The UN Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization – UNESCO a week ago unveiled a multimillion dollar project within the East Usambara Reserve regions attempting at empower the residents within that region to properly utilize the resources for their own better financial wellness.
The East Usambara is section of the Eastern Arc Mountain Range that is regarded among the 25 biodiversity best destinations on the entire planet. The rain forests of East Usambara are among the most precious conservation areas across the African continent and among the biodiversity hot-spots plus areas of plant diversity around the globe. Their biological importance has been matched up to the Galapagos Islands.
The $422,072 / Tsh700million project became achievable following the Korea International Cooperation Agency – KOICA offering to fund this project which will be carried out in 19 villages encompassing the reserve as part of the project implementation called “Green Economy in Biosphere Reserves” – GEBR.
This project is going to enable villagers to safeguard the reserve and utilize their resources effectively through reducing deforestation and generating activities related to economic plus entrepreneurship.
Mr. Joseph Kigula who is a member of the National Committee on Tanzania Live Reserve discussed that a number of the activities which will be taken on in this project include training to empowering villagers to perform economic activities inside the reserve.
This economic empowerment already has happened in 3 of the 19 villages and it was coordinated jointly by the Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism together with the East Usambara Biosphere Reserve (EUBR). The biodiversity hot-spot area provides living environment to over 100,000 villagers who were taught among several other economic activities entrepreneurship, business management, training in environmental conservation, marketing, accounting as well as finance.
This training is anticipated to increase the knowledge of the villagers regarding business relationships through environmental conservation as well as capacity entrepreneurship capacity building. Two more are anticipated to occur at the close of the year.
A number of entrepreneurs mentioned that the launch of this project will make it possible for most of the people residing in this area to focus on the different economic activities which they’ve been trained on and end those that are not environmentally friendly.
In General, the East Usambara is a section of the Eastern Arc Mountain Range that is amongst the biodiversity hot-spots on the planet. This biosphere reserve, that covers a total expanse of 83,600 hectares, comprises of sub-montane rainforest as well as lowland wooded grasslands. It is primarily characterized by large amounts of endemic flora (among which are several medicinal plants) and it is habitat to 13 endangered species of birds.
The transition part of the biosphere reserve consists of commercial forest plantations in addition to sisal plus tea plantations. Some of the leading economic activities within this area are Small-scale gardening as well as cattle breeding of the nearly 155,000 people withn this area (as per statistics made in 1999). The biosphere reserve targets to promote ecotourism as an substitute or extra source of income for the local residents and also setting up forest reserves in the local village. This biosphere reserve consists of the Amani Nature Reserve as well as the Amani Botanical Garden that are the sites of substantial biodiversity research plus monitoring.