Monday, June 22, 2009

«Pedagogy for the people» - Grundtvig and the Folk High Schools

Some supplementary information to the introduction at the training in June.
Historical setting for the movement creating the Folk High Schools: Scandinavia as poor countries, education for the privileged, meaningless to the poor.
Clear parallel to situation in many of the countries we work. – Not at least when it comes to the pedagogical methods and the “oppression of the mind”., ref Norw school history.
Some extracts from Grundtvig's educational ideas and the background for the Nordic «Folk High Schools», of which there are about 350-400 today.

N. F. S.Grundtvig, 1783-1872.
Danish minister, Member of Parliament, poet, writer and school-founder. Graduated with a degree in theology in 1801, he was familiar with the classical languages and philosophical methods of his time.
He strongly disliked the school-system he had met, claiming that their root learning and methods had a deadening effect on the students. He called the school-system for «the school of darkness».

Grundtvig was a «Poet for the people» - he adressed all people of Denmark with his poetry, not just the cultured class. He would by his poetry «sing a higher life into them». Poetry was for Grundtvig not art, but a «life-giving power in every human soul, a mighty influence in promoting the common life of an awakened people».
He discovered the hard way that books cannot rouse a people whose spirit sleeps. Among other activities he translated the large latin Saxo «Denmarks Chronichle» into Danish – but it gained no interest from the poor. He found that only a living voice speaking the mother tongue could «awaken» and move people. Travelling the country, gathering people and giving speeches became the most important task to spread the ideas before the schools based on «the living word» were started.

These people's meetings became an active means of awakening by the «living word». Throughout the country groups where formed who got together in meetings and gave speeches on central themes like history, science, political economy, poetry and religion. Singing was also important. At a time there were about 1000 groups that met regularly throughout the country.

The view is that these people's meetings had greater influence in promoting the culture of the rural population than the whole of Denmarks written litterature. Since almost all of the leaders of these groups are «disciples» of Grundtvig, it follows that his strong personality in many ways had an even greater influence on the character of the Danish people half a century after his deathe than at any period during his life.

His influence, however, would not have penetrated the people's life very deeply, if the inlightenment had been spread only by means of meetings and lectures. A centralization of the work was necessary, and this took place when permanent folk high-schools were created (p 87).

Grundtvig's educational ideas must be interpreted in the historical context of the poor country Denmark was. It had been suffering the loss with France against England, and the period between 1814-1824 was one of the most power-stricken periods in the history of Denmark. But it was also getting a new constitution, and had recently had a reform of land rights. Denmark was in the time of Grundtvig slowly working its way out of poverty.

In 1832 he published «Nordic Mythology», where he contrasted the legalistic rationality of Roman approach to life, to the way of life in Norse Mythology. He then stressed the significance of oral communication - «the living word».
Grundtvig understood that the way of working needed to be institutionalized, and called for a «Civic and noble academy – a higher institute for the culture of the people and for practical competence in all major subjects» (148). By higher he meant adult in contrast to children, but also that the school should include «Higher» arts, especially language, knowledge and history of the people and their culture. He meant that the whole of the adult population was in need of enlightenment and inspiration, not just the elite or selected few. The historic culture of the people would offer the greatest resources for cultural growth.

The educational method would be free and personal communication, based on «the living word» and dialogue - «living interaction» - it would be an education for life, characterized by freedom, life and “naturalness”.
The first scool was started in 1844 in the area close to Germany, and it became a significant factor in the struggle against the encroachment of the German language and culture. Grundtvig himself never became directly involved as an educator in a school except as a guest teacher.

«The scool for life», 1838
His concept of the traditional school is «school for death» - focused on dead languages, grammatical perfection and sacrifice of life – giving only what he calls «book-knowledge». In many ways, he says, «we completely destroy the adolecent's vigor of body and mind with the result that he finds ways of withdrawal. We thwart the development of human nature by defying its laws..... All such schools become workshops for dissolution and death where the worms live high at the expence of life itself». (p 152-153)

In contrast to this school he sees «the school for life»:
• The chief educational goal is the task of helping to solve real problems of life.
• The teaching should be about life and promote purposeful living
• It should meet the needs of adult Danish citizens.
• It should give the courage to stand against those (scolars) who found it important «to move away from Danish barbarism to the classical world». (p 154)

As he says: «Our country and people are very poorly served by erudite men who shun their mother tongue».

The school should contribute to educate civil servants who think and speak Danish language and who love and know their country and its fundamental laws. This can only happen if they enter into living contact and personal interaction with students of their same age.Through experience they will acquire a far different kind of knowledge than what can be found in any textbook. The same potential for educational and cultural achievement is discoverable in both cottage and manor house – both poor and rich should attend the school.
The Danish Folk High School «must necessarily teach the language, history, statistics, political science, legislation and administration of the fatherland – but this is not enought», he says. (p 161). There must be room for the life itself, and this means the life of the people. There must be concern for the very core of this life, its natural conditions, its diverse vocations, requirements and industries.

