Dodoma’s Women in Agriculture and Business Initiative (DWABI)

Young woman showing hand-made bag
Diversification of production and value addition are two ways how women improve their livelihoods. Such hand-made accessories provide an additional source of income outside the harvest period.

The Dodoma’s Women in Agriculture and Business Initiative (DWABI) project is carried out in Chamwino and Mpwapwa District, which are located in the Dodoma Region. This region has an area of 41,311 km² and 2,083,588 million inhabitants (2012 census). Its rural population is one of the poorest in Tanzania. At the same time, the Tanzanian government has been shifting ministeries and other governmental institutions to the actual capital city Dodoma creating a boom in the urban area. It is, therefore, of national interest to accelerate the development of Dodoma Region’s countryside.

Women play a crucial role in this process. According to the latest studies (FAO 2014), agriculture employs more than 50% of women in developing countries. In Tanzania agriculture, at 70%, is the largest sector that offers jobs to the population. Data from surveys show that if women had the same conditions as men, they could increase their productivity by up to 30%. Such an increase in productivity will improve food security in the country.

Women applying organic farming methods
To farm successfully in Dodoma’s drylands, DWABI women need to pay special attention to soil and water management. Multi-cropping is one approach. Here they are planting a mixed culture of sunflowers and Leguminosae on a tuition and demonstration field.

Thus, women play a major role, but their access to productive resources is severely restricted. Roughly ¾ of the landowners are men. Also, women have smaller and less fertile fields. Since access to technology, training and finance is difficult for women, most of them are concerned with subsistence management, whereas men produce for the market.

Agriculture in the project area includes animal husbandry, the cultivation of maize, rice, peanuts, sunflowers, sesame and millet. With less than 500 mm of rainfall per year, the setting is difficult. Agroecological cultivation methods based on soil and water management have the potential to increase production sustainably as well as to improve climate resilience.

Consequently, DWABI aims at empowering women in Dodoma through training in organic agriculture, small business, and saving and lending methods, which will lead to an increase in food security and gender equality. DWABI will reach a total of 2’250 women. This empowerment strategy has not only a positive impact on the livelihood of the women but of the entire community, as you may see in these success stories.

In the first component, the project strengthens agricultural production. Through coaching by SAT facilitators, the women will establish 30 demonstration fields and get trained in agroecological agriculture. Besides, there is a special training in water-saving methods of growing vegetables (sack and mandala gardens) that is particularly suitable for improving nutrition. During the training, SAT will select a total of 60 women as future peer-to-peer facilitators. They will later share their knowledge with other women groups in a further 60 demonstration fields.

gathering for the weekly saving and lending group meeting
Saving and lending groups have a tremendous impact on women’s entrepreneurial success. All DWABI groups receive tuition on the procedures and activities of this community-based micro-financial service.

In the second component, women are trained in entrepreneurship. There are courses in the creation of products such as soap, woven accessories, batik cloth or baobab sweets. There is also tuition for all 2,250 women in the saving and lending method. Additionally, DWABI women learn to use information technology (smartphones) to build a notification network for market information.

In the third component, SAT cooperates with organisations and institutions to work towards the country’s development goals. Therefore, SAT runs an office with an adjacent demonstration garden in Tanzania’s capital Dodoma. To share and spread effectively the knowledge and insights acquired during the project, SAT trains 20 Extension Officers (governmental agricultural advisors) together with the peer-to-peer facilitators.


Overall Objective

Women’s livelihoods improve through engaging in agriculture and business activities which positively contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs.

DWABI's contribution to the SDGs
DWABI contributes considerably to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project Objectives

  • Improve nutrition intake and food security among women through agroecological farming and kitchen gardens
  • Increase women’s income through income-generating activities as a result of entrepreneurship training.
  • Increase women’s access to financial services through saving and lending groups.
  • Improve access to market information through Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Enabling various stakeholders to collaborate with SAT and benefit from SAT’s innovation platform.

Main Activities

  • Mobilisation and needs assessment of 30 women groups in 30 villages through Participatory Rural Appraisal Selection of pilot institutions, and formation of task team.
  • Delivery of modules on kitchen gardening and rain-fed agriculture for 30 women’s groups with a focus on agroecological practices such as soil and water management.
  • Construction of 30 demonstration chicken pens in 30 villages and delivery of poultry training for 30 groups.
  • Introducing 90 groups to the SAT Saving and Lending Group (SSLG) Model (access to micro-financial services).
  • Delivery of the entrepreneurship training module to 30 groups
  • Equipping the women with mobile phones and facilitating the use of ICT for market information delivery and share market information from 5 relevant markets on a weekly basis
  • Forming, training and equipping Farmer to Farmer Training Committees (peer-to-peer facilitation).
  • Supervising the peer-to-peer facilitators in establishing 60 demonstration fields in 30 villages and carrying out kitchen gardening and rainfed agriculture modules.
  • Supervising the peer-to-peer facilitators in delivering the entrepreneurship module to 60 groups

DWABI is kindly supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, and ICEP.