Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Tanzania: Put the Spotlight on Rural Development

ICFJ Knight Development Fellow Joachim Buwembo describes his efforts to impact government policy in Tanzania through in-depth, focused reporting. Working with journalists in Tanzania, his project focuses on agricultural awareness.

Joachim Buwembo helped to create Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First), now a financially vibrant weekly publication focusing on agriculture issues. The eight-page supplement is published in English and Kiswahili by the Guardian Newspapers, the country’s top independent newspaper group.

Since it began, the supplement has featured more than 200 stories. Some reports led to new bank loans for farmers to buy imported tractors that lay idle as well as to increased government investment in dairy equipment and irrigation. Kilimo Kwanza attracts enough advertising to cover production costs. Its success has prompted competitors to beef up their coverage: Business Times now publishes a weekly agriculture page, and the government-owned Daily News pays more attention to farm issues than ever before. Buwembo has turned production over to a team he has trained, including an editor and a dedicated corps of reporters who have continued the supplement each week.

Before he began a new fellowship in Kenya, he developed a network of rural citizen journalists who are sending news tips that urban journalists can follow up on, providing a more comprehensive view of poverty issues around the country. The citizen journalists, all of whom are full-time or part-time farmers, are also sending reports on farm conditions and agricultural programs in their areas. The World Vision Institute helped support Buwembo’s citizen-journalism project by covering five training sessions for 24 people.

Our Stories

  • Mar 72011

    Tanzania’s Poor Farmers Gain Access to New Tractors

    The headline in The Guardian’s Kilimo Kwanza read, “US $40 million tractors still gathering dust and rust.” The lead story made it clear that the Tanzanian government’s plan to sell tractors to farmers was a flop. The tractors were purchased with a government loan from India—and the plan was to pay the loan back as the tractors were sold. The story detailed how farmers who desperately needed the tractors simply couldn’t afford to buy them.

  • Feb 12011

    Media Reports Prompt Tanzanian Government to Invest in Dairy Industry and Irrigation System

    A special agricultural news weekly, launched by a Knight International Journalism Fellow at Tanzania’s leading newspaper, took recent aim at the faltering dairy industry. In the June 1 issue of The Guardian’s Kilimo Kwanza, reporters Angel Navurri and Jaston Binala wrote about the inability of Tanzania’s dairy farmers to afford modern equipment because of high taxes.


  • Jun 152011

    In Tanzania, technology helps shortening the distance between cities and farms

    It takes me nine hours of driving only on smooth tarmac to cover the 435 miles from Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Arusha in the north, but some of my citizen journalist trainees require two days to cover 100 miles or so to reach the venue for our sessions. So they set off a day earlier from their homes to arrive at the same time that I do.

  • Jun 192010

    News Story Leads to Help for Dairy Industry

    I have for a while been aware of the ironic “equality” between Africa and America that the rate of food wastage on the two continents is about the same at 30 to 50 percent: In America it is spoilt in people’s refrigerators while in Africa it is spoilt on the way to the market.

    But this disturbing African reality hit me again hard in the face last month as we were gathering information about the Tanzania dairy industry ahead of the Milk Week at the end of May.

  • Nov 92009

    Finally Tanzanians ready to let Swahili grow

    Editors Note: The author discusses the growth of the Kiswahili dialect in Tanzania.

    For decades, Tanzanians have cherished their version of Swahili, considered to be the purest in the region. But in the spirit of opening up, they now seem to be accepting the "less pure" versions of the neighbours.

    Last week I gate crashed into a retreat of top Tanzanian editors and media managers that was taking place in Arusha and it was a most rewarding experience.

  • Sep 102009

    Cars speed up as business slows down in Dar

    It is the holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims all over the world fast and abstain from all forms of entertainment. Here in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam, life has taken a slow pace that can be felt almost everywhere and all the time.

    From the lighter traffic on the usually congested roads, to the quiet night spots which during other times of the year are literally vibrating with life, you can almost feel this city of five million souls meditating.