They who attend should return to their communities and tasks with increased desire, with clearer views of human and civic conditions particularly in their own country, and with an increased joy in the community of the people. This would encourage participation in all great and good things...
Grundtvig was concerned that peasants and citizens who were elected to the Parliament should have a solid knowledge of their culture, history and social order. But this was also a concern for all people of Denmark, so that they could live a good life of «enlightenment». Thus he did not want to establish schools just for future politicians, he wanted to «develop the folk-life in all its fullness». (p 83)
Central elements: (p164-165)

Grundtvig lifts up the following central elements of the teachings:
• The mother tongue - «If our mother tongue is not miraculously revived, it will soon be extinct. Inasmuch as the mother tongue is the soul of the people..... treatment of and information about the mother tongue is a major concern of the Danish high school...
• Ballads, proverbs and maxims – must be revived, dusted off, launched and promoted
• Great Danish books - «will undoubtedly be promoted without my recommendation»(!). He warns about the fear an abundance of books can create in them who have to read them...
• The history of the fatherland
• The constitution of the country
• The legislation of the country
• Administration and municipal affairs – the school should serve as «a nursery for civil servants».

In a speech to the National Assembly in 1848 he put it this way:
«This school will aim at awakening their national consciousness, nourishing their love of country, instructing them in related areas at an early stage, and teaching them whenever feasible that we all, individually and collectively, and regardless of our social rank and occupation, belong to one people and as such have one mother, one destiny, and one purpose».
He stressed that the school must meet the need of the times. He also underlines the objective of the school in a letter to a friend:
«To awaken, nourish, and enlighten that human life, which is presupposed in Danish youth, this is the one and only objective of the Danish high school of the people. If it uses the means that further this objective, it will be distinguishable form all other schools, high and low.
All of these have some form of book-learning as their objective, usually without any challenge to such learning’s benefit or harm for the total human life of the student and certainly without consideration for the unique conditions, virtues and faults, advantages and disadvantages.....
If the schools are to be changed, these schools will, above all, need good teachers who can and will put the change into effect. Such teachers we can gain only by the education of young adults at a high school of the people.» (p 173)
He further states that he as an old «writer» has been cured of the superstition that the pen can create change and make people come alive. Therefore he is very clear on the choice of teachers – one should select «the liveliest possible as teachers».

From Wikipedia:

Thinking on education
Grundtvig is the ideological father of the folk high school, though his own ideas on education had another focus. He advocated reforming the ailing Sorø Academy into a popular school aiming at another form of higher education than what was common at the university. Rather than educating learned scholars, he believed the university should educate its students for active participation in society and popular life. Thus practical skills as well as national poetry and history should form an essential part of the instruction. This idea came very close to implementation during the reign of Christian VIII, whose wife Caroline Amalie was an ardent supporter of Grundtvig. The death of the monarch in 1848 and the dramatic political development in Denmark during this and the following years put an end to these plans. At the time, however, Kristen Kold, one of Grundtvig's followers, had already established the first folk high school.
Grundtvig's ambitions for school reform were not limited to the popular folk high school. He also dreamed of forming a Great Nordic University (the School for Passion) to be situated at the symbolic point of intersection between the three Scandinavian countries in Gothenburg, Sweden. The two pillars of his school program, the School for Life (folk high school) and the School for Passion (university) were aimed at quite different horizons of life. The popular education should mainly be taught within a national and patriotic horizon of understanding, yet always keeping an open mind towards a broader cultural and intercultural outlook, while the university should work from a strictly universal, i.e. humane and scientific, outlook.
The common denominator of all Grundtvig's paedagogical efforts was to promote a spirit of freedom, poetry and disciplined creativity, within all branches of educational life. He promoted values such as wisdom, compassion, identification and equality. He opposed all compulsion, including exams, as deadening to the human soul. Instead Grundtvig advocated unleashing human creativity according to the universally creative order of life. Only willing hands make light work. Therefore a spirit of freedom, cooperation and discovery was to be kindled in individuals, in science, and in the civil society as a whole.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

«Pedagogy for the Oppressed» - Paolo Freire in Brazil

More information about Paolo Freire, the Brazilian padagogy that published the famous book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" in 1972.

Paolo Freire is probably the most influential thinker about education in the twentieth century, and has been particularly popular with informal educators with his emphasis on dialogue and his concern for the oppressed. His book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is on the list of “100 most important books of last century”, ref

Paulo Freire (1921 - 1997), the Brazilian educationalist, has left a significant mark on thinking about progressive practice. His Pedagogy of the Oppressed is currently one of the most quoted educational texts (especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia). Freire was able to draw upon, and weave together, a number of strands of thinking about educational practice and liberation. Sometimes some rather excessive claims are made for his work e.g. 'the most significant educational thinker of the twentieth century'. He wasn't - John Dewey would probably take that honour - but Freire certainly made a number of important theoretical innovations that have had a considerable impact on the development of educational practice - and on informal education and popular education in particular. In this piece we assess these - and briefly examine some of the critiques that can be made of his work.
When Freire passed away in 1997, he was writing a book on ecopedagogy.

Some main issues
• Pedagogy of liberation: Social, political and individual relevance and use
• Pedagogy of “Conscientization”: Rediscover and regain faith/trust in own abilities to change, developing a new competence in understanding and action
• Adult education, poor illiterates, empowering way of learning
“Self-depreciation is a characteristic of the oppressed, which derives from their internalisation of the opinion the oppressors hold of them. So often do they hear that they are good for nothing and incapable of learning anything – that they are sick, lazy and unproductive – that in the end they become convinced of their own unfitness.” (Freire, 1972)
Conscientization refers to a type of learning which is focused on perceiving and exposing social and political contradictions. Conscientization also includes taking action against oppressive elements in one's life as part of that learning.
Conscientization proceeds through the identification of "generative themes", which Freire identifies as "iconic representations that have a powerful emotional impact in the daily lives of learners." In this way, individual consciousness helps end the "culture of silence" in which the socially dispossessed internalize the negative images of themselves created and propagated by the oppressor in situations of extreme poverty. Liberating learners from this mimicry of the powerful, and the fratricidal violence that results therefrom is a major goal of conscientization. Conscientization is a fundamental aspect of Freire's concept of popular education.

