How conservation transforms lives in Lushoto – Tanga, Kilimanjaro
Conservation in Tanga, Lushoto and kilimanjaro

Since 2006, residents who live close to environmental conservation reserves in the Eastern Arc Mountains have been eligible to receive grants from the Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF). This is one way that the fund allows residents to participate in the preservation and protection of the biodiversity found within the reserves.

A Tanga, some of us in the group have set up beehives, which have brought about a huge change in our life and made it possible for us to break free from dependence. In addition to sending my children to school, I have also been able to construct a house and install power.

According to Ms. Veronica Petro, who lives in Mkwakwani Village, located in Mnyuzi Ward, Korogwe District, in Tanga Region, these are the words she spoke.

She was one of the group members who benefited from the beekeeping program carried out by the Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF).


Since 2006, residents of the Eastern Arc Mountains and border environmental conservation reserves have been eligible to receive grants from the Eastern Arc Mountains Environmental Conservation Fund (EAMCEF). This allows them to participate in preserving and protecting the biodiversity inside the reserves.

In the Tanga region, comprised of three reserves known as Amani, Magamba, and Nilo, the Fund has provided an annual allocation of 600 million shillings to carry out the projects.

Ms. Petro notes that before the formation of the group and the beginning of the project, they were engaging in various activities that were causing the forest to be depleted, and their economic condition, particularly that of the women, was quite precarious.

“In this beekeeping project, we have benefited in many ways; we have been able to build houses, install electricity, educate our children, and some of us, including myself, have five beehives besides the group,” she explains further.

“We use honey as medicine for our children at home, so I profit from within and without the group by selling honey, which enables me to support my family. Now I have moved away from dependence,” she explains further.

According to Mr. Wales Singano, the organisation’s secretary, the project was initially initiated in 2008 to engage in fish farming. However, after speaking with specialists and considering the significance of environmental protection, they decided to initiate the beekeeping project later.

The year 2011 marked the beginning of our funding, and ever since then, we have been provided with funds for various items, such as training, equipment, supplies, beehives, and beekeeping apparel. He stated that our lives have undergone enormous transformations and that we now engage in economic activities that result in income generation.

In addition to the initiative, Shebomeza Village, located in Amani Ward, Muheza District, is one of the villages benefiting from the land and water conservation project. Agricultural specialists have taught residents of Shebomeza Village terraced farming techniques.

Ms. Zabibu Rajabu, one of the farmers, stated that at first, they did not understand terraced farming, a method that helps minimize soil erosion. However, they cultivate various crops, such as pineapples, maize, sugarcane, and avocados.

My field used to be one in which I did not harvest corn, but today I do so since there are no longer any landslides that occur when it rains. The cultivation of pineapples for domestic consumption and the sale of sugarcane have contributed to an increase in my income, enabling me to better provide for my family, she explained.

Sylvester Mziray, the Muheza District Council’s agricultural officer and the project’s organiser, stated that the project began in 2016, and that up to this point, 120 farmers from three different villages have benefited from the information presented on terraced farming. This is significant because the farmers’ fields are also situated on hills.

Furthermore, the Fund has enabled twenty communities from five bordering councils of the Amani Nature Reserve to enjoy employment opportunities. These opportunities include duties such as removing boundaries, repairing tourist roads, and boosting other tourist attractions.

Mrisho Nzota, who is from Mikwinini Village in Shebomeza Ward, has benefited from the employment options that have been made available.

Nzota, active in border clearing and the maintenance of tourist paths, expressed his gratitude for the information they received on conservation and that they now appreciated the significance of environmental conservation.

According to him, the employment forced them to earn money so that they could provide for their families.

“We used to live difficult lives due to a lack of income-generating activities, but now it has helped us contain factors that could endanger the reserve’s security, and we collaborate to protect and control the area,” he said to reporters.

“After the education, we realised that failing to protect the environment contributes to the extinction of wild animals, deterioration of good weather conditions, and destruction of water sources,” he explained further.

One of the things that Mr. Daudi Tofio, a farmer and resident of Kisiwani Village who is interested in forest conservation, mentioned was that one of the things they were enjoying was the opportunity to find employment through the activities they were carrying out.

“As young people, we stand to gain from obtaining employment; we collaborate as a society to ensure that water supplies are not damaged. We want to express our gratitude to the Fund for handling this matter, as it has allowed us to provide complete support for our families,” he stated.

The projects encompass the five districts of Muheza, Lushoto, Korogwe, Mkinga (Tanga), and Same (Kilimanjaro). A total of Sh49 million has been allocated annually to the Amani Nature Reserve to carry out various conservation efforts. These activities include forest conservation and ecological tourism, including cleaning boundaries, conducting patrols, and enhancing visitor lodgings.

According to Ms. Magreth Victor, the project officer for the Northern Zone of the Fund, “When you visit areas where the Fund has social projects, you can see how the residents understand the importance of forests. For instance, when disasters such as fires or other crimes occur, it is easier for residents to report their experiences.”

“As villagers, we benefit the most from education about these species. We receive regular training as tour guides, and we are able to provide for our families while also earning a living. Mr. Gabriel Ponera, a tour guide in the reserve, stated that the fact that villagers have the option to sell things such as fruits and spices has been beneficial to us.

The Lushoto District Council initiated the tree planting project in 2013, and as of now, eleven groups have been established by residents of these villages. These groups have been able to generate income without being dependent on the revenue generated by the trees.

Mr. Shafii Salehe, the secretary of the Umoja tree-planting group in Lushoto District, stated that during the previous year, they planted 10,000 tree seedlings, of which they sold 6,000, distributed 2,000 to villages in the surrounding area, and used the earnings to purchase further seeds.

When it comes to conservation, he stated that as the trees continue to grow, they will not only provide us with fuel and lumber but also assist us in conserving the environment and discourage people from entering the forest.

One of the group members, Ms. Joyce Shedafa, stated that in addition to the economic benefits they had obtained, they had also been able to plant trees on their farms. They anticipated that they would be able to obtain timber and building poles from their farms, in contrast to the situation in the past, when they would go to the forest.

Kimweri Mnyese, the Chairman of the Southern Subvillage, stated that the initiative assisted the villagers in protecting the environment, which was not the case in the past. He also stated that even when jobs such as cleaning routes in the reserve arose, the residents were hired and earned revenue.

Pastor Yohana Mtangi, the head of the environmental conservation group Yoghoi, which is responsible for implementing the avocado farming project, stated that the organization began in 2017 with the only intention of dealing with wood trees but has since expanded its scope to include fruit trees.

He stated that in 2022, the EAMCEF gave them ten million shillings, and they planted fifteen thousand seedlings, sold some of them, and handed others to the villages in the surrounding area. Even this year, they were given another ten million shillings, and as of now, fifty-two avocado farms have been constructed with the intention of exporting avocados.


About Author



Leave a Reply