RECODA is an NGO rooted strongly in Tanzania. It was established in 2000 with the aim of bridging technology gap in development through research, consultancy, capacity building and facilitation of community-based projects. In the beginning, RECODA’s main activity was consultancy work carried out for various development organizations engaged in implementing community development projects. This work included organizational development and all stages ofproject management.
The goal of the organization is to make poverty and food insecurity history in Tanzania through ensuring the poor communities have developed socially and economically sustainable livelihoods that can uphold their living.
The organization envisions a prosperous, strong, sustainable and enlightened community free of ignorance and poverty. RECODA’s mission is to bridge the technology gap in poverty reduction initiatives through socio-economic research, community based programmes (CBP), capacity building of CSOs and provision of consultancy services. In fulfillment of her mission, RECODA in collaboration with Rockwool Foundation have developed RIPAT extension approach. The core values of the organization are TACT – Transparence, Accountability, Creativity and Teamwork.
Structurally, RECODA is the membership organization with board of directors with achairman of the board and the executive director of the organization is the secretary of the board. There is a programme leader who heads three departments i.e. Research and Development (RD), RECODA Academy (RA) and Quality control (QC). Under RD there are project managers (PM) and Group facilitators (GF).
The organization collaborates very closely with Ministry of Agriculture, Local Government Authorities (LGA), Rockwool Foundation (RF) grassroots communities, Help to Self Help (PULS), Foundation for Civil Society Organizations (FCSOs), Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), World Vision Tanzania, Compassion International–Tanzania, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM), ACT – African Conservation Tillage, Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA), Horti/LITI – Tengeru , Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), and Arusha NGOs Network (ANGONET). Others include Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), and SADC – Soil and water management department. The main areas of cooperation include sharing of experiences, improved source of inputs, project implementation, establishment of trial plots for studies (experimental learning) and technology transfer. There are formalized agreements of partnership with SUA, SARI, World Vision, PULS (- …), Rockwool Foundation and various district councils.
RECODA conduct her activities with the view of national interest especially focusing on National Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (NGPRS) in Swahili known as MKUKUTA; Agricultural Sector Development Programme(ASDP-1 & ASDP-2), Kilimo Kwanza and Big Result Now (BRN). There consideration to international/regional programmes which includesComprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and Sustainable development goals (SDGs) especially number one and two i.e. respectively – End poverty in all its forms everywhere and end hunger;and achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
RECODA started agricultural development (community economic development) projects with pilot agricultural development project, funded by the Danish organization PULS in 2003 whereby the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years were respectively called an eye opener to Rural Sector Development, The dream becoming true and Roadmap to Rural Sector Development. The pilot project was followed by the formalized research first RIPAT project in 2006I in collaboration with Rockwool Foundation aiming at finding out why so many agricultural development projects have generated so little impact among rural farmers, and why so many improved agricultural technologies are developed – but not adopted by small scale farmers. Based on that an extension approach of Rural Initiatives for Participatory Agricultural Transformation (RIPAT) for rural development was developed with the key note of bridging agriculture technologies gaps and ensuring farmers have taken full charge of their own development (Jens et al,. 2013 – www.ripat.org).
RECODA has experience in project designing starting from situation analysis using Participatory Research Appraisals (PRA) to come out with appropriate basket of technologies to suit a specified (earmarked) project area. Mainly through the use of RIPAT extension approach, there is enormous experience in community mobilization and sensitization while building their capacity to utilize locally available resources and opportunities for self-reliance in livelihoods improvements.
RECODA receives funds through diversified sources but mainly through grants for research and development projects while consultancy are used to generate revolving funds:
Currently RECODA is undertaking a severe internal capacity building after the development of RIPAT extension approach and increased need of improving the livelihood and resilience of small scale farmers. The core staff employed at RECODA brought with them extensive experience from earlier employment, for example in research institutions under the Ministry of Agriculture and in consultancy work for NGOs. From the outset, then, the organization was able to draw upon a wealth of experience and knowledge of opportunities for and obstacles to community development activities. This in-house capacity opened up opportunities for important research and documentation, consultancy work, including authoring book chapters on Conservation Agriculture as practiced in Tanzania; edited by Richard Shetto and MariethaOwenya (http://www.fao.org/ag/ca/doc/tanzania_casestudy.pdf), as well as participation in a series of ‘write shops’ on the subject which lead to the publication of Conservation Agriculture – A Manual for Farmers and Extension Workers in Africa (http://www.fao.org/ag/ca/AfricaTrainingManual.html).
Some of the research/progress reports and documentation work was conducted in the same areas of the country that have been targeted in the RIPAT projects (R1 – Meru district, R2 – Arusha district, R3 – Karatu district and R4 – Korogwe). Hence, even before the first RIPAT project was launched in 2006, RECODA had comprehensive practical and background knowledge about the local settings, including the potential for and restrictions/challenges on agricultural development. RECODA had also gathered knowledge from practitioners on the best approaches to conveying new knowledge and technologies to farmers and on how to optimize adoption. The recognition of the importance of promoting help-to-self-help, avoiding free gifts, and ensuring thorough sensitization and mobilization of communities in order to tackle donor dependence syndrome, as well as an understanding of the benefits of the group plot or Farmers Field School (FFS) approach for active and participatory learning, were all already elements of RECODA’s knowledge and favored strategic approach when the organization became engaged in the first RIPAT pilot project., The activities of RECODA rapidly shifted from consultancy work for various organizations to practical implementation of series of RIPAT projects with the Rockwool Foundation (RF) as the organization’s main donor and partner.
STAFF & STRUCTURE
The number of RECODA technical and administrative staff gradually grew as new RIPAT projects were launched; fluctuating as depending on the projects. RECODA through RIPAT aims to make Poverty and Food insecurity history in Tanzania and other Sub-Saharan countries by among other things ensuring that there are enough and quality RIPAT practitioners through RECODA Academyand engaging other partners. Currently (2016), RECODA has 12 permanent, competent and professional staff; while other staff are employed by projects, part-time and/or work through partners by building their capacity to implement RIPAT likeminded projects (Sanjaranda Bible College – SBC, KIWAKKUKI, World Visions Tanzania – WVT).
There are three main departments under the Programme Leader:
- Research and Development – Community Economic Development Programme (CED): The various RIPAT projects and any other projects implemented by RECODA are organized under the CED department and are overseen by project managers, who are assisted by program officers and site coordinators
- RECODA Academy Program: The Academy Program offers tailor-made courses for rural economic development facilitators to start new RIPAT-like projects and to work on the spreading of development ideas in general. The courses are targeted at two main groups: a) new graduates from universities and NGO personnel, and b) agricultural extension officers and super-farmers. The overall objectives of the course is offering proven skills and practices for poverty reduction, food security and environmental conservation to small scale farmers through community mobilization, sensitization, counseling and capacity building to utilize available resources and opportunities for livelihoods improvements leading to self-support and reliance
- Monitoring, Evaluation & Certification Program: This department is responsible for continuous quality checks and monitoring of the performance of RIPAT projects implemented.