TAHA through Make It Grow (MIG) project has started to train smallholder farmers in Pemba, Zanzibar to empower them with skills on how to access financial services. The first training was offered to Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) on 22nd-24th last month, who will initiate Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). Speaking during the training, the Cooperative Department of Zanzibar Cooperative Officer, Mr Yusuph Seif Yusuph said the training was central in implementing Zanzibar Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (ZSGRP III) ongoing through the VSLA. He said the initial training was conducted to 15 identified savings and credit trainers in Pemba, who will thereafter establish the VSLAs and transfer skills on how to access financial institutions. The project that is funded by the European Union aimed at strengthening the horticultural value chain in Zanzibar will cover 165 groups each with 20 members and reach 3,300 beneficiaries at the grassroots. The training will also impart them with skills on how to process their products and access Savings and Credit Co-Operative Society (SACCOS), Microfinance Institutions, and banks’ services. Elaborating, Mr Yusuph further said: “I appreciate the training that is well-structured, because of its participatory approach to the beneficiaries. It also practically visited groups in the field like the Tuelewane group and built their ToTs’ confidence to professionally train others.” On his part, TAHA Microfinance and Business Development Services Officer, William Mdemu, said the trained ToTs will train the 165 groups of VSLAs in Zanzibar for four years during the project’s implementation. “We have an implicit role for greater financial inclusion through greater savings’ mobilization for investment and consumption that can spur growth. Our collective efforts could create an everlasting impact on the beneficiaries. “Through the Make It Grow (MIG) project funded by the European Union and with close collaboration with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, TAHA in partnership with a Belgian International Development Organization (TRIAS) and the Andreas Hermes Academy (AHA) intend to train 330 horticultural groups of 20 farmers per each group and finally reach more than six thousand farmers in four years,” he noted.