City: Arusha

Head teacher Twati Mollel shows organic tomatoes growing in a greenhouse at his school near Arusha, Tanzania. Profit from the produce will feed students for years to come Head teacher Twati Mollel shows organic tomatoes growing in a greenhouse at his school near Arusha, Tanzania. Profit from the produce will feed students for years to come

10 tons of tomatoes grown in Tanzania increase sustainability

 

As the Tanzanian government increases its requirements for nonprofits, Convoy of Hope’s method of capacity building through nutrition programs has emerged as a leading model

For three days in December, high-ranking officials came from three government ministries to inspect Convoy of Hope’s programs. The delegation visited Ngaramtoni Primary School near Arusha, where Convoy has a feeding program.

What impressed the officials was the execution of Convoy’s plan in equipping the school to become self-sustaining, which enables the organization to move on and do the same with other schools.

Since Convoy entered Ngaramtoni in 2014, they’ve held community meetings, helped identify income generating opportunities, addressed hygiene and sanitation issues, empowered mothers to do business and taught students gardening techniques. The school is now poised to harvest and sell more than 10 metric tons of tomatoes per year, which will fund the lunch program in the future.

The officials asked Convoy of Hope to expand into other schools, and they marveled at how the organization invests in building capacity in the community.
“Where have you been all along!?” exclaimed one government official.

In fact, Convoy has received accolades from district government in recent years, and its development work has been featured on the evening news. Recognition from the national government, however, is new.

Michael Mlonga, who leads Convoy of Hope Tanzania, was summoned to Tanzania’s capital two weeks after the visit to present and train government officials on Convoy of Hope’s innovative model. “This is the new standard to which we want to uphold other NGOs involved in school-based feeding programs,” an official told Mlonga.

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Agriculture / In the News / Inspiration / News / Program Updates

Kellen’s Story — From Impoverished to Empowered

Kellen Msseemmaa has been with Convoy of Hope in Tanzania since 2013 as the Director of Empowered Girls.

Kellen was born and raised in Uganda and experienced poverty firsthand as the firstborn of six children. They often only had one meal a day or sometimes — nothing at all. See how her passion for empowering girls has transformed countless lives!

Tell us about your background.

Girls were seen as an income, but I never accepted the negativity around me. I knew learning was the only way out of poverty so I worked and studied hard to become a teacher.

Why is Women’s Empowerment so important?

Through the program, women don’t just receive money — they are trained to become good entrepreneurs. They become self-sufficient and are able to feed their children.

You launched the Empowered Girls program. What was your motivation behind that?

As a teacher, I noticed many girls would stop attending classes because they were getting pregnant. From that, I had the idea to start Empowered Girls to teach all young women they have value.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The programs really work. The young girls dream of becoming doctors, engineers and scientists — women who can change the world. That’s my best part.

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Staff Spotlight
We seek to break down barriers that hold women back — in places like Tanzania — from reaching their full potential by educating and equipping them to make good decisions and lead self-sufficient lives. We seek to break down barriers that hold women back — in places like Tanzania — from reaching their full potential by educating and equipping them to make good decisions and lead self-sufficient lives.

Breaking the cycle of extreme poverty

 

More than 3,300 women from seven countries have participated in Convoy’s Micro+ program since 2011. This economic empowerment initiative works with women living in extreme poverty and provides materials and training for income-generating activities, life skills coaching, weekly food support, access to savings accounts, and health and nutrition education.

As with all of our international work, we actively monitor and evaluate these projects: The results have been remarkable. A pilot project conducted in the Philippines in 2015 revealed 100% of the participants reported an increase in income and 90% reported a decrease in hunger in their household. That’s why we’re so passionate about projects like Micro+: They enable us to address the underlying issues that will end poverty and hunger in the long run.

In addition to our own evaluations, current research of what works in the global fight against poverty and hunger shows significant positive results. A recent article in Science from Innovations in Poverty Action (IPA)**, a research group at Yale University, also validates our approach with Micro+.

The researchers used a randomized evaluation — similar to medical studies — to test the effect of projects on 10,000 households in six different countries (two of which COH works in). The objective was to give extremely poor families a significant boost out of poverty over a short amount of time. The results showed significant increases in food security, household consumption, physical and mental health, and women’s empowerment. Families continued to see substantial benefits two and three years after the start of the program, meaning they are beginning to break the cycle of poverty.

We are continuing to invest in Micro+ and women’s economic empowerment because we’ve seen the positive results in our own work, and because the approach is being validated through studies by leading academic researchers. Micro+ is lifting women and households out of poverty, which means many families are now able to provide necessary meals for their children. Addressing the root of hunger requires a holistic approach — every investment is making a difference.

**footnote: A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries. Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Nathanael Goldberg, Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, William Parienté, Jeremy Shapiro, Bram Thuysbaert, and Christopher Udry. Science 15 May 2015: 348 (6236)

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Program Updates / Women's Empowerment