Illegal loggers now transformed into being forest security guards

14Mar 2019
Gerald Kitabu
The Guardian
Illegal loggers now transformed into being forest security guards

ILLEGAL charcoal and timber harvesters have turned to be forest security guards in villages of Morogoro District, thanks to the idea of Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM).

Under CBFM, the community is given the right to own and use the forest under their own laws and regulations as recognised by the government.

Morogoro leaders and the villagers said that CBFM benefits are observed from a number of youth who were previously illegal charcoal and timber harvesters but now they have turned into being forest custodian where (TTCS) is being practiced. transforming tanzania charcoal sector project 

Speaking on behalf of Morogoro District Executive Director, Florence Mwambene said that unlike in the past where the villagers and the youth in particular were harvesting forests products illegally, today, the intervention made by the TTCS project had made a big difference in terms of forest management.

She was speaking at the sustainable charcoal exhibitions day which was attended by Mlilingwa villagers, neighbouring villages, regional and district authorities and the forest conservationists held at Mlilingwa village in Morogoro recently.

Mwambene who is also Morogoro District Welfare Officer said that collaborative management and collective responsibility have turned the village land forest reserve into thick forests with no regular acts of illegal activities on the forest products.

“There have been significance improvement in the forest condition, smallholder livelihoods improved and the environmental sustained. TTCS has proved to be one of the easiest ways to change peoples’ mindsets,” she said.

She urged small income generating groups to apply for the money saying the district has set aside 25m/-. For the purpose.

Principal forest officer from Presidents’ Office- Regional Administration and Local Government Stanford Kway hailed the project saying it was high time the minister visited the villages and see for himself how the villagers are benefiting from the project.

The representative of Morogoro District Commissioner, Hilary Sangawa urged the small income generating groups to apply the entrepreneurship Identity cards so that they can be recognised and conduct their businesses freely.

Briefing on the achievements registered by the project, Mlilingwa village Executive Officer, Rahel Abduel  explained that  the village has raised more than 135 m/- from licences of charcoal and timber harvesting in sustainable manner.

“These money had been used to pay for NHIF, and construction of other social services like school classrooms,” he said    

The project manager Charles Leonard said that since the project started in the first phase that involved 20 villages followed by additional of 10 villages in recent years, more than 800m/- had already been collected whereby deforestation in the villages had been reduced by 50 per cent.

Different income generating groups like poultry, sustainable charcoal producers and others showcased their products.