COCO has been empowering communities with sustainable agriculture training since 2011. Sustainable agriculture, or 'permaculture' as we call it when we're feeling savvy, is a series of simple techniques which increase farmers' crop yields and thus their annual income.
The techniques have been a resounding success. A recent study completed by a Masters student from Northumbria University found that, on average, farmers who had received COCO's sustainable agriculture training had achieved a near three-fold increase in annual income.
Bahati Nungu was able to increase her income from approximately £50 to over £400 as a result of the training. As well as using these funds to ensure her children can access education, Bahati is able to afford medication, which is essential as she is unfortunately HIV positive.
“Before, the children had no uniform so they were sent home and told only to come back when they had uniform. My life has changed very much from selling enough rice; I have enough food and I am no longer getting into trouble for uniforms. I also feel stronger as I can afford medicine now.”
Almost all farmers who have received training have reported a positive change in the education opportunities available to their children. This is very apparent in a small village called Magima in rural Tanzania.
Having received training and been able to increase their income, farmers from Magima pooled some of their increased income together to renovate an old church building to open a nursery school. Previously the nearest nursery school had been over an hour's walk away; quite a trek for 3 to 6 year old children.
The nursery school offers good quality education, which is unfortunately not matched by the local primary schools. Therefore, the community are currently constructing a classroom and an office to extend the nursery into a primary school. A garden has also been established at the school to cover the running costs of the school.
Magima Nursery & Primary is a fantastic example of a community seizing an opportunity. This wonderful story is not an exception, which is why we are currently working to empower as many communities as possible with sustainable agriculture skills.