Performance evaluation of community based environmental conservation projects : the case study of three villages in Karatu District Tanzania

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Southern New Hampshire University
Tanzania like many other developing countries is keen to attract investment in fostering the countries social economic development. It is important that environmental considerations should not been as obstacles to investment. However, this should not be a warrant for sacrificing polices geared towards the short term economic gains. What we are witnessing now is the continuous reduction of nature absorptive capacity of our produced waste and rapid exhaustion of resources. In other words we have not pursued development that would bring gains to our generations without compromising capabilities of the future generations. Much effort has been applied on environmental conservation but less has been achieved. The environmental conservation mechanism was derived from the problem caused by human activities as have been identified by the HIMAKA-NGO and other stakeholders in the three villages namely Tloma, Ayalabe and Rhotia, in areas adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation, in Karatu District. The methods used in the study are questionnaire, interviews, observation and focus group discussions. It has been envisaged that deforestation caused by bricks burning, cutting trees for fuel wood, building material, overgrazing, and uncontrolled soil erosion due to poor farming system, and are noted as the main environmental problems. It was found that communities, through awareness raising and educational campaigns in collaboration with HIMAKA, have attempted very little to practice, Zero grazing, contours making in farms, agro forestry practices, improved stoves, interlocking (soil compacted) bricks, and tree planting as environmental conservation measures. It was concluded and recommended that community participation is fundamental in solving environmental conservation problems in rural areas. Also involvement of various stake holders is essential in all stages of planning and implementing environmental projects. More efforts should be instituted to activate people's morale toward environmental management projects and applications of appropriate environmental conservation technologies be supported. The performance of such projects have not well assessed by NGO. Further more as the practical aspect of this study, some projects have been demonstrated by the communities attempting to improve environment and reduce poverty because environmental destruction has direct relationship with increasing poverty at all levels. The total estimated cost of running the program was expected to amount Tshs. 64,630,000/= per year. Communities will also participate hence reducing the cost, and making the program sustainable as community will develop a sense of ownership. (Author's abstract)