• Dialogue – interaction, respect, subject-subject, informal, conversational, not curricula-oriented
• Praxis – learning by doing
• Naming the world – being a subject, freedom of thought and expression, critical approach
• Situating educational activity – contextual, analytical, power-relations
• Use of metaphores and parables, pictures and symbols – dynamic, crating power and energy for change

Five aspects of Paulo Freire's work have a particular significance for our purposes here.
1. First, his emphasis on dialogue has struck a very strong chord with those concerned with popular and informal education. Given that informal education is a dialogical (or conversational) rather than a curricula form this is hardly surprising. However, Paulo Freire was able to take the discussion on several steps with his insistence that dialogue involves respect. It should not involve one person acting on another, but rather people working with each other.
Too much education, Paulo Freire argues, involves 'banking' - the educator making 'deposits' in the educatee. Teacher is subject, pupil is object – being filled with knowledge
“It is not our role to speak to the people about their own view of the world, nor to attempt to impose that view on them, but rather dialogue with the people about their view and ours. We must realize that their views of the world, manifested variously in their action, reflects their situation in the world”
2. Second, Paulo Freire was concerned with praxis - action that is informed (and linked to certain values).
Dialogue wasn't just about deepening understanding - but was part of making a difference in the world. Dialogue in itself is a co-operative activity involving respect. The process is important and can be seen as enhancing community and building social capital and to leading us to act in ways that make for justice and human flourishing. Informal and popular educators have had a long-standing orientation to action - so the emphasis on change in the world was welcome. But there was a sting in the tail. Paulo Freire argued for informed action and as such provided a useful counter-balance to those who want to diminish theory.
3. Third, Freire's attention to naming the world has been of great significance to those educators who have traditionally worked with those who do not have a voice, and who are oppressed. (Local people, indigenous, women...) The idea of building a 'pedagogy of the oppressed' or a 'pedagogy of hope' and how this may be carried forward has formed a significant impetus to work. An important element of this was his concern with conscientization - developing consciousness, but consciousness that is understood to have the power to transform reality' (Taylor 1993: 52).
4. Fourth, Paulo Freire's insistence on situating educational activity in the lived experience of participants has opened up a series of possibilities for the way informal educators can approach practice. His concern to look for words that have the possibility of generating new ways of naming and acting in the world when working with people around literacies is a good example of this.

5. Fifth, a number of informal educators have connected with Paulo Freire's use of metaphors drawn from Christian sources (African Religion). An example of this is the way in which the divide between teachers and learners can be transcended. In part this is to occur as learners develop their consciousness, but mainly it comes through the 'class suicide' or 'Easter experience' of the teacher.
(Engagement: The educator for liberation has to die as the unilateral educator of the educatees, in order to be born again as the educator-educatee of the educatees-educators. An educator is a person who has to live in the deep significance of Easter. Quoted by Paul Taylor (1993: 53))
They used to say we were unproductive because we were lazy and drunkards. All lies. Now that we are respected as men, we’re going to show everyone that we were never drunkards nor lazy. We were exploited. (Chilean peasant leader, quoted by Freire, 1972)
The basic, elementary criterion (for development) is whether or not the society is a “being for itself”, i.e. its politicaleconomic and cultural decision-making power is located within. (Freire, 1972)

