Mid-Year Investor Reports

To Investors and Stakeholders in 2Seeds Network,

Since their arrival in August, the Class 6 Project Coordinators and Project Partners have been working ceaselessly across the network to go full steam ahead towards Maisha Bora, the good life. There are not enough words to express our gratitude for your support along this journey.

The Project Coordinators have prepared a Mid-Year Investor Report to capture the progress they have made so far in the first half of their time working with 2Seeds this year. The reports include highlights, challenges, status updates towards project goals, and a financial report. We hope that these reports will provide good insight into our work here on the ground, and show you what we have been able to accomplish thanks to your support.

Bombo Majimoto Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Bungu Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Kijungumoto Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Kwakiliga Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Lutindi Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Magoma-Kijango Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Magoma-Kwata Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Masoko Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

Tabora Project 2015-2016 Mid-Year Investor Report

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Project Coordinators also filmed a video focusing on what they are most grateful for in their daily life and work here with 2Seeds.

Please support us in our ongoing journey to Maisha Bora by donating to the 2Seeds Network!

Asanteni sana from the 2Seeds Ground Team,

Ana, Jen, and Hailey

Introducing our 6th Class of Project Coordinators!

Today and tomorrow, our 6th Class of Project Coordinators is arriving in Tanzania! They’ll head to Korogwe shortly after arriving, and begin 10 days of orientation where they’ll learn more about 2Seeds’ methodology and their projects, and ramp up their Swahili learning. We have a smart, dedicated group of individuals who are committed to helping bring our Partners’ businesses to a self-sustaining state.

Meet the team:

Billy Beaver Bungu Project

Billy Beaver
Bungu Project

Billy joins 2Seeds from the global communications firm APCO Worldwide, where he was involved with both government relations and multinational communications projects, the majority of which focused on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. While continuing—and hopefully accelerating—the progress of the Bungu Project, he plans to draw on his communications background to maintain close ties with project donors and transparently communicate the impact their support is having.

Domenique Ciavattone Bombo Majimoto Project

Domenique Ciavattone
Bombo Majimoto Project

Dom graduated from Stonehill College in 2013 with a dual degree in Communication and Interdisciplinary Studies focused on Global Social Justice: Consciousness, Communities and Change. Dom has a passion for traveling and learning about communities, cultures and languages. Before becoming a PC with 2Seeds in 2014, she served for 10 months with AmeriCorps’ first arts-funded program, MusicianCorps, a nonprofit organization that uses music in the community to reach, teach and heal. She is eager to embark on another year with her Bombo family as a 2nd Year PC, and is excited to see the project take off after an incredible transitional year.

Andrew Curran - Lutindi

Andrew Curran Lutindi Project

Andrew grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Stonehill College in 2015. After working at the Farm at Stonehill, which works to alleviate food insecurity in its surrounding communities, his many interests came into focus. Andrew created his own interdisciplinary minor in Sustainable Development, fusing coursework from the departments of economics, environmental science, and international studies. He traveled with the International Honors Program to Kathmandu, Nepal, Amman, Jordan, and Santiago, Chile. Andrew is ecstatic to be welcomed into the beautiful Lutindi community, and even more excited to build lasting relationships and be a part of such meaningful work.

Jeremy Harding Masoko Project

Jeremy was born and raised in Syracuse, New York and graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in Public Health. 2Seeds’ unique model and set of values, plus his interest in sustainable development drew Jeremy to join 2Seeds Network in 2014. He worked as a Project Coordinator with the Kwakiliga Project for 2014-2015. Jeremy is thrilled to have the opportunity to build on the amazing relationships he has built this year and use his newly gained experience to do meaningful, impactful work with the Masoko Project.

Katie Imhoff Magoma-Kwata Project

Katie Imhoff
Magoma-Kwata Project

Katie Imhoff is originally from Denver, Colorado. She graduated in May of 2015 from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Politics and International Affairs and a B.A. in Religious Studies, with a concentration in Religion and Public Engagement. During her undergraduate career, Katie studied abroad in Nepal, Jordan, and Chile, as part of the International Honors Program: Human Rights. She is passionate about food security and poverty alleviation in both the United States and abroad, mentoring high school students through the ministry of Young Life, and fighting for the places where religious life and social activism intersect. Katie is excited about this year with the Magoma-Kwata project, forging new relationships with Tanzanian partners, and learning about living a meaningful story.

