Impacting the pastoral community: how local pastoral groups gained global recognition

Arusha/Manyara. The efforts are bearing fruit and revealing paths within the community.

This sentiment aptly describes institutions that have gained international recognition for their efforts to assist communities in the fight against climate change.

Starting with the Tanzania Conservation and Community Empowerment Initiative (TACCEI), based in Terrat village, Simanjiro district, Manyara region, these institutions are making significant progress.

TACCEI has gained recognition from the Global Landscape Forum (GLFx) chapter network, specifically through the “Maasai Steppe Chapter” program.

The Citizen recently ventured to Simanjiro and got engaged to TACCEI director Justin Lukumay.

He highlighted the organization’s focus on environmental conservation and community empowerment as crucial elements in combating the effects of climate change.

“In terms of environmental conservation, there is a project that involves planting trees within the community, particularly in schools. We provide education to students and, in collaboration with partners, we help plant various species of trees,” Lukumay stated.

He also mentioned other projects such as empowering village residents, especially women, to grow vegetables at home, which helps them earn income and provides vegetables for their families.

An orchard planted by students from the Terrat Institute, where the students also manage a native tree nursery with more than 8,000 trees already planted and distributed to the communities. PHOTO | HALILI LETEA

At the Terrat Lyceum, the director, Julias Maplani, reported that after receiving education, they began to plant trees in August 2023.

“We planted more than 8,000 trees of four different species, including native trees such as Vachellia tortilis (Migunga), Moringa oleifera (Milonge), Leucaena leucocephala (Lukina) and Acacia mellifera (Black thorn – Ngoja Kidogo),” he said.

The director noted that the project is supervised and the trees are provided free of charge to the community.

He added: “At the end of the year, when we closed school, each student was given five trees to plant in their homes.”

Among the tree garden supervisors is Neema Mindeli, a postgraduate student, who said the main reason for planting such trees is that many of them are used as fodder for livestock and can withstand drought conditions.

Another Form 4 student, Toima Sanago, mentioned: “We continue to experiment with tree species that are suitable for our environment. Some of the species we started with did not thrive in our environment. The school has water and areas to establish a tree. garden, so this task is easy for us.”

Despite this, the school also has a large garden, which is used by students residing in the school’s dormitories, according to Neng’ida Isaya, a third-year student.

Neng’ida explained that after receiving education on vegetable cultivation, they implemented it.

“We have reduced our dependence on beans. Today, we mix vegetables and manage the garden ourselves.”

In collaboration with their partners, Lukumay said they have expanded their initiatives to other schools in the region (the Maasai steppe, pastoral lands) and plan to reach ten schools by 2024.

In vegetable growing projects, I met Vailet Kidogo, a mother of five children.

“The knowledge we gained from preparing water-conserving furrows is used to grow vegetables even during the dry season,” he explained.

“I sell vegetables, buy school supplies and buy clothes for my children. Now I even help my husband. Before we only ate sardines and beans, but now it’s different,” she added.

Lukumay stated that these projects are environmentally friendly, health and environmentally friendly and have helped citizens.

Other projects include establishing savings and loan groups and teaching business skills for environmentally friendly activities.

Here we meet a group of thirty women who are part of a lending group.

“We started with our own contributions of 2,000 shillings every week and lent it to one person, but after receiving a capital injection of 1 million shillings, in four months we now have 2 million shillings,” said Naurukoki Tauta, the leader. of the group.

Another participant, Nalepo Saling’o, shared how she has expanded her business selling gasoline from five liters to seventy liters per week.

“I also sell notebooks and pens. Now I have reduced my dependence on my husband and can support my children,” she said.

Joshua Laizer, Finance and Program Officer of the Maasai Steppe chapter of TACCEI, mentioned that in addition to empowering women, their projects aim to restore native vegetation in pastoralist communities by increasing seedling nurseries from the existing two to six by of this year.

“In addition to providing education on native tree planting and empowering village committees in conservation and restoration efforts, we also educate pastoralists on building modern livestock enclosures to reduce conflicts between wildlife and humans,” Laizer explained.

Tanzania Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) project manager Stella James (second from right, behind tree) leads a climate adaptation training session for women in Losirwa village, Monduli district. This training includes collecting and conserving water, as well as planting grass for livestock. PHOTO | HALILI LETEA

During the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in December 2023, the Global Adaptation Center (GCA) recognized the contributions of the Tanzania Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC).

The GCA awarded its director, Maanda Ngoitiko, in the Women in Leadership category for her efforts to enhance the leadership capabilities of indigenous pastoralist women and develop their capacity to become decision-makers in pastoral societies.

According to the GCA, the awards aim to recognize exemplary locally-led initiatives that address the impacts of climate change and foster effective resilience.

PWC, which operates in the pastoral lands of Monduli, Longido and Ngorongoro districts, received the award from more than 500 applications submitted.

Maanda Ngoitiko, co-founder and CEO of PWC, said: “Although both male and female pastoralists face equal exposure to climate shocks and stress, women have fewer opportunities to access and control productive resources.”

The Citizen visited Monduli and met Stella James, Project Manager at PWC. She mentioned that despite having numerous projects in the district, they have projects involving women’s groups focused on grass cultivation, loans and water conservation.

“Our work involves providing education and establishing demonstration farms in collaboration with stakeholders, as well as providing equipment based on the specific needs of the areas and the type of project,” he said.

She adds that they provide education about climate change and the environment and at the same time empower women in basic medical care and reproductive health, in addition to denouncing gender violence.

Additionally, “we help improve water access in these areas through solutions such as drilling wells and rainwater harvesting.”

I met Dora Kilimbe in Monduli, one of the women in a group of 30 people engaged in grass cultivation and lending activities.

“We prepared the land provided by the village government. After receiving education, we dug a crescent-shaped area, which we were told could hold water for a long time,” Dora explained.

He added that since they planted the grass in August 2023 on a 14-hectare plot of land, they have been able to harvest seeds and sell them and they hope to sell the grass during the dry season.

Stella pointed out that there are four grassland cultivation groups in the district, with more than 44 hectares planted and preserved.

In another area I met Grace Issaya, who has a 10,000 liter water tank. “By storing water during the rainy season, it lasts for four to five months. Unlike previous years where water scarcity was a major issue,” she said.

Grace, who is also the leader of the loan and savings group, mentioned that within the group they lend money to each other and many are involved in various business activities, such as running stores, selling clothes and buying food.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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