Have you ever been wary of new technology? Certain that something new will never work. Isn’t it exciting when you learn that the “new” thing actually adds value to your life? This is currently happening in Tanzania.
Deforestation is a major problem in the Kagera region of Tanzania, due to a heavy reliance on poor agricultural practices and a high demand for firewood. In 2016, ARDF approved a project to address both the need for environmental awareness as well as the need for practical solutions. The first stage of the project is complete and, despite what Thobias Kamaana had previously thought, he is now convinced of the importance of growing trees on his land.
‘’Tree planting was not in my plan and [I] could not see why this business [would add value],” said Thobias, a local farmer from Mrugwanza, Tanzania.
Thobias was among the 2,021 farmers who attended the environmental conservation trainings provided by the Anglican Church, with funding from ARDF. The church trained local farmers to produce their own tree seedlings, after making aware of the long-term benefits of caring for the environment and the short-term benefits of planting trees. These trainings changed Thobias’s mindset about tree planting. “I liked the activity so much that I have decided to be part of these events and have set two acres [and] will plant 2,210 various species as the [autumn] rains come.”
The next stage of this project will involve training on the importance of energy saving stoves, aimed at reducing reliance on firewood. Together, these trainings will improve the livelihood of the local farmers.
Working through the local church adds a degree of accountability and sustainability. We are proud of this model, which we believe leads to long-term results and lives transformed. Previously, the church in this area conducted similar trainings in different villages. The trees planted by the farmers have had an 88% survival rate, much higher than earlier programs supported by the government. The big difference has been the specialized trainings and the development of local leaders who continue to monitor and assist the local farmers.