Jill Jahns Kijungumoto Project

Jill Jahns
Kijungumoto Project

Jill Jahns grew up in Brenham, Texas with her parents and three younger siblings. She graduated from Austin College in 2013 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Communications. During her time at Austin College, she traveled to Rusinga Island, Kenya through the Global Outreach Fellowship Program. This experience solidified her desire to work in global development and public health. To continue along this path, Jill received her Master’s in Public Health from Texas A&M University in 2015, with a concentration in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences. The program taught her many valuable lessons and skills, particularly the importance of community collaboration and building relationships. Through a required practicum experience, she traveled to Antigua, Guatemala to expand gardens in the homes of school children and increase their knowledge of nutrition.

Olivia Kumro Magoma-Kijango Project

Olivia Kumro
Magoma-Kijango Project

Olivia graduated from Cornell University with a major in Biology and Society and a minor in Global Health. Through the Global Health program at Cornell, she spent the summer of 2013 living with a homestay family in the small Tanzanian village of King’Ori. There, she taught about HIV prevention and helped conduct HIV testing. Olivia has traveled extensively, visiting all continents except for Antarctica. Olivia is incredibly excited to be a Project Coordinator for the Magoma-Kijango project, and is eager to make an impact during her time there.

Austin Leefers Lutindi Project

Austin Leefers
Lutindi Project

Austin grew up on a family corn and cattle farm in rural Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois and studied International Relations with a focus on ethnic conflict and resolution. He graduated from Hult International Business School with a Masters in International Business from the school’s campus in Dubai, UAE. He completed a consulting project for an international firm in Shanghai, China before returning to Dubai to intern with the Commercial Attache at the US Consulate. He is excited to contribute his agricultural and business skills to further the 2Seeds mission.

Sarah Mulligan Magoma-Kwata Project

Sarah Mulligan
Magoma-Kwata Project

Sarah is from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and minors in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Psychology. Sarah fell in love with East Africa while studying Wildlife Management with the School for Field Studies in Kenya & Tanzania. While conducting independent research on how demographic variables influence individuals’ attitudes towards elephants in northern Tanzania, Sarah had the chance to conduct in-depth personal interviews with farmers and business owners. Sarah is excited for the opportunity to join the 2Seeds team and can’t wait to return to Tanzania while working on the Magoma-Kwata Project. She is looking forward to working alongside her Tanzanian Partners, building lifelong relationships, and mastering her Swahili.

Antal Neville Bungu Project

Antal Neville
Bungu Project

Antal grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from The American University of Paris in 2010 with a BA in Comparative Literature and Philosophy. After earning his degree, he had some adventures as a freelance journalist, including a Paris Hilton stakeout with Hollywood paparazzi and an excursion to Cuba to document the revival of religion in the socialist country. Immediately before joining 2Seeds, Antal worked as a research analyst for IBISWorld, a company that specializes in providing industry information to financial service and consulting firms. Antal is interested in applying business practices and market principles to address social needs, specifically in the fields of sustainability and economic development. After working with this aim to address food and income security challenges in Bungu, he plans to earn an MBA with a focus in social enterprise.

Isabel Nuesse Tabora Project

Isabel Nuesse
Tabora Project

Isabel is from Hull, MA and graduated from Elon University in 2015 with an Independent Major, Sustainable Business Development. It has always been her interest to promote sustainable growth/implementation in communities and industries alike. She is a firm believer in using agriculture as a means to develop human capital and eventually hopes to integrate sustainable practices into the current food system. Motivated by the challenges of the world, Isabel is ready to take on her next venture.  She is honored to be a part of 2Seeds and cannot wait to work on the Tabora Project. Her hope is to create lasting relationships amongst the members of the community and to learn something new about herself, and others, each day she’s in Tanzania.

David Robinson Masoko Project

David Robinson
Masoko Project

After visiting the Kariakoo Market several times in 2014, David became fascinated by the Masoko Project and the potential impact that widespread crop data could have on smallholder farmers. Born outside of Boston, David is a graduate of Haverford College, where he first developed passions for sustainable food systems. He will be a second year Project Coordinator at 2Seeds after working with the Magoma Project in 2014-2015 to build an integrated agricultural system to feed a meal’s program at the local primary school. David is excited to build on his experience in a rural farming community by addressing the same challenges at a higher level of the agricultural value chain.

