It is almost a year since I joined the Young Environmentalist course which started in March 2011, under the sponsorship of World Wildlife fund (WWF). The course intends to empower young Tanzanian Environmentalist scientist who are expected to be change agents in environmental conservation in their respective communities
The rationale of the course is to empower the youth in terms of participation in good governance and sustainable management of natural resources. Moreover, the youth are expected to empower CSOs’ capacity to fulfill their environmental conservation mandates in a more democratic and politically driven process
The course started with very constructive capacity building skills. We covered what why and how to impact team building and spirit of volunteerism in our daily life. This was of great importance to me as I immediately practiced it in my community by campaigning on good team work and tree planting in two schools namely Bwitengi Primary and Misseke Secondary Schools. Another skill which I have utilized are coaching and mentoring. To date I have a mentor and this has really changed my life. I also managed to persuade my parents to have one and they now have a person to mentor and coach them. One of the key results is the reduced family conflicts which used to prevail every now and then
The topics on environmental degradation, climate change and government policies on environment, enlighten my insights on who are the key players in environment conservation and what are their roles. To demonstrate my skills on the same, I managed to teach about 580 group of students from Fort Ikoma and Robanda Village primary schools. Nevertheless through the South Africa local news paper via MTN Media, I wrote an impressing article on why should the idea to construct a road along Serengeti National Park be abolished.
Other skills gained during the scholarship includes: human environmental and cultural rights, environmental education, Advocacy and village training leadership skills, speech training, article writing, community mobilization, environmental decision making and environmental governance and environment protection.
The aforementioned has promoted my professional capacity due in many ways as well. For example I have prepared various trainings for 5 Villages on the benefit sharing in the wildlife sector; I gave a speech to the Serengeti people on importance of environmental conservation; I trained 9 villages on why they should conserve the environment; I established 2 environmental clubs in 2 secondary schools; I was elected as a leader of young environmental department in my organization (Sederec); I was able to train environmental rights in Park Nyigoti and Nyichoka villages where by more than 700 villagers were empowered on their rights; and I mobilized Rwamchanga Village to demand their payment from the government after their farms were destroyed by dangerous animals elephant.
Not only that but I managed to advocated for the equal distribution of wildlife benefits, which is the Ikona-WMA- income generated from photographing and hunting block areas, to five village members of Ikona-Wildlife Management Area (WMA) where the share has been increased from 10 million per 6 years per village to 40 million per village per year.
Last but not least, the course on project cycle management was the best ever training. The training helped me to know steps and tool for project identification, how to analysis project stakeholders, problem tree analysis, objective tree assessment, logical framework, proposal writing process, project activities, project budget, risk analysis, and monitoring and evaluation. The aforementioned course built my capacity to monitor and evaluate the progress of the projects at Ikoma, Machira secondary and Farmers group leaders at Nyasirori ward.
Inspite of all these successful stories, challenges are inevitable. In my work environment, a number of obstacles hindered my progress such a limited working facilities including computer and internet connection. On the other hand, some members of the community did not trust me at the first place when I approached them for capacity building. For example, some thought I was after their land just like other land grabbing investors.
Written by: Bright Sospeter-YET -2011