Inevitably, there are various points of criticism. First, many are put off by Paulo Freire's language and his appeal to mystical concerns. The former was a concern of Freire himself in later life - and his work after Pedagogy of the Oppressed was usually written within a more conversational or accessible framework.
Second, Paulo Freire tends to argue in an either/or way. We are either with the oppressed or against them. This may be an interesting starting point for teaching, but taken too literally it can make for rather simplistic (political) analysis.
Third, there is an tendency in Freire to overturn everyday situations so that they become pedagogical. Freire's approach was largely constructed around structured educational situations. While his initial point of reference might be non-formal, the educational encounters he explores remain formal (Torres 1993: 127) In other words, his approach is still curriculum-based and entail transforming settings into a particular type of pedagogical space. This can rather work against the notion of dialogue (in that curriculum implies a predefined set of concerns and activities). Educators need to look for 'teachable moments' - but when we concentrate on this we can easily overlook simple power of being in conversation with others.
Fourth, what is claimed as liberatory practice may, on close inspection, be rather closer to banking than we would wish. In other words, the practice of Freirian education can involve smuggling in all sorts of ideas and values under the guise of problem-posing. Taylor's analysis of Freire's literacy programme shows that:
.. the rhetoric which announced the importance of dialogue, engagement, and equality, and denounced silence, massification and oppression, did not match in practice the subliminal messages and modes of a Banking System of education. Albeit benign, Freire's approach differs only in degree, but not in kind, from the system which he so eloquently criticizes. (Taylor 1993: 148)
Educators have to teach. They have to transform transfers of information into a 'real act of knowing' (op cit: 43).
Fifth, there are problems regarding Freire's model of literacy. While it may be taken as a challenge to the political projects of northern states, his analysis remains rooted in assumptions about cognitive development and the relation of literacy to rationality that are suspect (Street 1983: 14). His work has not 'entirely shrugged off the assumptions of the "autonomous model"' (ibid.: 14).
Last, there are questions concerning the originality of Freire's contribution. As Taylor has put it - to say that as many commentators do that Freire's thinking is 'eclectic', is 'to underestimate the degree to which he borrowed directly from other sources' (Taylor 1993: 34). Taylor (1993: 34-51) brings out a number of these influences and 'absorbtions' - perhaps most interestingly the extent to which the structure of Pedagogy of the Oppressed parallels Kosik's Dialectic of the Concrete (published in Spanish in the mid 1960s). Here we would simply invite you to compare Freire's interests with those of Martin Buber. His concern with conversation, encounter, being and ethical education have strong echoes in Freirian thought.
Further reading and references
“Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972. Important exploration of dialogue and the possibilities for liberatory practice. Freire provides a rationale for a pedagogy of the oppressed; introduces the highly influential notion of banking education; highlights the contrasts between education forms that treat people as objects rather than subjects; and explores education as cultural action. See, also:
Freire, P. (1995) Pedagogy of Hope. Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed, New York: Continuum. This book began as a new preface to his classic work, but grew into a book. It's importance lies in Freire's reflection on the text and how it was received, and on the development of policy and practice subsequently. Written in a direct and engaging way.
Biographical material: There are two useful English language starting points:
Freire, P. (1996) Letters to Cristina. Reflections on my life and work, London: Routledge. Retrospective on Freire's work and life. in the form of letters to his niece. He looks back at his childhood experiences, to his youth, and his life as an educator and policymaker.
Gadotti, M. (1994) Reading Paulo Freire. His life and work, New York: SUNY Press. Clear presentation of Freire's thinking set in historical context written by a close collaborator. ,

Monday, June 15, 2009


Charcoal production and fire wood collection are main activities responsible for environmental destruction in Coastal region. While other regions in the country seem to be very restricted in the issue of forest conservation, in coast the situation is somehow different. There is high rate of forest clearing on searching for firewood and timer extraction.
Kisarawe and Mkuranga is the District of coastal region which in the past ten years, most of the areas were covered by natural forests with richness of biodiversity. But due to high demand of wood fuel in town areas mainly Dar es salaam. Large number of the natural forests in the districts that were under village authorities has been cleared; the situation is harsher as after finishing all trees, now people are dealing with roots and stems of trees on Charcoal production. Even in reserved forests such as Pugu reserved forest there is high level of environmental destruction due to illegal harvesting of trees for timber and charcoal production, where large area remained with shrubs and grasses.

Government on its side tried to establish different bylaws and inspection areas for forest products to control this destruction but corruption and poor working capacity among the forest workers still remained an obstacle for this effort.
Now different Environmental Civil Society Organizations directing their effort to these districts to join with Government. For example between 2005 and 2009 GULUKA KWALALA Youth Environmental Group (GYEG) has implemented projects on Environment policy to the local community, training on bee keeping instead of charcoal production and currently two projects are in final stages to be implemented one on wildlife and the second on forest conservation

By concluding the issue is serious and need combination efforts, Government as one side, must employ staff with knowledge and experience, also implementation of forest regulations for proper management. Again the CSOs need to conduct more trains especially on better way of charcoal production as well as to introduce new energy source to people of Dar es salaam so as to reduce their dependence on wood fuel, this is because Dar es salaam residents are the main users of Charcoal from these two districts. Hence if trains will be conducted to people of the two districts, CSOs and Government work together, I’m sure we are going to get the proper solution for the problem.

Soma Said Soma


In both rural and urban areas in Tanzania wood-based energy consumption is estimated to account for about 92% of total energy consumed in the country. This with other uses cause the over exploitation of forests, hence women get to walk very long distance for fire wood collection, as forests around communities are degraded, women must go for fuel wood far from their home. In some places, women must camp overnight in the bush.
The Environmental degradation increases women time burden in firewood finding even longer when they live in a degraded environment. More time women and girls spend every day collecting firewood, the less time they use to improve their lives and participating in other activities .As time goes collection times of fuel wood are rising as locally available firewood becomes increasingly scarce.
Even though in most areas the fuel wood availability is important yet the weight of firewood time burden falls under women because they tend to be responsible for more household tasks. Once they fail to cook for their families due to firewood problems their husband asks them why they did not prepared the meal without considering the distance where fire wood are found.
Women must be supporting them through providing efficient energy sources like the use of wind power, wave, electricity, biogas, this will reduce the demand of fuelwood and hence the women burden will be reduced.

Women need increased acces to affordable eficient energy sources as high costs and limited availability of efficient energy sources can minimize women burden as they will be using those other energy sources rather than depending on fuelwood for 100%.

The use of fuel efficiency stoves which minimizes the use of firewood fuel these must be encouraged as reduces the rate of fuel wood consumption hence reduces women burden and avoid more deforestation.

Environment must be conserved and areas with trees will not be degraded and encouraging plating trees nearby living areas which can be used for firewood.Now women will be getting firewood near thier living places.