Jimmy Schneidewind Kwakiliga Project

Jimmy Schneidewind
Kwakiliga Project

Jimmy Schneidewind recently received a dual Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Business Administration from the University of Michigan (UM). During his time at UM, Jimmy completed an internship with the Liberian Ministry of Health and worked as a consultant for Women’s Campaign International as part of Esso’s Women’s Economic Opportunities Initiative in Angola. Prior to enrolling at UM, Jimmy spent two years as a Public Policy Associate with AIDS United in Washington, D.C. From 2007-2009, Jimmy was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique. His work focused on public health and youth development, both on a community-level. Jimmy received his B.A. in Social Relations and Policy from James Madison College at Michigan State University. Jimmy is excited to join 2Seeds and the Kwakiliga Project. He is also looking forward to being a highly productive member of the Kwakiliga soccer team, an opportunity for which he has been in rigorous training.

Anna Tallmadge Magoma-Kijango Project

Anna Tallmadge
Magoma-Kijango Project

Anna is a native of Colchester, Vermont, where she first developed a love for farming. She graduated from Stonehill College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in a self-created, interdisciplinary major focusing on global health. During her junior year, she studied abroad in India, Vietnam, South Africa and Nepal and studied the intersection of health, culture and community development. During this year abroad, Anna developed an interest in food security and, upon returning to Stonehill, she cultivated this new interest by volunteering at her campus farm, taking classes about sustainable agriculture and setting up an independent research project on global food security. When Anna found out about 2Seeds, she knew it was the perfect fit for her! Anna is very excited to become part of the Magoma-Kijango community and hopes to master the Swahili language, learn how to cook ugali, and work tirelessly with her Tanzanian Partners to set up new projects!

The “Graduation” program: Evidence-based support for the 2Seeds model

What do you think of when you hear graduation?

Maybe you picture the end of a school year, a passage into a new phase of life, or an achievement that opens doors. Or perhaps you think of a cap and gown, a diploma, and a celebration with friends and family.

Lately, the word has been used in a different context: development practitioners are buzzing about a new approach to helping the extremely poor graduate from poverty.

A recent study published in Science shows the effectiveness of a comprehensive “Graduation program” and its success in elevating individuals out of extreme poverty. The authors studied programs in 6 countries—Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru—that target the poorest members of villages and provide them with the following:

  1. A productive asset
  2. Training on how to use the asset
  3. Healthcare to keep them healthy enough to work
  4. A small amount of food and/or money to support them while they learn to make a living
  5. Access to a savings account
  6. Weekly coaching in topics including overcoming obstacles and meeting savings goals

Using randomized controlled trials, the authors studied the effects of this bundle of interventions on a number of outcomes, including consumption, food security, productive and household assets, financial inclusion, physical and mental health, and women’s empowerment. By the end of the program—usually two years—there were statistically significant gains in consumption, food security, and household assets among the individuals who had received this bundle. Furthermore, when the target individuals were again surveyed a year after the end of the program, the authors found that these gains had been maintained.

At 2Seeds, we take this holistic approach to development. We’ve seen that simply providing our Partners with a goat or cow, or offering them a microloan, doesn’t always advance them on their journey out of poverty. By providing training on how to use their productive assets (such as livestock or agricultural equipment), as well as coaching in business concepts, we give our Partners an opportunity to achieve sustained income generation. Furthermore, by helping them set goals for themselves and start savings funds, we enable them to convert that income into real gains in their quality of life.

In the village of Kwakiliga, we’re seeing our Partners improve their lives through the graduation approach. 2Seeds invested in a productive asset for the members of the Kwakiliga group: 100 chickens and three chicken coops to start their egg production business in 2013. At the same time, training was provided on how to use the asset, including chicken care and nutrition best practices.

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One of the three Kwakiliga chicken coops at dusk

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Mzee Adamu feeding the chickens 

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Within a month of egg production, the group was turning a profit, and within a year, they had accrued $2,500 in group savings, which enabled them to triple their flock of hens in 2014. Now in Kwakiliga, group members divide their profits according to an agreed plan: a portion in group savings for future business investment, a portion in take-home pay for each member, and a portion in each individual’s personal savings fund. Through these personal savings funds, 2Seeds is helping our Partners convert their income into their own vision of maisha bora – the better life – by providing a means for them to work toward tin roofs for their homes, higher-quality seeds for their farms, or seed financing for their own business ideas. One group member is saving for a motorcycle to start his own taxi business!

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Mama Adamu collecting the eggs from one of the Coops.

Additionally, the group has worked through 2Seeds’ business curriculum, which covers a variety of topics including savings management, trade offs, and basic accounting. These trainings, along with coaching and follow-up from Project Coordinators to ensure retention and application of knowledge, help our Partners responsibly manage their business finances and operations for the long-term.

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Mama Mwaka showing off her Business Curriculum graduation certificate!

