The value I have added to myself, my family and community shows me that I am a game changer.
My name is Rehema and I come from Kilosa district, Tanzania. My parents passed away when I was very young so my grandmother raised me. CAMFED supported my education from Form 1 to Form 4 (secondary level), and I graduated from school in 2012. I joined the CAMFED Association of women leaders in 2016 and later returned to my former secondary school as a Learner Guide, helping students to achieve their potential. In tandem with my voluntary work as a Learner Guide, I successfully achieved a BTEC Level 3 Advanced Diploma in 2018*.
Through the CAMFED Association I’ve been able to access business training like budgeting, marketing, business planning and entrepreneurship. This has given me the confidence and skills to start several businesses of my own, from soap making to selling clothes. My current business is in agriculture, farming different crops for local markets.
In 2021, I received training from a CAMFED Business Guide to learn how to add value to my crops and sell them for higher profits. Originally I was selling paddy, or unprocessed rice, from my farm to mills in the area where they would process the rice and sell it on. Through the training I learned how to clean, de-husk, and polish the rice myself, so that I can either sell directly to consumers or sell into the market for a higher price. I also learned how to find new markets and sell my products through social media. I’ve gained a lot of new customers this way!
Left to right: Checking the rice progress, the rice starting to bend indicating it is ripening, and the rice that has been harvested and processed.
Many young women in Tanzania have agriculture businesses so the training also covered different aspects of farming. During the training I learned how to increase crop production through soil mixing — a climate-smart agriculture practice that involves mixing organic matter such as compost into the soil to improve the nutrient level and water retention. It helps me to grow healthier crops that are more resilient to climate change. This mixing technique is easy for even a smallholder farmer to implement. It doesn’t need any special equipment and it can also help reduce carbon emissions by sequestering carbon into the soil.
Before I received the training, the farming techniques I used were quite old-fashioned. My farm was not well laid out and I was using labor intensive planting methods like plowing using hand shovels. Now I’ve implemented modern techniques and strategies into my farm. I’ve created raised beds which improve drainage and aerate the soil – leading to healthier plants, reducing water use and making it easier to control weeds and other pests without any chemical pesticides.
With my profits I was able to procure a power tiller, which helps me to get the soil ready for planting much more efficiently than manual shovels. This saves me a lot of time and effort in preparing the land to plant out my new crops. Many people believe that only men can operate a power tiller but I am combatting those misconceptions and using it myself! I also learned that when choosing what type of rice to grow, it’s important to take into consideration the local climate and soil conditions to grow successfully. With these new interventions I have increased my crop yields and profits.
With my profits I was also able to open my own shop and wholesale store where I sell rice, beans and other products like juice and yogurt. In the future I am planning to diversify into mobile money—a useful service in my rural community.
Left, in my shop with my harvested rice, and right at a product exhibition with my fellow CAMFED Association entrepreneurs.
I am a respected leader in my community, both in business and other pursuits. In 2022 I was selected to be an enumerator for the National Census, and before that I worked in the national elections in Tanzania as a poll station supervisor. These are esteemed positions and unusual for a woman to hold.
In Tanzania it can be very hot for long periods, so to help me stay productive in the fields I wear a hat to block the sun and I have constructed a semi-permanent sun shade to rest in during the work-day.
This year I started transplanting seedlings. I planted rice seeds in one area of my farm, while preparing another with the power tiller. A month later when the seeds had established roots, I moved them to the prepared area to grow. This has many advantages compared with sewing the seeds directly in the harvesting area because it reduces the amount of water needed for the rice to grow, it allows me to use fewer seeds which saves on costs, and it makes it easier to control weeds. All these changes have increased my farm productivity and business profits.
On the left, I am using the power tiller to prepare the paddy field for transplanting the rice seedlings, and on the right is my harvest this year.
I have seen changes in our fields due to changes in the weather patterns. It’s important that we farmers understand these changes, and learn how to adapt to them and remain profitable. I know that even after completing school and training, my own journey of learning and growth is just beginning.
Today I am a successful female entrepreneur in Tanzania, a role model to other young women in my community. I mentor other women who want to become entrepreneurs, advising them to work together and pool their resources to be successful. Through farming I have been able to change my life to a great extent. I can provide for myself and my family’s needs, as well as supporting marginalized children in my community to go to school.
A game changer means someone with the assertiveness to do business and believe they will succeed. Through education I have learned to believe in my abilities and become the game changer I am today.
*Rehema achieved this bespoke vocational (BTEC) qualification developed and awarded in partnership with leading education company Pearson.
I’m Tatu, a CAMFED Association member, entrepreneur and District Record Keeping Officer from Kilosa district, Tanzania. As a BTEC graduate and former CAMFED Learner Guide, I am a respected leader in my community and serve as a role model to marginalized girls who dream of reaching further in their education. However, my path to success was not an easy one.
I am Zeolia, a CAMFED Association member and successful entrepreneur from Tanzania. I farm potatoes, keep pigs, and run an agroforestry business. I've trained as a CAMFED Business Guide to pass on my knowledge to other young rural women, and help create more opportunities in my community.
The business is doing very well and keeps growing. I have employed three people, including one other CAMFED Association member, and I have formally registered my business with the Tanzania Revenue Authority. I have also added new services including direct mobile money payments and bridalwear rental.