What is most important women must be involved in decision making their opinions must be taken into consideration.Men must insure that they are helping their wives so that this burden will be reduced and women will get more time to spend looking for their kids and improving their lives.

Joyneth Mbogo


Pugu story dates back slightly before early 1990s and it has survived the test of time.

The impressions “The lack of success of the previous attempts may have been due to poor timing, we feel that the present rate of destruction of both forests and the growing awareness among FBD decision makers in combination with a concerted mobilization of concerned Forestry Experts and Environmentalists, will make a difference this time”.

Kik van den Heuvel
Pugu Hills

My feelings after our last field visit to sand mines are as follows;

Pugu is there to stay you can not stop business which the product is wanted you just push it into the underground, you make it more profitable and luxurious, you create conducive room for corruption and bribery and high degree of involvement in corruption at all levels. You promote artificial demand and people rush for it at any cost
You encourage a situation of no body owns no body cares, you make us all loose the intended benefits, the government loose revenue, adjacent communities loose profit and confidence (the business loose profit margins – corruption)
WHO IS YOU in this aspect?

What to do:
a)Legalize the communities adjacent to the area and let them own the sand mines and pay appropriate government taxes,
b)Assist them to conduct environmental impact Assessment of the area and their activities as stipulated in environmental laws of 2004
c)Encourage them to rehabilitate the area following up the EIA
I agree that the second stage will include communication with the surrounding communities and stakeholders regarding the new management initiative and the involvement of the communities and stakeholders in the management of the Forests.
If it does not grow maize to feed people what good is it for? Meet needs of present generation without compromising the future needs is the only way.

David Kabati


It has bee observed that severely deforestation in Morogoro rural areas is due to inadequate participation of people around the rural areas and other stockholders where most of people MorogoroVillage district are living closely to forest but they are not aware on appropriate use of forest product and sustainable conservation. Also, other stakeholders do not participate well to face various challenges like illegal harvest of forest products and bush burning

In fact the district authority is a responsible stakeholder to link other stakeholders within district on the effective participation of every stakeholder to conserve forest in Morogoro Village district. The insufficiency of participation has been realized where a number of members community do not know procedures to be followed when they want to use forest products. District Authority has all procedures but people in rural areas are not aware with those steps to be followed.

The availability of adequate participation provides a general opportunity to conserve our natural resources/forests at different levels, because each and every individual will play his/her part to conserve forest as part of his living. This could be done through creating awareness to individuals. This can be achieved through imposition of education, planting tees campaign e.t.c

I would like advice the district authority to link all stakeholders on sustainable forest conservation at Morogoro Village District so that to rescue the vulnerability of forest in our district.

Angelus Runji


The Government is required to give a gret attention to Pugu Forest Reserve in Kisarawe district- Kibaha region that is among the great forests in Tanzania with a wonderful scenic beauty and rich in variety of tree species. Despite this, the forest is highly threatened with destruction through human activities the major one being charcoal production. It is said that in few years ago the forest was very rich in hardwood, to date only few hardwood species exist. But charcoal production is not the only reason for destruction of Pugu Forest Reserve the other factor is mining activities that are taking part in some areas of the forest that results in deforestation and soil erosion.

In Minaki area stone mining has been taking place for about five years now. Some people from TANROAD came here in year 2005 they took some technical measurements, cleared the forest and start extracting sand and stones for building the Kisarawe road. After one year the company went off and left the area with big pits without doing land reclamation therefore it brought a chance for individuals to come and take over with the activity to date, reports one of the miners at Minaki stone mining area.

The Young Environmentalist Trainees (YETs) under the sponsor of WWF- Tanzania programme had a one day field trip to Kisarawe. The purpose of the trip was to visit one of the CSOs called Vijana Vision Tanzania (VVT) and Pugu sand mining area. VVT being one of the CSOs that deals with management of Natural Resources shared with us on how they conduct their daily activities including the challenges they face in managing the forests that are within their project area. They mentioned the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest reserves as big forests that are within their project area.

On his speech the Executive Director mentioned the challenges that his organization is facing in managing the two mentioned forests he said, The Government through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism under the department of Forest and Beekeeping has been a drawback to participatory management of forests as per new Forest regulation of 2002. There has been some propaganda about doing participatory forest management.

One of the village leader reported that three years ago they wrote a letter to the Ministry through the District authority asking for permission to manage the forest as the Forest Policy says about Forest Participatory Management (FPM) but till today they haven’t receive any answer. It is said that the problem of not acting toward the policy has been due to the issue of cost benefit sharing from the forest. This might be the reason for the increase of human activities that lead to destruction of the forests such as charcoal production, mining, timber cropping and other activities.

It was proposed by the central Government that people that are mining in Minaki at Pugu Forest Reserve should be evicted from the area and be shifted to Kazimzumbwi where they will go on mining stones and sand. Up to today its not yet done that means that those miners are going on mining in Minaki stone mining area. They want us to shift to the area which has no water and poor road facilities how are we going to survive there, asked one of the miners who were interviewed by YETs.

He went on saying that here in Minaki we do fetch water from Minaki Secondary school for cooking, bathing and washing our clothes we are not ready to leave this area with important facilities and go to Kazimzumbwi unless other wise if the Government is going to take action to make sure that they are available there at Kazimzumbwi before we shift. Here our customers are easily accessing us because of good infrastructure but if we go there now we might miss all of our customers therefore our business will be non-profitable so by realizing that we nobody amongst us is ready to shift to Kazimzumbwi.

