Ngurdoto is a village that sits in a rural area of the northern region of Arusha, on the foothills of Mount Meru. Established in 2006, the village’s community garden is about 2,000 m2; a group of 15 women take care of it under the umbrella group locally known as “Umoja Wa Maehdeleo Ngurdoto” (“Community for the development of Ngurdoto”). This association, founded in 1994, has the goal of ensuring the economic independence of women, through the use of resources available on hand. In fact, the women are involved in several projects, beyond the gardening activities, like: the production of honey (they have both modern beehives and traditional skeps), the cultivation of fruit trees, the processing of yams and some fruits (like mangoes which are used to make preserves) in jams, the drying of moringa leaves for culinary use, and the production of soap from jatropha bushes. Each woman who wants to join the association pays an initial fee of 3,000 Tanzanian shillings (slightly more than one euro) and each associate has a well-defined role within the organization (accounting, coordination of processing, fruit-sales coordinator, etc.). Some of the crops grown in the garden are amaranth, nightshade, “niebé” (which is typically grown near beans), pumpkins, sweet potatoes, yams and cassava. There are also some fruit trees in the garden, like mango, guava, avocado and pawpaw, along with medicinal plants and herbs, including: neem, hot peppers, wild sunflowers, moringa, lemon grass and jatropha.
The women also raise a few animals (five cows, eight goats and 35 chickens). The president and founder of the Association, Rose Machage, won the national prize for creative women leaders in 2003, and in 2015, upon returning from Terra Madre Indigeni, she took part in a agricultural fair where the association was further rewarded.
Ngurdoto,Arumeru district, Arusha region
Anna Joseph Shirima