Today we have submitted a project proposal for the “U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund” which is organized by the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam. It is only a grant of $5,000 (an equivalent to TSH 8 million), but it could change the live of smallholder farmers in the Pare mountains. The project is to restore and upgrade a water irrigation pond in Mhero village located close to Shengena Forest. An initiative from Mhero approached a KIHO delegation during a visit in early February 2013, and stressed that one of their main needs are the restoration of water irrigation ponds to allow farming throughout the year and combat food insecurity.
The initiative is backed by the whole local community characterized by smallholder farmers who already started to improve an ineffective irrigation system but are in need of financial support to actually construct and finalize a water irrigation pond that will help to irrigate 55 acres and directly benefit 125 people. This initiative will stop leakages and start dry season gardening that will introduce another planting season, and thus allow for more harvest. The community of Mhero will contribute with their labor as well as local materials. The district officials said that they would provide technical advice. In order to ensure sustainability of the project, the existing water committee of Mhero will receive further training of KIHO. We hope, of course, that the U.S. embassy will select our proposal, but we know from our visit in Dar es Salaam in mid-February that it will be a very competitive process.