Highlights and Publications

Tanzania: U.S. Offers 7 Billion /- for Wildlife Management

AN investment of six million United States dollars (about 9.6bn/-) which the United States government through its Agency for International Development (USAID) in establishing wildlife management areas (WMAs) in communities bordering conservation areas is a milestone in fighting poverty and sustainable development.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Investment and Empowerment, Mary Nagu, said USAID is helping millions of impoverished communities in rural Tanzania which live adjacent to national parks, game reserves and other protected areas, to benefit from their resources directly.

“Through WMAs, communities can benefit directly from tourism, tourism photography and tour guiding which is not the case through conservation areas,” Dr Nagu said on Wednesday evening while launching a USAID funded documentary film showing activities in some of the country’s registered 14 WMAs.

One such successful WMA is Burunge in Manyara which will earn over 20,000 residents of the area 400m/- by the end of this year. All the 14 legally established WMAs have generated 7.2bn/- since 2006 when the first one was legally recognized.

She said currently there are 33 WMAs of which 19 are in the process of being legally recognized while several others will follow as communities realize the benefits of establishing such facilities for conservation but also income generation.

WMAs are buffer zones between villages and official conservation areas such as national parks, game reserves, game sanctuaries and wildlife protection areas which are normally administered by separate institutions other than neighbouring communities.

The US government in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund for Nature, started the WMA initiative in 1998 to address issues of policy and legal framework to allow existence of such facilities under village jurisdiction.

“The WMA has benefited us a lot by not only helping us earn income to fight poverty but also avoid cutting down trees, charcoal making and poaching, we had serious problems,” said Noah Teveli, a former Burunge WMA official.

Mr Teveli said conservation has helped the 20,000 people of Burunge attract private investment in infrastructure and hospitality which has also created jobs to hundreds of people in the village of Babati district in Manyara region.

“We have managed to reduce cutting down of trees and poaching by more than 70 per cent,” he argued saying Burunge WMA has also assisted to protect Lake Manyara from drying and Tarangile National Park from destruction.

United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Robert Scott said Washington will continue supporting initiatives which seeks to empower local people engage in conservation but also fight poverty.

Mr Scott said WMA are important vehicles to bring together the public, private investors and government in taming poverty and environmental destruction.

“Currently, 350,000 people are benefiting from the WMA programme. Based on the success of the WMA pilot activities, the government of Tanzania has now embraced the WMA programme as a national policy priority for critical wildlife areas outside core protected areas,” said Scott.

Last year, USAID introduced a ‘Cash for Work Programme’ which has so far directly employed WMA community members and provided over 450m/- in salaries.

Source: http://allafrica.com/ - By Finnigan Wa Simbeye

  • Google+
  • PrintFriendly