The UNDP/GEF East African Cross-Border Biodiversity Project, “Reducing Biodiversity Loss at Crossborder sites in East Africa” is an Integrated Conservation and Development Project (ICDP), developed and implemented through a participatory and collaborative effort by the three sister countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and undertakes activities aimed at Reducing Biodiversity Loss at Cross-Border sites in selected districts. It addresses the root causes of biodiversity loss at decentralized and community level while at the same time influencing National and Regional processes for biodiversity conservation. The project is innovative and complex with entry points at regional, national, district and community levels.

The project is facilitating the mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations into cross-sectoral development planning and decision-making systems at local, district and national levels. The project aims to achieve the following 7 outputs :

A1:       Local Agencies at local key sites promoting sustainable use of biodiversity

A2:       Local communities at key sites participating in resource conservation.

A3:            Effective and compatible policy and legal frameworks in place at key sites.

A4:       Cross-border Conservation issues are effectively addressed.

B1:            Participatory biodiversity management plans implemented at sites.

B2:            Alternative resources use/management strategies adopted at key sites

B3:            Alternative income generation practices adopted at key sites.

The project beneficiary groups include national governments, districts, government agencies, grassroots communities including the poor and women and the international community with an interest in biodiversity


Project Implementation:

The project is being implemented at three levels:

(a)                At the ecosystem level in the target districts where the project forest sites are located. For example in the Sango Bay – Minziro forest/wetland ecosystem and its surrounding environment.

(b)               At the National level; by the Government institutions that have expertise for capacity building, training, biological inventories, coordination and policy harmonisation for the natural resources management sector, and,

(c)             At the Regional level; harmonising national policies, networking, training, and resource valuation issues.


Working Approach

The basic strategy of the project is to provide a broad-based integrated package of support to the government and non-government agencies dealing with biodiversity. The project activities being implemented are therefore, where necessary, contracted to other appropriate organisations such as NGOs.

The Project Document stresses the need to undertake activities through partnerships with other organisations on the basis of technical capacity, a proven track record to ensure sustainability of activities at district and field levels. This is seen as an innovative mechanism seeking both technical competence and local level capacity building. The approach of the project is therefore to build partnerships, mechanisms and capacities within existing institutions. No new institutions are to be created, instead existing institutions are being strengthened.

The partnerships are with existing initiatives/institutions with similar conservation objectives. This is cost effective, ensures sustainability and increases ownership. The partners are natural resource management agencies such as the Forest Departments, local District Councils, and NGOs (e.g Integrated Rural Development Initiatives (IRDI) in Uganda; East African Wildlife Society in Kenya and TAF in Tanzania.),

Other partners include Training Institutions such as Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources and Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation; Mweka College of African Wildlife Management etc.

Partners at Regional level include ACTS and IUCN EARO, who work with the project in detailed policy review processes. WWF and CARE are partnering training programmes for ICDP activity in the region.


Implementing Partnerships

This is an integrated conservation and development project which seeks to achieve the objectives of biodiversity conservation while at the same time contributing to development aspirations of the local communities adjacent to the target forest ecosystems. However many of the existing institutions, especially the more development minded NGOs did not clearly understand the linkage between Conservation and Development. While the natural resource management agencies focused on conservation, the NGOs focused on development. It was therefore very important to develop a clear vision on conservation and development with all the partners.

The need for a clear Conservation and Development (C&D) linkages was demonstrated during an International Monitoring and Evaluation consultancy that began in March, 1999. It was considered prudent that for a project which aims at working through partnerships, it would be imperative for all potential and actual partners to have a common vision of project objectives and activities. Consequently, the key Government agencies and NGO partners at project sites have been involved in a participatory planning process to develop site based plans upon which contracts have been designed for their participation in project implementation.

The project started building partnership by awareness raising meetings and workshops at various levels on site. These include District, NGO, and village meetings. The awareness activity was aimed at building a common vision between the project, local stakeholders and potential partners so as to optimise possible input to the project (see reports by consultant Worah on Building Common Visions). Successful project activities require such an enhanced awareness and increased commitment to put in place a better environment to implement planned activities.

The partnership principle, and specific partnerships have been endorsed by the regional, national and district levels through the linkages created by such awareness raising. Such partnerships fill specific identified technical needs, within the fields of Alternative Resource Use Technologies such as Nurseries and Energy Saving; ie reducing demand on natural forests for fuelwood, (see Output B2); and developing Alternative Income Strategies (see Output B3)


Case Studies on Partnerships: The Ugandan Experience

Integrated Conservation and Development Initiatives (IRDI).

