mandala gardens), which is particularly suitable for improving nutrition. During the training, SAT selected 60 women as future peer-to-peer facilitators. They now pass on their knowledge to other women's groups.
In the second component, the women were trained in entrepreneurship. Courses were offered on how to make products such as soap, woven accessories, batik fabrics, or baobab sweets. In addition, DWABI women learned how to use information technology (smartphones) to build a notification network for market information and received instruction in the savings and credit method.
In the third component, SAT cooperated with organizations and institutions to work toward the country's development goals. For this purpose, SAT set up an office with an attached demonstration garden in Tanzania's capital, Dodoma. To effectively share and disseminate the knowledge and lessons learned through the project, SAT trained 20 Extension Officers (Government agricultural extension agents) and peer-to-peer facilitators.
Women’s livelihoods improve through engaging in agriculture and business activities which positively contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Overview of project impact
DWABI is kindly supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation, and ICEP.
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