Conserving 250,000 Acres of Tanzanian Rainforest

by African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC)
Training communities on conservation agriculture
Training communities on conservation agriculture

Increased wealth for 3,000 households through sustainable income activities!

More than 5,000 are benefiting directly from the livelihood activities supported by the project with the largest number of beneficiaries engaged in the Village Saving and Loan Association's (VSLA) work.  

VSLA: 3,972 people (2,391 women and 1,581 men) from 159 groups found in 25 villages are actively participating in VSLAs, which has exceeded the targeted 3000 households by far. 

Conservation farming: A total of 756 farmers (312 women, 444 men) from 18 villages have been supported by the project through training and provision of farm inputs for use in their own farms. 

Beekeeping: 129 people (52 women, 77 men) from 3 villages are participating in 7 beekeeping groups. 109 households cumulatively earned TZS 1,780,000 from beekeeping as a result of project support. 

Allanblackia nuts: 285 people (160 women, 125 men) from 7 villages who are engaging in the Allanblackia nut trade, are now benefiting from the training  conducted and materials provided to them during the last reporting period. The groups have sold 49,078 kg of nuts and earned more than TZS 29 million.

Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) 

-  2,914 villagers (1,445 women, and 1,469 men) people living in Gonja and Diburuma Villages are on track to benefit from sustainable forest management as a result of establishing Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs) in their villages. 

- 2,635 villagers (1,303 women, and 1,332 men) in Masimba Village are on track to benefit directly or indirectly from the establishment of charcoal and timber forest management units including harvesting coupes. 

- Some Village Natural Resource Management Committees (VNRCs) in CBFM villages have earned revenues from fines paid by offenders found in VLFRs. Ndole Village VNRC earned TZS 780,000 from fines. The money was used in the construction of school desks which is still going on. Makuyu Village VNRC earned TZS 270,000 from fines paid by outsiders who  were found grazing in their VLFR.  The money collected was used in paying salaries for the two watchmen for their dispensary and the school for three months. Magunga village collected TZS 100,000 from fines for VLFR boundary markings and also cutting down a tree near a water source/river bank. The money, together with 70 pieces of timber harvested in VLFR were used in making school desks.

Joint Forest Managment (JFM) Villages

- VNRCs in JFM villages around Mkingu NR also earned TZS 1,260,000 from fines from offenses in the nature reserve as follows: Mkindo: TZS 30,000; Ubiri TZS 50,000; Digalama TZS 805,000; Semwali 320,000; and Mkindo Bungoma TZS 55,000.

Desks made with money collected from VLFR fines
Desks made with money collected from VLFR fines
VSLA member used loan for Livestock
VSLA member used loan for Livestock
Micro-Project committees discuss proposed projects
Micro-Project committees discuss proposed projects

Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) Membership

Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) applied for FEE membership in March 2016 and in May 2016 TFCG was accepted as a FEE Associate Member for Tanzania. TFCG will participate in the FEE Annual General Meeting in Ahmedabad India in September 2016.

Joining FEE will enhance the capacity of TFCG to promote the Eco-School approach and environmental education more generally. By joining the foundation, TFCG will also gain access to a network of other organisations implementing environmental education activities with concomitant opportunities for learning and exchange.

Integration of Environmental Education (EE) into Primary School Teaching 

One 3-day teacher training event was implemented from 6th – 8th June 2016. The training involved a Ward Education Coordinator and the Environmental Education Coordinator from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST). The participant from the MoEST became convinced that the Eco-School Rights-Based Approach was the best option for improving the quality of education and livelihoods of schools and community members.

The trained Ward Education Coordinator has been supporting the programme by making school follow-ups and participating in programme activities. After the training, the Ward Education Coordinator is now able to participate in the implementation of Eco-School activities in the classroom and outside classroom sessions. She is mornitoring and advising her ward schools on what to do pertaining to Eco-Schools’ activities. She also participated in the designing of the Micro-Projects.


Eco-School Committees from 20 programme schools under the guidance from TFCG, district staff, and disvision staff managed to design different Micro-Projects for the schools. The themes developed are: Forestry, Conservation Agriculture, Climate Change, Waste Mangement, Water and Sanitation and School Compound Improvement. The proposed Micro-Projects include: Tree nurseries, Tree planting, Banana Farming, Pineapple Farming, Vegetable Farming, Agroforestry, Chickens, Cassava Farming and Beekeeping. It was agreed that after the Micro-Projects designing and training processes, the programme schools in collaboration with the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will open respective bank accounts specifically meant for Micro-Projects and then TFCG will provide them with funds meant for the Micro-projects. The schools will commence implementation of the projects once they have the funds. In total 18 projects have been provisionally approved; two projects are yet to be approved.

