In 1985 there occurred a serious famine in many parts of Southern Tanzania including Mbozi district as a result of which the Mbozi District Council contracted a consultant to find out what was the cause and how best to deal with the same. The survey findings highlighted low utilization of agricultural technology, inadequate extension staff and inadequate supply of agricultural inputs as the main causes. In order to strategically deal with the problem of famine, it was decided in a participatory manner to establish a development project to address the identified root causes – Agricultural Development Project (ADP) for Mbozi District was thus born (in 1986). This was done via tripartite agreement between Community Development Trust Fund of Tanzania (CDTF), Mbozi District Council and COOPIBO (now VECO), a Belgian NGO.
In 1989, an external evaluation was undertaken for the project and due to its good performance; it was decided to expand from one division to three divisions. New interventions of irrigation (traditional Irrigation canals) and strengthening of farmers groups were added to the project. In 1993 the project area was again expanded from 3 to 5 divisions. During that time a new intervention of Savings and Credits was added.
In 1994 the project started to address the issues of market and gender. Towards the end of the project in1994, a participatory strategic thinking process was done to reflect on inter alia what would happen at the end of the project once COOPIBO ceased to give financial and personnel support. While it was evident that the services to the community were needed even after the project life then, a number of questions arouse viz. How will those services be rendered in future? In what form should the project be transformed to effectively and efficiently, render those services? How should the transformation be done?
Several options were sought. First it was thought that the project should be handed over to the District Council, but the experience with poor performance of the councils deterred this option.
The other option was to hand-over the project to the target group, but this was found not to be feasible because of low management skills of farmers. Finally, the idea of institutionalizing the project into a non-government organization emerged. Through this process of institutionalization, the Agricultural Development Project was transformed into a Trust on 29th November 1995 under the Trustees Incorporation Ordinance Cap. 275. The name of the organization was changed to Agricultural Development Programs Mbozi Trust Fund (ADP Mbozi TF)
In 1997 an organizational assessment of ADP Mbozi TF was carried out. Although the purpose of this assessment was not vividly clear, a number of issues emerged that were felt important to be addressed in order to strengthen the organization. These included, among others the need to employ competent staff, capacitate the board and acquire new office building and premises. In 2000, COOPIBO abruptly ceased funding and CORDAID took over.
Later on, in year 2002, the management decided to do a diagnosis of the whole organization as an entry point to an engagement into an organization development process that would help the organization to strategically position itself so as to achieve the desired changes. Another strategic plan was carried out in 2005 to assist the organization to effectively and efficiently deliver her services in three years ahead.
Following the changes in law governing the establishment of Non-Governmental Organizations in Tanzania (section 11(3) of Non-Governmental Act No. 24, of 2002), ADP Mbozi was re-registered on 10th October 2005 as NGO with registration number 1639. One of the important developments as a result of re-registration is that the organization can now operate throughout the country. During re-registration the organization took that chance also to change its name because it operates wider range of projects other than agriculture production. The new name of the organization (to date) became Actions for Development programs (ADP), Mbozi.