Organic Farming will be one of the new modules taught to all students of agriculture at 29 agricultural training institutes in Tanzania. These institutes will put into practise revised curriculum, which signposts a remarkable step towards more sustainability and equality in this vital economic sector. Students will profit from six completely new modules that comprise ecological and socio-economical aspects. SAT has been playing a crucial role in the implementation of this project.
From the beginning of 2020, every agricultural training institute that follows the curriculum approved by the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) will teach six new modules:
- Organic Farming
- Environmental Management
- Gender in Agriculture
- Principles of Cooperatives in Agriculture
- Basic Communication Skills
- Basic Mathematics in Agriculture
Why do we consider this revolutionary? Expressed in numbers, the implementation of the new curriculum means that, every year, approximately 3,000 students will learn vital aspects of making agriculture sustainable. But even more so, they will have practical skills which serve the whole country. Agriculture is a strong economic sector contributing one quarter to Tanzania’s GDP.  Consequently, making this sector more sustainable will have a considerable impact on society, ecosystems and the economy.
For sure, organic farming methods are a crucial part of the new compendiums. But to achieve positive changes, a lot more is required. An understanding of climate change, its causes and effects, how agriculture can cope with and even mitigate it, is another essential element. Then, gender inequalities need to be tackled. Women account for 52% of the workforce in agriculture.  But they only own one-fifth of the land.  Thus, they have minimal access to productive resources, let alone, to financial services. In addition to that, women are only marginally involved in decision-making.
Empowering women is, thus, crucial to end depletion of natural resources and degradation of farmland. To raise awareness for gender issues among students of agriculture is one of many approaches to this. Similarly, the new module on cooperatives seeks to fight inequalities. Such jointly owned and run businesses can substantially strengthen the deprived rural producers. So, the curriculum comprises a broad scope of modules to turn agriculture into a prosperous sector, where producers have a firm position, a fair share of the benefit and are, thus, willing to engage in organic farming and environmental protection in general.
Does this sound familiar? In many aspects, these modules match SAT’s holistic approach. We proudly have been contributing to the set-up and implementation of the new compendiums. It began in August 2018, when SAT participated in a workshop organised by Lutheran World Relief on the agricultural curriculum review. We were able to convince the panel to include three agroecological modules. Due to our expertise in training farmers as well as facilitators, SAT has been taking a leading role in the Curriculum Implementation Support for Training Institutes (CISTI) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.
The goal of CISTI is to facilitate the implementation of five out of six new modules (Basic Mathematics is not part of this project). Our responsibility encompasses the selection of task teams, conducting workshops, training and field visits, and organising reviews to create feasible compendiums. SAT has supported seven agricultural training institutes during the pilot phase this year, where we all gained valuable insight that finally lead to adjustments on the compendiums.
In the next phase of CISTI, SAT will similarly continue to facilitate upscaling, implementation and refinement of those five compendiums. Linking the present and future CISTI collaboration to the Sustainable Development Goals confirms the importance of this venture. CISTI, in particular, contributes to the goals of Quality Education, Gender Equality and Climate Action. Just as well, it builds effective and inclusive institutions through participatory development and implementation of the compendiums. Finally, it sparks global partnership, since it enhances cooperation on science, technology and innovation, promotes the dissemination of environmentally sound technologies and mobilises financial resources.
As you have seen, CISTI is a comprehensive pioneer project well deserving public attention. We believe this curriculum implementation evolves to be a role model in the country and beyond. Thus, SAT wants to share the gained insight and experience, hopefully attracting more stakeholders to adapt it to the context of other countries. Let’s scale it up!
CISTI is kindly supported by LED Liechtenstein Development Service and the United Republic of Tanzania.
 “Agricultural Sector Development Programme Phase Two (ASDP II).” Development Partners Group Tanzania, The United Republic of Tanzania, 2016, http://www.tzdpg.or.tz/fileadmin/documents/external/national_development_frameworks/ASDP2_Final_Document_20_May._2016__after_edit__1_.pdf, p.197
 Women & Men in Tanzania: Facts and Figures 2017. Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, 2017, https://www.nbs.go.tz/nbs/takwimu/WomenAndMen/women_and_men_booklet.pdf
 Tanzania, UNA. “Land Rights In Tanzania – A Gender Issue.” United Nations Association of Tanzania, 8 Nov. 2017, https://una.or.tz/land-rights-tanzania-gender-issue/