8 March 2018

Tanzania: Changing Mindsets to End Grinding Poverty

Dar es Salaam — Sheikh Mungia Zuberi, resident of Muheza in Tanga Region, has been involved in Islamic preaching for many years.

As a leader of the mosque at his community, Sheikh Zuberi, who is in his 50s had previously no economic activity, and depended on believers well-wishes for survival.

The situation made him to continue being dependent to the mosque financial resources as his main sources of livelihood.

He said, "I have always been asking myself on when I am going to get out of this dependence?"

But since he joined the World Vision Tanzania's mindset transformation programme, things have totally changed to his life.

"The World Vision programme taught us on how to change our own lives using own resources instead of waiting for someone to do it for us," he said.

He said after attending number of seminars organised by World Vision, his mind started to change as he was thinking of something to substitute his livelihood, rather than depending on mosque incomes.

Sheikh Zuberi said since the seminar taught them on entrepreneurship skills, he opted to start a small mixed farming project.

"I started raring chicken, fish farming as well as farming vegetables for a start," he said.

He said he is now keeping poultry as well as fish farming, which gives him enough income to sustain his livelihood while saving.

Sheikh Zuberi is like Dickson Jacob, resident of Simiyu region who since he finished his education, he decided to stay at home jobless.

"I had no any economic activity for years. I used to work up early in the morning, walk around the streets the whole day before returning home during night," he said. He said he was always thinking that one day the government would provide jobs for youths.

After years of joblessness, the village was visited by officials from World Vision Tanzania who came with good news of training villagers on how to think positively.

He said training conducted in form of seminars of which they were taught entrepreneurship skills and savings among youths at the village.

"When I attended those seminars, my mind changed automatically. I started thinking of having my own income generating activities," he said.

He said he organised a group of youths at the village to establish their own horticulture irrigation scheme, which later became the cash cow for the group.

"I now have a chicken farming project of which I earn income through selling them to small farmers and normal consumers," he said.

The World Vision interim national director Mr Devocatus Kamara says the mind transformation programme is carried out through economic development approach.

He said this programme is focusing on farmers or rural residents because they account for 75 per cent of Tanzania population and more than 60 per cent of employment.

"This is the programme aimed at breaking psycho-poverty as we are teaching and coaching people the culture of hard work, savings and investments," he said.

He said after training, World Vision is connecting beneficiaries to Vision Fund Tanzania (VFT), which offer them financial services to develop their entrepreneurship ideas.

He said Vision Fund Tanzania offer them with credit for farming while offering insurance services when their crops faces drought or when attacked by pests.

World Vision East Africa regional Vice President Dr Stephen Omollo said empowered world view approach affirms the critical need to address the root cause of poverty with the view of empowering families and communities to take more active role in their own change.

Through the programme, World Vision is currently empowering more than 4,000 groups, of which 70 per cent are women. More than 11,500 farmers have also been connected to Vision Fund Tanzania for financing.

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