Projects in progress: a team visit to Tanzania

25 April 2024

Towards the end of last year UK Aid Match Performance and Risk Manager Emma Hayward and Fiduciary Risk Manager Peter Mwita visited three UK Aid Match grant holders in Tanzania, to see how their projects were progressing. They were joined by UK Aid Match’s Senior Responsible Officer Olena Vinareva, from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

The team received warm welcomes from Transform Trade (formerly Traidcraft Exchange), Right to Play and WWF, and the communities they are supporting.

Below is a short write-up of the visits.

Transform Trade are working with partners Transform Trade Tanzania and Tanzania Gender and Sustainable Energy Network (TANGSEN) in Kisarawe and Rufiji Districts, on a three-year UK Aid Match project. They are supporting over 2,000 vulnerable households to improve natural resource management and establish viable small businesses.

During the visit, the team met communities in Kisarawe and Rufiji to observe trainings and learn about the environmental and economic benefits of clean cookstoves and honey and sunflower production. One of the producer groups established by the project has been growing sunflowers, and recently began adding value to their seed harvests by producing sunflower oil, bringing them a potential profit of £220 from twelve bags of seeds. Another group has been producing honey, which could eventually earn them £160 a year. In both cases, these are new streams of income for the group members, which will support them to meet their families’ basic needs and invest in further enterprise activities. The team met a number of supply chain actors at the trainings, such as seed suppliers, honey and seed buyers and District Agricultural Extension Officers. This really showed the collaborative approach that the project is taking, and how these connections are helping to improve market access for smallholder farmers.

The project is particularly focused on supporting income generating opportunities for women and people living with disabilities. At the beginning of the project, Transform Trade faced challenges with recruitment of women due to cultural and religious beliefs that do not support women’s involvement in economic activities. The project team has been working closely with communities to challenge social and gender norms and have now exceeded the original target for women’s participation in the project. One woman who has been active in the project told the team that through producing clean cookstoves she has now been able to make a little money to invest in her own business. In addition, the time she is saving on cooking and collecting firewood means she has more time to work towards her personal goals.

Transform Trade are also strengthening their approach to disability inclusion by disseminating a behaviour change campaign across communities and recruiting more people with disabilities to work on the project.

A group of people demonstrating how to use beeswax to attract honey bees

Photograph: A bee-keeping group set up by Transform Trade demonstrates how to use beeswax to attract honey bees to newly installed hives. Credit: Transform Trade.

Right to Play are implementing a three-year UK Aid Match project with partners Right to Play Tanzania and African Inland Church Tanzania (AICT) in the Mara region of Tanzania. The project aims to improve educational opportunities for girls in grades 5-7, through play-based approaches to learning.

The Save Her Seat project is building on the successful Enhancing Quality and Inclusive Education (EQIE) project, which focused on improving learning outcomes for girls and boys in grades 1-4. By extending play-based learning into grades 5-7, the project will ensure quality, inclusive education through the full primary education cycle.

While the project had only recently started when the visit took place, the team were able to see positive progress so far. The project had recruited 50% of its target number of teachers and had already reached more children than originally planned. Some of the teachers in the project are already trained in play-based learning approaches and acting as champion teachers to help and support new recruits. The project team also shared some very interesting insights into gender and disability norms in the project context, as well as other barriers to girls’ education, which the project will address.

Whilst the team were unable to visit the project site due to logistical challenges (the project areas are very remote), they participated in games and experiential learning activities to help them understand the play-based learning approach being implemented.

Children stood with their hands on their head playing a game, wearing green and blue striped school uniforms, amongst a backdrop of trees

Photograph: Children taking part in a game at school. Credit: Right to Play.

In the Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania (SOKNOT) region the land is very dry, meaning livelihood opportunities for Maasai communities, who depend on livestock-rearing for survival, are very limited. These communities are roaming further and further afield to find food and water for their cattle, often encroaching on important wildlife corridors and conservation areas, which has caused conflict and tension between communities and wildlife authorities. WWF are working with partners WWF Kenya, WWF Tanzania, Tanzania People and Wildlife (TPW), and South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO) on their three-year Land for Life project to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of these vulnerable Maasai communities whilst recovering natural resources and protecting critical wildlife corridors in the area.

During the visit – on the Tanzanian side – the team met with local government stakeholders and witnessed the good relationships that have developed between WWF, TPW and district and village level officials. The team heard stories from many village leaders about how a combined effort from all these stakeholders was supporting their communities to earn an income from climate-smart agriculture and other small businesses, manage incidents of human/wildlife conflict and restore rangelands so they could graze their cattle sustainably.

Some of the local people explained that the introduction of drought-tolerant sunflower cultivation and beekeeping had been successful in creating new economic opportunities and managing human/wildlife conflict, since sunflowers and bees act as a deterrent to some wildlife.

The team also visited a Maasai household who have built a ‘living wall’ to protect their livestock from predator attacks at night. The family said that this has not only reduced livestock losses but brought social and economic benefits, such as allowing family members to sleep better at night, giving them more energy to engage in business and farming activities during the day. In the area surrounding the family’s homestead TPW have so far restored 2,054 HA of rangeland, which has increased both fodder (livestock food) availability and the potential for controlled grazing in the area (important for the protection of other natural resources).

A man wearing pink and white clothing stood in front of a wire fencing and cut branches.

Photograph: A member of the Maasai community standing outside his living wall boma. Credit: WWF-UK.

Thank you to all the organisations and individuals involved with these visits. We really appreciated all your time and continued hard work.