The designed Micro-Projects will commence after they have been funded. Teachers and learners will use the Micro-Projects for training and learning purposes. The Micro-Projects will be demonstration areas. When established, the Micro-Projects will enhance the improvement of education quality, schools and community livelihoods and school compounds.

Zambia Festival of Action

Three Tanzanian students (2 girls and 1 boy) from the project’s schools (Komtonga, Dilagama and Hembeti) accompanied by a TFCG project officer participated in the Zambia Festival of Action organized by Greenpop. The pupils participated in activies ranging from EE/Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) trainings/workshops, tree planting, recycling and re-use of materials, environmentally friendly business, and conservation agriculture.

The pupils who participated in the festival are now disseminating knowledge and experiences gained from Zambia to their colleagues at schools and puting things learnt into practice. This activity was financed separately by the African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC).

Participants in the teacher training event in June
Participants in the teacher training event in June
Students at Zamiba Festival of Action
Students at Zamiba Festival of Action

Short description of the project and its intervention strategy

This project is based on a two-pronged theory of change:

In order to bring about a lasting and positive evolution in Tanzania’s marginalized and unsustainable charcoal sector, it is necessary to intervene at both the policy and practice level.

The project demonstrates better ways of doing business in a practical way through its support of sustainable, community-based, charcoal production, led explicitly by market forces. The project aims to incentivize ecologically sustainable production by facilitating the re-structuring of the charcoal value chain by securing exemptions from Central Government royalties for charcoal produced sustainably from village forest reserves; and by allowing communities to set and retain their own fees with these funds, which are then made available for community development and sustainable natural resources management.

Main results achieved and implementation performance of the project

The project partners successfully modeled a sustainable charcoal value chain that provides more security to charcoal producers; significant village-level revenue from permit fees; and an environmentally sustainable harvesting approach. The key change has been to establish a mechanism whereby verifiably sustainable charcoal is exempt from Central Government royalties, so that communities can charge and retain fees instead.

During this first year, the project has achieved increased support from stakeholders at national and local levels for sustainable charcoal, as a result of a participatory evaluation of the project; a national workshop involving key biomass energy policy makers; media coverage; and meetings with relevant members of parliament and senior civil servants. The project has improved the governance of the model at the local level, including improved record-keeping, increased compliance with sustainable harvesting practices, and more effective law enforcement. The model has been extended to an additional 2 villages in Kilosa District and preparations have been made to scale up to 2 additional districts, including securing funds for a 4-year second phase for the project.

Main steering implications for next period of interventions

Scaling up and mainstreaming the model is the next key step. With 15-20 million ha of woodland on village land, of which 2.3 million ha are already in > 800 village forest reserves, there is significant potential to scale up. This requires partnerships with other organizations and initiatives capable of establishing the model, including Tanzania's National Forest and Beekeeping Program (NFBKP III) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Evaluating and improving the model based on research from the first year will help to increase impact. Promoting the sustainability of the model will be critical in Phase 2, including building capacity and embedding incentives in the model (and removing barriers) for multiple stakeholders to support the sustainable charcoal value chain independent of donor funding. Withdrawal from the Phase 1 in villages needs to be done in such a way as to ensure that communities continue to implement the sustainable model.

More effort is needed to increase incentives for producers, including increasing their incomes. Diversifying forest-based enterprises, including integrating sustainable timber harvesting and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) into Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) will reduce risks and increase community incomes. Widespread evasion of royalty payments within the charcoal industry and a licensing system that is not grounded in sustainable harvesting principles are contextual challenges that need to be addressed. Awareness raising and advocacy remain critical for the success of the model particularly given persistent and widespread misconceptions about the charcoal sector.

Members showing their Forest manifesto Sept 2015
Members showing their Forest manifesto Sept 2015

Project Summary
Forest Justice in Tanzania (FJT) is an advocacy initiative between the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and the Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania (MJUMITA) that has been financed by the Accountability in Tanzania program between January 2011 and December 2015. FJT aims to conserve forest ecosystem services for the benefit of the nation and local communities by amplifying the volume of citizens’ demand for forest justice and by supporting the government to supply more equitable and sustainable forest governance. This report covers the progress of the project between September - December 2015.

Through MJUMITA’s 10,345 members, the project succeeded in reaching over 1 million people living in the 452 villages represented in the network. The strong partnership that exists between TFCG and MJUMITA meant that the project was able to get going rapidly and to implement almost all of the planned activities despite some delays in getting funds. The investments made in building TFCG’s and MJUMITA’s institutional capacity also meant that the project was well planned, implemented, monitored, and administered.

National elections in Tanzania in October 2015 provided an opportunity for communities and the FJT partners to frame the dialogue on forest governance in the context of the democratic process.

