Saturday, August 20, 2011


If there are still those who hold the mentality that the local communities know nothing and therefore do not care about the environment, the the villagers in Nkwarisambu village have proved them wrong.

At a time when the environment dominates the global agenda the community in Nkwarisambu have taken a further step to fire the village government over the mismanagement of Nkwarisambu Hill Forest.

The hill which lies by the village and makes part of the village forest land have been highly degraded by logging activities in which the loggers claimed to possess permits from the then village government.

'We warned the village government several times that if they wont stop all logging activities on that hill (pointing to Nkwarisambu hill) we would take measures by ourselves and since they failed to adhere to our cries we removed the government since we are the one who put them into power' said Lameck Mirisho, one of the villages.

Speaking on training aimed at raising community's awareness on participatory forest management held at the village, Wilson Nyiti, Nkwarisambu ward councilor the government poor governance of the village have resulted in many clashes and the community and the then village government.

'You know the villagers could tolerate seeing the trees disappear on that hill while there have been no transparency on offering permits for harvesting trees on that land'. Mr Nyiti He added. In addition to that the termination of the previous village government has also been due to absence of clear financial reports of income generated from the harvested forest resources.

However observations have shown that despite being ranked the first in environmental conservation in Meru district, Nkwarisambu still faces other challenges related to forest sector. For example, strict imposed laws in the area have not succeeded to to protect Mount Meru forest from degradation. Still communities find their way into the forest for access of firewood and poles for construction.

There has been an on going dialogue between the interim government and Arusha National Park (ANAPA) management, which currently manages Mount Meru Forest Reserve to explore ways can leave in harmony with the forest.

According to Daniel Nasari, the interim government chairperson various strategies have been set to curb encroachment practices by villagers who tries to access forest resources in that prohibited forest reserve. One being replanting various trees species in Nkwarisambu Hill and encouraging the communities to plant trees on their own pieces of land.

The villagers in the area decided to terminate the government after observing the unsustainable harvesting of trees near Ndoombo Primary School, located at the foot of Nkwarisambu Hill earlier last month.
Innocent Kisanga-YET2011

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