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November 11, 2011

One Style of Cooperation - Knowledge Sharing between Tanzanian Women and JICA volunteers - (November 9-11, 2011)

PhotoThe resident and Rural Development Officer of Kalenga speaking on VICOBA

In Tanzania, nearly 90 JOCVs (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers) are working in various fields. They have some groups which are organised based on common working areas and interests.

From 9th to 11th November 2011, one of those groups; The Community Development Group (CDG) held a workshop in Kalenga village in Iringa. The CDG is comprised of JOCVs members who work in the field of rural development and other related fields in various organizations. The members of CDG put an annual theme for the group study as "Cooperation among governance, NGOs and community members for producing products" and chose one of the success cases; The Kalenga VICOBA (Village Community Bank) group as their target of study.

PhotoThe residents of Kalenga teach Japanese Volunteer how to make baskets

VICOBA is a banking system whereby members deposit a certain amount of money once a week, and then after 3 months, they can borrow cash using mutually agreed guidelines. The process is on a one year cycle. After the end of the year members can get a refund, the deposit and interests which were collected from debtors during the particular year. This system does not only support community members especially women who want to start small businesses, but also helps them to promote saving for stable life.

In this workshop, the CDG studied the organisational system of VICOBA and observed its "modus operandi". Moreover, CDG practiced to make one of their products; a basket by the direct teaching from Tanzanian Mamas. Through this workshop, CDG recognized the challenges of Tanzanian life and the power of Tanzanian women in dealing with those challenges. From the members of CDG, this workshop got positive reactions for their next activities.

PhotoPractice for making dry vegetables

In return, CDG introduced dry vegetables to the Kalenga group. The members of CDG explained the reasons why dry vegetables are useful from the viewpoints of nutrition, hygiene and business. Together they also made dry vegetables from carrots and Chinese spinach. Kalenga members took active participation in the workshop by seriously taking notes on the discussions and by asking numerous questions. As a result at the end of the lecture, Kalenga members made a new business group for producing dry vegetables and decided to organise their own workshop on dry vegetables for other community members who could not attend at this time.

This workshop was not a one-way activity; Tanzanian community members together with the JOCVs studied and exchanged their various experiences and worked together. At the end of the workshop we could feel that "cooperation" at the Kalenga workshop was "real" in the real sense of the word.

PhotoParticipants to the workshop

Written by; Miyuki Wakabayashi (Rural Community Development)

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