For the past year, UNA Tanzania has been implementing the climate resilience project in Mpwapwa District which aimed to pilot a regional resilience model in Tanzania to strengthen the ability of communities to cope with and regulate the effects of climate change. The model focuses on engaging the communities to drive their nature-based solutions that can help create sustainable living conditions in the district. In partnership with LM in Tanzania and International Aid Services in Kenya, we are changing the lives of farmers and the community in the district.

The project’s heart is ensuring farmers are equipped with knowledge and are implementing best agricultural practices that allow farmers to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate. After a series of capacity strengthening, we supported farmers with farm inputs across the villages in Ng’ambi Ward and 2 community institutions; 1 school and 1 church. The inputs included 250 kg of millet and vegetable seeds, 150 kg of plastic sheet for ground installation of the rainwater harvesting reservoir, 630 triple layered food preservation bags and 4 herbicides/pesticides sprayers. Providing farm inputs to farmers in the ward was an integral component of the project that ensured the farmers were supported to take action towards adopting and becoming resilient. Through the project support, the farmers were able to diversify crops and venture into drought-resistant crop varieties such as millet. Together with applying the improved farming methods that they learnt from UNA Tanzania’s trainings , their crop yield improved significantly, from 4 sacks per acre to 8-9 sacks per acre.

“Before the project, I was a maize farmer. However, there are numerous challenges with maize farming. Because of our arid terrain in the region, by February, the maize becomes burnt by the sun. So, we invest a lot in maize agriculture, but we harvest very little. After receiving awareness from UNA Tanzania about the best farming practices and millet cultivation that is resistant to climate change, I realized that there is a great need to change and shift  to millet cultivation to ensure that I get enough food for my family while boosting the economy in my household through selling the extra sacks. And I am so happy with this seasons yield. I harvested a total of 18 sacks in my 2 acres field” – William Samwel, a farmer in Ng’hambi Village.

William Samwel captured during harvesting at his farm

Agriculture, livestock rearing, and a few, small-scale industries comprise the largest percentage of Mpwapwa District’s economy. In the Council, more than 80% of the workforce is still employed in the agricultural sector. However, climate change poses a great threat to the Council. It has led to unreliable rainfall and prolonged drought season. UNA Tanzania took a crucial step to train the community on rainwater harvesting and food preservation techniques to enhance the availability of water and nutritious food even during long droughts. Farmers, pastoralists, and other community members were trained on basic skills of rainwater harvesting and practically demonstrated how to establish local cost-effective rainwater reservoirs at home to prepare for harvesting rainwater in their households that can be used for irrigation and domestic use. The community members were also capacitated on food preservation skills and crop value addition aiming at ensuring food security in their homesteads, improving nutrition, and sustaining their livelihood.

“After receiving the rainwater harvesting and food preservation training, I started saving money and eventually built a water reservoir at home. I’ve been able to harvest over a thousand liters of water, which made it possible for me to grow a vegetable garden at home and later preserved them. Lately, my family’s diet has greatly improved since every meal consists of vegetables. At the same time, I even sell water to my neighbors who are experiencing water scarcity.”  says Felista Isaya, an entrepreneur.

Felista Isaya, an an entrepreneur in Ng’hambi village drawing water from a reservoir beside her house.

UNA Tanzania is transforming lives in Mpwapwa district by improving their adaptation capacity and building a resilient community that can thrive through the changing climatic conditions