Nyamisi Nora Jared Kweba
MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, NUI Galway
Before coming to Ireland, I worked at a Tanzanian indigenous non-governmental organisation called the Centre for Counselling, Nutrition and Health Care (COUNSENUTH). The organisation’s primary focus is to improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups through the promotion of optimal health, gender equity, nutrition care and support, implementing most of their projects in rural communities. I worked in one of their major projects known as Lishe Ruvuma, a programme in the Ruvuma region (southern part of Tanzania) which began in 2014, solely funded by Irish Aid. I held a position as an assistant nutrition programme officer where my role involved coordination, supervision, and monitoring of programme implementation, providing technical support to care providers at facility and community level, while working hand in hand with the district to village level leaders to include nutrition and gender-related interventions in plans and budgets. The main goal of the programme is to reduce stunting among children under five and anemia among women of reproductive age.
My background study in Human Nutrition, along with voluntary and work experience, has made me love to work and engage with communities. The ability to improve lives in tangible ways and observe this reality with my own eyes has become of much relevance to me. My recent experience in the promotion of community nutrition in rural communities of the Ruvuma region revealed to me major challenges that impact households, specifically women and children, such as household food insecurity and its association with climate change. Since most rural households in Tanzania depend on rain-fed agricultural farming for consumption and as a source of income, climate change impacts have resulted in drier seasons due to unreliable and erratic rainfall, and reduced agricultural yields having caused food insecurity, malnutrition and abject poverty for many households. This is what drew my attention to the master’s programme in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.
So far, the study of this master’s course has been very interesting as it brings a dynamic and diverse approach to learning on several subjects both from a scientific and a social point of view. I also like the fact that lecturers are open to our ideas and motivate us to think critically and have our own arguments on issues. I believe that the skills attained from this course will enable me, upon returning to Tanzania, to critically assess the impacts of climate change on agricultural activities of communities. Moreover, along with associated stakeholders, I hope to design innovative climate-smart agriculture interventions, to be implemented for the benefit of these communities.
For my dissertation, I would like to study the association that climate change may have to the nutritional quality of staple food crops in Tanzania. I would like to see how our food quality has already been affected and may continue to be affected by the changing climate in the coming years and what could be done to reduce these effects.
I will always be grateful for the opportunity this Fellowship has given me to study in Ireland, as I have not only been challenged to be more open-minded but to also think more innovatively. I have been majorly impressed by how clear and structured Ireland’s systems are, which is something I would like to take back home. The education system, for example, where most universities have well-structured libraries, or the public transport system that indicates clear time slots of buses’ arrivals and departures are arrangements that are lacking in Tanzania.
My hopes for the future involve being able to utilise the learning and expertise acquired in Ireland to help Tanzania build resilient agricultural production and food systems that can withstand the changing climate and adequately cater to the needs of Tanzanian’s growing population.