Tanzania: Conserving Wildlife, Forests With People's Support
Dar Es Salaam — FEW villagers today conduct indiscriminate hunting of wildlife in national parks in their neighbourhood after the government started rigorous programmes to involve them in wildlife conservation exercise. The exercise may have begum decades ago, but the last five years have seen more efforts by the government to reap the wealth potential that has been in the wild from time immemorial.
Tourism as one of the sources of revenues from the wildlife and other natural resources has as a result attracted much attention of the state to give the people education about the potential wealth buried in their surrounding area. Awareness of how to exploit their environment with only some care and a little love, has drawn much effort and enthusiasm from them, resulting in big rewards.
Among the chief beneficiaries are women who, as a means of emancipation, have taken to beekeeping mostly in the districts of Kibondo, Rufiji, Uyui, Manyoni, Kondo and Handeni. The total number of beekeepers in all these districts has increased from 1,791 in 2005 to 2,500 in 2008. "Among them are 762 women," says a government's report on implementation of 2005 manifesto of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
Such efforts are commendable development in keeping with the government's policy to empower women to avert their suppression and oppression. Elsewhere in the country, programmes to improve beekeeping have been improved in 30 districts, underscoring the importance of forests conservation. Such economic goals prompted in the past five years the conception of awareness programmes to empower the people and attract them into considerable participation in wildlife conservation.
The period beginning from 2006 todate saw a noticeable growth of such programmes. Reforestation projects were initiated and matching plans to make people sustain the exercise of tree planting were drawn. The effort has paid in profitable tourism that has benefitted the local communities in various parts of the country. Deliberate efforts to prove to the local communities the benefits of wildlife and forests conservation have been necessary.
And so from 2006 to 2009 Tanzania Wildlife Provident Fund contributed a sum of 759,673,394/- to various development projects of the local communities. In that same period the government gave 42 municmunicipalities a total of 1,822,671,306/-, the equivalent of 25 per cent of all the revenue from tourist hunting. This only shows how tourist contribution swelled the municipalities revenues for their various development projects. Some of that money went into construction of roads in those areas.
Yet some still could have gone into improvement of health facilities. The government is triumphal about it all. At the ongoing parliamentary sitting in Dodoma, as he discussed the budgetof his ministry of Infrastructure Development, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa said: "Twelve tarmac roads covering 1,034.6 km were constructed during the last five years, representing achievement of the government's target by 71 per cent."
Investment to exploit other potentials of the wild like hone in the country has also taken place at a good pace. Education to the people to empower them in that area has been a significant factor the government has provided to the people.