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The European Union (EU) awarded Heifer Netherlands and Heifer Tanzania a grant of €1.6 million, about $1.78 million, to fund the Igunga Eco Village project in Tanzania, which will help vulnerable communities cope with the impact of climate change.

This grant is one of five grant contracts under the second phase of the EU Global Climate Change Alliance in Tanzania that were signed during the EU Climate Diplomacy Day, a celebration of the EU’s work on climate change mitigation and adaptation toward an environmentally conscious world and economy. The Global Climate Change Alliance provides a platform for dialogue and financial support to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and works through an integrated eco-village approach.

In the Igunga Eco Village; Heifer Netherlands, Heifer Tanzania, Aqua for All, the Igunga District Council and ICIPE will work together with local communities in nine villages to increase their resilience toward the effects of climate change. It will target 6,000 families directly and 6,000 families indirectly, with a total of 72,000 beneficiaries in the communities.

During the grant signing, Heifer Tanzania Country Director Henry Njakoi said, “We will work with communities to support natural resource management, strengthen socio-economic situations and increase the agricultural productivity in the villages. Heifer will also work with the Igunga District Council to build the capacity of its technical departments. The capacity building will enable the Igunga District Council to access, plan and implement climate change practices within its policies and programs and share lessons learned and experiences with others.”

The eco-village approach in phase one covered three eco village areas: the semi-arid eco village in Dodoma’s Chololo area, the ocean eco-village through the “Replicable Solutions to Climate Change” project in Pemba and the mountainous eco village in the Uluguru Mountains. Phase two will scale up the successful innovations of the eco-village approach to a tune of €8 million (about $8.9 million) in the second phase compared to the €2.2 million (about $2.4 million) in phase one.

Climate change is affecting the ecosystem by frequent and climate-induced droughts, forest degradation, deforestation, water scarcity and reduced crop yields.

According to Tanzania Vice President Gharib Bilal, the world average temperature of 0.85 degrees centigrade will lead to catastrophic consequences in Africa. The decrease in temperature has triggered big impacts in agriculture. Sub-Saharan Africa could see a decrease of up to 90 percent in maize yields, 68 percent in beans yields and a decrease in coffee yields by 18 percent for southern Africa and 22 percent across all sub-Saharan Africa. Africa risks to lose more than $300 million in its regional economies from agriculture. Bilal also said disease induced by extreme flooding is likely to impact a good number of African countries by 2020.

The project in Igunga aims at increasing the adaptation of climate change strategies and increasing the yield of farmers by 40 percent through the introduction of climate smart technologies. A farmer field school approach will be used, in which the farmers will be trained on a wide range of proven climate adaptation technologies including integrated pest control, tree planting and renewable energy sources. Innovative techniques to recharge, retain and re-use water will be tested and scaled up to make efficient use of available water sources. Heifer will distribute and train project beneficiaries through Passing on the Gift® of animals and forage (chicken, fish, seeds, etc.) and knowledge (push-pull technology) to members of the community.

Speaking during the EU Climate Diplomacy Day celebrations held only 200 days before COP21 Climate change conference in Paris, French Ambassador to Tanzania Malika Berak called for all countries in the world to preserve the climate for the global good and urged participation of the Tanzanian government, civil society organizations and the private sector.

“The COP21 Paris Conference is the beginning of zero carbon, zero poverty world,” Berak said.

Story and photos courtesy of Rachael Signo, Communication Officer, Heifer Tanzania

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

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