Through the interviews with the miners it was discovered that there is no good relationship between the leaders such as the District Commissioner (DC) and other local leaders.
A man who was interviewed said that, the DC is treating them so harshly because one day she commanded a track full of stones to go and unload at the school ground so that it will be used for building that school, he said if the DC could come to them in a harmonious way and ask them to contribute one lorry of stones for building that school they could do it in peace since their children are the one who will benefit by getting education instead of the way she did. By doing so she is creating a kind of enemity between the government and us seeing that the government is neglecting our rights because we are here struggling to find some money for our survival and the government is mistreating us where should we go? Is it fair for our own leaders whom we voted for treating us like this, the man asked bitterly.

There is a need for the government to find quick solution for this problem through a round table conversation between the local and central leaders and local communities to reach a peaceful consensus YETs as changing agents we are calling upon a great attention and quick action for the Government because its our Natural Resources that are deteriorating instead of being utilized sustainably for the benefit of our Nation.

The government should stop promising things that are tough for them to implement. Also the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism should be fast and acting upon its Policies, Laws and Regulations that are of great use towards achieving sustainable management of natural resources.

Participatory Management of Natural Resources such as Wildlife, Forests and Fishery should be given a priority in attaining sustainable management of natural resources and so as to obtain its contribution to the national GDP while sharing the benefits to the local people improving their livelihoods.

The government also should work hand to hand with the CSOs that are dealing with Environmental Issues since they are the one who have good experience in working close to the local communities in their daily implementation of their projects towards achieving their mission and goals.

The Government should seek to have round table conversation with the local communities while making some decisions that may affect their livelihoods instead of using forces and other bad approaches.

Local communities should participate actively from the initial stages of any planning and decision making processes concerning the management and utilization of natural resources instead of being commanded to act upon what has been decided already.

If these will be done effectively, the local communities will feel as they are concerned in management of natural resources and if they destroy or do any mismanagement activities it will cost them and their future generations.

Also more education is needed for the local communities to understand the importance of conserving our natural resources in participatory means.

We have remained with few forest Reserves that are of great potential and they are still surviving from human activity destructions; let us conserve them seriously in a participatory way and sustainably.

Victoria Maeda,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Pugu forest reserve which located in Kisarawe districts and managed under local government authority is in great risk to vanish due to illegal ongoing aggregate mining activities inside the reserve, according to my insight of the area during 13 April 2009; I got opportunity to have a dialogue with aggregate miners, on this issue.

“They claim that environmental degradation increases in this forest due to poor land use planning and poor governance,
also the government for the most part central government were the one who initiate the sand mining excavate in this forest for their own interest, mainly to the road constructor investor, without measure the impact of their action to the forest environment.

They continue to declare that, after the government investor close its activities and left the mining hole, and then we cover up the place and continue to digging sand for sale to diverse customer from different area of Dar as salaam in order to get something to take care for us and our families they say.

They blame the local government for their thought of stop them to continue with mining activities within the forest without compensate them with another place which is beneficial to them, instead the Pugu district government odder the village government to throw the miners to another area which is very far away, with poor road that hinder their client to access their products, that why we are still here and carry on with our activities which we depend on for our daily life.”

My advice to government is to making harmonize agreement with the aggregate miners for the sake of sustainability of Pugu forest reserve, also to the aggregate miners have agreed to stop mining activities in the area because according to the forest Act Of year 2002 they are strongly breaking the law by doing illegal mining activities in the reserve.

nginyi kimaai


Rocks mining contribute to the Forest degradation in Kisarawe district, more than 50 youngmen engaged in this rocks mining, Most of them have families to feed on.

Mr. Abdallah Haji one of the small rocks miner said they are poor and their life depends on that rocks mining, the government provided loan for them but there is bias. No small industry or factory in Kisarawe, their farms have been taken by the government with no compensation

Another small rocks miner said even police officers always say yes for small miners because by engaging in that activity they reduce violence/robbery in the street

There is Administration contradiction between RC and DC.RC said small miners had to wait for the good decision from RC office but later DC ordered them to leave in any time she wish, but small miners still claim where the DC wants to take them to, the place where DC wants them to go there is no good infrastructure of road even water.

We have to think; shifting them to another place while continuing doing the same activity, is it constructive? While we want to reduce the dependence of people on forest sector??

But degradation started days back in 2004 when big construction companies like UNICO beginning to construct the road from Kisarawe to Dar es Salaam

This time takes another face when small rocks miners entered there to find their daily bread. For this case I can predict days to come if the situation still the same the environment will be more degradated, and on other side social conflict will erupt and insecurity of people will increase because government wants to evict them without giving them any alternative way of sustain their life, so many young men with low level of education will enter the street without any activity to make them survive.

But the government, CSOs, I international organization and donors have something to do to help the poor community of Kisarawe to reduce the highly dependence on forest sector to survive.

