MVIWATA – Mtandaowa Vikundibya Wakulima Tanzania – is a national network of small scale farmer’s groups. In my three months internship in Babati, I worked as a Monitoring and Learning officer for the MVIWATA branch of the Manyara region. MVIWATA Manyara works in five districts of the Manyara region: Babati, Hanang, Kiteto, Mbulu and Simanjiro.

One of the focus areas of MVIWATA Manyara is ‘environment conservation and water’. MVIWATA has tree planting, bee-keeping, biogas and climate-change sensitization projects. I was able to take part in some of these projects, particularly tree-planting and bee-keeping. The way it works is that MVIWATA works with different small-scale farmers groups to implement the projects. MVIWATA supports the groups through the funding that comes from Trias, a Belgian NGO.

Being part of activities with multiple groups, I realized that project success really depends on the group dynamics. Many – if not most – groups we worked with were facing different challenges which affected the progress and success of the projects. For that reason, MVIWATA works hard to constantly follow-up activities and assist in any way possible. But at the end of the day, committed groups with a strong team are the only ones to really achieve successful results. One such group is the Endasak group in Hanang district. The Endasak group has 30 members. Amongst them, five are crucial members and sort of lead much of the project due to their strong dedication.

I witnessed a tree-planting and bee-keeping project with this group which consisted of the following: initial a planning session, the moving of bee-hives, cleaning of bee-hives and the opening “ceremony”. The ceremony was a short meeting where we were invited to mark a new beginning for the group. There were prayers in Islamic and Christian style followed by sharing of biscuits and soda. The experience was quite humbling.

From my short experience, I can firmly say that the Endasak group is exemplar for other groups to emulate. An essential ingredient of this successful team is the presence of a solid core sub-group who are at the fore-front of much of the activities. I hope their projects achieve the intended results and other groups take inspiration from them!

Planning session with Endasak group

 

Celebrating a new beginning

 

Cleaning of the hives