Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When forest conservation meets free education in Lindi

Ally Mkunga (first right), his classmates and

Ally Mkunga (first right), his classmates and the village natural resources treasurer, Mr Abdallah Mnali (first left) leave a village meeting on forest conservation. PHOTOI LUGONGO 

By Bernard Lugongo @TheCitizen.Tz blugongo@tz.nationmedia.com

Despite a major relief the free education policy has brought to majority of poor parents, some still struggle to buy school items for their children.

Nanjirinji-A Village in Lindi Region has realised this, and thus, for its own initiative, it has gone further beyond the policy and introduced ‘free uniforms’ for all pupils in the village.

Now, parents in the village have all reasons to smile as they do not have to dig in their pockets for school fees and uniforms. Their children study at Nanjirinji-B Village, which is about five kilometres away since the Nanjirinji-A Village does not yet have any school. It takes the pupils at Nanjirinji-A Village at least 15 minutes walking to the school.  

The pupils always look neat as opposed to other villages in the country where poor parents cannot afford buying the uniforms, as a result their children wear shabby uniforms.

But, for Nanjirinji-A Village, as the academic year started last January, almost every pupil put on a new uniform the village has bought for them.

Before the village had introduced the system to buy uniforms for the pupils last year, parents were struggling to buy uniforms for their children.

Speaking with Success reporter, many parents in the village admit that with low income, buying uniforms could be one of their financial challenges. 

After the ‘free uniforms’ programme started last year, parents found no reason to keep their children away from school over failure to afford buying school uniforms.

Acting Village Executive Officer (Veo) Khalid Bakari, says they buy uniforms for all pupils in the village every year in order to motivate pupils and encouraging parents to let their children go to school.

Last year, he says the village bought a total of 328 uniforms for all pupils in the village primary school.

Mr Bakari, who is also a teacher at Nanjirinji-B Primary School, says: “The system of providing free uniforms to pupils has had a very positive impact in increasing the attendance of the pupils at the school.”

A Standard Seven pupil of Nanjirinji-B Primary School, Ally Mkunga, who puts on new uniforms given to him by the village leadership, says he has two pairs of uniforms as his parents bought one of them.

The Nanjirinji-A Village leadership has been supporting pupils in its jurisdiction through income earned from its Mbumbila forest, which is rich with natural trees for timber.

The forest has come under the village ownership since 2012 following introduction of the national forest policy in 1998 and the enactment of the Forest Act of 2002 which provided room for people’s involvement in conservation.

Nanjirinji was one of the villages that were empowered to go through some steps before acquiring the forest from the government.

Mama Misitu campaign, funded by the Finnish government, supported the village by building awareness among the village leaders on how to manage the forest resources in a sustainable manner. The five-year communications campaign started in 2011 with the objective of improving the governance of Tanzania’s forests and improve legal harvesting of forest products so that Tanzanians can increasingly benefit from sustainably managed forests.

The campaign included helping the community put the systems needed to manage the forest in place, appoint and train the patrol team, start records, and make sure the rules are known, and so on. The main implementing organisations of the campaign in the region include, among others, Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI). 

Village natural resources committee treasurer, Mr Abdallah Mnali, says the village collects at least Sh60, 000 million every year from selling logs legally harvested in their forests by following rules of harvesting forest products sustainably. 

Since the village started harvesting forest products in 2012, it has earned a total of Sh240 million part of which goes to improve social services like the education sector in the village.

With this money, the village has also managed to build a three-classroom school for Sh60,000 million and a modern house for a teacher. 

The new school will start enrolling pupils from next year as the village moves on to construct more classrooms.  

Ms Somoe Kiamba (28), an expectant woman, says she sees a smooth path ahead in as far as education for her child is concerned due to the free education and uniforms programme in the village.

With this support, she has realised how natural resources could be a blessing for villages if the government empowered them to conserve and manage forests. “I am happy that education costs for my child are going to be covered by the government and the village. 

“With free uniforms, my child will be enjoying the benefits of the village forest,” says Ms Kiamba. 

When schools opened last January, several parents thought free education policy would relieve them from all education costs for their children. 

The minister responsible for supervising primary schools, Mr George Simbachawene, however, clarifies that Tanzanians ought to know that the free education policy did not mean that the government would finance everything to enable pupil acquire education.

forms and other items will remain under parents’ responsibilities.

However, many poor parents still struggle to buy schools items for their children even as a burden of school fees and other contributions are covered by the government.

This is from the fact that according to Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment Report by the World Bank (WB), around 12 million Tanzanians continue to live below the poverty line. 

Global poverty estimates are based on an international poverty line of US$1.25 per person per day.

Uniform is one of the factors that keep thousands of poor children out of school. 

According to 2013 report by the Human Health Society (HUHESO) Foundation in Kahama district shows that more than 22,000 poor children were out of school in the district simply because their parents could not afford buying school uniform. 