First, of all loans is very important to these people, loans with no bias. The district government and village government should take responsibility for being the referees for these people
Second, strengthening in Agriculture, because is only affordable way of rural areas, for example insisting on cultivation of cassava, therefore the government should tell the investors to open small scale industry for cassava bread processing ,because cassava has no big market, so for doing that small scale industry will employ local people and also buying cassava from farmers.
Third, the government should strength the capacity of cooperatives unions, because by doing so the farmers will get moral of cultivating more and the cooperatives will be able to buy more and more as well as possible
Lastly, also more small scale processing industries for cashew nut should be built at Kisarawe district, because there is no any .People will get employment and will courage farmers to produce more ,there is no need for processing industry to be at Dar es salaam. because now in Kisarawe there is good infrastructure i.e. roads and electricity.

Hussein Mwamba


Segoma forest reserve with an area of 2186 ha is located in Mkinga District in Tanga region. This forest is surrounded by six villages namely Segoma, Kambai, Kuze-Kibago, Churwa, Mhinduro and Bamba villages. This forest has been in the threat of extermination for so long due to illegal timber harvesting, clearing of forest buffer zones and cutting down tree to be used as fire wood and pole for house construction. This destructive activity has been spearheaded by community living adjacent to the forest in the name of sustaining their lives under the umbrella of having not any other income generating activities. Illegal timber harvesting in this forest is the leading destructive activity and it has persisted for so long now being fore fronted by village leaders surrounding the forest. Villagers are also involved in the activity in one or another. For example Mr. Rashid Choya a Maramba village resident said, women in the villages surrounding the forest used to be hired to carry illegally harvested timber from the forest with the payment of 1500/= per timber per each trip and found it more fruitfully than being engaged in other activities.

Speaking to Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) staffs, Young Environmentalist Trainee from WWF Tanzania Programme Office attached with TFCG and Journalist when we visited Mkinga district council, the District Land, Environment and Natural Resource Officer Mr. Cheyo Nkelege, acknowledged Segoma forest problem to have disturbed the district authority for so long. He said, so as to deal with the problem, there are actions that the district under its forest department has taken so far. Among the action taken are frequent patrols in the area on illegal logging that has led to impounding of a lot of timber harvested illegally in the forest. He added that from 1st July to 30 December 2007, Mkinga District Commissioner Mr. Deodatus banned harvesting of all forest products in Mkinga district in a way to fight against the problem. “Though illegal timber harvesting is still going on, but it has started slowing down as compared with some few years as a result of education campaign, patrols and collaboration with other stakeholder like TFCG to educate people on the effect of cutting down trees” said Mr. Cheyo.

After realizing the settings of this problem, TFCG in addition to its East Usambara Forest Landscape Restoration Project, a partnership project between TFCG and WWF TPO, launched a special programme to educate people living adjacent to Segoma forest on forest policy, forest act, advocacy and good governance in forest management as the way to halt the problem. WWF TPO funds this special programme under its programme to strengthen environmental civil society organization of Tanzania (CSOP). This programme was devised after realizing that many people around this reserved forest do not bother to protect the forest as most of them were found not to have knowledge of forest policy, laws governing the forest as well as governance proceeding regarding forest management. The trainings process went on successfully and TFCG conducted a workshop that involved village governments surrounding Segoma forest, Natural resource committees from the same villages, three community networks within the area, district forest catchments authority and district forest department so as to come out with an action plan and a way forward to halt Segoma forest destruction. Participants of this workshop came from Churwa, Mhinduro, Bamba, Kuze and Segoma villages those sorrounding the forest. On the other hand three local networks were MTAHIMKAKI (Mtandao wa uhifadhi mazingira kata ya Kigongoi), SHIWAMAMA (Shirikisho la uhifadhi mazingira kata ya Maramba) and UMAKAM (Umoja wa uhifadhi mazingira kata ya Mhinduro).

Among the actions that were agreed upon was to have a joint forest committee that will be composed of members from all villages surrounding the forest and the committee will be responsible with patrols within the forest in collaboration with the department of forest in Mkinga district. On the other hand the committee will work together with the district to strengthen all checkpoints and adding other checkpoints to break all routes used by poachers to sneak away with illegally harvested forest products from Segoma forest. It was also agreed upon that more sensitization is still needed on the ways of earning their living instead of depending on Segoma forest. Among other income generating activities that has been opted so far, are beekeeping, pond fishing and cash crop farming. Explaining this in details during the workshop, Mr. Rashid Choya a Maramba resident said beekeeping is one of the activities that will fetch tem better income compared to other sources. He said the price of honey has now risen from Tshs 1800 to 3000 per liter so this encouraged us to engage in the business. Adding to this Mr. Choya said TFCG that has introduced the beekeeping project in our village is giving out five beehives free of charge to the one who constructs five beehives. Another alternative income generating activities having been opted so far by many people in those villages is Ocimum kilimascharica cash crop plantation known is Swahili as “Mfuto”. The leaves of this crop produce oil that is used to manufacture painkillers medicine, anti-histamine medicine that treats flue and other many products. The market of this crop is based in Nairobi Kenya by ICIPE Company. One kilogram of leaves is sold at Tshs 250 to 1250. One acre of Ocimum plantation is projected to give out 6570 kilogram to 10500 kilogram of leaves. This has been a good venture for the villagers to engage in to sustain their lives.

Speaking to the workshop Mr. Mwarabu Jumbe Mwarabu an acting district Forest Officer thanked TFCG and WWF TPO for the undertaking they have been doing so far and promised to collaborate with Segoma forest stakeholders in the implementation of the action plan that was agreed upon. “This is the participatory forest management we are always speaking”. Said Mr. Mwarabu.

