THE number of functioning cattle dips has increased from 14 only in January 2018 to 60 by April this year in Mwanza region thanks to rehabilitation by Dalberg Implement (3D) with funding from Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation.
However, most of the cattle dips numbering over 103 remain unsuitable as they undergoing renovation. The dips which are located in Buchosa, Kwimba, Misungwi and Sengerema districts of Mwanza region, are being renovated by Dalberg Implement, which is a global development focused strategic advisory firm with offices in Dar es Salaam in collaboration with local government authorities in the four districts.
Speaking about the initiative, Project Officer at Dalberg Implement (3D), Ines Muganyizi said that the goal of the project was not only to repair or build more cattle dips but also ensure that cattle they are used by livestock keepers and sustained over the long term.
A cattle dip is a bath designed to immerse livestock in liquid pesticide or other treatment to rid them of ticks, which carry diseases such as East Coast fever and anaplasmosis.
“We carried out an assessment to understand the real causes of failure and found that old or damaged infrastructure, a lack of technical skills, conflicts caused by ambiguities in ownership or a lack of fair representation of villages sharing the infrastructure and poor management by dip committees and village authorities often led to the misallocation of operational funds,” Muganyinzi said.
He noted that the project has designed appropriate activities to address specific challenges and assigned clear responsibilities with teams deployed across the four districts to conduct sensitization seminars.
“These seminars bridged knowledge gaps in the communities on the benefits of dipping and motivated residents and government leaders to accept shared responsibility in sustaining dipping operations,” Muganyinzi added.
He said the project team has strengthened intervention to respond to peculiar situations encountered on the ground giving an example of Buchosa and Kwimba where a hybrid team of livestock and cooperative officers trained livestock keepers on disease control, financial management and record keeping responsibilities.
“In Misungwi, the number of operating cattle dips was included in the performance targets of livestock extension officers, and a livestock officer was appointed to track weekly progress,” the Dalberg Implement Project Officer noted.
As for challenges encountered, Muganyinzi said lack of accountability and oversight often led cattle dip committees to misappropriate funds which eventually led to the shutting down of the dips due to a lack of funds to buy chemicals and undertake repairs “We used problem-solving techniques and learning from the field to design an easy-to-adopt framework for managing cattle dip operations.
To address this, Kwimba LGA pioneered a system of checks and balances. The system involved a signed contract between dipping committees, the village government that oversees them and the LGA. They also opened a designated bank account for dipping funds to enhance accountability,” he pointed out.
A Livestock Officer in Misungwi district who works with the President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government, which coordinates implementation of government programs in Tanzania, Benedicta Mtolera said success has been made on the ground.
“We shared successes among districts while escalating hurdles to the regional and ministerial levels. It was important to draw best practices from the LGAs and transfer them to other LGAs to achieve scale,” Mtolera said.
“For example, the tools for cattle dip management developed by Kwimba are now used in Buchosa, Misungwi and Sengerema. Similarly, the Buchosa multi-disciplinary approach to bring together livestock, land, law, cooperative and community development officers proved very successful in other LGAs,” she noted.
She added that at regional level, the project team is supporting the regional secretariat to convert lessons learned into easy-to-apply practices.
Part of the approach involves the secretariats deploying a taskforce to track implementation progress with consistency and engaging with LGAs to identify hurdles and championing the creation and application of cost-effective solutions.
“At a national level, we leveraged our strategic partnership with the President’s Office Regional and Local Governments to communicate the success in Mwanza region and to encourage country-wide adoption,” the Misungwi Livestock Officer added.
The three year project has had positive results with increased cattle dipping with calves’ mortality from tick-borne diseases such as anaplasmosis, East Coast Fever and heartwater, falling sharply. Livestock keepers are happy with progress that has been made.
“I am able to dip my cattle once every week and I am very satisfied with the results. My cows have no trouble eating. As a result, milk production has improved,” remarked Scholastica Malimi, a livestock keeper from Itumbili village in Buchosa district.
A 2006 study by the National Bureau of Statistics found that the total annual national loss from tick-borne diseases in Tanzania was around U$364 million, including an estimated mortality of 1.3 million cattle.