Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F)

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has been facilitating the implementation of the Lifelong of Learning for Farmers (L3F) initiative, which involves an attempt to reach a large number of small farmers and marginalized sections of rural communities in South Asia, Africa, and the Small Islands of Caribbean and Pacific.

Through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and ICTs, the project aims at building capacity among farmers, landless laborers and extension officials to help them in developing value-added farming, encourage more sustainable use of natural resources, strengthen their ability to face globalization, and ensure food and livelihood security.

The concept envisages a global and local partnership between research institutions, extension agencies, and farming communities. COL visualizes the L3F as a concept for self-sustaining, self-replicating programmes in Commonwealth countries. Through L3F programme, COL collaborates with communities and organizations, and makes effective use of ICTs to facilitate learning for development. COL’s L3F programme helps people in rural communities to find appropriate technology-based open and distance education to improve their livelihoods.

The L3F programme is a response to a critical needs arising from the fact that the wealth of information resulting from agricultural research and development often fails to travel the last mile to the villages of the development world where it is most needed. While governments face challenges in funding adequate agricultural extension, globalization is creating increased competition for poor rural farmers. L3F addresses these issues by empowering small rural farmers, entrepreneurs and their families to among other things gain knowledge, create their own self-directed learning process, organize themselves to solve problems of marketing their products and food security, improve their living conditions, and freedoms and independence from government support.

In 2013 Matumaini Mapya came into an understanding with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to initiate and execute the Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F) initiative. Basically, the initiative aims at building the capacity of farmers in Tanzania in learning for sustainable livelihoods through the use of community radios, FM radio stations, mobile phones, and local TV channels available in Tanzania.

Under this agreement Matumaini Mapya is supposed:

(a) To strengthen the capacity at Matumaini Mapya Sacco in financial literacy to empower its members in disciplined savings and borrowing and linking to cooperative and financial institutions

(b) To develop and model of linking social capital and financial capital with lifelong learning resulting in increased income, household food security and empowerment of rural farmers and entrepreneurs in Tanzania and show a social rate of return of at least 1 to 3

(c) To establish a self-sustainable model of L3F in Tanzania

(d) To strenghten Matumaini Mapya and Matumaini Mapya Savings and Credit Cooperative (Sacco) to emerge as a resource centre for gender sensitive Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and lifelong learning in agriculture and allied sectors for Tanzania