We’re thrilled to see press and excitement around the graduation program and the value of a holistic, multifaceted approach to development. With over 40% of Tanzanians living in extreme poverty—on less than $1.25 a day—we must consider innovative ways to create opportunities for individuals and families to pull themselves out of poverty. One of the author’s of the paper on the graduation approach, Dean Karlan, says, “[P]overty, and especially extreme poverty, is difficult to eliminate. The poorest of the poor have more problems than just lacking a regular income.” At 2Seeds, we understand the far-reaching effects poverty has on our Partners’ lives in rural Tanzania, and we’re employing elements of the graduation approach—a scientifically proven method to poverty alleviation—to improve these conditions.

Annie Duflo, Innovations for Poverty Action’s Executive Director, says, “Governments, aid organizations, and donors have been looking for something backed by real evidence showing it can help the poorest of the world, and this Graduation approach does exactly that.”

We invite you partner with us, and watch as our Partners graduate from poverty!

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Publication citation: 
Banerjee, Abhijit, Esther Duflo, Nathanael Goldberg, Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, William Parienté, Jeremy Shapiro, Bram Thuysbaert, and Christopher Udry. 2015. “A Multi-faceted Program Causes Lasting Progress for the Very Poor: Evidence from Six Countries.” Science.

Announcing Q3’s Team of the Quarter!

Quarter 3 marked an exciting time for all project sites and their respective Project Coordinators. Turning the corner into the second half of the year, PCs hit their strides with Swahili, they deepened their relationships with Project Partners and community members to a new level, and they helped the projects reach new heights. One team in particular excelled in several areas of project management and leadership. We are happy to announce that the Quarter 3 Team of the Quarter is…KIJUNGUMOTO! Congratulations to Geoff Tam and Jonah Wilkof for going the extra mile and driving the project forward!
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Throughout the year Geoff and Jonah were viewed by Partners as leaders who had passion and dedication to enhance the project as well as creative ideas to do so. They played an active role in group meetings and even established a more structured agenda that enables the group’s leadership to fulfill their potential by driving the meetings themselves. Geoff and Jonah were also instrumental in implementing a crop rotation system as well as executing a trial run for new bucket drip irrigation systems in the home gardens. Throughout this process, they helped build the Partners’ capacity by constructing the systems and conducting the trials together as a group instead of hiring external support.
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Their hard work did not stop in the meetings and home gardens. They also got a little nuts on the farm as they initiated a strategy for intercropping peanuts with maize on Partners’ personal farms. And have you heard the latest buzz about the Kmoto honey business!? This year Geoff and Jonah helped design and implement a new group financial management system which creates opportunities for group savings and individual profits! This system is designed to propel the business towards self-sufficiency while also opening doors for consistent incomes for group members.
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Can you believe that most of this work was completed during Quarter 3 on top of: investing in new hives for the honey business, experimenting with sunflowers as a bee-attracting flower, leading by example in the PC group and consistently producing quality work!? Way to go, Geoff and Jonah! Congrats on a job well done!

Year-End Investor Reports 2014-2015

Dear investors and stakeholders,

As another year comes to a close for our Project Coordinators, we would like to take the time to review how your contribution helped make a difference in this year. Please download the documents below for detailed information about the exciting developments from the past year.

Bombo Majimoto Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Bungu Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Kijungumoto Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Kwakiliga Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Lutindi Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Magoma-Kijango Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Magoma-Kwata Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

Tabora Project 2014-2015 Year-End Investor Report

If you are inspired by our work, please consider renewing your commitment to 2Seeds. Your donations and continued support are what makes this life-changing work possible.

Wishing you the best from Tanzania,

2Seeds Network Ground Team

Women can be CEOs, too.

At the recent World Economic Forum on Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, made a bold statement:

“Africa must close its gender gap in order to succeed.”

Let’s consider that for a moment. Assuming “success” means that economies are growing, people are not going hungry, and families have access to basic healthcare, that’s a shocking statement. According to the Under-Secretary-General, we can’t achieve those things while a gender gap persists.

More and more, the international development community is taking the stance that programs targeting economic growth, or gains in health and education standards, are hampered in their impact by ignoring gender equality. A recent article by Melinda Gates argues that “inequality between the sexes limits development for everyone,” and that our programs promoting maternal health or agricultural development must go hand-in-hand with efforts to close gender gaps. This focus on gender disparity has been echoed recently at the 25th African Union Summit (theme: Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063), the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015, ONE’s Poverty is Sexist Campaign, and the ongoing HeForShe movement. Therefore, we thought we’d share some of our experience with gender roles in Tanzania and the ways in which we’re promoting gender parity throughout our network.