William Nambiza


It was in the mid hours of the day, May 13, 2009 when a team of young environmental trainees with WWF-TPO personnel visited the Pugu Forest Reserve in Kisarawe Village, Coastal Region which is now under a severely devastated situation due to unenvironmentaly friendly activities undertaken at the heart of this potential forest resource. The team witnessed a group of 40 to 50 individual sand miners being busy in the process of mining sands while several trucks parked beside the big mining pits. Some of these individuals were seen working under dangerous land cliffs that might fall any time and cause death to these people but when one of the YET’s members asked one of the sand miners by the name of “Mwili Jumba” to tell him the reason of working under such dangerous environments, he responded that, “Kisarawe yenyewe haina lolote la maana kuniingizia kipato…. Sanasana nifanye biashara ya matunda na mihogo ambayo kila mtu mahali hapa anaitolea macho”. While speaking in Swahili, he meant that he can’t think any kind of work to raise his income rather than sand mining because even the business of fruits and cassavas which is very popular in the area, it is still difficult for him because many people in the area have been doing such kind of business hence no tangible profit can be earned because of stiff competition on such business. With this kind of understanding it is very hard to rescue this forest from these destructive activities unless the government will heavily invest the available resources to capacitize these people with the appropriate education on entrepreneurship and other relevant educations to enhance proper earning of income to sustain their livelihood. It was also spoken by the team that, in Kisarawe Village where the Pugu Forest Reserve is located, people can utilize the forest for activities such as Bee-Keeping and Traditional Herbs selling to raise their income instead of sand mining but also in this, the government should closely work with these people and empower them to improve such activities which can be an alternative source of earning income to these villagers of Kisarawe.
Ally Mbugi,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Quarry activity is still operating in Pugu forest by local community though the district council announces them to vacate the place.
The Pugu Forest which is located few kilometers from Kisarawe town center is containing diverse species of plants. Local communities conducting quarry activities within the forest using hand tools. This community depends on this activity to obtain their daily income by selling the gravel and other materials extracted from this area.

Due to severe destruction of this forest which results to loss of biodiversity and soil erosion district country announced local community who are doing quarry activity within forest to vacate and move to the new area which is allocated away from this forest. The people are willing to shift to proposed area but them claiming that there is poor infrastructure such as road and the land is not cleared to expose the rock layer because they can’t remove the topsoil layer by using hand tools.

The road contractors and other building companies are the one who starts to do quarry activities in this forest where the use modern technology such as digging machine like excavator, to process gravel and other material for road construction . Due to use of this technology they managed to extract large quantity of materials for short time with great destruction to land and this is what happened to Pugu forest. After the completing the road construction the company abandon the place without covering the area(land restoration) and here is where local community come in and proceed with quarry activity using their hands tool to acquire their daily income. due to severe destruction resulted from this activities government announce people to vacate this area but fail to prepare good working environment in new proposed mining area .So whom to blame district governance or local community?

heri jackson


President Jakaya Kikwete has challenged contractors and construction stakeholders to name public officials demanding bribes as a condition for approving construction tenders.

Addressing a Contractors Registration Board consultative meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the president said the vice would continue wreaking havoc unless the corrupt officials are exposed and disciplinary action is taken against them.

He described corruption as the number one enemy of the country’s construction industry, as some 60 per cent of government revenue was spent on building projects.

“About 60 per cent of government revenue is spent on construction projects, an industry mentioned as among the most corrupt industries.

If serious steps are not taken to keep corruption out of this industry, the vice will continue eating the country and development will remain dormant,” the president pointed out.

He said because corruption was a game of giving and receiving and there was always someone giving and another receiving, it was important for the people to alert the government on both “and I will have no mercy on them”.

President Kikwete warned that the government would deal mercilessly with contractors failing to complete their work as scheduled and those executing public construction contracts poorly.

Action to be taken against underperforming contractors would include termination of contracts, followed by disciplinary measures, he said.

CRB Chairman Charles Kitwanga had earlier noted that Tanzanian contractors faced a number of problems, notably lack of capital, knowledge and equipment, and therefore found it hard to undertake huge construction projects.

He said the industry is yet to provide tangible gains to local contractors, with statistics showing that the construction market share has benefited foreign contractors a lot more.

A total of 4,940 (or a little over 96 per cent) of the 5,125 registered contractors in the country are Tanzanians, but they have managed to get only 30 per cent of the total revenue obtained from construction activities.

Kitwanga said the amount was from 2,715 construction projects undertaken last year. Local contractors were behind the implementation of 2,581 projects, which came to about 95 per cent of the total number, but they ended up with peanuts.

CRB Registrar Boniface Mhegi meanwhile explained that cumbersome and strict procedures made it near impossible for local contractors to win public construction tenders.

“We all know how poor local contractors are. How can they compete with their well-established foreign counterparts with huge capital?” he queried.

He said there was a need for the government to revisit tendering procedures and regulations, particularly those relating to public procurement, as a way of protecting local contractors.

Some months ago, President Kikwete promised to submit to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General’s office for action a list of names of dishonest customs department employees colluding with importers to evade tax.

He sounded the promise during a surprise visit to the Dar es Salaam port, where he also directed TRA boss Harry Kitilya to act against the culprits soon after receiving the names.

It has not been established whether the names have reached the revenue authority’s offices.