The Impacts of Collective Actions by Grassroots Farmers’ Groups and Networks. The Case of Sisi Kwa Sisi Women Farmer’s Group.

Sisi kwa sisi women group is the farmer’ group composed of 20 members among them are 8 youth, the group is a member of MVIWATA and resides at Igunda village, Igava ward in Mbarali District about 26 Kilometers from Mbarali District council. The main activity of the group members is farming.

The group was established in 2016 with the prime goal of savings and lending (Village Community Bank), until 2018 the group had only accumulated the capital of TZS 750,000/=, to date, the total capital of the group is 20 million TZS. The group is also aggregating the pad crops collectively where in 2020/2021 season, 180 bags of pads weighing 100 kg was harvested in the group farm sized 5 acres and aggregated in the local warehouse.

In 2018, through the intervention done by MVIWATA the group was capacitated in the skills on group operations and management, post-harvest handling skills, marketing skills, financial management and knowledge on land rights. Also, the group was linked to different stakeholders through B2B meetings conducted and participated in the exchange visits where they visited Upendo women group to learn about the operation of Village Community Group (VICOBA) and establishment of income generating activities and visited Raphael group (rice buyer in Mbeya) to learn on the requirements needed in securing markets.

Linkage with stakeholders who supports the same cause of objectives

Through MVIWATA interventions, the group managed to secure a grant of rice thresher from NAFAKA project through competitive means, the group contributed 10% of the total price where the amount contributed was 666,000/= TZS. Due to high cost of running rice a rice thresher (where the group was supposed to hire power tillers every day to pull machine to farm areas), the group asked support for financial linkage to buy its own power tiller.

The group was linked to Mbarali District Council where they secured 13 Million TZS from the loan provided by the District Council, which was used to buy Power tiller (Kubota). In collaboration with the Mbarali District Council, MVIWATA facilitated training on operation and maintenance of power tiller and rice thresher to Sisi kwa sisi women group.

Recently, Sisi kwa sisi women group has generated an income of 5,772,000/= TZS from the rice thresher and power tiller operation through lending to other farmers’ groups and individual farmers in just one harvesting season. The group has also been notable in establishing Igava youth group and also facilitated on the procedures for the youth group to access loan from Mbarali District Council where the Igava youth group has also accessed power tiller at credit.

The group has managed to generate 20 million TZS, which is used for providing loan among its members; it also owns power tiller and rice thresher machine that is lent to other farmers as an alternative means to generate income in and outside the village. Lending these machines is done after cultivating 5 acres of rice owned by a group collectively, thanks to MVIWATA interventions.

Words from the group members.

“Our village has no irrigation infrastructures as compared to other villages in the district. Our village borders Ruaha National Park, so our families and farms are always at risk to wild animals. We were always worried to leave our crops in the field because there is invasion of elephants from the national park.

Women are more susceptible to these challenges; because of threshing rice-using sticks, sometimes elephants attack us. The advent of MVIWATA in our village was of very great importance, through MVIWATA, we have been able to mobilize formations, group and network organization in defense of our interests.

We are grateful to be members of MVIWATA as it has capacitated us and now we have become a model group in our village – Bona Mlowa from Sisi kwa sisi women group’’

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