Protect Tanzania’s Livelihoods for the Mutual Benefit of People and Wildlife
Healthy rangelands are vital to the livelihood of the Maasai people, whose cultural and economic wellbeing resides in the health of their livestock herds. Our education and management programs help the people of Northern Tanzania address threats such as increased grazing pressure from immigrant herders and livestock (coming from as far as southern Kenya), water scarcity, local population growth, unregulated land conversion, poor farming practices, and deforestation:
- Communities for Conservation. Rangeland management experts provide support to local institutions engaged in natural resource management, helping them to develop and implement their own natural resource action plans.
- Rangeland Management Seminars. Taught by trained community members, our seminars teach local leaders from government, education, religious and women’s groups about the science and best practices of managing livestock and rangelands.
|Your dollars make a difference – for people and for wildlife.Funds go directly toward programs that protect livelihoods and save lions. Our Rangeland Management Seminars have already trained over 40 local leaders.|
The future of the Maasai Steppe and its ecological integrity is in the hands of the people who live and thrive on its lands. As demand for land increases, communities must be prepared to navigate this new challenge by understanding how to integrate multiple land uses, while maintaining healthy ecosystems.
During Rangeland Management seminars, we commit to developing the real capacity of local communities to make informed decisions when addressing local environmental conservation and natural resource management challenges. In rural Tanzania, lack of infrastructure and remoteness from urban centers make access to training and information difficult to obtain. We remove these barriers by bringing information and expertise to the communities. Read more about our Rangeland Management seminars on our Environmental Education Initiatives page.
Our ultimate goal is to help develop each pastoralist’s ability to respond effectively to current and emerging threats, and to evaluate the impact of their actions – not as individuals, but as a cooperative community. In 2014 we launched the Noloholo Environmental Small Projects Fund, which is available to all graduates of our natural resource management seminars. This fund provides operational and logistical support for community-designed conservation projects.
Through Communities for Conservation, we help these villages plan for the future. To Maasai herdsmen, preserving good quality grass and access to water are priorities, particularly during the dry season when drought threatens the landscape. Simply providing more sources of water may cause overutilization of pastures around those water sources. We value, above all, the natural balance that protects pastures from over-utilization based on the distance cattle can travel to water and still remain fit.
Traditional livestock management systems take this sophisticated balance into account. They are intrinsically compatible with wildlife initiatives. Our support of these traditional methods is the first step in developing long-term strategies for natural resource conservation in the Maasai Steppe that are environmentally and culturally appropriate.
Therefore, our role is not to direct conservation but rather to support communities in their conservation efforts. For example, our staff works with dedicated natural resource committees in rural villages to develop effective environmental policies and bylaws, for example to demarcate vital grazing areas and protect water catchments.
One of the ways we are doing this is through participatory land use mapping. We incorporate Google Earth images to help community members visualize and identify wildlife movements that overlap with their farmland. Recognizing areas that are inherently set up for conflict is the first step in developing improved land use management plans for the mutual benefit of people and wildlife.
This program provides support to local institutions engaged in natural resource management – from government land planning to resource committees – helping to build strong foundations of environmental knowledge. By facilitating local communities in the development and implementation of their own natural resource action plans, local priorities, needs and interests drive local actions rather than outside interests.