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Promoting Local Tourism along with the economic benefits of Mount Kilimanjaro - By Shirumisha Kwayu

by Bumaco LTD on 05/20/14

Towards promoting local tourism, the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) has waived park fees for local people. As a result, various institutions organize day trips for its employees and their families to climb the Mountain for a day. This means covering one or two stops maximum. Usually to reach the pick, one needs at least 5 days of climbing and coming down.  Well, so I last week I joined a group of local people hiking the Mountain through Lemosho route for a day. The hike started from Shira plateau to Shira 2 camp.  The trip was invaluable as I saw (by my eyes)  many economic benefits of the mountain.   So in this brief entry, I will share my experience with little analysis to what I saw. 

We started the trip in Moshi town around 7:30 am.  Before the bus started to move, our guide announced “here (Moshi town) your on 800 meters above the sea level, today you’re going to be on altitude of 3800 meters above the sea level! If you have not been on an airplane before, this is almost the same, the difference is that in the plane you’re on an air condition but there will be real.”  The guide had much rhetoric similar to this throughout the trip.  Such included phrases like “these species are only found here and may be in some part of America, or Norway.” These phrases were meant to encourage us all and to show the uniqueness and worthiness of climbing the Mountain. Although clouds covered the mountain peak, the changing picturesque as we were gradually ascending from Moshi town to Shira plateau and then Shira 2 is a living testimony explaining why the mountain gets on the list of the Seven Wonders of the World. These scenic views that brings together all types of biomass in the world (rainforest, savanna, desert, and temperate, etc) attract hundreds of thousands of tourists in the area. Tourism, without much explanation to it, has significant positive effect into Tanzania’s economy. Apart from being one of the main sources of foreign currency, it has multiplier effect penetrating to each household around Kilimanjaro region as well as the country in general. 

Moshi is a town of Mt Kilimanjaro. It’s a business town generated by agriculture and tourism.  Under the slopes and in lowland areas of the mountain, there are enormous trading activities going on. Coffee as a cash crop has been going hand in hand with tourism. In fact, Moshi is the only town in the country that hosts an international coffee auction every week.  People in Moshi have diversified their agricultural products by making use of the fertile soil on the slopes of the mountain. While ascending towards the mountain, one observes markets for food products and relatively intensive farming taking place. In West Kilimanjaro you see both peasants and large-scale farming by investors. The negative thing about large investors is that they distract animals’ habitation. For instance, elephants that migrate from Kenya to West Kilimanjaro are prevented from doing so for a contemptible reason that they destroying crops. The investors assemble tractors with sharp light rays on to divert elephants as they confuse the lights with fire. Although, the large scale farming in the area provides employment and income to women and youths, the benefits of keeping the animal’s natural habitation outweighs the farming benefits. 

On their side, KINAPA has practiced agroforestry in the lowland of Mount Kilimanjaro. They have planted trees and in-between they allow local people to plant carrots and potatoes. This type of farming is impressive as the trees influence the climate of the region and farming ensure food security. This type of farming is very important as it generates local and international trade. The timber is exported to other countries such as China while the food crops are traded to other regions within the country. This type of farming further stimulates other sectors such as transport and industrial sector.

To conclude, it is 100% fair to say that Kilimanjaro is a natural gift to the people around it and the world in general. It provides significant benefits to its residents and people across the world. The area has a lot more potential for various areas of interests. For instance research centers could be established in the areas doing various studies including agriculture, ecology, tourism, and business. The region could be turned to the peak of education in Africa.   Historians, geographers, botanist, economist and many other scholars have a lot to learn from the mountain. 

To this end, BUMACO with support from the CORDAID-Netherlands, started to train youths in rural Kilimanjaro (Hai District) in mountaineering skills. The aim is to enable these youths to tap into the tourism industry and gain economic benefits. The mountain can employ every single youth around as guide, porter, farmer, etc. At BUMACO we also train youths and women in handicraft so they can make souvenirs for locals and tourists. What these youths need is skills and the right attitude. 



Engaging the community at solving education issues at local level in Tanzania - By Shirumisha Kwayu

by Bumaco LTD on 05/10/14

There are significant improvements in education sector of Tanzania particularly in achieving universal primary education. From 2001 Tanzania waived primary school fees. This one factor has enabled the country to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 2 by 93% (World Bank, 2012). The expansion of education has contributed to the rise of primary education enrollment but also raised questions about the quality of education provided. This blog post is going to point out the challenges facing education sector at local level in Tanzania. It is about ground experience in a rural ward (Machame North B- in Kilimanjaro Hai District) meeting with one agenda- education school.  The meeting included teachers, local councilor, district education officers, village government, school committees, and members of the public. The aim of the meeting was to discuss issues in the village schools. The motivation for such a crucial meeting stem from the poor standard seven results.

One of the impressing things of the meeting is that, the community at large knew the issues of education and their school. This was evident from the contribution and in general discussions. Below I will discuss some of the issues that were pointed out:

Inadequate food: It was pointed pupils are not fed properly at home and in school. Lack of food to children is the main cause for deterioration of education. They cannot concentrate. The problem starts at home when they do not eat properly or at all, and when they get to food is also scarce or unavailable. The reasons for the lack of food include social-economic changes, which are taking place such as women going to work very early in the morning hence children find no one to feed them in the morning before they go to school. Also, some parents have been reluctant to contribute for the school lunch.

