Namtumbo, where villagers say no to illegal logging and deforestation | Land Portal

THE Forestry and Value Chains Development Programme (FORVAC) has brought in positive results in
Namtumbo District, Ruvuma Region as villagers are no longer engaging in illegal logging as it was in the past.

Reports have it that villagers are now aware of the dangers that comes with illegal logging and
deforestation and in turn they collectively conserve the nearby forests so as to earn cash that
makes them to execute different village development projects.

Five villages that have benefited from FORVAC include Chengena, Kilangalanga, Masuguru,
Limamu, Njalamatata and Kumbara. Through different training, the five villages have been able
to prepare advocacy action plans to tackle forest management challenges through the
community-based forest management (CBFM).

Community Forest Conservation Network (MJUMITA)’s Coordinator for Southern Zone, Benedict
Minja said that involved different forest stakeholders in the district organized by MJUMITA.

Minja was speaking recently at one-day workshop that involved villagers, local government
leaders from across the district and the forum was meant to inform village leaders and local
government authorities on a four-year programme-FORVAC, good governance, financial
management and government’s contribution on community based forest management (CBFM).

This has been possible through FORVAC project that is being executed by the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Tourism, through Forestry and Beekeeping Division in partnership with other
stakeholders that includes MJUMITA, MPINGO Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI)
and Namtumbo district in six villages.

He said that villagers were trained on good governance and financial management.
Other positive results includes MJUMITA has been able to develop electronic forest crime
monitoring tool for villages to monitoring forests crime incidents and make follow- up on what
legal actions has been taken to address these issues .

According to Minja, 27 village leaders and Village Natural Resources Committee (VNRC)’s
members have been trained on how to collect information on forest crimes and report it to forest
management institutions or authorities dealing with those issues.

Two community-based organization have been established in Luchili and Limamu ward as tool for
demanding their rights and improve good governance.

MJUMITA has been offered four smart phones to the VNRC’s members to make follow-up on
forest crimes within their village land and forest protection has been improved as result of
regular patrols conducted by the VNRC’s members.

As a result of MJUMITA works on good governance and financial management in CBFM villages,
Namtumbo District Council has taken actions against unaccountable village leaders as a result of
financial mismanagement as it has been seen in Mtelawamwahi village where the VEO has been
suspended as a result of financial embezzlement.

Also under FORVAC project, Namtumbo District Council with support from other stakeholders
have managed to allocate a total of 20,789 hectares of village land forest reserve in
Mtelawamwahi and Kitanda villages which are now satisfying sustainable harvesting of the forest
product through sustainable harvesting plans enabling the villages to earn revenue that will be
allocated for village development projects.

“As MJUMITA we are very glad to see where they are today, this is an important step towards
making these villages own their village forests,” said Minja

On behalf of Limamu residents, a Village Natural Resource Committee (VNRC)’ s Secretary,
Adimu Muhagama said that through the knowledge and skills gained from MJUMITA, Namtumbo
district and Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI), Limamu village has been
able to carry out patrols inside the village land forest reserve and remove 8 invaders who were
conducting agricultural activities illegally inside the forest.

The invaders were arrested on November last year by members of the village natural resources
committee (VNRC) in partnership with the village government.

“As villagers we expressed thanks to MJUMITA, MCDI and Namtumbo district for what they train
us because training on forest conservation, good governance, financial management and forest
management has started bearing fruits,” he said.

Right now villagers are now very competent enough to conserve the forest reserve within their
village land.

Also the village has been able to develop forest management plan, by-laws for forest
management, establish a total of 17841.43 hectares of village land forest reserve for community
based forest management, 22,000 hectares of land for agricultural activities and 11,000 hectares
of grazing plots for livestock keepers.

“We are very happy for what we have achieved so far because deforestation has decreased
significantly, villagers are aware on the importance of forest conservation and on July this year
will start harvesting timber and other forest products.” He said

Before intervention, deforestation at Ndanje village forest reserve located 45 kilometre from
Limamu village was very high and five hectares of forest reserve were damaged.

People from Namali, Ndongosi, Kikunja and Nambendo villages were entering inside the forest
reserve illegally cutting down trees for timber and commercial farming activities especially
maize, sesame and millet crops.

“As VNRC’s members we noticed the incident when conducting patrols inside the forest reserve
to keep encroachers invading the forestsillegally for timber harvesting, charcoal making,
agricultural activities, cattle grazing and medicinal purposes,” he said Highlighting on the impact of good governance and financial management training,he said the training has brought in positive changes for village leaders and residents.

“Right now accountability for village leaders has been improved, all the information related to
revenue collection and expenditures are placed on the village’s notice board, people are allowed
to stop by and have a look what is there and even to suggest what should be done for the
village’s development, he said.

Also villagers are now aware on how much money the village collects in taxes and spend it
something which was not there before.

Highlighting on forest crimes, he said so far the village has been able to report three forest
crimes incidents.

“We have already arrested three invaders alleged to illegally conduct agricultural activities and
remove forest signs at Ndanje village forest reserve, the committee’s members will take them to
the village office for legal action as well as pay fines in accordance with the damage they cause
in our forest reserve,” he said

According to him, if they will not confess to pay it, they will take them to Namtumbo district for
more legal action,” he said.

He commended MJUMITA for developing electronic forest crime monitoring tool to assist VNRC’s
members at Limamu village to report forest crime incidents to the forest management
institutions and other authorities dealing with those issues.

“Right now it is very easy to send information relating to forest crime online than travelling longdistance by bus from Limamu village to Namtumbo district located 45 kilometre as well as
reduce transport costs,” he said

Limamu village was officially established in 1974; so far the village has 4227 and 625
Namtumbo District Commissioner, Sophia Kizigo lauded MJUMITA, MCDI and other stakeholders
to introduce the project in Namntumbo district.

“I believe if MJUMITA, MCDI will continue to train people on forest conservation, the main
functions of forests and the benefit it has for them will protect the forests they have.




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