Tanzania

Fighting climate change effects benefits about 2000 families in Maasai land

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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
The effects of climate change are evident with dramatic impacts on people’s livelihood. Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about one billion people in over one hundred countries are at risk.

The effects of climate change are evident with dramatic impacts on people’s livelihood. Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about one billion people in over one hundred countries are at risk.

In Tanzania, the current demographic growth and expansion of agricultural fields, together with the unpredictable rainfall patterns lead to high levels of food insecurity among the poorest sectors of the population, affecting pastoralists grazing patterns and exacerbating conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.

OIKOS, an Italian NGO working in Tanzania since 1996, is currently implementing two integrated projects funded by the European Union-Global Climate Change Alliance Tanzania (Eco Boma project) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (TERRA project) for increasing the resilience to climate change of pastoral communities in Northern Tanzania. The projects are targeting more than 4,000 families of Maasai steppe pastoralists in Oldonyosambu, Oldonyowas and Uwiro Wards (Arumeru District) who entirely depend on natural resources for their survival. The action is implemented in partnership with District Authorities and the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology and other private partners from Italy.

Lack of water is a major concern for the communities in the target area and so far Oikos has achieved to add 40,000 cubic meters of water for livestock in the area, allowing more months without water insecurity.

So far, desertification of grazing lands is being mitigated through reforestation initiatives (e.g. household fencing, introduction of indigenous tree nurseries and set up of community forest areas) and regular ecological monitoring. The monitoring includes distant sampling of livestock densities for comparative analysis of livestock densities in the target rangelands with the carrying capacity for rangelands receiving less than 500 mm of rain, plant and land cover surveys.

In order to improve the livelihoods of the families living in the area targeted by the projects, Oikos trained the farmers on better agricultural practices and several demo plots of drought resistant crops were started with the technical assistance of Oikos staff to mitigate the negative effects of unpredictable rainfall patterns and ensure better yields. Women and young pastoralists received also specific trainings to start small income generating activities such as vegetable leather tanning and leather products by recycling livestock by products in the area targeted by the projects.

Oikos, through the Eco Boma and TERRA projects, is also supporting the local Government to cope with the negative effects of climate change through trainings and technical advices aiming at establishing a climate change unit that will help local institutions to collect and elaborate climatic data to set up warning mechanisms and to contribute to the inclusion of climate change resilient land uses in Village Land Use Plans.