Tanzanian communities are typically patriarchal, meaning the male is the dominant member of the household and society. We see this every day at community gatherings in our project sites; at funerals, weddings, holidays, or other celebrations bringing men and women together, we observe female community members preparing food in a smoke-filled kitchen while men socialize together in a separate room. Male community members are fed first, followed by children, and, lastly, women.

Additionally, boys have greater access to education than girls. If a mother in one of our partner communities is ill, her daughter stays home from school to wash clothes, do dishes, and cook for the family while her son attends school. This status quo makes it difficult for young females to receive the same amount of education as their male counterparts. Our experience is mirrored in data: the latest UNDP gender-related development index reports the mean years of schooling for males at 5.8 years, compared to 4.5 for females.

Tanzania has multiple laws in place to support women’s rights, although they aren’t always upheld at the village or household level.

At 2Seeds, we’re doing what we can to promote gender equality. We have a women’s group comprised of two women or girls from each project site that meets regularly. The group fosters entrepreneurship as the women pitch business ideas to each other and receive feedback; soon, we’ll launch a fund to provide seed financing for female-led businesses. We’re putting this extra emphasis on women because research shows that increasing the amount of household income controlled by women changes household spending in ways that benefit children. We’re also rolling out an education fund specifically reserved for daughters of group members, providing the resources for them to attend school. Furthermore, group meetings include discussions related to female health and family planning, empowering our female Partners with the knowledge to make informed decisions about growing their families. It’s a safe, comfortable environment where women feel empowered to pursue business endeavors and conduct their own finances and lives, subsequently encouraging their daughters, nieces, and female friends to do the same.

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation.” –African Proverb

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A few of the women and girls in the 2Seeds Women’s Group

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Mama Tatu from Magoma-Kijango shares goals with the group for her clothing business that she plans to open.

In the Tabora Project, we have eight female Partners who are driven, full of life, and overcoming traditional gender barriers to grow their 2Seeds business, cooking and selling potato chips, popcorn, and peanuts. They’re managing finances, maintaining group and individual savings accounts, and generating consistent monthly profit. In Tanzania, women don’t always have the opportunity to put their entrepreneurial ideas into action. 2Seeds gives Tabora women an avenue to develop the confidence and capacity to be savvy, productive businesswomen.

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Tabora Partners sharing a laugh at a Business Curriculum training

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Tabora Partners and Project Coordinators conducting sales in Korogwe.

In our project site of Lutindi, Partners throw a party each Christmas for 2Seeds group members and friends. For the past few years, the women have spent hours laboring in the kitchen over rice and beans, perfecting a meal to serve to all the guests. This past year, however, after much encouragement and good-natured teasing from 2Seeds members, the male group members accepted the challenge to cook the meal. This small change in gender roles gives us hope that the gap–at least within our network–is closing. And we’re confident that that change will have exponential effects on the core of 2Seeds’ work—building capacity to generate income and improve lives.

We often say “Wanawake Wanaweza!”—Women Can Do It!—during meetings of our women’s group, while joining our Tabora Partners for a cooking day, or while completing a business curriculum training with female Partners. Yes women can manage their finances. Yes women can be successful business people. Yes women can do more than just cook, clean, and tend to children. We believe it, do you?

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Mama Salome, Tabora Project Partner, showing off her profits!

What are you doing to combat gender disparity in your community? We’d love to hear your story.

Yes, I still speak Swahili.

A few weeks ago, I was preparing for my trip to Tanzania. It was to be my first visit since my year as a Project Coordinator, and I was beyond excited to see my friends from my village of Kwakiliga. So, after a long flight back to Tanzania, a day’s drive to Korogwe, and a bajaj (golf-cart might be the best translation!) ride to tiny Kwakiliga, I made it. And it was just as wonderful as I’d expected it to be.

In fact, I left like I had never left. When I arrived, I went to greet Mzee Rubeni, my neighbor and 2Seeds Kwakiliga group member. He asked if I needed a guide to show me around Kwak, which I resolutely declined. I still feel like a local! And I was happy to find that my Swahili came back within the first day – to mixed reactions of shock and relief from my Tanzanian friends.

I spent three days talking, eating, and drinking tea with my friends. I accepted an invitation from Mama Mwaka to have ugali at her house one afternoon, a five-hour affair of sorting the beans, cooking the beans, shredding the coconut, preparing greens, and finally eating ugali. (I had forgotten that lunch is never an in-and-out affair in village life.) I spent an afternoon with Mama and Mzee Mcharo, enjoying a meal of – you guessed it – none other than ugali, and was honored that they slaughtered one of their chickens for the meal (not a 2Seeds hen, of course!) I met the current hens of Kwakiliga, who had moved in to the coops a week after I headed back to the States in 2014. The number of eggs the Partners are collecting every day is phenomenal!

