56.000 PEOPLE HELPED DIRECTLY
Iles de Paix has been present in Tanzania since early 2015. Its “Maïsha Bora” programme works alongside the Maasai in the north of the country to give these livestock breeders water sources for their animals. The current severe drought conditions in the region reveal even more glaringly the people’s need for water and the relevance of this programme. Up to 50% of herds have already died from lack of water. This has a direct impact on these families’ food security, at a time when over 35% of children are already suffering from chronic malnutrition.
Witnessing the enormous deprivation facing the population in a country where 70% of the inhabitants live on less than two dollars a day, Iles de Paix decided to set up an additional programme. This focuses on promoting sustainable family agriculture, the charity’s favoured means of action. The programme’s name? Kilimo Endelevu.
ILES DE PAIX SOLUTIONS SINCE 2015
Access to water for Maasai populations (Maïsha Bora programme)
In partnership with the NGOs Longido Community Development Organization (LCDO) and Oikos East Africa.
In Longido and Simanjiro, the population, mostly Maasai, live mainly from livestock breeding. The water situation is critical here, both for animals and for human consumption: men and women travel distances of up to 30 kilometres to access water once every three days!
This region was hit particularly hard by the 2008 drought, which caused losses of up to 50% of herds. In these conditions, the slightest shortage at the water source where breeders get their supplies can have dramatic consequences. They then have to go to the next village for water. Some animals, too dehydrated, are unable to make this additional journey and die on the way. The food situation then becomes critical for the families – men, women and children.
The shortage of water puts women in a particularly difficult situation on another level. In the dry season, they stay in the village with the children while their husbands walk the herds to the pastures and to water sources. During these times they survive on milk. They have to go to the water sources to meet their own and their children’s water needs. They walk for hours to the water source, where they have to queue for hours more before finally being served.
Then they reload their donkeys with their heavy cargoes before setting out on the return journey with the water that will satisfy the household’s needs for the next two days.
Around the existing water sources, the ground is trampled into a vast field of mud. Despite infrastructure designed to isolate places where animals drink, they defecate in the drinking water distribution area. Hygiene conditions are inadequate and the water for domestic use is often contaminated. This situation thus generates its own health problems. In Longido, 35% of households experience food insecurity, and the figure in Simanjiro is 70%.
Iles de Paix has conducted an in-depth study in the programme’s 15 villages. This involved meeting the local authorities and the water source management committees and visiting the sources together to examine their current operating condition and suggest ways of renovating, extending and reinforcing them so that they provide more, better-quality water for the Maasai’s livestock. This process helped us understand the realities and incorporate the beneficiaries’ needs, desires and suggestions into our technical proposals.
Food (Kilimo Endelevu programme)
Sustainable family agriculture programme with the NGOs RECODA and MVIWATA Arusha
The region identified, the Karatu district, is about a hundred kilometres from the town of Arusha. While about 80% of the district’s population lives on agriculture and small-scale livestock breeding, this activity sector still follows the principles of subsistence farming and does not allow families to meet their basic needs. Their living conditions are insecure and the region has high levels of malnutrition and poverty together with limited access to basic services such as education, drinking water and healthcare.
Solutions for each producer
The programme aims to turn this situation round. It is based on a vision of the future in which family farmers and micro-entrepreneurs in Karatu are able to satisfy their basic needs and increase their self-esteem while respecting the environment. To achieve this, Iles de Paix has taken inspiration from the agroecological approach.
Initially, collaborating with its local partners, Iles de Paix conducts an analysis of crops, access to water, the soil and people’s needs in each village. Based on these parameters, a set of production techniques particularly suited to the specific environment will be suggested to local farmers. Each will be able to choose the solutions that suit them best from this “basket” of options based on their own priorities.
The techniques offered to the farmers seek to promote coordination between the different activities on a single family farm. For example, the waste from small animals such as hens or goats is used to fertilise crops, priority is given to the use of compost, water recovery is promoted for irrigation etc. Another technique emphasised by Iles de Paix that has proved its worth in other countries where the organisation operates, such as Burkina Faso and Benin, involves combining different crops that reinforce each other mutually, such as maize and legumes.
Another feature of the techniques from which producers can choose is that they promote the autonomy of the household as far as possible. The association and its partners help families to install irrigation systems for their farms, such as small-scale infrastructure for collecting rainwater. Facilities for storing harvested crops on the farm are also offered, along with tools for processing agricultural products.
All these techniques and tools create favourable conditions for better revenues, higher-quality nutrition and improved living conditions, while releasing farmers from the need to buy costly pesticides and chemical fertilisers. This is a considerable saving and a significant bonus for the environment!