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by Community Forests International on March 2, 2010

We visited the village of Gando and the land given to Community Forests Pemba for the Pemba Sustainability Institute (PSI). We wanted to involve the community and hear their questions and concerns. The main concern was that currently farmers are using this government owned land to grow cassava . The building of an education site would mean they might lose the ability to farm there, and thus, they were initially opposed.

Lush Greenery on Gando Site

Lush Greenery on Gando Site

Viewing these problems as opportunities, Daimen and I have begun to brainstorm on how we can involve the community to create a win-win situation. Our main idea was to have demonstration plots, where interested local farmers can come and practice advanced agriculture techniques, harvest the profits, and actually have greater land tenure than they do currently. These demonstration plots will then become examples of working advanced agriculture techniques for students at the PSI.

Daimen Adressing Gando Community

Daimen Adressing Gando Community

Meeting Under Mango Tree

Meeting Under Mango Tree

We also discussed with the community about how they can become involved, and how the education site would be of great value to this rural community. A Pemba Sustainability Institute committee was proposed, so that locals of Gando would have rights as stakeholders in the project.

What is important now is to get these ideas across, not only to the locals of Gando, but to all the supporters of the PSI.  Gando will be the first to benefit from the project, and their experiences and education will provide the foundation for educating students from across Pemba and further abroad once the institute is established.

Gando Sheha, Elders, and Community Members

Gando Sheha, Elders, and Community Members

“I think the future of conservation lies in getting the cooperation, understanding, and participation of the local people. If we do not, then we will surely fail”.
Costa Mlay, past head of the Wildlife Division of Tanzania's Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, speaking on converting land to game reserves.

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