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Mama Mwaka shows me her certificate of graduation from the Advanced Business Curriculum.

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Mama Adamu collects eggs at Coop 1. Last year, we’d collect them in a small pot. Now, they need a whole basket! She was delighted when I pointed this out.

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Hanging out with Mama Mcharo.

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Beautiful chickens. Lots of production!

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I was delighted to see Mzee Adamu feeding greens to his hens! I felt like a Project Coordinator again, encouraging this “best practice” in chicken care!

And, of course, I spent some time with my favorite kiddos.

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The neighborhood crowd.

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Camera-crazy ladies.

As much as I loved going home to Kwak, I was in Tanzania to see the development of all the projects. And quite a bit had happened since I’d last visited each of them!

I began with a day in Korogwe, where I witnessed a Treasurers’ Summit. Group treasurers from several project sites came together to review their March and April business numbers. They reviewed profits and return on investment, and practiced observing trends to determine whether their business had expanded or contracted. Mama Tatu, the treasurer from Bombo Majimoto, was excited to see that her business group had moved from a loss in January and February to a profit in March and April!

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Mama Tatu (left) and other group treasurers practice identifying trends in their businesses.

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Mama Asha reviews the books for her group’s potato chip, peanut, and popcorn business.

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Samtoi calculates profits from Lutindi’s March and April vegetable sales.

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Treasurers share their business costs, revenue, profit, and return on investment with one another.

I continued on to the beautiful mountain sites of Bungu and Lutindi, where I was able to hear from the Project Coordinators about the progress of the group businesses over the past year. Both Bungu and Lutindi Partners are planting and selling vegetables under coordinated group systems, allowing them to establish consistent relationships with buyers (and earn more consistent income!) I was also lucky enough to witness some incredible views during my time in the mountains.

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View from Lutindi overlooking the plains. You can (almost) see Tabora!

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The Lutindi team shared this awesome lookout spot with me.

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The motorcycle ride from Bungu to Lutindi weaves through tea fields.

From the mountains, I headed to the valley, home to the Magoma, Bombo Majimoto, and Kijungumoto Projects. I hadn’t visited most of these sites since 2013, and was so impressed by the project activities there!

In Magoma-Kijango, 2Seeds works with students at the local primary school to grow vegetables and raise chickens. Profits from these activities will finance a school meals program.

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Here, parent-leader Mama Dalia tends to the chicken flock. She was kind enough to let me help her collect the day’s eggs!

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The students enjoy hanging out with the hens!

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At Kijango primary school, 2Seeds Partners have built a rain gutter along the school roof. It funnels rainwater to a 6,000 liter reservoir to be stored for use in the garden and chicken coops during the dry season.

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This reservoir holds 6,000 liters!

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A student shows me the system.

In Magoma-Kwata, 2Seeds has worked with primary school students and community leaders to build an integrated system at the school. It includes a fish pond, chicken coop, goat pen, and garden. Each class of students manages one of these activities: third-graders are on garden duty, fourth graders care for the goats, fifth graders tend to the hens, and sixth graders manage the fish pond. In addition to being hands-on learning activities which students are extremely enthusiastic about, these activities will generate profit to finance a school meals program.

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The chicken coop and fish pond. Chicken waste serves as food for the fish! Is that integrated or what?!

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Third graders tend to their garlic seedlings.

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A drip irrigation system helps students water their garden efficiently.

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The students have branded their goat pen!

In Bombo Majimoto, Partners have built two greenhouses, where they’re starting to grow garlic and cayenne. In Bombo, an isolated village, market access has always been a challenge. Garlic and cayenne are small crops, which are easy to transport without excessive breakage. Plus, they fetch good prices at market!

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Mzee Shebe, Bombo Majimoto Partner, talks to Project Coordinators Lena and Dom about the new irrigation system.

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Mzee Shebe and Dom check on the garlic seedlings.

I headed to Kijungumoto (or, as we say, Kmoto!) for a group meeting. The Partners have been working on a honey production business since investing in several bee hives in 2014, and received their first individual profits from the business during my visit!

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Project Coordinator Jonah walks Kmoto Partners through the profit sharing plan for the honey business.

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Mzee Malenge shows me around his maize and sunflower farms. The sunflowers were planted to feed the honey-producing bees!

