Government pledges trees for life for all Tanzanian children in response to call for action from national youth

17th May 2017

An initiative aimed at reversing deforestation in Tanzania was launched in December 2016 by a committed Raleigh Tanzania alumni. The #50milliontrees campaign, part of the Youth for green Growth project, was led by the Raleigh Tanzania Society. Recently formed regional groups of alumni across the country have partnered with local communities, NGOs and government, and has planted more than 40000 trees so far.

Report by Kennedy.

Tanzania is one of Africa’s most affected countries when it comes to loss of biodiversity, despite its world renowned reputation for wildlife. As part of the campaign, more than 50 environmental awareness raising events have been carried out around Tanzania in primary and secondary schools, and within the community. The aim of the awareness raising sessions is to reduce environmentally damaging practices, focusing on resource use and daily livelihood activities.

More widely, the “50 Million Trees for 50 Million people” initiative is designed to encourage small efforts by every Tanzanian to tackle the impact of deforestation. It aims to plant a total of 50 million trees in Tanzania by 2020 in partnership with all sectors at the grassroots level.

One of the school children involved in the Raleigh Tanzania Society tree planting campaign
One of the school children involved in the Raleigh Tanzania Society tree planting campaign

During the Youth for Green Growth Conference held in Dodoma, the government hailed these efforts from the Raleigh Tanzania Society, and assured the participants of the government commitment to working with and for youth to create sustainable environment for current and future generations.
‘’Because Tanzanian government has adopted industrial economy as its new development policy in the next 10 years, that goes hand in hand with the efforts for protecting the environment. We acknowledge the possible consequences of industrial development without a good plan for protecting our environment.

Having realized that, we are now encouraging every young man and woman in Tanzania, starting with children in school, to plant trees. This is one of the biggest initiatives in our plan’’ says Mr. Halifa Msangi, who represented the honourable Minister of State, Union and Environment in the event.

Mr Msangi continued: ‘’we acknowledge the rapid deforestation in Tanzania, with an average of up to 370,000 hectares of forests cleared every year for charcoal, firewood and lumber…without a clear plan for reforestation at the community level. Nationally we have seen the potential in working with children and youth to impart the spirit of environmental protection. That’s why every child must now plant a tree which he/she will grow up with in every school, and every home in Tanzania, according to a new government plan. If this succeeds, we will have tackled deforestation by a large percent”

Raleigh Tanzania Director of Operations speaking at the Youth For Green Growth Conference
Raleigh Tanzania Director of Operations, Alistair Mackay speaking at the Youth For Green Growth Conference

The conference was part of a nationwide green growth campaign carried out by the Raleigh Tanzania society members which has seen them take part in planting more than 30000 trees in the regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma, Kagera, Geita, Mwanza and Mbeya. An additional of 10000 indigenous trees have been planted by Rau Eco & Cultural Tourism, a social enterprise established by the former Raleigh Tanzania Deputy Operations Manager, Daniel Maembe in their dedicated tree nursery at Rau Forest Reserve in Kilimanjaro. The organisation also distributed trees for free, to the six communities surrounding Rau Forest Reserve. Its objective is to plant 1,000,000 trees by 2030. The timing of recent tree planting was planned to maximize the impact of the national tree planting campaign initiated by the Raleigh Tanzania Society.

Government Environment Officers thank Raleigh Tanzania for tree-planting partnership
In Dodoma specifically, government representatives at the conference recognised local tree planting efforts by Raleigh Tanzania alumni, as well as highlighting its own green development plans.

A Raleigh Tanzania Society member planting trees with school children in Dar es Salaam

Mr Salvatory Mashamba, Forestry Officer from the CDA (capital development authority) said “the authority is working to make Dodoma green by developing city plans and planting special trees which may endure Dodoma weather in all given areas. As you know, not all trees can be planted and grown in Dodoma due to the dry nature of our region…We are developing plans and passing them to the Municipal Council which helps them to make sure waste management infrastructure is well developed’’. He also thanked Raleigh Tanzania Society members for partnering with them for planting trees across Dodoma town.

The 50 Million Trees-Tree planting campaign was conducted by Raleigh Tanzania Society members both online and in the field. On social media, content using the hashtags #50MillionTrees and #Youth4Green growth have reached thousands of people countrywide. The society plans to continue its work in the area of green growth, despite the completion of the youth for green growth project.

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