Saturday, April 12, 2003 .
By Lwaga Mwambande
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has spent about 9m US dollars
(9bn/-) in various wildlife conservation activities, particularly
in Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks in Arusha Region.
AWF, which receives funds from the US government’s Agency
for International Development (USAID), is implementing a Partnership
Options for Resources Use project, which was implemented between
1998 and 2002. The project is to be extended to 2005.
Speaking to journalists who visited US government supported projects
in Arusha Region on Thursday, the Coordinator of the AWF in the
country, Dr James Kahurananga, said under the project, over 300kms
of roads in Tarangire and Lake Manyara had been upgraded.
Heavy duty construction equipment for the roads were bought and
the US Department of Interior trained operators of the machines.
Kahurananga said the Tarangire National Park had been provided
with water, 10 staff quarters built while the construction of visitor
centres at Tarangire and Lake Manyara was going on.
Prior to the project, the AWF coordinator said water for domestic
use at Tarangire was being fetched in Arusha town.
On capacity building, Dr Kahurananga said the assistance included
provision of motor vehicles.
He described the USAID support for the project as the biggest single
aid package in Africa.
Kahurananga said apart from concentrating on wildlife conservation,
AWF is dealing with people (pastoralists) residing close to the
parks by ensuring that they benefit from them and participate actively
in conserving animals.
The benefits from the project include increased revenue due to
sharp increase in the number of visitors. With more security, the
number of animals (elephants) has increased in the area to 3,000
last year as against 1,000 when the project started.
Under the project, USAID also provided communication equipment,
computers and radios, which have improved communication in the areas.
Presently, AWF in collaboration with district authorities assist
villages on land use planning where they demarcate areas for agriculture,
pastoralism and wildlife as well as making by-laws.
“About 120 village game scouts have been trained at Pasiansi
Game Reserve Training Centre to assist in conserving wildlife and
forests,” he said.
Kahurananga said AWF had also a role in the Wildlife Management
Areas (WMAs) project established early this year to empower villagers
with managing the areas and benefiting more from them.
Currently, Dr Kahurananga said, there were two pilot WMAs, Burunge
WMA and Western Kilimanjaro WMA, both of which enjoy USAID support
AWF is an American NGO established in 1961 in Washington D.C. with
all its programmes concentrated in Africa.
The Foundation, which enjoys large support from the United States
government, engages on research about animal species, elephants,
support research on gorilla, rhino as well as community conservation
in various African countries.