I’ve been thinking a lot about the parallels between reserves in Canada (especially Manitoba) and the Bunda district here in Tanzania. It’s difficult not to sound paternalistic when speaking of things I know so little about, but I’m interested and am in search of a role to play. I don’t have all the answers, probably not even one, but from my vantage point as a fairly healthy person who is currently pursuing post secondary studies, I know what it feels like to live without pain and insecurity. I know what it’s like to have possibilities and have access to food whenever I need it.
After speaking to some of the CPAR staff, I’ve learned about some recent initiatives aimed to ameliorate methods of crop production and harvesting in this region. This includes the diversification of crops as well. I’ve learned that only recently have carrots been introduced as a crop into the region. Currently not a favorite among the locals, carrots are fairly hearty and easy to grow and contain many nutrients that are essential to a healthy diet. Diversification + increased yield may mean more food to sell and eat.
People around Bunda are traditionally farmers, so this initiative makes a great deal of sense. The end goal of perhaps achieving greater food security in the region, the trickle down effects of this being innumerable. A worthwhile endeavor. But what about Canadian reserves? Granted this is not an area of expertise for me, but I wonder how and what initiatives are currently being undertaken to address the lack of food security in these areas? I ask this earnestly, because I truly don’t know. Historically, Aboriginal people have hunted and fished for their food. If these methods are no longer utilized, what then? Some farming maybe, imports, but are these solutions culturally and sufficiently appropriate?
The other aspect to consider is how methods to increase food security are being approached and by whom. Here in Bunda, CPAR staff are from Tanzania and live in the community that they are developing programs for. This seems an important feature in developing solutions that are appropriate for the area…but maybe not? Are there NGOs, agencies and groups staffed by Aboriginal people located on reserves that are implementing similar programs? While this appears to be a good method for Bunda, is it appropriate in a different context?
Just some things I’ve been thinking about lately. I’m excited to learn more about CPAR, their programs and the methodology behind them. Can CPAR’s approach be emulated or would it prove ineffective due to cultural, geographical or social differences? How do agencies around the world audit what’s previously been done in order to tailor it to their needs without recreating the wheel?
More to come! Still healthy, happy and looking forward to starting the program at the schools. Thanks for reading.