90% of Tanzania’s energy consumption relies on a combination of wood and charcoal (SOURCE: Lusambo, 2016). This means that as Tanzania’s population grows the depletion of forests will only increase. This issue is exacerbated by local communities’ lack of knowledge on the matter and failure to replace trees. The community in Ikaning’ombe is enthusiastic about reversing the effects of deforestation in the village. This enthusiasm has taken many forms including extra hands on the project site and expertise in building a water irrigation system from a natural spring; as well as schoolchildren being attentive during the twice weekly lessons we hold in the primary school.
Raleigh Tanzania’s natural resource management (NRM) objectives align with the Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Life on Land’, ‘Clean Energy’, and ‘Responsible Consumption’. The deforestation that has taken place in the Udzungwa Mountain area around Ikaning’ombe is typical of that throughout Tanzania. This contributes heavily towards climate change and the inevitable aftermath. Such ramifications would be felt strongly here in Ikaning’ombe – the narrow range of crops would suffer from drought alongside the parching of the village water source, critical to the community’s survival. Our work here, in collaboration with the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), combats this issue head on by replenishing these elegant hills with an abundant stock of pine trees that will operate as the lungs of the earth. The effectiveness of this work is recognised by the village with Aziz Joseph commenting, “Raleigh’s work in Ikaning’ombe is great for the community.”
It is crucial to positively influence and educate the local children through regular classes in the school, so the work we have started here can continue for future generations. Staff and pupils alike have been excited by our work and local businessman Steve Mchala said: “We really thank Raleigh for this project because, apart from getting the seedlings to plant, we get the education about the environment which helps us a lot and is a positive development.” Shukuru Kanyika, a pupil at the school said, “We feel happy being taught to manage our environment and the effects of climate change.”
Whilst it is impossible to capture the full emotional, physical and external impact of this NRM project on both the volunteers and local community here, we are certain that the experiences and friendships created will be treasured for life.