IRDI is one of the NGOs implementing project activities around Sango Bay.  IRDI is helping local communities to construct improved cook-stoves, establish tree nurseries, tree planting, improve income generation and practice better agricultural methods. This NGO was involved in the participatory planning process for Sango Bay forest, as an NGO partner, to develop the site plan together with the local community.

The discussions regarding what IRDI would contribute to the plan were therefore relatively easy as IRDI was part of the team that co-ordinated the problem analysis, setting objectives, designing the implementation plan and the M&E framework for Sango Bay forest. IRDI is working with the local community at the household level and there is evidence that constructed improved cook-stoves are using far less firewood than before. It is also apparent that banana gardens of the households involved in better agricultural methods are yielding much more food than before.  It is anticipated that the provision of these alternatives should reduce pressure on the forest.  IRDI is contributing to strengthening of extension services around Sango Bay forest. All the NGOs working with the project are required to build capacity in a local NGO or CBOs for sustainability.

VI- Agroforestry project

VI- Agroforestry project was closely involved in the participatory planning process for Sango Bay. VI-Agroforestry attached an officer to the team that led the planning process that involved holding meetings with the local community in all the villages to analyse values and threats to the Sango Bay ecosystem. VI-Agroforestry  Project was part of the team that actively guided the process of problem analysis, setting objectives, implementation plan and M&E framework for Sango Bay. These were done in series of workshops with stakeholders including the local communities at the sites.

VI- Agroforestry project has been contracted under the project and is undertaking activities similar to those of IRDI but in a different subcounty around SangoBay. It was relatively easy to design a contract for VI because they had been involved in the planning process and understood the objectives of the project. The NGO has offered their staff and some of their equipment in form of leveraging towards implementation of activities.

The NGO is helping households in Kabira, one of the target sub-counties, to practice Agroforestry, better agricultural methods and construct improved cook-stoves. The parner NGOs are required to create impact at household level.

International Care and Relief (ICR).

International Care and Relief (ICR) has been contracted to undertake Environmental Education programme in selected schools around Sango Bay. ICR has been involved in Environmental Education programmes for over two years and has established a linkage between schools and the adjacent communities. ICR was part of the team that guided the participatory planning process.


Voluntary Services International (SVI).

SVI is an NGO that has had development activities around Mt. Kadam for the last 15 years mainly in the agriculture sector. SVI actively participated in common vision building workshops withn the project. Consequently, SVI was contracetd to coordinate a Value and Threat analysis exercise around Mt. Kadam. The NGO worked closely with the prject team to develop the site plan for Mt. Kadam forest. SVI has now been contracted to undertake the implementaion of msotlynthe development activities around Mt. Kadam but in collaboration with the natural resource management agencies especiall the Forest Department. It is evident that SVI is well aware of the linkage betwwen Conservation and Development.

Trainining Institutions

The major training partner institutions are MUIENR and FFNC who are training the key staff of the natural resource management agencies and NGOs. These activities are just beginning, it is premature to capture experiences


Experiences of the Tanzania Component

1.                  Partnership in Energy issues

One of the major threats that impact biodiversity conservation that was identified at all target sites is the collection of fuelwood from forests for cooking, heating and lighting.  The project has managed to develop partnerships with several institutions including the private sector, which had already started activities on both the efficient use of fuelwood, and finding alternatives to existing fuelwood use.  These institutions were working outside our target areas, but with project intervention are now working at target sites. Key linkages are:


(a)               TAF - Tanzania Association of Foresters

TAF were using a technology on use of "Plastic Biodigesters" (biogas plants) which cost in materials some US$150. Digesters use cattle dung for gas production. The project linked with TAF, which then provided for expertise to support this activity in Monduli district.  The TAF experts trained local village experts and produced a Swahili newsletter and a guide to the construction, use and benefit of using biodigesters.  The activity is spearheaded by TAF in Monduli districts and is gaining popularity.  The Project will soon hand fully activity to TAF and District authorities for sustainability. The same technology will be introduced by TAF to Same and other relevant project sites.


