Tanzania FFPOs’ skills enhanced in design and implementation of ComDev strategies

Tanzania FFPOs’ skills enhanced in design and implementation of ComDev strategies

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“This training has shed light on the communication challenges we face within the organization, especially the gap in the area of Communication for Development,” says Laban Mgimba, the Vice Chairperson for the TTGAU board.

“We have also gained the knowledge and skills to deal with that gap. Henceforth, the priority will be to put into practice these learnings, from now am sure our communication intervention will have a big impact on our members,” adding Mgimba who is also a farmer and tree grower in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.

Mgimba was among the 15 participants from the six Forest and Farm Producers Organizations (FFPOs) who just completed a five-day face to face training workshop held from 27th September to 1st October 2021 in Dar es Salaam under the Forest and Farm Facility Tanzania

The training workshop was organized to deepen the understanding of the Communication for Development approach and spearhead the process of developing the Communication for Development Strategy, following the online training, which has been happening since May 2021.

“I appreciate for what we have learned for five days, we got skills on the Communication for Development approach, we are going to transform the information to the grassroots and is going to bring social change to the community,” says Elizabeth Mungure, MVIWAMA member and farmers’ facilitator who represented farmers in the training workshop.

Evodia Mkangara, the Coordinator of the FF project at MVIWATA says, the training has been so advantageous, citing an example of the Monitoring and Evaluation session where she learned that monitoring is the process supposed to be done throughout the implementation of the activities, not only at the outcome level.

She explains more that MVIWATA has got many communication channels and facilities in place that can be used in monitoring and increase visibility. However, based on the knowledge gained from the workshop, she feels that the facilities can bring even great impact if used effectively.

 “This training was impactful for me and the organization because we have got all the insights of the Communication for Development, lobbying and advocacy as well on how we can integrate of some of our activities to ensure Communication brings impacts to our members,” says Damian Sulumo, a Program Officer for MVIWAARUSHA based in Northern Highlands of Tanzania

Charles Kamando, the General Manager for MAYAWA, attests that the training was very useful to his organization and other FFPOs, mentioning that developing an Action and Monitoring plans is among of the knowledge and skills he gained from the training.

“We didn’t know the difference between the normal communication and the Communication for Development, the training has provided us with specific skills, which we as the organization, need to uptake them,” says Martin Pius, a Coordinator for MVIWAMA. Advocacy is the major activity for MVIWAMA where Pius proves that the training has increased their knowledge that will apply in doing advocacy interventions.

How will the training bring change to the organization?

“Training on Communication for Development will bring change into our organization. We have learned how ComDev can impact society, resource mobilizations, networking, the use of mixed mass media, ICT and social media which now is the global trend for visibility. We should practice well to improve our organization interventions,” says the Assistant Communication and ICT Officer for MJUMITA Kelvin Shirima

Shirima has improved his skills on how to do monitoring on Communication for Development activities. Also from the experience shared by other FFPOs during the training, he was able to identify the areas to improve especially the good utilization of social media in sharing success happening on the ground.

The General Manager for MAYAWA, Kamando, after he has learned that Communication for Development is a social process seeking changes at different levels says “We are going to use all our capacities to ensure the social change happens among our farmers. We are confident that farmers are ready for change because they were involved in the process of developing this Communication for Development strategy

MVIWAARUSHA Program Officer, Sulumo says, “As now we have the Strategy for Communication for Development, in years to come I can see our organization a bit far from where we are now. Widening up our communication reach from our members to the global level by sharing information on how we impacted our farmers.”

Among the topic been discussed in the training was the V+O+I+C+E standard adopted from Farm Radio International as the key area to consider when doing Radio and TV campaigns.  Shuwa Ndereka, a Radio Program Supervisor for MVIWATA FM, says the knowledge will help her station to improve its programming.

“For example, we have a women program goes on air in the morning time, while the target audiences at that particular time are out of their homes for other business of earning a living,” says Ndereka in reference to the element ‘C’ –Convenient’ of the standard “The program is broadcast at a time of day when women and men farmers are available to listen.”   Other elements refer to ‘V-Value’: program value listeners both women and men. ‘O-Opportunity’: provide listeners the opportunity to speak and be heard. ‘I-Information’: provides listeners with the information they need at a right time. ‘E-Engaging: the program is engaging and memorable.

As a CEO where do you see your organization in the future?

“The training has given us a new road map to reach the target, as a manager am impressed because from the planning we have done during the training, I am sure that now all of the organization’s objectives will be effectively achieved,” says Kamando, the Manager for MAYAWA.

According to Coordinator Pius, MVIWAMA as the result of the training will be able to mobilize more resources from within the organization, from the private sector and the government, which will enhance the communication interventions in particular to the area of Communication for Development and Lobbying and Advocacy.

“We expect a lot of improvement in our advocacy and communication activities as well as our monitoring for the livelihood of our farmers and community in general in the Manyara region,” says Pius.

The training for embracing the Communication for Development approach has been introduced to Farm and Forest Producers Organizations (FFPOs) in Tanzania under the Farm and Forest Facility Tanzania 2021 work plan, Outcome #4 that target to support the organizations to have “an improved and equitable access to social and cultural services.”

The FFF Tanzania National Coordinator Geofrey Bakanga, giving his views on the just ended training workshop says, “From what I observed through the 5 days of the training is that members of the FFPOs benefited a lot. There was a good link from what is regarded as communication to how you can transform to intervention, which was key skills for them.”

Another benefit to FFPOs according to Bakanga is the exposure to the international platform of Yenkasa for sharing their success. He says, before the training, many of them were not connected to Yenkasa nor even to other global platforms

I suppose after they have gone back to their areas they will start to develop on the same to reflect each particular topic they have learned,” says Bakanga.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, through the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) Tanzania engaged Farm Radio Trust to provide technical assistance support to the six FFPOs in Tanzania in improving the communication mechanisms. The involved FFPOs are the Network of Farmers and Pastoralists groups in the Manyara region commonly known in Swahili as ‘Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima na Wafugaji Mkoa wa Manyara (MVIWAMA), the Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network commonly known in Swahili as  ‘Mtandao wa Jamii wa Usimamizi wa Misitu Tanzania’  (MJUMITA), the Network of Farmers and Pastoralists groups in the Arusha region commonly known in Swahili as ‘Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima na Wafugaji Mkoa wa Arusha (MVIWAARUSHA), the National Network of Smallscale Farmer’s Groups in Tanzania commonly known in Swahili as ‘Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania’ (MVIWATA), Tanzania Tree Growers Associations Union (TTGAU), Maendeleo ya Wakulima (MAYAWA).

Written by Susuma Msikula for Farm and Forest Facility in Tanzania

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