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Combatting Climate Change with Agroforestry

In an earlier post, we looked at the practice of agroforestry and the countless benefits it brings to both crops and the smallholder farmers who grow them (check it out here for a refresher). Sparknotes: planting different crops together with trees in polyculture systems leads to healthier soils, higher yields, and more diverse income streams and family

2500 Seeds in 25 Days

October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. To observe this day, we are working to raise funds for 2,500 seeds through the month of October. In four years, Seed Change has already grown 80,000 trees to eradicate poverty for farming families in Tanzania. They all started as a seed. Help us


Guest post by Megan Raisle. My name is Megan Raisle. I am a student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. My long-lasting interest in East Africa and systems surrounding food insecurity brought me to Tanzania, and the kindness of Alex and Beatrice brought me to Seed Change for a week to learn about their


We mostly try and to keep this blog light and (hopefully) interesting. While life in Tanzania, and our work, is almost always interesting, it is often not light. In fact, it is often awfully depressing. And for those of us who were lucky to be brought up in the west, and hence largely insulated from

Employee or Beneficiary?

How do you judge the success of an NGO? Well there are many types of NGOs/development programs and many ways to judge them (something I wrote about here at greater length). But for a livelihood/income enhancing organisation such as ourselves (and many, many others), try this rule of thumb on for size. Would a randomly selected

Danish Ambassador Visits Seed Change

Last Monday we were delighted to be visited by Denmark’s ambassador to Tanzania, Einar Jensen. For the previous two years Seed Change has been supported by DANIDA (the Danish overseas aid agency) and so the Ambassador come by to see the progress. An agronomist by profession, Ambassador Jensen grilled us with questions on yield, water

Five Development Success Stories

South Korea South Korea’s recent development has been nothing short of spectacular. In less than half a century, it has gone from being wracked by poverty and dependent on foreign aid, to one of the most advanced countries in the world. In 1960, the average income per person was the equivalent of just $155 a

Julius Kambarage Nyerere

As part of the ‘Postgrads from the Edge’ series, University of Edinburgh PhD student Tom Cunningham has written a great post on perhaps the university’s best-known African graduate, Julius Nyerere: As President of Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) he led Tanganyika to Independence in 1961 and served as President of the Republic of Tanzania (the

Catching up with John Ibrahim

In March we talked to John Ibrahim about his experience as a Seed Change farmer. Joining our program in November 2014, John completed our eight-month farmer training program and received seedlings from our nursery, which are now a few months shy of three years old. When we last spoke to him he talked about overcoming

The Eradication of Poverty

Last Monday was International Day for the Eradication of Poverty; a day which can trace its roots to a gathering of more than 100,000 people in Paris on 17th October 1987 to honour the victims of poverty and demand more action worldwide. According to the UN, the day calls for “presenting and promoting… concrete activities

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

How do you know if your chosen fabulous looking charity is providing good value for your money? Charities frequently report percentages of money spent on “Programs”, “Administration” and “Fundraising” or some similar ensemble. While I understand the motivation for this approach, I think it is the wrong way to go about finding out if your

Mobile Money

One of the big financial innovations in East Africa over the past ten years is mobile money. We’ve briefly mentioned mobile money in previous blog post on banking, which discussed how mobile money is filling the gap left by having the majority of the population not in the formal banking system (and I doubt that

The Seed Change Connection

The internet. The repository of all knowledge. One internet connection and all the information in the world could be yours. The information is available so go and get it; things which were genuinely impossible less than 10 years ago have become very much possible now. Take the 15-year-old kid from Mongolia who got a perfect

What is ‘Inclusive Growth’?

Guest post by Andy Norman. This blog was originally posted on Inclusiveness is a concept that is popping up more and more in policy debates. The growing calls for inclusive growth represent a welcome move away from the growth-only paradigm that was suffocating development discourse. But what does it really mean? Here’s the OECD talking

African Entrepreneurs

Who hasn’t heard of an African farmer with a few dozen chickens building her own business or of the rag picker who saves up for two years, buys a cart and doubles productivity. These are the part of the great mass of budding African entrepreneurs. They will be one of the primary drivers of growth

Seed Nursery Seminar

What’s better than one oil palm nursery growing 60,000 high yielding seedlings for the smallholders of Kigoma? How about five oil palm nurseries growing 60,000 high yielding seedlings for the smallholders of Kigoma? Did someone say ten nurseries?! Well, maybe not yet, but we’ve recently made the first few steps in that direction. With the support of our

Accounts for all? Don’t bank on it

For those of us in the West, I think that most people would agree that personal banking is something that we take for granted. No longer do we have to hide our money underneath the mattress (though with negative interest rates in some places this is can be a better option than a bank!). Carrying

Where has all the education gone?

