Monday, March 1, 2010

Fast Facts: Tanzania

Plant With Purpose has been working with rural farmers in Tanzania since 2004. In just six years, families have joined together to plant 569,116 trees, start 2,524 compost piles, grant 2,392 loans through 56 community savings and loan groups, construct 2,185 fuel-efficient stoves and 32 cisterns, and establish 1,663 family gardens in 29 villages. We have been encouraged by the growth and enthusiasm shown by the farmers and communities where we work, and anticipate that the program will continue to grow as more and more farmers begin to learn, apply, and share the techniques they have learned through Plant With Purpose's unique training programs. Here are some fast facts on Tanzania and the problems Plant With Purpose seeks to address:


Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique

Population: 41,048,532

Total area: 947,300 sq km (twice the size of California)

Population below poverty line: 36%

Agriculture is a keystone of Tanzanian life, supplying more than 40% of the gross domestic product and providing employment to nearly 80% of the population.

Religion: Tanzania's population consists of roughly one-third each Muslims, Christians and followers of indigenous religious groups.

Art: Two styles of Tanzanian art are known around the world: Tingatinga & Makonde. Tingatinga are the African paintings painted with enamel paints on canvas. Makonde is a modern sculpture style.

Due to frequent drought and volatile economic conditions, farmers in Tanzania have been forced to take desperate measures in their farming methods in order to survive. Coffee production, once a key export, has been abandoned as low international market prices have driven coffee farmers out of business. As a result, farmers are becoming increasingly reliant on firewood and charcoal as income sources. In exercising the only methods they know to sustain their families, farmers are paradoxically destroying their primary source of sustenance, creating an inescapable and destructive cycle of abject poverty and environmental destruction.

To join with Plant With Purpose's efforts to empower Tanzanian farmers to restore their land, improve and diversify their incomes, and build a better future for their families, click here.

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