Farmers learning together to grow more food using less water
It has been just over three months since Wings of Kilimanjaro put 93 climbers from 29 countries on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Plant With Purpose has so far received $165,000 from this event, and these funds have helped us to significantly scale up our work in Tanzania. The following are some of the highlights from the last few months:
- Village Community Banks: 35 new groups have been added. This brings the total number of groups to 125, with a total of 16,505 direct program beneficiaries. These groups meet weekly to encourage savings and provide loans for small business development. We also use them as a platform to teach the importance or reforestation. Read more about how the groups work here.
- In the first three quarters of the year the farmers we work with have planted 1.5 million trees.
- 260 wood-saving stoves have been constructed. These stoves reduce wood use by 60%, which not only reduces deforestation but also means women and girls spend less time gathering firewood.
A woman with her new wood-saving stove
While it is important to be able to count program components such as the number of trees planted and the number of wood-saving stoves installed, it is also important to understand the changes in attitude and ability that underlie these numbers. This has been very evident from the farmers’ participation in farmer field schools. We now have 61 of these hands-on agricultural demonstration projects, where farmers participate in learning rather than just listening to lectures. In a sense, these schools help us “work our way out of a job” as farmers put new skills and techniques to work and no longer need our help.
By involving the farmers through adult learning techniques instead of traditional lecture style instruction, we’ve seen significant increase in interest in our programming. Already in the first three quarters of this fiscal year, groups have planted 300% more trees per group than they have ever planted in the past. We are also witnessing similar growth in participation in building contours, conserving land around streams and steep hillsides, building new bio-intensive gardens, and in all other indicators of participation.
We continue to be deeply grateful to everyone who participated in the Wings of Kilimanjaro event and all those who donated and continue to do so. Know that your generosity is leaving a lasting impact on the lives of farmers in Tanzania who are now better able to feed their families and care for their land.
Our route- great memories!!!