The Kesho Trust

our journal

Subscribe to our email newsletter (at right) to receive select news & announcements, as well as journal stories, by email.

Tanzania Maasai Visit Canada

June 13, 2019  | 

20190509_165945The Kesho Trust, in partnership with the University of Victoria [UVic], secured a Connections Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [SSHRC]. The grant enabled the long-planned tour by representatives of the Enguserosambu Forest Trust [EFT] to meet with Canadian First Nations communities. Three representatives of the EFT traveled from Tanzania to Canada – Nalaimuta Makeseni [EFT Director], Mark Talash [EFT Coordinator] and Samwel Nangiria [Lead Negotiator and EFT Founder]. The purpose of the tour was to share experiences related to maintaining cultural integrity and approaches to resource management on traditional lands.

The Maasai of Enguserosambu now manage their own community forest lands under an agreement with the Tanzanian government. By building their knowledge and drawing on experience from elsewhere they can improve the effectiveness of their approach and deliver greater benefits to people both in the short and long term.

The tour had a very personal touch provided by the support of Canadians in B.C. and Yukon who had visited Enguserosambu in the past and knew the participants through those experiences. These volunteers opened their homes and provided amazing logistical support to the tour activities and made the learning experience a very enjoyable one as well. These people deserve special thanks: Alison Hastings and her family [Victoria], Gillian McKee, Erik Val, Lindsay Staples and Heather Alton [Whitehorse].

20190504_113136During the first week, the delegation was hosted at UVic by Dr. Phil Dearden. tour included time spent at UVic focusing on community mapping and participatory video skills in workshops with Dr. Crystal Tremblay and Ken Josephson. They also visited two Vancouver Island First Nations. The group met with Chief Gordon Planes of T’Sou-ke First Nation as well as with representatives of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation – Joe Martin, Hjalmer Wenstob and Terry Dorward. After being welcomed to the Tla-o-qui-aht FN territory and Tribal Park the guests were shown sites and traditional activities of the local people including canoe carving, traditional artwork, stories and songs, cedar bark stripping, along with a visit to Meares Island. They also had an opportunity to explore parts of Pacific Rim National Park, walk on the beaches and coastal trails and visit the Kwisitis Visitor Centre.

300In the second week the tour moved to the Yukon. Two days of meetings and events, hosted by Chief Sharon Nelson and the Council of Selkirk First Nation took place in Pelly Crossing, three hours drive north of Whitehorse. Members of the Department of Lands and Resources also took an active role in the discussions. A key focus was on the traditional knowledge and cultural land use mapping project that had recently been concluded and leaders of the project explained the context, outcomes and value of the work to the community.

Cultural connections were also important with the Selkirk people. Artists demonstrated their techniques and work during the entire course of the event. The guests also enjoyed a performance by the Selkirk Spirit Dancers and participated in a demonstration of stick gambling by members of the community before sharing their own similar games. The Maasai toured the community and enjoyed a visit to the museum both contributing greatly to the understanding of the local culture.

KDFNOne afternoon during the second week of the tour, the EFT representatives enjoyed the opportunity to meet members of the Kwanlen Dun First Nation in Whitehorse in a meeting coordinated by Councillor Sean Smith and attended by Councillor Charles Chief and Assistant Executive Director Dorothy Sam.  The meeting provided an opportunity to share ideas on issues of cultural integrity and land management as well as to add to the potential for ongoing future collaborations.

20190509_162945On Thursday and Friday of the second week of the tour, the Maasai representatives visited the Carcross Tagish First Nation [CTFN] in Carcross. They were welcomed with a smudging ceremony and dance before the program got underway at the new Learning Centre. A broad range of community members attended the events – youth, elders, Lands and Resources staff and Council members. The event was organized and hosted by former Chief Mark Wedge and Eleanor Hayman.

The discussions provided an important opportunity to learn about the CTFN experiences of self-determination and the process of achieving self governance. Land management and planning from a wholistic perspective based on traditional cultural values was also a central topic.

Participatory dancing demonstrations led by Sean and Gary at different points throughout the program brought a vibrancy and meaning to the cultural experience. In hosting the visitors, CTFN members also prepared an amazing array of traditional foods for the lunch breaks but also at an evening dinner gathering. The women who made this part of the visit possible worked long and hard and their effort were much appreciated by the entire delegation.

10During the course of the tour, two public events were held – one at UVic and the other at the Old Firehall in Whitehorse. In these events, Samwel, Mark and Nalaimuta presented an overview of their territory, their culture, their communities and their approaches to land and resource management. Their illustrated presentation sparked good questions and discussion with the audience. The visiting and personal connections following the formal program also provided an excellent opportunity for further understanding and exchange of ideas.

All in all the tour to Canada provided a very rich experience of sharing and learning among aboriginal peoples and with a broader public. The tour generated considerable interest in furthering the connections that developed and activities are underway now to further the potential partnerships. We are looking forward to future events that bring together these aboriginal communities from both Tanzania and Canada together with the academic community in both countries.

20190507_164746

 

For more photos and videos of the tour check out our other links on this website.  Maasai Tour

 

 

Good Hope Update 2018

January 7, 2019  | 

As usual it is great to get Rosemary’s updates on all the activity at Good Hope after she makes her annual trek to Tanzania!  Unfortunately this one missed our Christmas newsletter but it available here and on our website.   Good Hope Update December 2018

Website link for Good Hope current and past updates

Population and Environment

December 5, 2016  |  Beatrice Simon

The Kesho Trust was invited to attend a recent information workshop regarding research on the links between population and the environment. A local volunteer with Kesho Trust, Beatrice Simon, who has worked with us in Saadani [in photo] and in Kiteto District attended on our behalf. We are grateful to Beatrice for her participation. Her report on the workshop follows:

Demographic Dividend –Workshop for Environmental Organizations

mikumi-084-cI was fortunate to be able to represent the Kesho Trust at a workshop conducted at Flomi Hotel in Morogoro, Tanzania. Hosted by Pathfinder International the workshop focused on the interrelationship between population and various socio-economic sectors such as environment and how population impacts these sectors and the Sustainable Development Goals. A variety of Tanzanian environmental organizations were invited. Pathfinder is an organization that removes barriers to critical sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries, ensuring millions of women, men and young people are able to choose their own paths forward.

