Greater Kilimanjaro initiatives to enhance community participation in sustainable conservation of the trans frontier ecosystem and wildlife
An integrated and participative approach for wildlife and rangelands protection in the area around Kilimanjaro across Tanzania and Kenya and for ensuring better living conditions for local communities who entirely depend on these resources. Through the active engagement of local populations, civil society, organisations, researchers and institutions between the two countries, assuring the conservations of one of the richest ecosystem in the world in terms of biodiversity becomes a sustainable challenge.
Greater Kilimanjaro – an area of 15,500 km2 which includes 16 protected areas – is home to more than one million mammals of 28 different species, that share the same territories with over 30,000 families of pastoralists, especially Maasai. The survival of the communities, as much as the one of local wildlife, is based on rangeland’s health conditions and productivity, which has reduced by 30% in the recent years.
In order to protect this precious ecosystem, seriously threatened by negative effects of climate change and extreme exploitation, we are working on several fronts.
In order to assure the conservation of one of the last migration routes of great mammals, a dialogue with local institutions is essential. The implementation of the national laws on wildlife protection and on protected species trade in the cross-border Greater Kilimanjaro area will be supported by a team of about 50 rangers, as many informers; participative maps for soil use and shared conservation strategies, such as sustainable management plans for rangelands and migration areas, are ways to protect nature and local communities from land grabbing, that is the takeover of agricultural land by companies, governments or private sector subjects.
Giving sustainable economic alternatives to the populations and letting them be the main actors in the conservation process is the most effective way to turn the threats connected to environmental degradation to development opportunities. For this reason we trainee 300 Maasai women on milk production and 40 on sustainable leather manufacturing, while other 40 people (women and yougsters) will be involved in touristic services management – on foot safari, cycling holidays and accommodation at families of the community. In this way local populations become main actors for the environmental conservation on which their well-being is dependent.
Reducing poaching and promoting effective conservation strategies is a priority: to this end it is necessary to invest in education and awareness activities, starting from young generations through projects of citizen science, interactive theatre and educational videos, through dialogue and cooperations among communities who live in the border territories, through information and best practices exchange between the authorities of the two countries.
It is a huge joined effort between different cross-border actors, enhancing and investing in the potential everyone has for a common goal: protecting the environment and everything valuable it offers, in the interests of all living beings, institutions and the future of the two Countries.
This project is funded by