The report notes that some pupils have to spend time working as casual labour during holidays in order to find themselves the uniform and find food for their family.

-Ends-

Despite a major relief the free education policy has brought to majority of poor parents, some still struggle to buy school items for their children.

Nanjirinji-A Village in Lindi Region has realised this, and thus, for its own initiative, it has gone further beyond the policy and introduced ‘free uniforms’ for all pupils in the village.

Now, parents in the village have all reasons to smile as they do not have to dig in their pockets for school fees and uniforms. Their children study at Nanjirinji-B Village, which is about five kilometres away since the Nanjirinji-A Village does not yet have any school. It takes the pupils at Nanjirinji-A Village at least 15 minutes walking to the school.  

The pupils always look neat as opposed to other villages in the country where poor parents cannot afford buying the uniforms, as a result their children wear shabby uniforms.

But, for Nanjirinji-A Village, as the academic year started last January, almost every pupil put on a new uniform the village has bought for them.

Before the village had introduced the system to buy uniforms for the pupils last year, parents were struggling to buy uniforms for their children.

Speaking with Success reporter, many parents in the village admit that with low income, buying uniforms could be one of their financial challenges. 

After the ‘free uniforms’ programme started last year, parents found no reason to keep their children away from school over failure to afford buying school uniforms.

Acting Village Executive Officer (Veo) Khalid Bakari, says they buy uniforms for all pupils in the village every year in order to motivate pupils and encouraging parents to let their children go to school.

Last year, he says the village bought a total of 328 uniforms for all pupils in the village primary school.

Mr Bakari, who is also a teacher at Nanjirinji-B Primary School, says: “The system of providing free uniforms to pupils has had a very positive impact in increasing the attendance of the pupils at the school.”

A Standard Seven pupil of Nanjirinji-B Primary School, Ally Mkunga, who puts on new uniforms given to him by the village leadership, says he has two pairs of uniforms as his parents bought one of them.

The Nanjirinji-A Village leadership has been supporting pupils in its jurisdiction through income earned from its Mbumbila forest, which is rich with natural trees for timber.

The forest has come under the village ownership since 2012 following introduction of the national forest policy in 1998 and the enactment of the Forest Act of 2002 which provided room for people’s involvement in conservation.

Nanjirinji was one of the villages that were empowered to go through some steps before acquiring the forest from the government.

Mama Misitu campaign, funded by the Finnish government, supported the village by building awareness among the village leaders on how to manage the forest resources in a sustainable manner. The five-year communications campaign started in 2011 with the objective of improving the governance of Tanzania’s forests and improve legal harvesting of forest products so that Tanzanians can increasingly benefit from sustainably managed forests.

The campaign included helping the community put the systems needed to manage the forest in place, appoint and train the patrol team, start records, and make sure the rules are known, and so on. The main implementing organisations of the campaign in the region include, among others, Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI). 

Village natural resources committee treasurer, Mr Abdallah Mnali, says the village collects at least Sh60, 000 million every year from selling logs legally harvested in their forests by following rules of harvesting forest products sustainably. 

Since the village started harvesting forest products in 2012, it has earned a total of Sh240 million part of which goes to improve social services like the education sector in the village.

With this money, the village has also managed to build a three-classroom school for Sh60,000 million and a modern house for a teacher. 

The new school will start enrolling pupils from next year as the village moves on to construct more classrooms.  

Ms Somoe Kiamba (28), an expectant woman, says she sees a smooth path ahead in as far as education for her child is concerned due to the free education and uniforms programme in the village.

With this support, she has realised how natural resources could be a blessing for villages if the government empowered them to conserve and manage forests. “I am happy that education costs for my child are going to be covered by the government and the village. 

“With free uniforms, my child will be enjoying the benefits of the village forest,” says Ms Kiamba. 

When schools opened last January, several parents thought free education policy would relieve them from all education costs for their children. 

The minister responsible for supervising primary schools, Mr George Simbachawene, however, clarifies that Tanzanians ought to know that the free education policy did not mean that the government would finance everything to enable pupil acquire education.

forms and other items will remain under parents’ responsibilities.

However, many poor parents still struggle to buy schools items for their children even as a burden of school fees and other contributions are covered by the government.

This is from the fact that according to Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment Report by the World Bank (WB), around 12 million Tanzanians continue to live below the poverty line. 

Global poverty estimates are based on an international poverty line of US$1.25 per person per day.

Uniform is one of the factors that keep thousands of poor children out of school. 

According to 2013 report by the Human Health Society (HUHESO) Foundation in Kahama district shows that more than 22,000 poor children were out of school in the district simply because their parents could not afford buying school uniform. 

The report notes that some pupils have to spend time working as casual labour during holidays in order to find themselves the uniform and find food for their family.

-Ends-

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