Raising Pigs and Rising Living Standards

Written by Dahlia Guajardo on July 23, 2013 in General

Moshi Rural District, Tanzania

How many pigs does it take to raise four children? If you ask Glori Urio, the answer is three. In community of Kimangaro, breeding her three pigs provides an important source of income for her family. However, the money she earns selling piglets wasn’t always there. Her husband came down with stomach pains suddenly, she explained. Two days later he passed away, and Glori was left to feed her family and pay the fees required to keep her children in school.

After losing her husband in 2006, providing for herself and her children proved difficult, she admitted. In addition to school fees, Glori needed money to continue growing maize, bananas, beans, and sunflowers. Later, she recounted that one of her children became infected with Malaria. With little money to pay for a doctor, Glori was faced with turning to neighbors, friends, and relatives for a loan. Borrowing money posed questions.

Would relatives have enough to lend the next time one of her children was sick? Could neighbors pay the cost of the fertilizer she needed for the coming season’s crops? Which child would she choose to take out of school if she didn’t have money to pay for uniforms and paper?   

Tanzania has an amazing social safety net that boils down to, “I need help; you help me. You need help; I help you.” What Glori discovered two years after the loss of her husband was a more focused and organized version of community fundraising. In 2008, Glori joined a Plant With Purpose VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Associations). VSLAs are small locally run savings and loan groups that Plant With Purpose trains and resources.

The members of Glori’s VSLA came together, adding weekly to the group’s savings in order to manage unexpected crisis like illnesses and failed crops. They also lent money to participants for starting small businesses. In her third year of being a part of her VSLA, Glori requested a loan to buy pigs with the hope of breeding and selling piglets. She has now sold her second litter, and has also borrowed money for more seeds to expand the crops she grows.

I could see the result of her efforts on the faces of her children. When I asked them about their studies a row of shy smiles appeared, and Glori answered proudly that they were all in school.

To partner with women like Glori to start small businesses and educate their children visit

Read more about Dahlia’s time in Tanzania: A Bank in the Garden and A Cow Is Like a Savings Account.

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