For over three years now, Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (LEAT) has been fostering the management and governance of natural resources through “Citizens Engaging in Government Oversight in Natural Resource Management" (CEGO-NRM) project. The project is implemented in 32 villages and amongst many advocates for proper management of natural resources in order to reduce poverty and ensure sustainable conservation of biodiversity.
Malinzanga from Iringa district is one of the village involved in the implementation of the CEGO-NRM project. At the start, Malinzanga was filled with environmental-unfriendly activities that accounted for most of the deforestation in the village. Villagers fetched firewood, poles, timber and charcoal for both household use and for generating income. Even worse, villagers in Malinzaga burnt logs to solidify clay bricks. Generally, day to day needs force villagers to look for easy livelihood options thus damaging the forests and leaving the land bare.
CEGO-NRM interventions in the village aimed at eliminating such unfriendly activities and champion transparency and accountability. To reach its objectives, the project trained villagers on natural resources management, social accountability monitoring and beekeeping.
Mr. Lulamso Kadaga, the village chairman for Malinzanga is a beneficiary of NRM and SAM trainings. The chairman reports that "the conservation of natural resources in his village has improved significantly, as many villagers have accessed knowledge on the management of natural resources as they were offered by LEAT”. He further reports that, using the knowledge gained through the Social Accountability Monitoring trainings, villagers are comparatively more responsible and are now more involved towards in village development activities.
"Personally, I learnt and benefited a lot from LEAT’s capacity building trainings especially on SAM. As a leader I am now more answerable, committed and transparent to the people I lead”, Mr. Kadaga said. Using my position I led the village council to champion an environmental cause that will eliminate the use of clay bricks that use lots of tree logs and cause deforestation.
Following the decision, Malinzanga decided to buy a brick machine that will produce bricks using sand, cement and water instead of trees and fire. Through the machine the village has produced 3800 cement bricks. The bricks have been used to construct institutional structures. 1800 bricks were used to build two classrooms and an office for Malizanga Primary School. The remaining 2000 bricks will be used in other construction activities.
As we stand today, we have started to mitigate deforestation in Malinzanga community. We stand ahead because we now have achieved something to tell and show. In the past it was hard to stop people from cutting down trees as everyone including the leaders were using burnt clay bricks in the construction of institutional buildings" concluded Mr. Kadaga, the chairman for Malizanga village.