Turning dried out Kisarawe green

Turning dried out Kisarawe green

He attributes his misfortune to the dwindling stocks that are a result of other fishermen who use dynamite for fishing in the Indian Ocean waters.  "I do not agree with people who claim that the small nets have depleted the fish stocks.

They have been depleted by dynamite fishing.  In addition to that we have been told that the Ocean has retreated by more than 50 metres, meaning the natural habitat for the fish has also tremendously reduced," says Shaban. Unknown to Shaban is that a few kilometres away, in Pugu, the reckless cutting of trees has contributed to his plight.

According to Bernard Nduguru, the Deputy Chairperson for Guluka Kwalala Youth Environment Group, a civil organization dealing in good practices in natural resources management, dynamite fishing coincides with the drying up of the small streams that originate from the Pugu Forest Reserve. Ndunguru attributes the changes to the rampant cutting of trees in Pugu forest that was at its peak in mid 2000.

This, he believes, has had disastrous effects to the forest and water sources around it. "People who used to spend a few minutes filling up a jerry can now have to queue up." Most locals do not think beyond the following day and were not bothered about the future. In Pugu, the environmental changes have been so drastic that residents have started planting trees on bare ridges. "At least the community is becoming more vigilant by pushing by-laws on tree planting,”he says.

Pugu forest, often referred to as a water tower, has seen its natural cover taken over by illegal settlements. As a result, its greenery began to disappear. Ndunguru says agroforestry experts in his organisation and the District Council have put forward planting trees as a possible solution.  Stakeholders of Pugu Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve asked his organisation to partner with the community in conserving the forest. ''Pugu Kazimzumbwi Forest was deteriorating fast following the high rate of illegal logging by residents and other people,'' he said.

The District had never set a budget for conserving the forest. He said that most of the residents, especially the youth, were jobless and resorted to cutting down trees in the forest and earned an income from the sale of timber. While implementing an environment project in 2004, Ndunguru found out that in Kisarawe, there was lack of good governance in managing natural resources.

Other activists concerned about the environment asked Guluka Kwalala Youth Environment Group, to initiate good governance in the natural resources sector. "That was when we started this project, sponsored by the Civil Society Foundation in Kisarawe district in 2009," he says. The three year old project, was started in the following  wards and villages; Mafizi, Vihinga, Kuluwi, Bufu, Shingubweni and Mkamba in Mkuranga district.

The project was named "Strengthening Good Governance in Managing Natural Resources." Each ward started a Natural Resources Committee that meets once a month to find out how resources are benefitting the wards. For example, in Mafizi village where there is a huge forest cover, residents were not getting any concessions from the hunting fees from Selous Game Reserve.  "The residents worked out a way whereby we now get five per cent of the fees on hunting and the timber business and use the money for development in the village," Ndunguru said.

Pastoralists in Mafizi village, who migrated from Lefu in Iringa Mafizi and settled in the forest, were relocated by local village authorities. Guluka-Kwalala Youth Environment Group is a Non- Profit Organization, started in 2003 at Guluka Kwalala in Gongo la Mboto Ward, Ukonga in Dar es Salaam. Their vision is to succeed in the social education sector and use what is in their environment to fight poverty.

Their objectives are to run different programmes that scale up accountability and transparency in strengthening human rights, good governance, environmental conservation and fight against HIV/AIDS. They also initiate programmes on environmental conservation and started use of natural resources like forests, land, water, and wildlife to reduce poverty of the inhabitants.

Guluka Kwalala Youth Environment is also members of forums as Policy Forum, Tanzania Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee and the National Civil Society Forum. They have conducted training in villages like Pugu, Chanika, Mvuti, Sanza and Msongola. Other villages include Kazimzungu, Boga, Manerumango, Masaki Marui and Msanga.


The Natural Resources Committee in Kisarawe has succeeded in persuading the district council in relocating illegal settlers at the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest reserve. The Mafizi ward which borders Selous area reserve has founded a group of wild life conservationists. They say, the idea of providing incentives for people to plant trees needs to be replicated in order to realise the dream of a green Kisarawe.


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