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Project background

Nearly half the population of Tanzania live below the poverty line. For women farmers trying to feed their families, issues of gender inequality, poor nutrition and a lack of farming resources impacts their ability to increase their income and lead healthy lives. Thanks to your support, in the last six months, more than 2,825 farmers (65% women) have improved their farming skills, boosted their family’s nutritional intake and are achieving greater influence in leadership within the wider farming community.

Since the project started in 2017, CARE teams have trained local women in the production of soy – a highly nutritious, climate resilient crop which helps to enrich soil health. Through planting demonstrations, community meetings and new market links forged between soy producers and sellers, families can have greater job security and be able to afford nutritious meals.

With your help, this next phase of the project will continue to educate farmers in business literacy and finance, provide links with project co-operatives that promote collective investment, as well as engaging people living with disabilities through support networks and adaptive-farming resources. By giving farmers the tools and knowledge they need to participate meaningfully within the wider farming community, families can enjoy nutritious food, afford education and invest in local infrastructure.

Together, we’re providing women farmers with a powerful means to lift themselves out of poverty.

Project activities

Undernutrition remains one of the largest threats to human development in Tanzania. CARE’s Growing is Learning project is working in the rural district of Iringa, Tanzania to provide life changing support to farmers who are struggling to earn a living and feed their families.

In Tanzania’s Iringa district, most families eat just one meal per day, and despite making up 54% of the agricultural workforce, women farmers are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to owning land, or having access to or control over farming resources.

When food shortages occur, gender and cultural norms often mean women are the first to go hungry, with little support to improve their crop yields or have their voices heard on community issues.

The project is bringing together women farmers with trained CARE staff to overcome the barriers preventing them from improving their harvests and strengthening their livelihoods. By supporting farmers to enter the profitable soy market, and training them in production, climate resilience and linking them with local markets, women can sell their supply and earn enough income to eat and live well.

Project achievements

Enabling women to increase their farming productivity, income and family’s nutrition, as well as supporting men to influence positive community change

Thanks to your support, the project is on track to completing our target of 70% of women farmers being involved in major decision making at the household and farm level, with 69% of women interviewed now having influence in areas of agricultural inputs, markets and resources.

CARE led project interventions including Women’s Rights Dialogue meetings and Male Champion’s village outreach sessions which have significantly boosted women’s involvement in areas that affect their lives, as well as equipping them with the skills and knowledge to increase their family’s income and improve nutrition.

30 Farmer Field and Business Schools (FFBS) were established with 1,153 farmers (women constituting 70%) trained on how to plant soy using Climate Smart Agricultural practices. 10,372kgs of soy has since been harvested.

55% of farmers have improved food preparation practices thanks to training on food types and food planning. 30 women (exceeding project target of 7) have been supported to establish home gardens which will diversify their family’s nutritional intake and help make healthy food more accessible all year round.

32 FFBS members attended an exchange visit to another local soy project to learn more about soy marketing and collective investment. Now, the farmers have organised themselves into a cooperative farming group.

19 meetings conducted on Gender Based Violence (GBV) to sensitise communities on GBV issues and provide information and support in accessing reporting channels. 2,474 community members were in attendance.

Supporting women farmers to enter the profitable soy market by linking them with local markets

859 farmers (572 females and 365 males) have been linked with input suppliers (e.g. seeds for planting/fertilisers) so farmers can now procure resources at a discounted rate as a group. These farmers were also linked with buyers who will buy soy at market price.

CARE trained 18 producer groups on product quality, branding, packaging and labelling so sellers can participate productively within the wider soy market and remain competitive. 30 producer groups were also trained on financial literacy and business planning.

476 farmers were trained on processing and product value addition, we are on track to reach our target of 750 by the end of the project.

Promotion of Climate Smart Agriculture practices

572 small-scale farmers have improved their knowledge and capacity to adopt Climate Smart Agriculture practices such as crop rotation, compost manuring and early planting.

Women constitute 71.8% of small-scale farmers who are now planting climate resilient soy crops thanks to CARE’s FFBS trainings. Farmers now have more income, and are able to buy their families more of the healthy foods they need.

9 individual farmers and 3 farmer groups engaged in seed multiplication farming after being trained on seed replication, helping farmers to adapt their practices season-to-season, to mitigate against climate shocks.

Disability Inclusion

To help engage people with disability in the project, CARE worked with the local social welfare department and with a local Disabled Peoples Organisation to support project participants with disabilities to form 16 groups (107F/95M) where they can offer each other mutual support. CARE also supported these groups to register with the local social welfare office for ongoing support

In partnership with the Tanzanian Alliance for Empowering Disabled People (TAEDP), CARE held a community meeting in which the director of the TAEDP spoke on disability inclusion and empowerment. As the director of the organisation had a disability themselves, this even further motivated people living with a disability to become involved within the project.

Case study: Marietha

38-year old Marietha lives with her elderly mother and 18-year old daughter in a small village in Tanzania. Marietha is deaf and mute, and she uses signs when communicating.

As a farmer and valued participant in CARE’s Growing is Learning project, Marietha is showing that disability is not inability, as her popular soybean product triumphs in local markets.

Before CARE’s training, Marietha was struggling to support her family, and couldn’t afford to send her daughter to secondary school. In a country where nearly 50% of the population suffers below the poverty line, women in particular struggle to access education or farming resources. Sadly, living with a disability often means being even more vulnerable to discrimination and exclusion, but Marietha was determined to live a better life.

Since 2017, CARE teams have been training small-scale women farmers in Marietha’s village on how to cultivate, harvest and process soybeans. When Marietha found that the project was aimed at supporting not only small-scale women farmers but that people living with disabilities were being valued and engaged, she was quick to get involved.

Now two years on, Marietha is part of a farming group of 90 members, in which she has grown, roasted and packed her own soybean product which she sells to her community, and is now able to support her family and send her daughter back to school.

Communicating with the help of an assistant, Marietha says she has ‘big dreams’ for the future with hopes of earning more income to help her follow community members to use soy to improve their nutrition. This hardworking and resourceful woman is leading by example within her local farming group and beyond, with her roasted soybeans in demand even throughout surrounding villages.

Thanks to your generosity, this CARE-led farming group is set to harvest more than 5,580kg (more than 5.5 tonnes) of soybeans this season, and small-scale farmers like Marietha now have the skills and resources to improve their farming productivity and lead healthy, empowered lives.

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