In addition, good working relationships with district authorities, journalists, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism allowed for:

  • Public meetings even during the election campaign period
  • Widespread media coverage on forest governance issues between September – December 2015, including 12 newspaper articles; 12 TV programs, and 15 radio programs
  • The FJT partners to be invited to participate in various committees and consultation processes related to national policy development, including consultation on the draft National Forest Policy and on policy instruments related to REDD+

Opportunities - Accountability amongst elected representatives
FJT’s work to develop and promote the MJUMITA forest manifesto has significantly raised the profile of forestry issues amongst elected representatives at local and national levels. The next step is to trace the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the manifesto and to monitor implementation of the electoral promises of those candidates who promised to improve governance in the forestry sector.  FJT’s work around the manifesto has enabled MJUMITA to identify a cadre of allies with political influence at local and national level with whom we can work to implement the manifesto recommendations.  Commitment to address forest governance issues is particularly strong amongst many ward councillors including those MJUMITA members who were elected as Ward Councillors.  The new Minister for Environment also appears to be particularly committed to forest conservation as reflected in the concern that he expressed about high deforestation rates in Tanzania, in his first press conference after coming into office,

Opportunities - Awareness
The widespread media coverage achieved through the FJT project has increased awareness and support for forest conservation within Tanzania; and has increased understanding amongst many stakeholders on the linkages between natural resources management and broader governance issues.  Materials developed by the FJT project, such as the documentary on forest crimes can be used in awareness raising events.

Opportunities - International recognition for MJUMITA’s work
In December 2015, MJUMITA was awarded with the prestigious UNDP Equator Prize 2015 in the category of Forests.  MJUMITA was granted the award for its work on community based forest management. The Equator Prize is awarded each year by UNDP to 20 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are advancing innovative solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.  MJUMITA’s nomination was selected from amongst 1,461 nominations from 126 countries.

Way Forward - Lessons learned
The project’s theory of change rests on the premise that by amplifying the volume of citizens’ demand for forest justice and by supporting government to supply more equitable and sustainable forest governance, forest ecosystem services can be conserved for the benefit of the nation and local communities.  Overall the project has demonstrated that this theory of change remains valid.  Reductions in deforestation rates in the forests that were monitored by the project coupled with evidence of increasing law enforcement and positive shifts in the attitudes and behavior of all of the project’s boundary partners points to the effectiveness of the project’s strategies, particularly the grass-roots advocacy work with community-based organizations and other civil society organizations.  

Forest governance remains intertwined with issues related to land tenure.  Deforestation occurs frequently where there are disputes over village boundaries and where village land is considered as ‘general land’ by local and national government associated with the absence of village land use plans and village land certificates.  

The research on forestry sector financing pointed to the need to make fundamental changes to the ways in which forestry sector budgets are developed and revenue targets are set. The current system of setting revenue targets without considering basic principles of sustainable harvesting is contributing to the current high rates of deforestation in many parts of the country.  Similarly the absence of any formal mechanism to hold Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) accountable for the effectiveness of its management of natural forests together with the embedded disincentives to empower communities to manage their natural forests remain fundamental policy issues to be addressed.

Community members trained on financial mgmt
Community members trained on financial mgmt
Follow up governance review meeting
Follow up governance review meeting
Cycling event Ruvu South Forest Reserve Dec 2015
Cycling event Ruvu South Forest Reserve Dec 2015
MJUMITA representatives with journalists
MJUMITA representatives with journalists


With your help we...
    •    Planted 1.7 million trees
    •    Established 5 village forest reserves covering 7,645 ha
    •    Trained 1,246 women and men on conservation agriculture
    •    Invested US$4.2 million in forest conservation projects
    •    Conserved 290,000 ha of forest   
    •    Employed 92 staff on conservation projects
    •    Trained 110 teachers to integrate environmental education

In addition, last week in Paris, on the edges of the climate talks, I’m very proud to report, the African Rainforest Conservancy's (ARC's) field partner won a prestigious United Nations Equator Award:

The Community Forestry Network of Tanzania, better known by its Swahili acronym MJUMITA, won the Equator Prize 2015 in the category of Forests! The Equator Prize is awarded each year by the UNDP to 20 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are advancing innovative solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities.  MJUMITA’s nomination was selected from amongst 1,461 nominations from 126 countries. Providing networking and advocacy for communities involved in participatory forest management, the network has grown to 15,000 members in 500 user groups in 23 districts and 450 villages across Tanzania!
Thank you so much for believing in our mission to conserve and restore African Rainforests - among the oldest and most biodiverse in the world.
We can’t do this work with you, so please consider giving monthly!



About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC)

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Namasha Schelling
Executive Director
New York, NY United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.