Norway upbeat with Eastern Arc Mountains conservation

NORWAY has expressed satisfaction with the way Eastern Arc Mountains are being conserved, hence maintaining biodiversity that is pertinent to life within and outside the ranges.

Norway Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Elisabeth Jacobson hailed the Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF) that has taken up responsibility to conserve the mountains on Tanzania’s part. The mountain ranges are also in Kenya.

Ambassador Jacobsen noted that the great work done by the Fund has also improved lives of people who live in villages around the mountains, by supporting them to initiate and run several economic activities.

She was speaking during her impromptu tour at EAMCEF Headquarters in Morogoro, after receiving a report about implementation of projects and activities that are subsidized by subvention from the Fund, Norway being a stakeholder as it dishes out money through EAMCEF for 12 years now.

The ambassador said involving villagers in conservation work by making sure they get alternative economic activities instead of encroaching the forest for firewood and other needs has helped a lot conserve the environment.

Some of the projects that she toured are cattle keeping and beekeeping as well as fish farming in Iringa region.

“The projects have proved to come out with good results to the villagers. Apart from earning them money, they help the people to  get quality food for their health and have been a reason for them to stop cutting trees in the forests that are source of biodiversity and water as a source of life,” said Ms Jacobsen.

An Advisor at Norway Embassy, Mr Yasin Mkwizu, said the projects under EAMCEF have been of great help in implementation of national policies in regard to conservation as well as in supporting the citizens in getting alternative income, instead of encroaching the forests.

EAMCEF Managing Director, Mr Francis Sabuni, said in his report that grants released through the Fund has been issued to three main areas – citizens’ development projects to improve their lives and improve conservation, research and improvement of forest infrastructure as well as improving the forests’ borders with respective villages.

Mr Sabuni said that since its inception in 2006, EAMCEF has issued more than 15bn/- in accordance with the conditions set for the same.

He mentioned some of projects as cow and goat keeping, planting of trees for commercial purposes as well as fruit ones that are specifically for students. They are also engaged in vegetable gardening.

EAMCEF Board Chairman, Professor John Kesy said that apart from positive results from the projects for development, research carried out have helped to realize different types of biodiversity in the forests that were earlier not known.

“Without research it is difficult to have sound plans to protect and conserve the biodiversity in the our forests that the nation has been endowed with,” he said, adding that they will ensure the Fund is sustainable and goes on dishing out money for different projects..

EAMCEF is a Trust Fund that was established and functions as a long-term and reliable funding mechanism to support community development, biodiversity conservation and applied research projects, which promote the biological diversity, ecological functions and sustainable use of natural resources in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania.

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