(b)               KAKUTE: (Kampuni ya kuendeleza technologia –Technology Development)

This is a small but growing company which has linked with existing NGOs to introduce a wild oil plant Jatropha curcas.  The partnership started between our project and KAKUTE in Monduli District.  The partnership has now grown by including the International Heifer Project, the USA based MacNight Foundation and FAIDA (a local NGO). This is a one year initial partnership with funds drawn from the key partners.

This initiative has had a positive response from Monduli district as Jatropha is a green broad leaved drought resistant plant, sometimes locally grown plant in graveyards. It is a plant that can be used for fencing, it is not eaten by animals (therefore appropriate for pastoral communities) and has other values linked to local needs as alternative energy for fuel oil and alternative income for local soap manufacturing. It is this alternative energy source which provides potential benefit to our project.

There are a number of documents and articles already produced on this initiative and it is one of the key partnership with private sector, local ad international NGOs with a strong district and community support and benefit.


(c)                CARMATEC: (Centre for Agriculture Resource Management Technology)

Several initiatives have started with CARMATEC:


i.                    Introduction of a concrete Biogas plant

This is a high pressure and a more expensive plant compared to that of TAF – Plastic Biodigester.  The cost of material cost is some six times more expensive (about US$700) but has a higher yield of gas, with less risk of possible damage. The initiative has been introduced in Monduli and Longido villages and has gained demand from those better-off villagers and rural workers. The project in collaboration with CARMATEC will soon produce a Biogas Plant guidebook in Swahili.


ii.                  Solar Cooker

This initiative had been existing but had not been introduced at our project sites.  The introduced prototypes are costed at some 150US$ in production cost and can produce more than 1000 watts. The technology has just been introduced in Monduli and has indication of gaining increased requests very soon. CARMATEC had initiated this activity but due to inadequate self financing initiative, the technology did not spread.

The project is initiating this as an alternative energy suitable for villagers and the demonstrations will prove the capital expenditure outlay, and therefore sustainability.


(d)               SMECAO (Same Mwanga Environment Conservation Association Office)

This is a local NGO working in Same and Mwanga Districts.  The project has linked with this NGO and managed to enhance the introduction of efficient local earth stoves in villages surroundings the forest reserve. The labour cost of moulding one simple improved earth stoves is not more than US$5. The use of these improved stoves in Same is believed to reduce the demand of fuelwood to less than a half of the original fuel use. It will therefore have less harvest impact on the adjacent forest!


(e)               Private lady entrepreneur in Bukoba

The project in Bukoba linked with a private entrepreneur from the adjacent district (Karagwe) to introduce some improved modern earth stoves with several burners (1-4) and improvised chimney. The lady was invited to the District through the District authorities.  She was facilitated by the project to train local village technicians, who are now competent in construction and maintenance and extension on uses and benefits.  These stoves have been accepted by many community members in our villages in Bukoba due to the following reasons:

i.                     They have proved to reduce fuelwood use from the past 7-10 head-loads per week per family down to a maximum of 3-4 loads for a family of seven.

ii.                   The reduced fatigue gives more time to do other development activities

iii.                  The stove can cook many pots at a time and the reserved heat on the stove keeps the food or water warmer than the traditional three stone stoves.

iv.                 The introduced stoves can improvise a chimney which can be direct smoke out of the kitchen, or into the ceiling storage for food preservation and fuelwood drying.

More than 2000 households have already adopted the introduced stoves and the technology is being accepted broadly. The reduced amount of fuelwood use reduces the illegal and legal need to go into the forest. It reduces the fatigue used to collect fuelwood and therefore increases the time to perform other development activities. The reduced collection of green and dry fuelwood leaves more biomass in the forest and leads to less forest habitat disturbance and therefore enhanced forest conservation.


2.                  Partnership Alternative Income Earning Strategies

Most of these activities link up with other resource use issues and may have already been reflected in energy issues. Most of the communities around the target project sites are on subsistence lifestyles.  They depend on resources that are available within their reach, they would be either agricultural products (from subsistence farming) and a strong base on the forest based resources.  The forest sites adjacent to the communities are the existing naturally available resources.  Most of the project sites have communities that have limited alternatives and they resort to the forests that they believe have been given to them to be used by God.

These communities use the resources for their normal livelihood consumption, and they also sell them for income earning activities.

