Our young farmers process, package and sell the farm’s harvest (including staple vegetables) to local schools, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals and other customers. Participants earn a salary for their role in the serious running of the farm, learn important skills, help sustain our activities and come to understand the value of agricultural endeavor as a viable, attractive, and profitable profession.
The name Kaima, meaning sustainability in Aramaic, inspires us to enjoin society’s dual responsibility of caring for the environment and changing the downward trajectory of the lives of young people falling off the educational grid at alarming rates. Using nature’s outdoor classroom – the farm – Kaima’s “employment as education” model (youth earn a living for their work on the farm) empowers young people as they learn critical life skills to help usher them into adulthood as productive individuals.
Kaima Tanzania has adapted the model for our specific use given our particular vision, demographics and needs. We are the fifth and youngest farm in this growing network. Inspired by the success of our Israel partners and sister farms, our own founders have expanded upon the concept. Kaima – or “Knowledge and Agricultural Innovation Management Action” – will drive our efforts to help empower the young people of rural Tanzania to take pride in agricultural work and understand the enormous potential for economic success and personal pride to be derived from establishing and running their own farms.
Like Nobel Prize Winner, Mr. Annan, I believe as a young Tanzanian, a man who has benefitted from exposure to new ideas, a husband and father of three young children, and a person with a great stake in the future of our society, that the best way forward is to empower young people to become leaders in their own villages. Our vision is to help create a society in which young people and their communities possess the skills and motivation to increase agricultural productivity, which in turn will contribute to a reduction in youth unemployment and poverty
“Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.” — Kofi Annan
Unleashing and harnessing the potential of young people to advance society is central to any community’s sustainable development. Given that farming is the mainstay of Tanzania’s economy, Kaima Tanzania asserts that the agricultural sector has the both the potential and responsibility to address problems of youth unemployment and poverty. Unfortunately, owing to the unprofitable and unproductive nature of traditional subsistence farming, many youth have developed negative attitude towards agriculture. We maintain that our unique economic and educational approach will usher in important attitudinal change and thus promote participation of a new generation in agriculture as a means of addressing youth unemployment and poverty.
Based in Mwanza Region in Northern Tanzania, Kaima Tanzania follows the unique pedagogic/vocational model pioneered by Kaima Israel which promotes youth empowerment through employment and sustainable agricultural practices. Having studied a number of local and international approaches to reducing youth poverty, our founders determined that Kaima’s approach, whereby farm profits are reinvested into the educational enterprise, strongly reflects our philosophy of emphasizing sustainability over subsistence.
So what exactly happens? The farm works with local teens and young adults (aged 15-24, most of whom have left school) from disadvantaged backgrounds in rural Tanzania. Using our prototype farm, we teach improved agricultural techniques and supply chain technologies; offer youth empowerment, environmental conservation, and community capacity building; and run entrepreneurship and business development courses, all of which can help create local employment opportunities. We do so by incorporating traditional dance and music, reminding the young person to always respect the land even as one earns a living from it.
• Israel Friends of Tanzania: Our relationship to Israel continues from our ealist days. Beyond the support provided through the Kaima farming network and the support provided by the Matanel Foundation, we have been visited by a number of Israeli academics and social change worker who continue to encourage our work. We have also received donations, most notably through Glocal alumni channels, that have enabled us to cover some of the costs such as rent, website development and registration, computers and a photocopying machine.
Owing to the commitment and dedication of our leadership and staff, Kaima Tanzania has been able to form strong partnerships and record significant achievements in the past three years. Some are mentioned below:
• Establishment of the Matanel Educational Farm: Our first undertaking was to establish a small-scale pilot farm initiative based in the Misungwi District in Mwanza region where our young farmers grow a variety of crops, including onions, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, cucumber, and okra.( Presently, owing to limited funding and the desire for our participants and the community to observe the transition from traditional farming practices to the sustainable methodologies, all work is currently being done by hand, without the benefit of modern technology.) Upon graduating from the program, participants return to their communities and introduce their own income-generating projects using the knowledge and skills they learned at the farm. To date, 41 people have taken part in the program. Fun side note: we have also created the Kaima Tanzania music studio intended to serve as a training facility for youths who have interest in music.
• Acquisition of land for Kaima Farm village: Another major achievement was the acquisition of land on which the envisioned Kaima Tanzania farm village will be headquartred. Current activities at the site include physical, programatic and business planning, and the construction of farm houses using the youth. In addition to soil growing, the land has the potential for a number of agricultural activties, including livestock production, fish farming, organic poultry farming, etc. Once established, the village will enable us to: a) teach improved agricultural techniques and supply chain technologies; b) offer youth empowerment programming; c) teach environmental conservation and community capacity building; run entrepreneurship and business development courses; offer ICT4D training.
• The Bethel-Kaima Tanzania Partnership: We have formed a partnership with the local Bethel Children Support Organization dedicated to youth empowerment and strengthening families as they seek to improve their lives. This partnership seeks to integrate ICT (Information and Communication Technology) into agricultural and other community development activities. Lack of timely, accurate and adequate information is one of the factors undermining farmer efficiency and effectiveness and subsquently their abillity to participate meaningfully in farming activities. Aware of the role that ICT can play in enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in agriculture and development activities in general, the organization plans to integrate ICTs into farming and community development activities. This partnership will lead to establishment of an ICT hub that will be essential to the integration of ICTs in farming and development activities and bridge the informational gap that is responsible for many youth-led and rural projects not realizing their goals because they cannot access the information they need in order for their projects to succeed.