Poor relation among parents, teacher and pupils: the relationship among these three key stakeholders has deteriorated causing a major setback in the quality of education provided. Parents have failed to give teachers enough support to enable them to deliver their duty to students; instead parents have been demoralizing teachers by aligning with pupils to attack teachers when they do their responsibility. Furthermore, the fact that parents align with pupils encourages truancy. This discourages teachers. It kills their motivation hence leading to poor delivery of quality education.

Inadequacy of funds and materials: This hampers provisions of teaching aids, training and seminars for teachers, books, sports facilities, water, and electricity. The lack of sport facilities, for example, makes pupils dormant and inactive in and out of the class. Lack of teachers training and seminars makes teaching difficult especially on new subjects such as ICT where teachers need to be constantly trained considering the consequent pedagogical implications of ICT.

Another aim of the meeting was to discuss ways through which the community will raise standard and quality of education. Members of the meeting came up with the following recommendations:

Food plan: in order to curb the food problem community members came up with a food plan that will enable pupils to have sufficient food throughout the year. They decided to make enough storage for each school in the locality that will be enough to store food to the next season of harvest. They also decided that food will be collected during the harvest period instead of collecting during the start of the year when there is shortage of food. Also during the harvest period the food prices are low and hence it cheaper for parents to contribute food for schools.

Disciplining parents: the meeting made a resolution that all non-committal parents should be summoned by the village government for disciplinary sessions. This resolution focused more on the root cause (parent) who also has the power to change things rather than punishing a pupil who is often not in control of his/her problem. A pupil, for example, should not be suspended out of class or sessions because his/her parents failed to supply exercise books or other related payments. The resolution came about after discovering that troublesome parents are not the poorest. This resolution takes the burden away from the teacher and pupil and places it upon the parent and the local government. Thus the teacher and pupil can concentrate on education.

Public education:  lastly the meeting agreed to have public education for adults and parents on the importance of education and their role in enhancing education quality in the locality. This measure will be instrumental in dealing with ignorance of parents, and community members. The value of education will never be the same when this education goes to the public members of the local community.

To sum up, challenges facing education at local level in Tanzania can be alleviated by the community. The community only needs mobilization and leadership. Such meetings enable them to change perception, which is often the single most important change agent. Yes, the government can say primary education is free, but education is an expensive commodity. The fact that there are no fees should not be the reason for people not to contribute for the education of their children. People should contribute as much as they can so as to share the cost of education. This can be done through adequate food contribution, learning materials and teaching aid, sports facilities, among other related education needs. If community contributes, people’s hearts will be on education since they will have stored their treasures on it.

Tackling youth unemployment in Rural Kilimanjaro

by Bumaco LTD on 01/27/14

Tackling youth unemployment in Rural Kilimanjaro

In implementing our RUFIP program in rural Kilimanjaro, one constant challenge has been inability to save. As we mobilize rural communities to establish and join SACCOS, we encourage people to save money in those societies so as they could borrow more and invest in economic activities.  One big challenge has been the inability to save money due to lack of employment or income-generating activities.  Thus, with the support from CORDAID Netherlands, BUMACO decided to go further and train youths so as to equip them with necessary skills for economic survival. (See the attached summary training document (under Services in this website) 

Youth Training on Mountaineering skills (Porters/Prospective Guides)
  
We train youths on mountaineering skills as porters who will escort and assists tourists during mountain climbing. 

The training kicked on in early December 2013. 39 youths from Narumu Ward in Hai were trained.   5 villages were covered including Usari, Orori, Mulama, Tela, and Lyamungo Sinde. 

Among the 39 youths who graduated on 21st December 2013 14 of them have already climbed the mountain as porters. Registered tour companies in Moshi including Asante Tours and Tusker Trail contracted these 14 porters. 

The lives of these youths are changing for the better. The effect is multiple trickling down to their families. We believe and see changes. 

On 24th January 2014, another group of trainees graduated. This was a larger group composing of 125 youths. The increased number of trainees was a result of witnessing the benefits gained by the 39 youths who attended the first course. The training covered Machame North Ward and Machame South Ward. Villages covered were Nshara, Uduru, Wari, Foo, Kimashuku, and Mailisita.

Handicraft Training
5 people graduated on 24th January 2014 after two months of training on handicraft. These trainees are equipped with skills to make leather sandals with different-theme /multi colour coordinated decorations using beards.  

The sandals that they made during training were on sale on the graduation day and more will be taken to the market (Souvenirs shops) in Moshi town.

BUMACO believes in empowering youths in rural areas through training. Skills are crucial for self-employment in the era where unemployment is a crisis. Dependency on small-scale agriculture is risky due to lack of land area in rural Kilimanjaro. There are many avenues for improving the lives of youths in Kilimanjaro, and the Mountain is still an untapped resource to many youths who lives in its slopes.