On the east shore of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, the city of Musoma is home to the Hope Revival Children’s Organization (HRCO), led by executive director Stephen Marwa.
A dedicated advocate for women’s empowerment and community development, Marwa founded HRCO in 2013. He describes the HRCO mission as “Holistic care of women, orphans and street children by serving their basic needs, providing health care, education and training, home-based care, advocacy, HIV/AIDS prevention awareness, and empowerment by creating opportunities in education and income generating activities.”
HRCO approached AWIU for funding for a new social entrepreneurship initiative, tilapia fish farming, with the purpose of investing in research and development of aquaculture in Mara, reducing poverty and improving food and nutrition security among rural communities. “Phase one of this project was excavation and construction of the fish pond, the planting of tilapia fingerlings, and providing pond management courses to the women who will manage the pond,” explained Marwa. With a 2021 AWIU grant in hand, the AWIU-funded project was implemented between June and August 2021.
“Our bigger picture for the region is to increase aquaculture production by developing hatcheries and nurseries, disseminating improved fish and shrimp seed, enhancing farm management skills of small farmers, promoting new technologies to expand commercial aquaculture, and building capacity of the public and private sectors, all in a sustainable way,” continued Marwa. “This will result in revenue for the rural women involved in fish farming, as well as more food for consumption and better nutrition.”
Marwa has faith that the systemic improvements to the hatchery sector will ultimately raise the productivity and profitability of existing farming systems, while encouraging regulatory reform in the hatchery and feed sectors to provide a supportive environment for the growth of commercial aquaculture enterprises in the Mara region. “In fact, we have a high demand for more training here,“ he said. “We have a lot of youth who are interested in taking our tilapia training, we can’t meet the demand!”
Moving forward, Marwa would like to construct a vocational training center to help youth acquire skills and to become self-employed. He cites the need for a training manual, as well as data management and documentation tools such as laptops, cameras and projectors for group training sessions.
“We are always looking ahead to see how HRCO can improve the livelihood of the women and children in this region,” concluded Marwa. “At this point, we have the initial stage of the tilapia farming project completed, so of course we’re looking at ways to expand and improve it. We take great pride in its social value to the community. And we couldn’t have done it without AWIU! We are all so thankful for your help!”