Of all the supposed development panaceas touted in the twentieth century, education seemed to many the most likely to succeed. It’s so logical and makes for such a nice argument: invest in education and your country will flourish. This is why the post World War II period saw an unprecedented increase in gross school enrolments

That would be an ecumenical matter…

Last Tuesday we had the pleasure of a rather spiritual visit to the nursery. The leaders of several churches and mosques in Kigoma came to have a look at what we were doing and how their various congregations could get involved. Representatives from the Catholic, Lutheran, and Moravian churches were present, as well has three

The Need for ID

We’ve all done it. We’ve all queued up outside a nightclub in the cold for half an hour, only to realise at the front of the queue that we’ve left our ID at home. Okay, perhaps not all of us, but I definitely have. In fact, I probably spent half of my university life trying

How Does Change Happen?

When I joined Seed Change for a 3-month internship last January, I had just finished studying for a master’s in Development Economics – a discipline which seeks to solve such problems as how poor countries can become rich and how they can grow both their economies and their citizen’s incomes. Development Economics may sound like

Why We Work With Women

One of Seed Change’s core values is to actively promote female farmers and ensure gender parity in our programs. One might wonder why would we set this policy despite the fact this goes against cultural norms, well read on to find out… Current legislation in Tanzania gives equal rights to men and women across all issues;

World Malaria Day

Today is World Malaria Day, and as we love a good Day here at Seed Change, we decided to tap out a quick good blog; particularly considering malaria is always topical in here tropical Africa. Causing an estimated 450,000 deaths per year malaria is, and long has been, a huge worldwide health issue for about

Earth Day

These days it seems as if there is an international day for everything. Tuesday 23rd February 2016 was International Dog Biscuit Appreciation day. Wednesday 20th January 2016 was Penguin Awareness Day. Those of you cursing at having missed your chance to be aware of penguins this year, don’t despair, World Penguin Day is coming up

Three Months in the Greenhouse

Often on this blog we write about general development issues and how they play out in our local Seed Change context. Not today. It’s straight local context and no wider issues. A Seed Change progress report. An update even. Those of you playing along at home may remember that three months ago we planted 60,000+

Goodbye from Andy and Remco

Remco got to know Seed Change while working in Kigoma Region on a beekeeping project in 2014. He was so interested in our work that he decided to come back to Kigoma after a break in Belgium, and support Seed Change. Andy joined Seed Change off the back of spending 3 months working with NGOs

A Seed Change Success Story

Today’s blog post comes from Jackson Ruvamuwabo, our Community Development Manager. Jackson teaches our farmer training classes, conducts one-on-one farmer visits, and builds relations with local village government. Seed Change works with over 400 smallholder palm oil farmers in the Kigoma region; one of them is John Ibrahim from Kizenga village. Before joining Seed Change,

Effective Altruism

At the end of last year, in a state of giddy, philanthropy-inducing delight after the birth of their first daughter, Mark Zukerberg and Priscilla Chan pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook shares during their lifetime. At the moment, this equates to a whopping $45 billion! To put that in perspective, it’s more than

The Power of Prices

Taxi drivers all over the world are renowned for charging extortionate rates to tourists. We’ve all experienced it. We’ve all arrived at an airport and vastly overpaid for a taxi. We’ve all been taken for a ride, figuratively as well as literally. This is probably because we didn’t know how much the going rate was.

Patrick Sirrs Guest Post

Patrick Sirrs, an irrigation professional and Seed Change supporter, has been providing irrigation advice and support to us for over a year – but always from the comfort of his home in Canada. In February he decided to come to out to Kigoma, see what we were doing on the ground, break a bit of

4 Reasons for Optimism in Tanzania

1. Solar Power According to a recent World Bank study, Tanzania is very sunny. Why a whole study was needed to decide this, we are not quite sure. Regardless, it appears Tanzania can even compete with the siesta-inducing rays of the sun-drenched, southern European solar powerhouse of Spain. While we shouldn’t expect a sudden influx

Get to Know Kigoma

If you are reading this, you are probably aware that Seed Change works in Tanzania. You may also know that we work in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. But you probably don’t know too much about Kigoma itself. Maybe just something about palm trees growing nicely here. Or if you are chimpanzee fan you may know that

Names Out Of A Hat

24,000 trees. That’s how many we have in our nursery to give out to farmers. Sounds like a lot. And it is when you have to shovel the 400 tons of soil needed to grow the seeds. But it is not really many trees when you start thinking about which farmers – exactly – they

Seed Change wins Australian Government Grant

Seed Change is delighted to announce that we have won a grant from the Australian Government through their Direct Aid Program (DAP) at the Australian High Commission in Kenya! This highly competitive grant is awarded annually for a once-off, small-scale development project that alleviates basic humanitarian hardship and has a direct developmental outcome. And the Australian