The project has established partnership with several institutions in order to enhance alternative sustainable income earning environmental friendly activities. These include:


(a)                TWIRI: Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and BeeKeeping

The project developed a partnership with Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) through its Beekeeping Research Centre.  This partnership activity is at all three sites and has started with group formation followed by training in modern bee-keeping and honey production. Beekeeping has been a traditional practice in all communities but lacked technical support and input for modern beekeeping.  The project initiated partnership with TWRI and the experts were provided to work with our project partners at District and village levels. The beekeeping activity has a high potential to alternative income generation activity because:-

i.                     The prevailing market process are considered high at all levels village, district and region.

ii.                   Production costs is only high at the initial stages.

iii.                  Honey has multiple use including medicinal, traditional, food, brewing and cultural values.

iv.                 Beekeeping practices in protected forest areas are now in accordance with the new national forest and beekeeping policies, contrary to the previous activity.

v.                   Beekeeping products, especially honey and beeswax, but not royal jelly and venom, can be processed and utilised locally. 

vi.                 Beewax, honey, venom, and royal jelly have a high export potential

vii.                Most beekeeping products are not perishable.

viii.              Beekeeping had been practiced traditionally using less productive and less appropriate honey technologies.

ix.                 Modern beekeeping is cost effective, can be product focused and harvesting practices has less destructive risks. Modern beekeeping is cost effective

This initiative has a great potential to partnership in Joint Forest Management where  organised beekeepers can be allocated forest sites for this activity. This would develop a  Beekeeping management zone.  This could reduce the risk of inappropriate risks and uses such as uncontrolled grazing, fires and illegal cutting.  Beekeeping as an alternate income earning activity does increase beneficiary interest to conservation and therefore contribute towards overall environment conservation.

The project in collaboration with TaWRI have produced a newsletter on site activities at Same, and will soon produce a Swahili Beekeepers-Biodiversity Manual Newsletter.


(b)            KAKUTE Jatropha curcas

This links up with the previously mentioned Alternative Energy Partnership.  The Jatropha plant can produce fuel oil, that when produced in excess of home needs, could be marketed to others.  The plant can also be used to produce washing soap.  The oil pressing and the production of soap can be done at the village level and the market for fuel oil and soap readily exists at all levels. A study on market within Arusha and neighbouring districts is ongoing. The planting of Jatropha is going on well.  There exists documentation on successful soap production and fuel oil from Zimbabwe case.  We expect that by the end of the year 2001 we will have our own Tanzania documented successful sustainable evidences.


(c)            Cultural Tourism through Dutch SNV at Pare and Monduli.

SNV had initiated a normal cultural tourism support through local initiatives, in both Same (Pare Mountains) and Monduli (Mto-wa-Mbu and Longido).  This Cross Borders Project has established partnerships with SNV within the two areas.  SNV funding comes to an end in late 2001 and we found it relevant to support the idea of ecotourism as started by SNV, and to add funding with the vision of a longer-term biodiversity conservation component.

Our support is mainly to the information centre initiation, and sharing the baseline data on site biodiversity that will build on existing general cultural information.  This baseline data will include amongst other things, local use of indigenous plants from the documented resource user survey, and knowledge of plant and bird species in the mountain forests.

The project will support an ongoing booklet on the South Pare traditional conservation systems and base it with the Tona Lodge and Kisaka Villa (both near Chome Forest Reserve in Same District). Cultural tourism has not yet been fully initiated in Bukoba.   Lessons learnt from Monduli and Same Districts will soon be shared by Bukoba.


Lessons learned Both Uganda and Tanzania:

1.      Various stakeholders may have different interests as opposed to project interests and these have to be carefully evaluated. A common vision with partners is therefore necessary to have focus on project objectives and activities.

2.      It is important to closely monitor the implementing partners to make sure the relationship between Conservation and Development is not lost along the way.

3.      In order to promote project ownership by the local communities, it is necessary to involve them right at the start of project planning; in the formulation of village based plans together with the partners who would be undertaking activities.

4.      Documentation of all project processes should start at the beginning of the project. The process is as important as the outputs. Dialogue and discussion should be maintained with all the key stakeholders during the life of the project.

5.      Community involvement in project activities needs to be carefully undertaken by selecting an approach that is acceptable and appropriate for the socio-cultural group being targeted e.g the Karamoja approach should be through the cultural set up (use of “Akiriket”) and is different from the Rakai set-up whose communities are largely cultivators and though could be communally mobilized, outputs should be expected at household level.


Note that many of these activities are described in detail under another Discussion Note on the Development and Use of Alternative Resource use and Income Strategies.  

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