Isipi to Ihanu – addressing deforestation in Tanzania

17th March 2017

17D venturers are currently in phase 2 of a ten week NRM (Natural Resource Management) project in Ihanu village in the Iringa region of Tanzania constructing tree nurseries. Alongside spreading awareness in the local primary school and community about the importance of natural forest conservation. We have been transplanting a certain species of tree that naturally grows quickly in the climate of Ihanu. Once fully matured, this will allow the villagers to use these trees for timber whilst preserving the community’s natural forests.

Community members smile whilst taking a break, at the NRM project site.
Community members whilst taking a well earned break at the project site

We have not being doing this alone but working hand-in-hand with TFCG (Tanzania Forest Conservation Group) and local communities. Raleigh began working with TFCG last year and have since spent time building tree nurseries in three villages, Ihanu being the fifth. Please find out more about the work we did in a village called Isipi last year by reading this article published in Verge magazine.

By continuing to work alongside our project partner TFCG we are able to work with communities to preserve natural resources and provide information and demonstrations of alternative ways of fuel.

Adam, who is working with us from TFCG, stated “we have made positive progress having achieved more than 50% of the tubes already. The villagers recognize the importance of the project and show great enthusiasm and warmly welcome the Raleigh Volunteers into the community.” With the help of the villagers at the project site in Ihanu they can adopt the necessary skills for building tree nurseries to ensure they can correctly maintain them once we leave.

Building a tree nursery can be broken down into these simple steps:

1. Clear the land

Preparing the land for the tree nursary
Preparing the land for the tree nursery

2. Prepare beds for planting seeds

3. Prepare for arranging polythene seedling tubes

Preparing the beds
Preparing the beds

4. Create piles of mud for tubing

5. Cut plastic for tubes

6. Stuff handfuls of mud in polythene tube

Filling the tubes with soil ready to transplant the seedlings
Filling the tubes with soil ready to transplant the seedlings

7. Transplant seedling into tube

NRM projects bring numerous benefits to the local community and environment. We discussed how the timber can become a source of income for the local community by creating jobs which in turn will help reduce unemployment and poverty rates. Also, second to farming, Tanzania’s main economic factor is tourism, deforestation is a huge factor in the destruction of natural habitats which negatively impacts the national tourism industry. Conserving the forests saves the habitats of vital species.

We have also been providing awareness raising sessions on many of the above issues in the local primary school in order to bring them to the minds of the younger generation who will be the future of the project as they will be the ones to ensure the forest remain sustainable.

“The students are, in a sense, the sustainable aspect of our project. They are so eager to absorb, digest, and spread the information we teach them that their natural curiosity ensures sustainability and the success of Raleigh’s work here. That is the real core of our work in Ihanu.” Quote from Eleanore, an international volunteer from the US.

Climate and Conservation Tanzania