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Project Coordinator Geoff and Kmoto Partner Mama Maimuna discuss upcoming planting plans for her vegetable garden.

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Basic drip irrigation systems help Kmoto Partners keep their vegetables hydrated!

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Mama Maimuna tends to her seedlings!

My last stop before leaving Korogwe district was the village of Tabora. I got to join the women’s group for a cooking day as they prepared to fill big orders for both salted and sweet peanuts!

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Mama Salome, Mama Asha, Mama Hasani, and Mama Kitojo are busy at work in the kitchen, but they spend the time chatting and laughing!

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Mama Kitojo cooks salted peanuts.

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Yum!

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The Korogwe plains, home of Tabora and Kwakiliga.

Before heading back to Marekani (America), I sat in on a meeting of 2Seeds Project Coordinators and staff with the Kariakoo Market Corporation–the largest market in Tanzania– and Habari Mazao–a Tanzanian tech startup. In partnership with these two organizations, 2Seeds has launched a system which allows farmers to access crop price information through a text message. They’re now working on developing an app to improve market access for smallholder farmers throughout Tanzania!

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2Seeds, Habari Mazao, and Kariakoo Market Corporation collaborate on technology solutions to improve market access for smallholders.

Before signing off, I’ll leave you with this snapshot of my awesome Kwakiliga Partners, just being themselves. I’m looking forward to my next trip!

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Until next time!

Amanda

Going back: Reflections of a PC alumna.

Joining 2Seeds as a Project Coordinator is an experience like no other, even within the international development arena. The extent to which PCs become part of their Tanzanian communities is extraordinary—especially considering most come in with a level of Swahili that includes “hello,” “How is your family?” “I am going to cook rice”….and not a whole lot more. (It is a testament to the patience of our Tanzanian Partners that they continue to pursue friendships with us throughout months of riveting conversations about the weather.)

Lots of development organizations pursue a “grassroots” or “bottom-up” approach, but you’d be hard pressed to find a model more rooted in true partnership with local communities than the one we embrace at 2Seeds. As Project Coordinators live in their project sites, they share in so many aspects of community life beyond their 2Seeds projects. I could probably count on my fingers the days in which I didn’t down at least one cup of sugar-laden tea with a Tanzanian. I chatted with women at the village water tap, patiently enduring their giggles as I struggled to get a twenty-liter bucket of water on my head (I improved, but there was lots of drenched clothing and a broken bucket along the way). I marched with the entire community in a funeral procession, and I celebrated Easter eating spiced rice with my neighbors. My village, Kwakiliga, with all its joys and quirks and frustrations, became my home.

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Sharing in a community celebration.

The 2Seeds model fosters relationships of trust upon which we build our projects. These relationships allow us to pursue income security in a manner that will be sustained and which honors the agency and potential of our Tanzanian Partners. I could go on about how this emphasis on partnership forms a foundation for lasting impact, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my excitement to go back to my second home in Kwakiliga next week.

In July 2014, at the end of my year as a Project Coordinator, I wrote a blog post reflecting on the friendships I’d made in Kwakiliga. Here’s an excerpt:

“I didn’t really think, going in [in August 2013], that I would form genuine friendships in Kwak and be truly sad at the prospect of leaving. After all, can authentic relationships be formed between people of different languages, radically different cultures, and, perhaps most threatening to friendship, hugely different economic situations and general opportunities in life? I didn’t think so. But what I learned is that those things didn’t prevent Mama Mwaka from becoming a friend I care deeply about, nor did they prevent her from caring and worrying about me (and bringing me four huge squash as I left Kwakiliga so that I would have something to eat on my journey). It didn’t stop the Mcharos from becoming my Tanzanian family, at whose home I can show up anytime and be welcomed, and who consider me so much part of their family that they neglected to invite me to Easter lunch; they just assumed I was coming. To be sure, these relationships are different from those I have with, say, my college friends. I don’t stay up gabbing with Mama Mwaka until late into the night like I did senior year with my roommate. But I’ve learned that it is not those things – the outward appearances of relationships -which define a genuine friendship. It’s openness and honesty, and knowing that I can rely on my Kwakiligan friends to care for me the best they can. As I learned to embrace the differences between us and be more open with my friends in Kwak throughout the year, those relationships became so tight-knit.”

When I left Kwakiliga, I knew I’d be back, but I had no idea when. I planned to keep in touch with some of my best friends via phone, but I expected that the kids I had played with all year—who had given me fist bumps and danced to my iPod blasting Florida Georgia Line and Taylor Swift and stuck their little fingers through the crack under our front door, begging for sidewalk chalk—wouldn’t remember me when I returned, and I was sad about that.