The following are some of the major conditions for Kaima Tanzania’s successful expansion:
• Increased financial stability: Currently, 25% of our budget is covered through farm sales, 15% through government support, and 60% to donor contributions. In time, the need for philanthropic support will decrease as our self-generated income and government buy-in increases. To achieve this, we must a) improve the efficiency of our income-generating activities by investing in new technologies; and b) lobby relevant government ministries for increased support.
• Targeted resource mobilization: Increased resources are necessary to accommodate the growing number of youth wanting to join the program. To this end, we must continue to identify and apply for grants which will enable us to integrate more people into the program, subsidize the education they receive and enable us to continue to provide ongoing post-program mentorship.
• Staff-development and training: This will help to bolster our capacity to implement activities and transfer knowledge to our beneficiary organizations.
• Technical and technological support: Access to increased technical and technological support (such as IT, drip irrigation, and vocational training at Kaima Village will help facilitate the transition from traditional farming methods to mechanized systems to support sustainable solutions to agricultural challenges.
Kaima Tanzania was conceived, and is being run in response to the need to address youth unemployment and poverty in Tanzania. Addressing the problems of youth unemployment and poverty in Tanzania through participation in sustainable agriculture was the major reason behind the establishment of Kaima Tanzania. Despite its acknowledged economic growth, Tanzania is struggling to address the problems of unemployment and poverty especially among the youth. Despite the fact that agriculture has the greatest potential to employ most of the unemployed population, most youth in Tanzania have negative attitude towards agriculture. Kaima Tanzania seeks to promote youths’ positive attitude towards agriculture by training them in modern practices of agriculture using the experience and lessons from agriculture in Israel.
Integral to our vision is growth. Indeed, our farm is the product of such expansion which started in Israel and made its way to our small farm on the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Victoria. Currently, at the macro-level, we are in the process of transitioning from a single pilot farm to a multi-faceted agricultural village to allow us to employ and empower young leaders to improve or start their own faming endeavours, support their families, feed their communities, and take pride in the process. At the micro-level we are already supporting and influencing the establishment of other small-yield farms in a limited way.
In time, we also seek to scale the project in other parts of the country and beyond Tanzania’s borders as we serve as a resource for environmentalists, educators, farmers, community leaders, and investors interested in our interpretation of the Kaima model.
The personality of any organization’s founder is one of the contributing factors to its success. Kaima Tanzania has benefitted by our founder and director’s respect for both people and the environment, his networking and team-building skills, his capacity to mobilize and utilize limited resources, his courage, leadership and optimism. The organization has also been helped by the founder’s ability to communicate the organization’s vision, mission, goals and objectives.
As articulated in the organization’s constitution, the major roles and responsibilities of the founder include daily management, running the organization’s meetings, communicating with internal and external stakeholders, and representing the organization at conferences and events both within and outside the country. Other roles and responsibilities include serving as secretary to the organization’s board of directors, coordinating activities to ensure alignment with the organization’s vision, mission and goals, planning staff development and trainings to build organizational capacity, maintain controls and ensure effective and efficient use of organizational resources, and financial oversight of the organization’s bank account.
Kaima Tanzania is the brainchild of founder and director, Fabian Bulugu, a life-long social and community development activist. Born and raised in the rural village of Misasi Misungwi District in Mwanza Region, Northern Tanzania, Fabian is a graduate in Project Planning and Management from the Institute of Community Development, Arusha, Tanzania. He also holds an MA in Environmental Sociology from Saint Augustine University of Tanzania as well as an MA in International Development (Glocal) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to co-founding Kaima Tanzania, Fabian worked for nearly a decade with different international community development organizations, initially as a program facilitator with Plan International Tanzania and finally as a project manager with HELVETAS Swiss Intercoperation, Tanzania.
Fabian believes passionately that agriculture is key to empowering his country’s current and future sharholders. In his words: “In spite of the economic growth Tanzania has experienced during the last five to ten years, the country is still contending with the interconnected challenges of youth unemployment and youth poverty. Too many young people leave their villages for the big cities in search of good fortune, rejecting the idea that they can remain local, support their communities, become leaders, and take pride in feeding a hungry nation. Recognizing that agriculture is the industry with the strongest potential to employ the largest number of people in Tanzania, I feel obliged to encourage young people to take up agriculture as a viable an attractive source of employment. Many have access to land, but not knowledge.”
His search for the best way to implement his social-change vision took him to Israel where he sought to learn about new advancements in agricttural technologies. There he volunteered at Kaima Beit Zayit Farm, just outside of Jerusalem, where the journey of establishing his own initiatiave took root. Inspired by the Kaima’s youth-empowerment model, Fabian understood that he could import the methodology and modify it to fit Tanzania’s cultural and agricultural challenges as a means of addressing the interconnected problem of youth unemployment and poverty.
The result was Kaima Tanzania, the Kaima movement’s first farm outside of Israel. Established in 2017, NGO Kaima Tanzania is committed to supporting the serious participation of young people, ages 14-25, in sustainable agriculture. Phase I, launched in January 2017 with the establishment of a pilot farm (the Matanel Educational Farm) based on the Kaima Israel model. This is the foundation of what the organization hopes will become a national network of sustainable youth and community-run farms. Phase II, still in need of external investments, includes the establishment of the Kaima Village