Working Together for Landscape-Wide Impact
Collaboration, innovation, benefits, and urgency were key themes that emerged at the launch of a new USAID-funded project known as “Endangered Ecosystems of Northern Tanzania” (EENT). The launch took place Monday at the Tarangire Safari Lodge in northern Tanzania, but the initiative itself, known as the Northern Tanzania Rangelands Initiative (NTRI), has been in the works for years.
Both EENT and NTRI aim to see a northern Tanzania where people, wildlife and ecosystems are thriving and increasingly resilient to pressures from climate change, land use changes, and population growth.
“We’re pleased and proud to give additional resources,” said U.S. Ambassador, Mark Childress, in his opening remarks. But, he noted, the partners have already been working together and working with communities, which he said is the hard part.
Matt Brown, African Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy, also emphasized the unique aspect of this collaboration: “For me the most exciting part of this program is that we have nine implementing partners all working together and who are committed to the long-term success of conserving this landscape. We firmly believe that bringing together multiple partners with different track records across this landscape is critical for success.”
Kaayai Munero, a community representative from Simanjiro District, who has worked closely with one of the implementing partners, the Ujamaa Community Resource Team, said he was excited to know about the new organizations working in collaboration with UCRT: “Together we can achieve,” he said.
But, as is a central strategy to both this USAID-funded project and to the overall initiative, success will only be achieved if communities are able to benefit from managing their lands and helping to conserve critical wildlife and grazing habitat.
“The people living on this land need to profit from it, need to benefit from it,” said Ambassador Childress. A statement Brown also echoed in his speech: “I believe communities should earn more from tourism, carbon, livestock and many other innovations.”
A green and lush Tarangire National Park dotted with giraffes, impala and elephants, offered an excellent backdrop to this launch and served as a strong reminder of the value and opportunity of these efforts. However, the land within the park is not representative of what lies beyond its boundaries, which are endangered ecosystems threatening the health and viability of both the people and wildlife living there. And it is those places beyond the park borders where the nine implementing partners are focusing their attention.
“I think we have five years to solve this,” said Ambassador Childress. But, he said after hearing from all of the partners he can see progress is already being made.
Maliasili Initiatives is one of the nine implementing partners of EENT and played a key role in helping to facilitate the formation and concept of the Northern Tanzania Rangelands Initiative. Our role for both EENT and NTRI is to provide organizational strengthening support to some of the partners involved; to provide technical expertise on community based natural resources, land rights and natural resource policies; and to identify networking and fundraising opportunities that will enhance the performance and impact of the collaboration.