My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), Morogoro, , Tanzania
I had the great opportunity to visit SAT this past summer. Even before arriving in Morrogoro, I could tell by their Facebook posts and website, that SAT was not your typical NGO. There are LOTS of NGO's who claim to support the interests of farmers and local communities, but SAT demonstrates their commitment by educating farmers as well as the larger global community about the political, economic, and agricultural policies, which directly affect agricultural communities. There are always interesting and important articles written by SAT director, Janet Maro or shared by the organization. These articles about food justice, written from the persecutive of African (in this case Tanzanian farmers) often share perspectives that are not widely circulated within mainstream Tanzania or even global contexts and are so critically important to how we understand and therefore can address problems facing farmers. if only more people knew about SAT and their good work, I'm confident that Tanzanian farmers could continue to demonstrate the many ways that they are totally capable of feeding the world.
I have spent over a decade researching NGO's and development projects in Tanzania, and SAT is by far the most committed, innovative, self-reflexive, and participatory (in REAL WAYS). SAT puts farmers and local communities at the center of their work--emphasizing farmers' knowledge and experience and educating in ways that build on farmers' knowledge.
During my visit, I got to meet with a women's group, who had not only learned from SAT about organic farming, but as they had some of the best (and in some cases only drought surviving ) fruits and vegetables, these women were being asked to train others in the community. Not only had they been able to diversify their diets, but also made a profit selling what they could not eat independently. With their profits, they were able to call a technician to fix their water pump, rather than relying on SAT for support. The stories the women told about the changes in their lives were truly inspiring. As someone who studies Tanzanian and American development interactions, I was impressed by the diversity of their stories and their orientation to each other and to Janet, rather than simply as a means to perform for their American and European visitors. Like my visit to their demonstration/teaching site the women found incredible ways to solve their own problems innovatively with the support and vision of SAT.
As an American, who is deeply concerned about an international develop agenda which pushes corporate agriculture and privatization of seeds over the interests and well being of farmers, I am THRILLED to learn about the work of SAT and looking forward to ways to learn more and share their work with other Tanzanian farmers.