Resilient Landscapes for Resilient Communities – Tanzania
This project assists communities on the Tanzanian island of Pemba become model eco-villages.
“Resilient Landscapes for Resilient
Communities” helps settlements on the island of Pemba get land, improve farming methods,
reforest nearby areas, and implement sustainable technologies. Its alternative energy micro-grid
improves lives while creating a model for cheap and efficient low-carbon electricity.
- 12,000 people in six villages targeted
- 100 women trained in building efficient stoves
- Built first primary school in village of Kokata, integrating sustainable technologies
Lush hills on the island of Pemba have been extensively farmed, including large clove plantations from past
eras. This agricultural history has left the legacy of land degradation that local communities struggle
The island remains largely undeveloped. Its isolation and lack of access to outside resources make
communities there – especially along the island’s eastern coral rag zone and isolated islets
off the coast – particularly vulnerable to climate change.
This project has implemented a number of measures toward transforming Pemba’s villages into exemplary
eco-villages. It has worked for communities to gain the titles to degraded government-owned land; it has
trained women on how to produce and sell efficient clay cook stoves; it helps link beekeepers to local
markets for honey; it has reforested land and implemented permaculture activities like rainwater
harvesting. The initiative helped build the village of Kokata’s first primary school, which includes
an integrated rainwater catchment system.
Establishment of an alternative energy micro-grid forms the centerpiece of the initiative. Each household
is given a motorcycle battery and an efficient LED light bulb. A central charging station lights the
school, pumps and filters harvested rainwater, charges cell phones, and charges the motorcycle batteries
that are distributed to each household. Households then have light in the evenings and early mornings, with
batteries typically lasting a week before needing charge.
Helping the planet
The project’s numerous aspects provide many environmental rewards. Restoring forests helps the land
and water while sequestering carbon; efficient cook stoves reduce the demand for firewood, as does
producing charcoal briquettes from recycled biomass. Improved agricultural practices and permaculture
efforts also help preserve natural resources.
The quality of life, particularly for women, has gone up due to increased income, greater food security,
and more fuel saved while cooking. The garden plots around the community houses are fertile with compost
and produce fresh vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. The micro-grid has enabled people in the
communities to charge cell phones locally and light their homes. The fuel-efficient cook stoves and
briquettes have grown into income-generating activities. Furthermore rainwater harvesting provides a cheap,
clean, and local water source.
Many of the efforts are low- to no-cost. Communities outside of the project sites have already requested
and received assistance, for example to reforest their degraded land. Another organization is already
seeking to replicate this system in other Pemba villages. Attaining success allows the project to continue
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