Sauti ya wakulima

Filed on 11 / 02 / 2012
€ 425
€ 4.604
€ 6.468
18 Backers
Contributing € 10
Proof of sponsorship
Your name will appear in the credits of the web page, and you will also receive regular updates about the project.
> 03 Backers
Contributing € 20
Postcard signed by the participants of Sauti ya wakulima
All of the above, plus a beautiful postcard from Tanzania, signed by the participants of Sauti ya wakulima.
> 05 Backers
Contributing € 25
On-line tutoring sessions for starting your own system
All of the above, plus an on-line, personal tutoring sessions (through email) so that you can set up a mobile knowledge base project similar to Sauti ya wakulima.
> 06 Backers
Contributing € 45
Personal tutoring session for starting your own system
All of the above, plus a face-to-face tutoring session so that you can set up your own project (limited to Barcelona), or through videoconference.
> 01 Backers
Contributing € 100
All of the above, plus a 2-hour workshop on how to start a project like Sauti ya wakulima.This reward is specially designed for schools or other social or community centers with the basic materials for doing a workshop. If you are outside Barcelona, you will be asked to pay for some of the travel expenses.
> 00 Backers
Contributing € 1.000
Full system installation
All of the above, plus a full, personalized installation and test drive of the system on your server. If you are outside Barcelona, you will be asked to pay for some of the travel expenses.
> 00 Backers

About this project

A knowledge-sharing mobile network for farmers and other communities
Material Minimum Optimum
Two round trips Barcelona - Dar es Salaam for one person
€ 1.600
Mobile phones
Three mobile phones for uploading images and sounds to the Internet
€ 600
Two computers for the new groups of farmers
€ 400
Modem 3G
Two 3G modems for the new groups
€ 140
3G Credit
Three month airtime credit for the mobile phones
€ 264
Land transportation
Land transportation
€ 400
Extra mobile phones
These phones would allow each group to have two mobile phones each instead of one.
€ 600
Extra 3G credit
Airtime credit for three extra months
€ 264
Hotel and food in Bagamoyo
Hotel and food in Bagamoyo
€ 400
Task Minimum Optimum
Project coordination
Salary for the project coordinator
€ 600
Salary for the Swahili-English translator
€ 600
Programming of the mobile phone application and the knowledge base online application.
€ 600
Total € 4.604 € 6.468

General information

Sauti ya wakulima, "The voice of the farmers", is a collaborative knowledge base created by farmers from the Chambezi region of the Bagamoyo District in Tanzania. By using smartphones, they gather audiovisual evidence of their practices and publish the images and voice recordings on the Internet, at

Farmers have used the smartphones to document their practices and provide on-the-ground evidence of the effects of climate change, such as water scarcity, pests and diseases. They have also interviewed other farmers, engaging thus in a process of mutual learning and expansion of their social network.

They not only struggle because of insufficient infrastructure and unreliable markets for their products, but they are also facing the challenges of a changing local climate. Less rains, less underground water and unprecedented threats caused by pests and plant diseases are some of the pressing issues that they have to deal with. However, they know that by sharing their knowledge on how to cope with these problems, they can become stronger and find ways to overcome them.

On one hand, the project aims to expand within that community, thus furthering the development of the operating base of the mobile application. On the other hand, Sauti ya wakulima is also an open platform that can be appropriated, and can aid other communities in the implementation of agile processes of documentation and knowledge sharing.

The software used in Sauti ya wakulima, both the smartphone application and the online knowledge base, will be available soon for anyone who wants to use it, and will be open for those who wish to modify and adapt it to their needs.

Description of the project. Main features, strengths and differentials.

The first phase of Sauti ya wakulima started in January 2011. Since then, and until november, the first group of farmers sent more than 1.200 images with their respective voice recording. They managed to spread their knowledge base in their communities, and were even able to show it to other farmers and political authorities at agricultural fairs held in the region, gaining thus a certain prestige. However, Sauti ya wakulima has led to practical episodes of mutual learning. One of the farmers, for example, learned how to properly plant maize by looking at a photo sent by one of his companions and asking some questions.

