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Many of the socially empowering elements of the best-practice FFS are not included in the support for RIPAT groups. This is understandable, given the emphasis on technology development and the short period of intensive input of RIPAT (18 months). However, this has consequences for the sustainability of the development outcomes. While some of the groups seem to be well established, many remain relatively weak. Some of these weaker groups have been negatively affected by losing their joint group fields (and their 76 Farmers’ ChoiCe accumulated resources) when the lease expired, thereby interrupting the momentum they had achieved and setting back development.

One major source of difficulty is that the RIPAT groups are not linked to each other in networks or as part of marketing cooperatives. Another problem is that, although the RIPAT scheme is well known to local government officials, there seems to be little contact between the RIPAT groups and local government technical departments, including the ASDP. The Rockwool Foundation and RECODA were well aware of these shortcomings, but decided to use the available finances to expand activities to RIPAT 2, 3, and 4, instead of continuing support to farmer groups under the RIPAT 1 project. To mitigate the situation, the Rockwool Foundation sponsored a marketing workshop for all stakeholders in the hope that the participants would identify and take ownership of new activities. Judging from the workshop report, the stakeholder meeting generated a good understanding of the marketing situation; however, progress towards action has been slow.

6.7 Conclusion We assess RIPAT’s design and implementation to be consistent with the requirements and needs of the intended beneficiaries. The dual approach of supporting capacity development of farmer groups and offering these farmers a basket of technology options is highly relevant for supporting rapid local agricultural technology development. The RIPAT approach of supporting two groups per village, together with agreements with group members that they will engage in solidarity chains that will spread technologies to other farmers in the community, is relevant, but its impact on the wider community is limited as yet.

A modified FFS approach combined with the provision of access to a basket of relevant technologies has proved to be effective in increasing agricultural productivity and improving RIPAT farmers’ livelihoods. The comprehensive, high-quality support from RECODA has contributed positively to achieving a high degree of effectiveness.

The combination of the Rockwool Foundation as donor and RECODA as implementing agency has ensured a high level of flexibility during the development and implementation of RIPAT and has allowed lessons learned from ongoing monitoring to be used immediately to improve the concept.

It is not possible to arrive at a clear-cut conclusion regarding the cost-effectiveness of RIPAT compared with the Tanzanian government’s ASDP or FFS. Overall, the conclusion of our evaluation is that technology development is more rapid in RIPAT groups than in best-practice FFS groups, and RIPAT produces results faster but might be more expensive in the short run.

Sustainability of agricultural development is assessed to be high for the individual members of RIPAT groups, while the institutional and organizational sustainability is more uncertain (see Chapter 11 for a further discussion). Some groups are likely to continue their activities after project support has ended, while others are likely to stop their activities. The capacity of RIPAT groups to organize marketing networks or to engage with local government remains relatively weak.

The current RIPAT concept seems highly relevant, and appears to be an effective and cost-effective approach to supporting smallholder agricultural development. However, evaluation oF the riPat ConCePt serious concerns remain over the institutional sustainability of development outcomes after project support has ended.

The main deficiency of the scheme noted by the evaluation group is the low level of emphasis placed on institutional development. Future RIPAT support for institutional development could draw on experience from FFS in Kenya and the government of Uganda’s NAADS programme. These projects use group members (‘super-farmers’) in an effective and cost-effective way to support institutional development, both in facilitating the organization of new groups and in linking existing groups in local networks. This point is discussed further in Chapter 11.

The renting of group plots from private farmers for RIPAT projects may have a negative influence on the sustainability of the groups. Again, the approaches used by FFS and NAADS provide a contrast. FFS frequently request the village administration to provide land for the FFS groups as a precondition for starting development activities in the village. Technology development sites in NAADS are located on a group member’s field, and that group member signs a memorandum of understanding with the group agreeing on the services he or she must provide in return for the resources invested by the group on the field.


In RIPAT, two types of solidarity chains were applied: 1) animal (goats, sheep, pigs):


each group is supplied with pure-bred female and male animals as initial improved breeding stock. Members pass on female offspring to others in the group according to a list worked out by the group. Only after having distributed two female offspring to the next person on the list will the group member be able to claim ownership of the female animal received; 2) banana: each farmer who adopts the improved banana technology is expected to give three times the number of banana suckers received through the project to other interested farmers in the community and to train them in improved cultivation techniques.

References EDI-RF APFS data (2011) EDI-RF Assessment of Poverty and Food Security, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit, Copenhagen.

Friis-Hansen, E. and Duveskog, D. (2011) ‘The empowerment route to well-being: An analysis of Farmer Field Schools in East Africa’, World Development 40: 414–27 http:// dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.05.005.


Household dynamics and gender politics:

female farmers in RIPAT 1 Hanne O. Mogensen and Eva Kaas Pedersen, Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen 80 Farmers’ ChoiCe This chapter provides a contextual analysis focusing on intra-household dynamics and the everyday lives of women in two selected RIPAT 1 villages. With the introduction of new crops through RIPAT and new social relationships through the RIPAT groups, traditional gender roles and rights over crops and other resources are challenged, and new negotiations take place within homes. There are examples of RIPAT women having become more empowered because they now have the ‘backing of the project’ in their new productive activities, but also of women’s traditional authority in the area of banana cultivation being challenged, because the improved banana variety is becoming a valuable crop that can provide both food and cash all year round.

