Mwanza Rural Housing Programme (MRHP) is a community based non-governmental organization located in Misungwi Town, Mwanza City in Northern Tanzania Mwanza Rural Housing Programme (MRHP) started as a government housing Project in 1990. It was then given the mandate to register as Non-Government (NG0) in 1995 with registration No. SO 8619. The NGO was offered a certificate of compliance with registration number 00001360-in August 2012 according to government rules and regulations of 2002. This also gave MRHP a mandate to accommodate new activities like Agriculture, Health, Advocacy and Campaign.
The programme started as a government project, and became an autonomous local NGO in 1995. Over the years it has received funds from a number of organizations, including VECO-COOPIBO (a Belgian NGO), Oxfam, the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) based in Zeist, Netherlands, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Bread for the World.
Between 1995 and 1998, key focus areas of MRHP were:
Promoting Low Cost Housing Technology. This included (refresher) training courses; the use of village animators; advisory services to brick-makers and house-builders; reviews of the changing technologies in these areas to ensure that the best and most appropriate solutions are always available through MRHP.
Housing Services and Environment. This included (refresher) training and outreach in Energy Efficient Stoves, tree-planting and conservation sensitization of communities in particular on Low Carbon Energy Access solutions such as brick-making with agro-waste and Energy-Efficient Stoves.
However, evaluation conducted in 1998 noted that, the adoption of the improved housing methods was not as high as expected. MRHP’s efforts to transfer of technologies to build low-cost structures were often not adopted as farmers did not have the financial resources needed to take it up. It recommended that MRHP works towards increased farm incomes through improved cash crop production to meet housing and other family needs.In 2000, the organization expanded its activities and entered into partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the identification, development, financing and implementation of the “Misungwi Grain Legume Pilot Project” that continued till August 2002. The project aimed to achieve a sustainable increase of cash income for farmers through increased production of grain legumes as cash crops. MRHP introduced improved varieties of green grams, cowpeas and groundnuts. In 2001, an evaluation that involved the district agricultural office and farmers’ representatives unveiled that the pilot project showed a good potential source of income through the production of grain legumes.
Between 2000 and 2014, Mwanza Rural Housing continued focusing on low cost housing technology; housing services and environment; agriculture and healthcare
MRHP’s low-cost brick making technologies enabled thousands of rural people to construct affordable and durable housing structures. In 2006 MRHP won the prestigious 1st African Prize Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy for its innovative technology and related training of entrepreneurs to develop production units for bricks, using agricultural waste. In 2007 MRHP also won a UN Habitat Scroll of Honour and a Local Governance Excellence Award. In 2008 it received the UN Habitat Dubai International Best Practice Award. In August 2013, MRHP was offered a certificate of compliance by the Government.
MRHP is currently implementing three projects named as Misungwi Ecological Agriculture Project (MEAP), Advancing Participation of Women and Young People in Cooperative Housing (AP-WYCOH) and ASTUTE (Addressing Stunting in Tanzania Early) project also known as Mtoto Mwerevu, which are funded by We Effect/SIDA, Bread for the World and funding opportunity from the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) through UKaid and its Department for International Development (DFID) respectively.