Villagers from 11 villages in northern Tanzania have sealed a contract with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to conserve two natural forests of Ketumbeine and Gelai Lumbwa located in Arusha region. This effort will also rescue Lake Natron, the main breeding site of flamingo birds, which are threatened by human activities in recent years.
Human-natural resource conflict has been rife in most African countries with communities bordering resource rich areas with diamond, gold, wildlife, or oil being marginalized and considered a threat to the natural resources. Excluding such communities from benefits accruing from natural resources is counterproductive. It is imperative that African governments bring communities in resource endowed areas on board as key stakeholders in resource management as well as resource shareholding.
The contract with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is thus a step in the right direction if the villagers will not just be a rubberstamp but people with progressive ideas.