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But upon my return to the U.S. in August, I found myself drawn back to 2Seeds with an offer to join the team in DC, managing finances, operations, and fundraising. While I don’t get to work one-on-one with our Tanzanian Partners anymore, I love supporting our Project Coordinators as they continue the work that my fellow 2Seeds alumni and I began. I believe in the deep impact created by 2Seeds’ methodology, and it’s a gift to work every day to build the capacity of this organization. In order to update myself on the newest happenings in each of our projects, and to spend some time working with our Ground Team, I’m headed back to Tanzania on Monday. And you can bet I’m starting that trip with a few days of vacation in Kwakiliga.

I’m so thrilled with anticipation of drinking chai with Mama Mwaka, eating ugali with the Mcharo family, listening to the political rants of Mama Halima and the conspiracy theories of Mzee Rubeni, and playing with my gaggle of neighborhood watoto (children). I have no doubt that the community that welcomed me so wholeheartedly upon my arrival as a Project Coordinator will bend over backward to host me next week, make sure I am very well-fed in the midst of their teasing about how my Swahili has deteriorated. It’s an incredible thing to have a second family thinking about me even though I am far away, and I am grateful to 2Seeds for introducing me to that family.

Until next time,

Amanda

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Amanda Satterwhite is a 2Seeds Project Coordinator alumna (Kwakiliga Project, ’13-’14). She now serves 2Seeds as Manager of Finance and Operations, working to ensure 2Seeds continues as a financially stable and compliant organization so that Project Coordinators can continue their impactful work.

Smallholder Farmer Market Options: Part 2

When smallholder farmers are deciding where to sell their crop, one piece of information is crucial: crop price.

Without knowing how much they’ll receive for their crops, our Partners are unable to make informed decisions. They can’t take calculated risks without knowing the market prices for green peppers.

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This is where the 2Seeds Masoko Project comes in. Based in the city of Dar es Salaam, the Masoko Project is centered around the Kariakoo Market, the largest wholesale market in Tanzania. One of the project’s principle areas of focus is improving access to crop price information for smallholder farmers throughout Tanzania.

2Seeds has established a deep and committed partnership with the Kariakoo Market Corporation (KMC), which manages the market’s commercial operations. Since the Masoko Project launched in 2011, the KMC statisticians have collected crop price data daily. This accurate and consistent data collection is unprecedented in Tanzanian markets.

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KMC Statistician, Henry Emmanuel, works with former 2Seeds Project Coordinator, Monique Galvâo, to collect crop prices.

Nonetheless, the mere existence of the price data didn’t enable farmers to access it. In 2013, 2Seeds held a competition for various Tanzanian-based tech companies to create an app to facilitate collection of the price data. Habari Mazao’s app was chosen and the Tanzanian tech startup later created a website to host the data. Now, daily price information for 33 crops can be accessed online!

Recently, 2Seeds forged another invaluable partnership with Vodacom, one of the major cellular network providers in Tanzania. Vodacom disseminates the Kariakoo crop price information through Kilimo Klub, an SMS-based service oriented to smallholder farmers. For rural farmers, this means they can register themselves with the system and get periodic updates with their selected crop’s current market price. This way, they have more information to make an informed decision about where to sell their produce, as well as increased negotiation power.

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In addition to sharing crop prices, Kilimo Klub may eventually enable mobile commerce of agricultural products. We look forward to tracking how implementation of this technology revolutionizes smallholder farmer market access and decision-making processes!

Smallholder Farmer Market Options: Part 1

Imagine you are a smallholder farmer living in a rural Tanzanian village. It takes you 2 hours by bus on dirt roads to reach Korogwe, a town of roughly 45,000 people. If you want to go to Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania with the wealthiest consumers, you must first travel to Korogwe, then take a bus for another five hours to the city.


Now imagine you’re traveling to sell your green pepper and cucumber crop and have four large, heavy sacks with you.

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How do you decide where to sell your crops? Do you sell them locally at your weekly village market, where prices are low? Do you pay the transport costs to send them to Korogwe? How do you know if the price is high enough in Dar es Salaam to cover the transport costs?

This is a decision our Partners have to make on a weekly basis.

2Seeds is creating opportunities to help our Partners make informed and profitable decisions. Stay tuned to learn about how our SMS-based price dissemination platform is part of that solution!

Photos courtesy of Whitney Flatt and Abby Love.