The participation rate of women in many cooperatives in Tanzania is very low. Female participants are given very little chance in cooperative development and leadership. This is due to African culture.
Agriterra Tanzania has provided training to women of a cooperative of Ruvu Irrigation Farmers called CHAURU. CHAURU is a Tanzanian client of Agriterra since 2018. The aim of the training is the capacity building of CHAURU, so they will bring in other projects besides rice farming to increase their income and fulfill their responsibilities.
Currently in CHAURU there are three groups of women engaged in small business and agricultural activities which are very successful. These three are Faraja Mbogamboga Group, CHAURU Women Group and Nyuki Group.
Faraja Mbogamboga Group exists of 20 members, formed in 2017. The members are engaged in the cultivation of vegetables and fruits, the sale of fried ground nuts and fish farming.
To encourage the participation of each member, this group has their own saving’s fund (Kikoba). Every Monday everyone must invest a share of Tsh 2,000. Since members are farmers and have no other way to earn money, they have to be actively involved in the production of their group in order to get the benefits they will invest in their fund. This saving’s fund has been a great help to Faraja Group as it is enabling them to lend money to solve their problems. These loans are offered at 10% interest, which also helps to increase profits of their fund.
The Faraja Group aims to raise the best and most abundant fish, but they do not have enough skills. They need help to find the best fish farming professionals. They also need a specialist who will teach them how to store the vegetables and fruits they produce so that they can retain its natural quality for a long time until they reach the markets and the consumer.
Members of Faraja Women Group
This group of women of CHAURU was formed after receiving training from Agriterra. The group has 17 members and plans to raise chickens, so as to sell eggs and broilers. They have aimed to start with 100 chickens costing Tshs 1,241,000. They have shown their willingness to obtain capital by means of a fundraiser for themselves. Currently, they have a capital of Tsh 231,000. CHAURU chairman Mr Sadala Chacha has already given them stalls for raising chickens. These women have a shortage of capital of Tshs 1,010,000.
This is a CHAURU women's group founded in 2020, with the help of Faraja Mbogamboga Group. The members of this group are involved in the cultivation of vegetables and fruits as well as in the sale of honey and household soaps. One member of this group makes soap, while the others are involved in agricultural activities. Nyuki group buys honey produced in Tanga and sells it to CHAURU. All members have contributed to the purchase of equipment and chemicals to make soap as well as to cover the initial costs of agricultural activities and the purchase of honey. The benefits they receive are all shared.
Nyuki members meet every Monday to discuss matters of their group. This group also has a saving’s fund in which each member must invest a minimum of Tshs 2,000 and a maximum of Tshs 10,000 every Monday. Also, the group has a community fund, to which each member contributes Tshs 1,000 every Monday. This money is used to solve members' problems when they arise. Nyuki Saving’s Fund enables members to borrow 95% of a loan amount for solving their problems. The remaining 5% serves as loan interest which increases the profit of the fund.
In October 2021 the members shared the benefits they had received from this fund so that they could run other activities including the cultivation of the main crop of the party which is rice.
Nyuki members have plans to start beekeeping and honey production in the CHAURU area and CHAURU chairman Mr Sadala has already agreed to give them an area for beekeeping. The Nyuki Group is searching for capital and an expert to guide them in beekeeping.