Lorna Weightman reveals all about her trip to Tanzania

24th Feb 17 | Xpose Magazine

I’ve been on many adventures in my life, but none have been so empowering and inspiring as my most recent one.

I’ve been on many adventures in my life, but none have been so empowering and inspiring as my most recent one. As a national ambassador for Oxfam Ireland I had the honour of travelling to Tanzania in October to experience a project like no other.

Female Food Heroes, or to give it its official title in Swahili, Mama Shujaa Wa Chakula, is an Oxfam initiative in Tanzania that empowers female farmers by elevating their voice at a national level and provides training and support for them as food producers.

Now an annual competition, fifteen women, chosen as finalists from thousands of entries, take part in the Female Food Hero reality TV show that is filmed over a number of weeks, with each woman taking part in a number of tasks and challenges for each episode.

The winner of each task is awarded votes, but the main decider of the winner is a public text-to-vote. By actively engaging the public through national television, the show teaches people about the daily challenges the women face as farmers and providers for their families and communities. It also allows them to call on government officials and decision makers to find solutions to these challenges and commit to real change!

I spent three days with these phenomenal women, learning about their families, where they come from, and the challenges they face as female food producers in Africa. Anjela Chogsasi Mswete from Iringa and Christina Machumu from Mara strive to improve access to raw materials. These women not only support their own family, but have also taken in orphans from their villages so that they have a better chance at life.

The winner of Female Food Heroes wins a prize of 25,000,000 Tanzanian shillings (US$10,000) and speaking to the women, should they win, most would buy a tractor. Not only for use on their own farms, but also for the use of their villages to help other local farmers. Not once was there a mention of buying something material; the winnings would be invested, and there was no doubt about it.

The show is a platform to amplify these issues to a country, and global audience, to seek help where it’s needed. If you’d like to find out more or support Oxfam Ireland’s work worldwide, visit oxfamireland.org or call (0) 1 672 7662 today.

For Lorna’s full account of her time in Africa, check out the latest issue of XPOSÉ Magazine, on shelves now.