7.1 Introduction In this chapter we will discuss the everyday lives of women in a sample of RIPAT 1 villages in order to illustrate the complexity of household dynamics and gender politics, and to show how new influences – e.g. new knowledge, crops, and technologies, such as those introduced by RIPAT 1 – interact with a complex society in which people have different views, behaviours, and roles and pursue diverse goals. A household is never a homogeneous unit that makes all decisions as one. The various household members have different priorities, and many conflicts of interest exist when negotiating what to grow, what to eat, what to sell, and how to spend money. The spread of new ideas therefore takes place in unexpected and often unpredictable ways, and in order to understand what is going on, it may be useful to talk not about how certain things spread, but rather about how people select from the range of new opportunities presented to them. In relation to this, the social complexity is also closely linked to the wide ecological diversity that can be found within short distances.

We begin by describing the everyday lives of women in the area, and the way in which farming and small-scale trade are closely integrated activities for most women. Next, we describe the negotiations that take place between men and women over labour, income, rights, and responsibilities. Finally, we discuss the impact of a project such as RIPAT 1 on household dynamics and gender politics, both for those who were themselves members of RIPAT groups and for other women who may have adopted one or more of the ideas introduced by RIPAT.

7.2 The study site Our discussion is based on our ethnographic fieldwork in two RIPAT 1 villages, Marurani and Kwa Uguru, which lie to the south-east of the town of Arusha. Our primary methods were participant observation and qualitative interviews (see Chapter 3, Section 3.6). We stayed with a local family, participating in the everyday life of the family and making numerous informal visits to various homes, in addition to conducting open and semistructured interviews and using participatory rural appraisal methods such as agricultural calendars and different types of ranking (Mikkelsen, 1995). In this chapter, we draw upon both our own research and the results of the impact survey carried out in all the RIPAT 1 villages (see Chapter 5).

As discussed in Chapter 4, the ethnic complexity of the area is closely linked to ecological variation, and the place where people have settled is of great importance for their identity. The people of the region have a long history of interaction between ethnic 82 Farmers’ ChoiCe shared finances, but they usually end up being disappointed and going their own ways in terms of both providing for the family and finding lovers for themselves (Haram, 1999).

Because our focus was on farming, we interviewed only the inhabitants of the villages, i.e. women living on their husbands’ land, who were usually the formal wives. Thus we did not witness ‘informal polygamy’ to any great extent, although we heard about women whose husbands were absent for long periods, officially due to work in town, as in the case of Zefania described in Box 7.1.

Women in Marurani voiced many complaints to us about men. When discussing their husbands and men in general they said things such as: ‘Many men just drink and sleep and have no plans’; ‘Men go out with cattle in the morning and drink in the afternoon, or they ask the women to take out the cattle and drink all day’; and ‘The night hides things that maybe you have not yet noticed. Do you ever see men walking on the road like women? Doing this. Doing that. No, they are in the drinking places while women are busy planning for their lives.’ RECODA is hoping to target younger men with RIPAT and to show them that it is possible to plan for a future in farming. Indeed, those marrying now and having children are said by women in Marurani to be working harder for their families than their fathers did.

Age sets are divided into three classes: uninitiated, initiated, and elders. The initiated are the ones who are establishing themselves: marrying, building a house, having children.

These younger and recently initiated age sets are always more active than the other age sets. Once a man’s age set passes into the category of ‘elders’ (which may happen while he is still in his thirties), he is expected to have already established himself, he can no longer have children, and he is said to ‘go to sleep’, spending his time discussing politics and drinking beer – which is what many men do literally. There is therefore a large difference between the contributions of men of different ages to the household.

A woman’s position within a household is thus dependent on where she and her household are in this life course at a certain point in time. There are large differences between being a young unmarried daughter with no access to land; being a newly wed woman with no children and working her mother-in-law’s land before getting her own fields; being a woman of child-bearing age with small children and the responsibility both to cultivate her husband’s land and to take care of her ageing mother-in-law, but with a husband who may be still actively contributing to the farm; and being a woman with a husband who has ‘gone to sleep’ and with children in their teens or older who may assist in the field but who also need school fees – or who are perhaps starting to marry and bringing daughters-in-law into the family (and hence assistance to the woman). The working conditions, the relationship with the husband (and perhaps with lovers), the freedom to move around, the negotiations between man and woman, and the opportunities to participate in RIPAT groups and activities, and make use of new knowledge and technologies vary considerably depending on where a woman – and thus the household – is in this life course. Therefore, not only do we find ethnic variations in the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities of women, but these also change over time during the course of a woman’s life.

All in all, we see that a household is never a homogeneous unit making decisions as one. Among all of the ethnic groups in the region, men and women operate in separate economic spheres, and at any point in time a household will encompass a range of diverse interests and conflicts (see Haram, 1999, for a detailed ethnographic study in this geographical location on the issue of separate economic spheres).

household dynamiCs and gender politiCs

7.4 Women as farmers and women doing business: ‘following the water’ It is morning in Marurani village, and we are trying to find women to interview. We enter a homestead. A woman arrives with a bundle of firewood on her head, sweating, and at first she does not notice our arrival. She greets us but quickly apologizes for not having time to talk to us this morning. She is on her way out again to find grass to cut for the cattle. We move on, but most of the homesteads we visit next are empty, with the exception of small children and sometimes young men, who appear to be doing nothing.

Women are busy from early morning to late afternoon, and finding them at home, with the time to be interviewed, turns out to be a challenge – but a challenge that provides a significant piece of information about their lives and their livelihood strategies.

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