The Muungano Women group is a group of 15 members which was established in 2004 with an aim of sustaining their families economically. It was supported by Caritas of Rulenge Diocese from that year to 2007. Thereafter Caritas was phased out. Marafiki wa Afrika Tanzania (MAT) asked Marafiki wa Afrika Germany (MAG) to support the group. The group was supported by MAG with funds through Baramba girls’ secondary school to buy three dairy cattle in 2009. The group members agreed to be divided into small three groups of five members in order for each group to take one dairy cow. Each group took the initiative to build a shelter where a cow can stay.
Their project has expanded even to keep pigs after selling one bull.
The Organization realized that in order to improve the living standard of the community where it works is to empower women groups which will be supported in their projects and to be involved themselves.
The organization established Women groups in Ngara district for the aim of empowering them in projects establishment and management as well as to increase income for their families. Since its establishment it was given the dairy cows and this project is helping them a lot to get milk and manure to improve their fields.
Nutrition status has improved by drink milk, paying school fees for their children when selling milk. Also farm yard manure helped them to increase soil fertility so as to manage to cultivate different crops like beans, maize and banana fields.
Mentoring: Visits to the group were conducted to support and mentor them. These visits were also meant to check the progress of the project, to share experiences and the challenges which they faced. The visits conducted by MAT Executive Secretary David Bukozo in cream suit was discussing with the group members on how to improve it. The group has 13 members and five dairy cows (Friesian). Under good supervision women groups are doing better in their projects because are committed and sometimes ready to volunteer themselves in their projects. Apart from the achievement these groups are lacking with knowledge on entrepreneurship, that’s why group members were visited to get their views on how their groups can be improved and finally to conduct mentoring and coaching for them.
Achievements of the group under MAT with support from MAG
- Since the group members received the cows, they have managed to acquire the following benefits:
- Their families’ status has improved due to milk in take.
- Farm yard manure has improved the group’s plantations likewise crop production to families has also increased.
- Number of cows increased from three to eight (three cows and five small bulls).
The group is now known by government officials through its project as result, they get loans from financial institutions to conduct other businesses.
- They have acquired knowledge in dairy cattle husbandry since before obtaining the cows the group members attended seminars on managing
- Through this project they added other project of pigs.
Challenges encountered by the group since its formation.
- Insufficient funds realized from cattle keeping due to low milk production, makes it hard for the group to pay the herdsman.
- The group wanted to interchange the bulls with cows so that diary production can be boosted.
- The members intend to sell off the bulls such that they can buy heifers to further diary production.
- The group members are suggesting having a seminar on how to take good care of the cows in rue of increasing milk production as well as increasing their number in the Kraal.
VISITING PROJECTS BY VOLUNTEERS
It is a routine of the Marafiki wa Afrika Tanzania (MAT) to involve Volunteers who are coming from Marafiki wa Afrika Germany (MAG) to visit projects which are implemented by the Organization in order to get the impression of what the Organization is doing to the community. On 11th March 2016 it was planned the field visit to the group before Franziska Oellerer and Johanna Haueuessler to return back to Germany in order to get an impression of projects implemented by Women groups. Muungano Women Group (MWG) is one of the groups which were established by the Organization in April 2003 and this group is based in Rulenge Township. The Organization established friendship with certain women in Germany through MAG whereby they donated funds to MAT. These funds purchased dairy cows for two groups namely; Muungano Women Group (MWG) and Kumunazi Integrated Women Improvement Programme (KIWIP) with the aim of generating income after selling milk, cheese and farm yard manure as result to improve their living standard. The group since it was established to date it has a total number of thirteen (13) members.
When arrived at Rulenge they found the group members well prepared and waiting for them. They welcomed to the Chairperson residence where all members were gathered. They prepared a written speech which was read by the group Secretary. The speech had four parts as follows; Word of welcoming them, short history of the group, what the group has done so far under the help of MAT and achievement. They have four dairy cows and at least they are getting milk although is not sufficient to all members and farm yard manure to improve soil fertility in their fields and finally the remain farm yard manure to be sold. Also they mentioned challenges facing the group which was unreliable bull for serving cows, costs for running the project to be high like drugs and person to look after for them and low price for selling farm yard manure. For future plan they told their visitors what they are going to establish as the new projects which are banana plantation and keeping chickens which are hope that will bring good returns in short time. The speech was prepared in Swahili whereby the MAT Executive Secretary tried his level best to translate in English to ensure that the visitors are understood what was written in it. Franziska Oellerer and Johanna Haeussler were very happy to visit the group and see how the group members are struggling to improve their families. Finally they promised them after returning back to Germany to conduct fundraising for the group from their friends, the schools where they were studying as well as to some of the MAG members to ensure that the group is getting funds to improve and establish the planned projects. Thereafter they visited their project as it shown in the picture.