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Pros and cons of village life – a youth perspective

July 14, 2016  |  Matthias Clyde-Lien

matthiasI recently participated in activities related to the PECC project of the Kesho Trust [May 23-30, 2016]. During my trip I took the opportunity to speak with some of the youth about their lives in Saadani village including topics such as their spare time activities, the pros and cons of life in the village, their dreams for the future, and the opportunities and challenges they may face in achieving those goals.

childrenLots of the youth in the village enjoy spending their free time doing activities such as running, fishing, swimming, drawing, reading, studying, and playing football (soccer) or netball (basketball). Their balls are usually made out of bits of plastics wrapped around each other in the shape of sphere. Some of the younger children have toys that are made up of a stick (approximately 1 meter in length) with either a plastic bottle or two circular pieces of plastic that act as wheels on one end.

schoolThe responses about some pros and cons of village life had similar themes. One of the big topics was education. They said they lack materials including books, pencils and even uniforms. Some of the older kids said that the only secondary school was a 2 km walk from the village [most villages do not have a secondary school at all]. This secondary school also lacks school materials, but also food and drinking water. Elementary schools became free with the election of the new president, President John Magufuli, on October 25, 2015. However, the costs to attend secondary school are around Can $1,200. These high prices make it hard for families in the smaller villages to put their children through school. Children also mentioned that they are beaten by their parents, elders and school teachers.

baboon2Most of the children enjoy living in the village because they enjoy seeing wildlife and tourists and having access to activities such as fishing and swimming in the ocean. Some of the wildlife in the village includes warthogs, yellow baboons, monkeys and wild birds. Although it can be interesting to watch the local wildlife, these animals can also cause problems for the villagers. The baboons have been known to steal the villagers’ food, and both baboons and warthogs can be destructive. The village will also, on occasion, receive larger and more dangerous animals such as a lion or hyena. In this case, the villagers also fear for their livestock (e.g., goats and chickens) as well as themselves.

During my discussions with the youth, I also asked them about their dreams and goals for the future. A lot of the younger kids wanted to grow up to be teachers or doctors. However, jobs interests of the older youth were more diverse – a bus or taxi driver, a sales woman selling soft drinks, a pilot a soldier, and one girl wanted to be president. When I asked them about the challenges they may face in achieving these goals, most of their responses had to do with the lack of courses in school such as math and physics due to the lack of teachers along with the absence of science laboratories to conduct their experiments in. These make school graduation almost impossible. The challenges they face are not only in the schools, but in the village as well. There are not many job opportunities in the village, and no room or funding to open shops. One boy wanted to become a farmer, but said he lack the space for the land he would need.

water2The lives of the youth in Saadani are so very different than the lives the youth have here in the Canada, or the Yukon where I live. We in Canada are presented with so many opportunities that most of us take for granted. For example, our education is free, up until post-secondary. We also have the advantages of things like free health care. But one of the things that amazed me the most about the youth I spoke with was the fact that even though they live in poverty, with little opportunity, most the people in the village are very happy with their lives. It makes you think about how small and pointless some of our “problems” really are.

children 2The villages surrounding Saadani National Park are wonderful and beautiful places that provide many opportunities for the youth who are growing up there. However, they also provide many challenges for them. It seems that most of this is due to the amount of poverty in the village. My hope is that with the work that we are doing with through the Kesho Trust to work with the communities and the national parks agency will help boost the village economies and help improve the lives of the youth who live there.

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Our latest volunteer – Lindsay Staples

March 6, 2016  | 

In November Lindsay traveled to Loliondo to work with the Enguserosambu Forest Trust [EFT].  This was our first major engagement with the EFT and it proved highly successful thanks to both Lindsay and the key local contacts working with the EFT – Samwel Nangiria and Mark Talash.  Basic direction for work planning, budgeting and engagement in some extremely important project activities emerged from the intensive month long visit.  Back in the Yukon now, Lindsay is working together with KT Director Bruce Downie on the resulting documentation and funding proposals that will be necessary to implement the significant scope of work.

For a taste of Lindsay’s experience have a look at some of the photos Lindsay brought back of the area and the people he was working with:  Lindsay’s photos

Kihembe staff facilities

October 28, 2015  |  Bruce K. Downie

Earlier this year the first facilities were developed on our Kihembe site.  The facilities provide basic accommodation and services for staff and volunteers who will be visitng the site to assit in its development.  The facilities include 4 sleeping rooms, a small office space, a kitchen, an eating area and toilet building.  During my recent trip to Tanzania we were in the area for PECC meetings and took the opportunity to visit Kihembe and see the facilities.   With my for the visit were Agnes Sirima, KT Director, Marie Fischborn, IUCN, and Peter Millanga, KT Project Officer.  Agnes and myself are the two directors appointed from the Kesho Trust to serve as directors of the management company for Kihembe as well.   Two others, Costa Coucoulis and Baraka Kalangahe, represent our partner organizzation SANA.

I took the following photos to illustrate the facilities.

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Out of Africa

April 22, 2015  |  Brent Liddle

brent ele 1This winter I escaped the cold in Yukon and headed straight to Africa, with a sixty degree Celsius increase in temperature. My assignment, with the World Elephant Centre near Serengeti, was to develop preliminary interpretive storylines on the conservation crisis facing the African Elephant.

This was a second stage to the work I had conducted previously which focused on developing a concept for the proposed visitor facility. The Kesho Trust continues to play a supporting role in this project. The interpretive materials I was preparing on this trip will be used in an initial facility and for traveling exhibits that promote the World Elephant Centre and explain the desperate need for conservation actions to protect this iconic species. Eventual permanent facilities will include an Interpretive Centre with exhibits, displays and audio visual media as well as a Research Station to monitor the migration movements of these animals and prevent human interference. Indeed, combining science, education and research is the ultimate goal of the World Elephant Centre.

brent ele 2 revDuring my field work I had the opportunity to experience these magnificent animals and photograph them at very close range. The World Elephant Centre is located in the midst of the northern park circuit in Tanzania so I manage to get to places like Tarangire, Manyara and Serengeti national parks and especially appreciated visiting friends who are managing the Lamai Camp in northern Serengeti, Nic Kershaw and Jana Arnhold.

For me, the Northern Serengeti bordering Kenya was particularly special, not only from a wildlife perspective but also the wonderful people I met who are equally committed to elephant conservation. I particularly remember the guide, Anaphi who accompanied me on a walking safari. He really added value to my experience by interpreting everything around us, from “ant lions“ to real lions!

brent ele 3 revIn the distance we could see several free roaming family herds of elephants …it is my sincere wish that all future generations can have such a wonderful experience such as this.

To quote Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania who wrote the famous Arusha Manifesto stated: “These wild creatures amidst the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration , but are an integral part of our future livelihood and well being.”  Never a truer word was spoken.

I’m now ” Out of Africa ” , back home in Yukon , where snow still stubbornly lingers , but my memories of a safari in Tanzania and encountering the largest land animal on Earth remain a highlight of my trip !

Brent Liddle
Haines Junction, Yukon

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