Local communities in Kigoma demonstrated their readiness for full scale REDD during a recent field visit by technical experts in Kigoma districts, Tanzania. The field visit was facilitated by IUCN project on Strengthening REDD+ Lesson Learning Networks and Information Management funded by the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) of the University of Dar es Salaam. Visited pilot project is being implemented by the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in Kigoma district. Site visit was organized in Ilagala village in Kigoma.
The objective of the field visit was to document key lessons from these projects that will augment lessons learnt and best practices from other projects collected during field dialogues held in March this year. Conducted on April 11-12, 2013, the event was attended by representatives from IUCN, National REDD Task Force, National REDD Secretariat and hosts – project staff and local communities.
Illagala villagers demonstrated readiness for fullscale REDD+ during focused group discussions on REDD+ principles that included drawing a number of lessons from their experiences. Firstly, the understanding of REDD concept was high amongst communities (village government, members of the Village Natural Resource Committee, forest monitors and members of a community based organisation – JUWAMMA (Jumuia ya Watunza Misitu wa Masito). There are proving to be qualified trainers in issues related to REDD pilot projects.
Secondly, there is effective and gender-balanced community participation in project implementation that ensures sustainability of REDD+ activities. In addition, communities’ capacity to implement REDD+ activities has been strengthened by workshops, and the training opportunities from the JGI focussing on forest conservation, forest protection and first aid. Scout training were conducted to 35 forest monitors at Pasiansi Wildlife College. In addition, the projects provided forest gears and equipment to forest monitors which includes 35 bicyles, fire extinguishers, solar panels, field boots and first aid kits.
Communities are also competent in Monitoring Reporting Verification (MRVs) and they demonstrated understanding of the whole process of data collection and recording even though have not yet grasped the computation of carbon stock. Forest monitors provide reports every month to the JGI. These reports include number of visits to the forest per month, report on encroachment signs and problem encountered during visitation.
Furthermore, financing of the JUWAMMA to fulfill its activities including REDD has been assured through revenues collected from illegal exploitation of forest products as agreed with Kigoma District Council. The experience of REDD+ pilot project in Kigoma shows that local communities can own REDD+ activities after strengthing their capacity in forest management and empowering the local institutions.
For more information, contact Mr. Abdalla Said Shah, Head of Office/Senior Program Officer – IUCN Tanzania on Abdalla.firstname.lastname@example.org