While the Ecovillage project is going on now for more than a year, new groups are formed and engaged to be part of it. From 6 till 10 June, 82 farmers were trained to be a facilitator of their farmer field school groups. To create ownership with these groups, they are assisted with practical tools. During this week, role-plays were performed about the Pass on The Gift strategy. With great effort the facilitators showed the ritual from being a recipient to a donor. Between workshops about the cornerstones of Heifer, values and principles and Personal Leadership, the trainers challenged the facilitators to think creative. On big papers they got the assignment to draw metaphorical walls, doors and foundations of their houses: what will support, protect and energize them in engaging the members of their farmer field schools. Moreover, lessons were learned about the great importance of facilitating with recognition of the multiplier effect of sharing together. At the end, mister Shabani (one of the participants) smiled: ” Yes, when I come back, I will be the light to my community and spread out all the information”.
The Igunga eco-village project has been up and running for almost a year now. The official launch took place on 22 March 2016.
A large number of guests had travelled to Igunga on the morning of the 22nd. The minister for Agriculture, hon. Mwigulu Nchemba was represented by the new Regional Commissioner, Commissioner in Tabora region, Hon. Aggrey Mwanri.
The first dry season during which the Igunga Eco-Village project started to take shape has come and gone. Staff from Igunga District Council, Heifer Tanzania and from the 3R consortium (including Aqua for All, Acacia Water, MetaMeta and Rain Foundation) extensively visited the nine target villages. In the nine villages the Village Development Councils were sensitized about the project, committees for the relevant components were established and the first steps in establishing the farmer field school were made.
During this first dry season the people from the villages were familiarized with the intentions of the project and the project team was familiarized with major challenges and opportunities in the villages.
The team has made a map with photo’s including some landscapes, building and water and agriculture features in an around the nine villages. Look at:
Water Whereas Igunga district has 850 millimeters of rainfall during the rainy season the easy access to this water is limited to several months after the rainy season. This accessibility directly relates to the availability, as rivers run dry and groundwater levels drop the top of the earth dries out. Opportunities are however already being explored also by the villages to capture more of the water to be able to replenish groundwater, keep soils moist and avoid evaporation.
The villages around Igunga town grow cotton on the so called ‘black-cotton soils’, where as on the other soils including the Phaeozems and the Eutric Leptosols, crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, cowpeas, grounduts, and some sunflower and sesame. In and around the irrigation scheme of Mwamapuli however rice is grown, which is then also the major staple crop of the district and together with cotton an important cash crop for the farmers.
Igunga is located along the main road between Dodoma and Mwanza or also from Dar es Salaam to Burundi, Rwanda and the east of Congo. A lot of heavy traffic passes through the town each day, and local restaurants and guesthouses run well on travelers that pass through and eat or stay for the night. The roads connecting the wards and villages with Igunga town, consist of gravel or unpaved roads that become dusty in the dry season, and particularly difficult to drive on in the wet season.