Hanang District, in the Manyara Region of northcentral Tanzania, is a varied landscape of volcanic cones, crater lakes, and dramatic escarpments, with the lushly forested Mount Hanang at its center. The semi-arid district is home to almost 300,000 people of varied ethnic backgrounds, most of whom derive their livelihood directly from using local natural resources through farming, agro-pastoralism, fishing, and charcoal production. The soils, forests and water resources of the district are under intense pressure and environmental degradation is an increasingly prominent worry for residents and local authorities.
Recognizing the need for action, CREE leader Emmanuel Lugomoja gathered like-minded friends and community members together and formed Mazingira Initiatives Tanzania in 2017 (mazingira is Swahili for environment). The young group began consulting with residents and local leaders about the especially grave environmental situation in the region. They found that Lake Bassotu, a life-giving and culturally important crater lake in the western part of the district, is threatened by sedimentation and reduced water quality. Diloda Forest Reserve, a forested area in the southern part of the district, has also come under intense pressure from grazing, charcoal production and shifting agriculture in the last decade. The team is now developing an environmental education program in numerous local schools to raise awareness of the above threats whilst simultaneously crafting livelihood interventions to raise the socio-economic status of residents.
Through a new partnership with CREE, Mazingira Initiatives is growing its team, receiving sorely needed logistical support and bolstering its capacity to build durable and effective efforts to begin turning some of Hanang District’s problems around. Starting with a highly participatory and well-received program to promote and support beekeeping by cooperatives in the Diloda Forest, local residents are now recognizing the value of organized forest beekeeping as both a steady source of income and a means of instituting rational and competent governance. This will help to ensure the rehabilitation of the forest’s resources and residents are now increasingly eager to work hand in hand with the Mazingira Initiatives team. CREE is pleased to be helping Emmanuel and Mazingira Initiatives to be the drivers of a positive local agenda for environmental improvement.
CREE IS A REGISTERED 501(C)(3) TAX-DEDUCTIBLE NONPROFIT CHARITY