Community based conservation
It may seem surprising that Tanzania’s wildlife populations should be declining, because in many regards Tanzania has made remarkable achievements in terms of its commitment to wildlife conservation. Tanzania has, since independence 47 years ago, greatly expanded the amount of land reserved for wildlife, biological diversity, and environmental protection. In the same time period, Tanzania’s population has expanded nearly five times from 8 million to 45 million people. This rise in population has meant that more and more land is needed for agriculture, grazing and settlement, and there is ever increasing demand for natural resources – including charcoal, bush meat and timber products. The challenge of promoting sustainable livelihoods and achieving sustainable natural resource management has been compounded by the slow progress and uptake of land use planning.
Community based tourism
Community based tourism.
Community based tourism is tourism that takes place in areas owned and controlled by local communities. In Tanzania this type of tourism is often wildlife based, can include cultural tourism, and the income raised is used towards the support of the local community. In Tanzania dry areas with under 450mm of rainfall a year cannot support agriculture, and in these areas the communities are usually pastoralists living off livestock or hunter gathers. In northern Tanzania, communities such as the Maasai or Hazabe have been living off and harvesting from nature for many years understanding and practicing traditional forms of conservation through a wonderful and interesting engagement with nature.
Lake Jipe village
One of BCF’s visions is to help community based conservation organizations to develop their tourism portfolio. This requires an assessment of the potential tourism products, which could be walking or trekking areas, campsites, biking country, home stays or simply learning about community based conservation. The products then need to be developed in accordance with the demands of the market, and the community members to understand and manage the products. The introduction of feedback and communication will ensure that standards and expectations are managed according to market expectations. Tourists and visitors to a community based conservation area need to understand the partnership between man and wildlife, how they manage to share the resources and how the communities continue to conserve the habitat as they have done so for many years. BCF help to prepare visitor information which make tourists visits more fulfilling and meaningful. The information can be used in websites, maps, brochures and information boards at tourism centers.
Developing new products, marketing as well as controlling bookings and reservations systems are not normal occurrences in the daily life of a pastoralist, and so BCA help communities to develop marketing strategies, establish communications with websites and brochures and then help to develop and manage a bookings and reservation systems.