In this first phase, we also achieved a good contact with both agricultural researchers at the University of Dar es Salaam, and with the political authorities of Bagamoyo. A crucial aspect of the project is to make the problems faced by farmers visible in order to provide valuable evidence to researchers and authorities. In this second phase of the project, we want to help researchers design strategies for adapting to climate problems that take into account the knowledge and evidence provided by farmers, and authorities to enact practical measures to address the specific, on-the-ground needs. We also need to expand the project and reach other farmers, giving them training workshops so that appropriation of the system can be scaled up.

Why this is important


Sauti ya wakulima is driven by a desire to strengthen and revalue subsistence agriculture. For over 50 years, industrial agriculture, by adopting an explicitly militarized logic has "exploited" the land in order to obtain maximum yields. At present, evidence of the unsustainability of this model are compelling. For instance, industrial agriculture contributes 32% of the total emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, this model has not been successful in ensuring access to food for all. Although food production is growing steadily, so is hunger, while prices of basic grains are subject to speculation in financial markets.

We believe that the only way to feed ourselves and our communities in the future is to treat our land in a respectful and sustainable way. And a good start is to reveal, communicate and share the wealth of knowledge with which farmers do it. We also believe that communication technologies and networks are the best means to do so.


Sauti ya wakulima does not stop in Tanzania: it aims to become an open and appropriable set of tools and practices that may be used by any community that wishes to benefit from an audiovisual documentation platform with an online community memory. That's why one of the fundamental motivations of Sauti ya wakulima is to develop free software with open licenses, so it can be reused by everybody.


The farmers in Chambezi are quite familiar with mobile phones; however, they need to receive workshops on how to access and surf the Internet because it is a new medium for them. Workshops are held weekly in a common meeting space. Guided by a local coordinator, the farmers learn basic Internet skills, and how to use the smartphones as a recording tool.

Goals of the crowdfunding campaign

The farmers in Tanzania have told us that Sauti ya wakulima is a valuable project, and therefore it must reach out to other farmers. They believe that, through a common knowledge base, they can share knowledge with farmers from distant locations. Based on this request, this campaign aims to:

  1. Develop a new, open source mobile application, in order to enhance and further facilitate the recording and publication of images and voice to the Internet. This application will be published in an online code repository, under a GPL license.

  2. Consolidate the current group of farmers, by providing them with new phones with the new application, credit for 3G transmission and more advanced workshops on how to use the Internet.

  3. Contact two new groups of farmers in different areas of Bagamoyo, in order to invite them to join Sauti ya wakulima.

  4. Provide the new participants with telephones and computers, and train them in the usage of these media.

  5. Consolidate the participation of researchers and local authorities, seeking to involve them more actively. In particular, we want to engage the political representatives of Bagamoyo in supporting the sustainability of Sauti ya wakulima.

  6. Make the system available to any interested person or group, so it can be downloaded and installed, allowing thus to fill similar needs of generating knowledge about adaptation to climate change.

Team and experience

The core team that forms Sauti ya wakulima is a multidisciplinary one:

Eugenio Tisselli, founder and developer of the project, is a programmer and has extensive experience in social projects with a strong technology component. He was a developer of the project from 2003 to 2010. His teaching experience is also valuable for the workshops in Sauti ya wakulima. He was professor and co-director of the Master in Digital Arts at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, ​​from 2004 until 2010.
He recently published an article about the first phase of Sauti ya wakulima in the online version of the National Geographic Magazine:

Dr. Angelika Hilbeck is the scientific adviser owakulima Sauti ya. She is a researcher in the area of geobotany at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). She is an expert in agroecology and biosecurity, and the president of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).

Mr. Hamza Suleiman is an agricultural extension officer in the Bagamoyo district, and also the local coordinator of Sauti ya wakulima. He knows the situation of the region very well, and has a personal and direct contact with the farmers. He has developed cassava varieties which are resistant to drought, and is currently creating a map of agricultural soils in Bagamoyo.

Sauti ya wakulima also has the support (both scientific and logistic) of the Department of Botany at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Social commitment