The eco-village approach that is used in Igunga district is a holistic approach. It integrates interventions in a range of sectors (water, energy, agriculture and livestock, gender, HIV/Aids) in order to sustainably improve climate change resilience and reduce poverty. The project is community driven: farmers and local authority staff are trained on a range of different climate change adaptation strategies, of which they can choose and implement the most appropriate ones.
Learning and dissemination of lessons learned is an important aspect of this project. Best practices are shared amongst the project participants and to the outside world, such as policy makers in Tanzania and other (international) development practitioners. The Igunga Eco-village project runs for 4,5 years from April  2015 until September 2019.

The project aims to increase resilience of vulnerable rural Tanzanian communities through reduced poverty and improved adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change.
More specifically the projects focuses on:
1. Adoption of new climate change adaptation strategies by 75% of the targeted farmers.
2. Increasing the average yield of farmers by 40% through the adoption of the climate smart technologies.
3. Integration of 80% of the climate adaptation targets in the annual development plans of targeted wards and villages.

Target groups
6.000 families, consisting of 36.000 individuals, are direct participant. These are the more vulnerable households of the villages, including people with disabilities, female headed households and those living with HIV/Aids. Another group of 6.000 families (36.000 individuals) is benefitting indirectly from the project, resulting into a total outreach of 72.000 people.
Existing Water Committees and NRM (Natural Resource Management) committees in all 9 villages are directly involved in the implementation, and schools, dispensaries and prisons are participating in forestry activities.
District Council and its technical staff increase their knowledge on climate change adaptation strategies, with a focus on the integration in existing policies.
Restoration of the weather station are uplifting the meteorological system which can provide useful information for the Igunga farmers, as well as for the Tabora regional and the Tanzanian national weather station.
Lessons learned will be shared with policy makers at higher levels and development practitioners around the world.

Creating climate change resilient farming systems
Relying on one source of income makes you vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Therefore, farmers are trained on diverse activities that help them to spread risks and increase resilience, such as fish farming, fish-cum-rice paddy farming, poultry and agroforestry.

Small scale fish farming is a sustainable alternative for people living close to dams or irrigation channels. Fish ponds can be filled during the rainy season. An alternative is to place fish cages at the outlet of dams.

Paddy rice-cum fish farming is an innovative approach that integrates rice cultivation with fish farming to make most effective use of resources. Fish will feed on organisms in the rice paddy and controls algae and weeds, while fish excreta fertilizes the rice production. To introduce these techniques 20 aquaculture demonstration sites are built.

Integration of livestock and agricultural activities, also including forestry create more favorable micro-climates. Livestock with low requirements for water and resources, such as chickens, can be an important strategy for especially poor households to secure extra income and food for scarce periods. The use of manure and compost will contribute to improved soil fertility and water retention. Together with increased water control measures (the 3R approach), this can help to sustainably increase production.

The last element to integrate are ecological sustainable energy solutions. Manure from livestock is used for biogas plants, solar lights are introduced and reforestation is taking place.

For all those activities intending to prepare for climate change, the role of the farmers’ family is most crucial. They have to make choices on which elements are the most suitable for them. At the end of the project all families included in the project will have adopted at least three innovations.

Read the next pages for more specific information about the project approach: