The drip irrigation project has recently reached some interesting and important milestones. June has been a busy month and collectively with the participants we have achieved many large tasks in a relatively short period of time. I am happy to provide the following update!
–Laura Paslawski, Tanzania Project Manager
Working along side Herman, the Chairman of the village and a participant in the project we are successfully continuing our installation of the Global Easy Water Product (GEWP) systems at our project site in Mkabogo. We were lucky to have a consultant from GEWP, Sanjay, join us at the beginning of June to help with this process. Participants were excited to join our field training and installation of one of the first drip irrigation systems in the region. The system is gravity-fed, which led to challenges in installation due to the slope of the project site. Rweyemamu and Sanjay worked tirelessly to troubleshoot the most efficient way to install the systems. In the end, the solution was to level the land as much as possible, install laterals across the slope, have the water bag suspended as high as possible, and as a last resort, irrigate half of the plot first, followed by the other half of the plot. Leveling land is not an easy task, it takes time and patience.
We have now completed the water system in Kibwigwa and the participants are eager to install the DripTech irrigation systems! The plot leveling has started, in order to ensure a smooth installation process. Each time we go to visit the village we notice people working on turning the soil and leveling their plots. The Drip Irrigation Committee in Kibwigwa has also been formed and we look forward to reading their constitution which will be completed this week.
We have received the DripTech systems in the Kigoma office. Rweyemamu is now in the process of building a system at our office in order to procure the most effective, low cost materials available. As part of our project goals, we are testing different equipment to find out which are most beneficial in the Kigoma region. We are procuring supplies locally, which will ensure that extra parts are available if needed. The team in Kigoma is excited to start the comparisons and see which system better suits the African context.
Rweyemamu has started to conduct the pre-harvest survey with the participants as well as a control group. He is using the iPad in the field, which has proved to be a fast and efficient data collection method. Next year–when we increase our participant base by 425–this technology will increase the speed and efficiency of data collection. The survey participants are also excited to see the iPad, which is an added incentive to participate in the survey.
Participants have joined this project with eagerness and interest to test and pilot new agricultural equipment. We can see this when we go to the village and participants are working on their plots or invite us to their constitution construction meeting. We see this in our day-to-day activities when people volunteer to watch the water systems and ensure that they are not damaged and are well taken care of. We especially see this in the leadership of the Drip Irrigation Committees in both villages; they are eager to help out collecting information, troubleshooting challenges with contribution fees, and sharing costs including transportation of manure and purchasing of seeds. We asked participants why they joined this project and received a common trend to the answers: “to take a good life”, “to improve our health” and “to create a better nation”.