The workshop was useful for me because I gained important knowledge on the relationship between environment and population. Worldwide population is still increasing while the resources remain the same. Population growth hinders economic opportunities as a result of high child dependency. This is true because most people especially in rural areas do not use family planning often due to factors such as lack of education. Socioeconomic growth through managing demographics can be achieved through reducing the child dependency burden and improving human capital through investment in health and education. When birth rates declinesignificantly, there will be more working-aged adults, which will open the window of opportunity for accelerating economic growth through increased productivity.

Also underemployment as a result of high population will be reduced when countries, particularly developing countries, invest in different sectors such as agriculture and industrialization. This investment is accentuated through the multiplier effect. Education, health, family planning, and economic reforms are important wheels in achieving population stability and dividends. Different organization and stakeholders should encourage education, particularly female school enrollment and use of family planning in order to reduce child dependency. Family planning reduces child dependency and the burden of catering for children hence enhance economic growth. These principles and implications of population profiles are important for organizations such as The Kesho Trust especially as it works to enhance education and sustainable livelihoods for the local people in the villages where we work.

Trip Report: Bruce K. Downie, Director

November 12, 2016  |  Bruce K. Downie, Director

As the Canadian representative to the Tanzanian Board of Directors, I have taken a fairly prominent role in the development of the Kesho Trust program in Tanzania. I attempt to visit regularly and this recent visit had a fairly extensive agenda of activities. I have tried to capture the highlights in this journal entry with brief notes on each of the topic areas I addressed during the trip.

Fundraising

20161018_112148We have developed a partnership initiative with our Loliondo partners, the Enguserosambu Forest Trust, based on the work of our volunteer Lindsay Staples following his month long assignment in the village late last year. On this trip I joined with EFT members, Samwel Nangiria (L) and Mark Talash (R) [see photo], to promote the initiative to representatives of a number of donor agencies in Dar es Salaam. Not all connections were possible during the trip but Director Victoria Mushi is following up with the Canadian High Commission representatives. Our meetings generated considerable interest. Besides building a network of informed and interested organizations we are hoping that funding support for the work will also follow.

Board Member Meetings

The logistics of gathering board members together at a single location proved impossible this trip so instead I met with board members at different times. I met with Dar es Salaam based members, Sympho Hangi and Victoria Mushi and subsequently with Agnes Sirima and Alfred Kikoti in Morogoro. Unfortunately I was unable to connect with the last member of the board Jafari Kideghesho as he is now based in Moshi and my time was too short to make that trip. However the meetings were productive and I thank the board members for their continuing active support.

Meeting with Volunteers

One of the important ways that Kesho Trust works is through volunteers. We have had a significant number of people from Canada go to work on our projects and with our local partners. What allows this to happen is the link between international volunteers and local Tanzanian staff and volunteers. Without that local support hosting our Canadian volunteers would be impossible. We are looking to expand the cadre of local volunteers so that we can utilize more international students and interns that are becoming available to us.

I met with interested Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam during this trip to determine the level of interest and to explore the range of activities these young people would be interested in. We are encouraged to find many people, typically recent university graduates, looking for experience with an organization like the Kesho Trust. We now need to raise the necessary funds to allow them to be supported in their work, especially in the field assignments that are available in Kihembe.

Miseni Visit

img_997120161101_071352

It is always enjoyable to visit our project sites outside of Dar es Salaam.  On this occasion I was hosted by Costa Coucoulis, Director of our partner organization SANA, at his new camp in Gongo.  The visit provided an important opportunity to view and discuss efforts to conserve buffer lands to the Zaraninge Forest in the area between Gongo, Matipwili and the Wami River.

Kihembe facility

20161101_142213A key part of the reason for visiting the Saadani area was to check the facilities at Kihembe and determine what finishing was necessary to prepare for international students coming to live and work there in the new year.  We met with Juma, our onsite caretaker, and made plans for improvements that will be undertaken.

New village forest conservation

Representatives of the village of Manda Mazingara connected with our Kihembe team while we were in Mkange. They invited us to visit a forest area within their village. They wanted us to work with them to protect the forest and at the same time develop benefits to the community that would raise the level of well being of residents.

20161101_173646

20161101_173659

The forest landscape was interesting and in relatively good condition although like most of the village areas around Saadani deforestation for purposes of charcoal production was reducing protected landscapes at an alarming rate. The fact that this village recognized the issue and wanted to do something about it before it was too late was extremely encouraging. A spiritual hill was a prominent feature that we visited and our guides reported the presence of interesting wildlife.

img_0020Following the field visit we met with a group of elders and community leaders to discuss what could be done. Although no commitments were made we suggested that further study of the potential might be undertaken by students who we anticipated would be coming to work at Kihembe in January. Once further review was possible we could then sit and discuss future plans.

Office

We have not taken advantage of the office space donated to us over the past year by Nicola Colangelo in part because of its location. We are currently investigating other space and setting up volunteer assistance to run the office on a regular basis. There will be more news on the plans when they are confirmed.

 

older journal entries