Longido. About 300 women have been trained on the basics of formal trade under a community-focused conservation project in Longido District, Arusha Region.
Notable among these is imparting them with skills on leather tanning, milk processing and trade in milk, and milk products.
The initiative is aimed at empowering women economically and motivate them and other members of the community to engage fully in conservation.
“Market place literacy has been the cornerstone of Connekt,”said Ms Silvia Ceppi, a technical advisor for Oikos East Africa, which is implementing the programme.
Connekt or Conserving Neighbouring Ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania is a 1.2 million Euros trans-boundary conservation project being implemented by the two countries.
It took off early last year following a grant from the European Union (EU) and is largely concentrated on the ecosystems connecting Mount Kilimanjaro and Amboseli Nature Reserve in the neighbouring country.
In Tanzania, the implementation of Connekt is centred on the 11villages surrounding the Endumiet Wildlife Management area (WMA) in Longido District.
“The other most successful component has been crop protection from the wild animals,”she told The Citizen last week during the pass out of the village game scouts trained under the programme.
The three week training was sponsored by the EU with the support of the Kilimanjaro National Park (Kinapa) and Oikos East Africa, a regional NGO, which operates from Arusha.
She said 180 farmers in villages surrounding the Enduimet protected area have been provided with tools to stop wild animals forage on their farms.
The 1,300 square kilometre WMA was established in 2003 and gazetted in 2007 in order to conserve wildlife and at the same time enable the local communities to benefit from tourism.
The protected area is formed by 11 villages namely Sinya, Tinga Tinga, Ngereiyani, Elerai, Ol Molog, Lerangwa, Kitendeni, and Irkaswa, to mention but a few.
One of the functions of the protected areas is to devolve use rights for wildlife to local communities so that they benefit from revenues accrued from tourism and tourist hunting.