With a car filled to the brim with bags of crops—big, bright green peppers just off the field—our partners in Bungu told us they weren’t businesspeople, only farmers. But if they’re just farmers and not businesspeople, what are we doing sending hundreds of kilos of crops to market?
It’s obvious to us that our partners are so much more than farmers. They manage their fields, but they also manage the many transactions of taking crops to market to try to get the best possible price to bring home to their families, to put ugali on the table and seeds back in the soil.
For this reason, we’re very excited to announce the creation of a 2Seeds network-wide business curriculum, specifically tailored to our partners on the ground to address their needs and build up their skills. This curriculum came out of an idea from the Kijungumoto project this year, which focuses on a three-year education cycle teaching agricultural best practices as well as business skills to empower local farmers. They identified a need for financial training, covering the basics of money management to give partners the tools they need to run their farms and their lives.
Since this first concept, the idea has taken off. The 2Seeds business curriculum consists of ten modules, starting with the basic definitions of costs, revenue and profit, and building upon itself until participants in the last module create their own business plan. Other modules focus on the differences between personal and business finances, trade-offs and decision-making, setting goals, and saving your money. Our methodology boils down financial concepts to the basics, and teaches these with an eye towards practicality, using interactive methods and all we know about our partners to apply these concepts to their particular lives, businesses and backgrounds.
We’ve already started this curriculum in the Kijungumoto Project and the Tabora Project, where a group of women entrepreneurs has started a food-processing business to provide steady income for their families. These lessons are much needed, and appreciated, by our partners. They nod along knowingly as we go through examples of trade-offs: if you only have 400 shillings, you have to make a decision between buying salt or sugar for your children. After our first training in Tabora, Mama Tabia ran back home and could be heard telling her husband in a loud, excited whisper the difference between revenue and profit. At one training in Kijungumoto, Maimuna stood up and thanked us for being with them, to see and understand their lives, and create education that works for them.
This curriculum is life changing and we are very excited to be starting it now. Down the line, we plan to train one of our partners to understand and teach the curriculum on his or her own, making our network even stronger. We see the huge potential this curriculum has to radically boost the capacities and skills of our Tanzanian partners. Already, it is bringing essential financial education and building the awareness and confidence to plan for the future.