The border crossing point at Namanga took 2 hours to negotiate on the outward journey. This was due to exit paperwork for the car being processed. Visas were very easy and I was not charged either by Tanzania or Kenya for the entry stamps. The return crossing took less than one hour (because the vehicle was from Kenya)."
Once at Arusha, Geoff met up with Dominick Ringo , Director, Research, Community and Organisational Development Associates (RECODA).
Dominick and Geoff visited one of the smallhoders that RECODA is supporting with funds from the Danish Rockwool Foundation. This farmer (see photo) is one of a local group of 35 farmers that have adopted a model farm approach developed by RECODA. The approximate project fund is $450,000 and the total number of beneficiaries in the project is 400 ($1,125 per farm family). After stakeholder consultations including the district authorities, the project provides a ‘shopping list” of different crops and crop mixes for choice by the farmer. The project provides technical advice, parent livestock (goats and chickens) and seedling (mainly banana). No other subsidies are provided, however the project works closely with the beneficiary on implementation and disseminates the lessons learned throughout the community.
Here's what Geoff reported:
"I was very impressed by the approach (which RECODA is in process of evaluating formally and providing written information about). Of course the farm I was taken to see could have been unique, but I did not form this impression, in any event Dominick Ringo said he could provide all the basic data I needed if I wished to check. The farmer (and his wife) was clearly delighted with the project that had helped them develop a one hectare commercial banana plantation. In addition they grew cassava and had chickens and goats."
Clearly some development projects do work and not necessarily with the huge amounts of money that the major donors seem to require. Well done RECODA!
Note: this assignment was undertaken on behalf of International Relief & Development (IRD)