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Harmony as rural communities seek peaceful coexistence with wildlife

TANZANIA People & Wildlife (TPW) based in Simanjiro District, Manyara region, envisions a world where rural communities and wildlife coexist and thrive, united through their understanding of synergies between conservation and sustainable development.

“As members of this supportive environment and given access to the unique attributes of our community-driven conservation model, rural Africans can effect real, on-the-ground change for the enhanced management and conservation of their natural resources,” says TPW Projects Coordinator, Mr Revocatus Magayane.

TPW has been striving to establish long-term relationship with local communities, empowering them to successfully manage their natural resources while achieving significant ecological and financial benefits.

“We achieve this through a four step process; preventing human-wildlife conflict between pastoralists and carnivores, building community capacity to manage natural resources through skills-building workshops and seminars, support active environmental conservation by the community by providing grants to fund community-chosen environmental projects and foster local conservation incentives such as beekeeping to promote both the ecological and financial benefits of environmental conservation,” says Mr Magayane.

He says that TPW has been partnering with the communities of Monduli since 2015, to address challenges with humanwildlife conflict and currently supports 21 human wildlife conflict community officers working in 10 villages.

He unveils that to help mitigate conflicts, TPW provides training and support for community members to monitor and prevent conflict with carnivores throughout their villages. “Using smartphones, they report conflicts to TPW so that we can prioritise installation of fortified bomas, known as Living Walls in areas with the highest level of conflict.

They also help to prevent retaliation and provide education to community members about the benefits of wildlife and healthy ecosystems,” he says. In response to carnivore conflicts at bomas, TPW installs Living Walls.

He says that those are installed in partnership with the bomas owners, with owners planting the types of native shrubs called comiphora and paying 1,000/- for each metre of chain-link while TPW covers the remaining cost and installs wires to create impenetrable barrier.

Since 2015, TPW has installed 116 living walls in villages in Monduli, 21 of which were installed this year – 2018. Mr Magayane says they also build community capacity to manage natural resources. That has been done from late 2017, beginning with five villages in Monduli to help improve rangeland management. He mentions the villages as Selela, Esilalei, Muungere, Losirwa and Baraka.

“180 community members attended the seminars discussing pastoralism and rangeland man-agement in late 2017 and 2018. During these seminars community members brainstormed both current challenges facing their rangelands and solutions to those challenges.

All communities decided to partner with TPW to begin rangeland monitoring activities. Similar to human-wildlife conflict, TPW supports community rangeland monitors to collect monthly data via smartphones on rangeland condition. Monitoring activities will begin in the coming months,” says Mr Magayane.

At the request of communities in Monduli, says Mr Magayane, TPW is beginning to support beekeeping entrepreneurship business in six villages of Mswakini Juu, Mswakini Chini, Lengolwa, Lemooti, Oldonyo and Naitolia.

Already 111 community members have attended seminars introducing environmentally friendly entrepreneurship, in order to foster conservation initiatives. TPW has already issued 40m/- to that end, for 25 women groups, each with 10 members.

The women are under the Monduli Women Herders Council (Bawakimo) and after thorough training, they anticipate to make almost 190m/- annually from sale of honey and other products while at the same time conserving the environment.

Mr Magayane says the funds would be used for procurement of beehives to initiate beekeeping in the villages as a means to conserve the environment on one hand and raise income to members on the other.

“Through our expertise we try to bring together people who live around the conserved areas so that they benefit but also wildlife and environment are conserved,” he says, adding that so far TPW has reached out to 950 women in Simanjiro District and 250 in Monduli District, unveiling that their target is to reach out to more women and support them so that they have more income through environmental conservation projects.

Lemooti villager, Ms Naramatishu Oshumu, commends the project saying it will relieve them of a burden of school costs for their children, especially when they get a chance for advanced education. “We have been well trained in beekeeping; we committed our time and other resources to ensure we understand it well and engage in the project so that it alleviates our poverty.

Our children completed primary education but failed to progress to upper levels because we are unable to shoulder different costs. This will take us to next level and our lives will become better,” says Ms Oshumu.

A villager from Mswakini, Ms Juu Ngoikishon Wavi, was of the view that Maasai women were still in great need of being trained so as their awareness is raised. She particularly preferred training on environmental protection and entrepreneurship.

“Through TPW, we believe that our children will no longer be forced to stay at home for us failing to secure funds to cater for what they need for schooling, because under this project we are going to sell honey so that they go to school and with time we will come up with better houses. We just need more brushing on entrepreneurship,” Ms Wavi says.

Monduli District Commissioner (DC), Mr Idd Khampa urges the women in question to ensure they become good project supervisors, saying it would produce other raw materials emanating from honey. Bawakimo Director, Ms Mary Morindat, says the council is formed by women from herders’ communities by 98 per cent.

She said Bawakimo is out to have the women improved economically and socially through training, advocacy and lobbying so that poverty is alleviated from all stakeholders, through women. The idea is that one beehive produces 20 litres of honey and it can be harvested twice a year; hence are assured of having 40 litres annually.

With 475 beehives, selling a litre at 10,000/- 

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