By David Kiarie (Originally published Jun 27, 2013)
The world is marking the international forest day today and will be observing the world water day tomorrow.
At Art In Tanzania, we would like to celebrate a group of young volunteers from Moshi town in Kilimanjaro region who for the last more than one decade have been involved in conservation of a key water catchment area.
KIVIWAMA which is an acronym of Kikundi cha Vijana Wa Mazingira was established in 1999 and was born out of the desire of about 15 founder members to conserve the environment.
According to the group’s secretary general Samuel Mochiwa, the youths could not just sit and watch the Njoro Juu water catchment area continue degrading.
‘’We had to do something to protect this area which is a source of water for hundreds of residents living in five villages namely mabogini, Chekereni, Bogini, Kwa Zara and Rau River,’’ Mochiwa said.
The group established a tree nursery and have been planting over 100 species of both indigenous and exotic trees.
These trees the group’s spokesman said are sold to residents at a low price while others are donated to local public institutions like schools.
The group also processes papers using tree barks which are sold to local artists for drawing. Others are sold at specific outlets within Moshi town while others are sent to volunteers who help to market them abroad.
‘’We for example sell our art papers, which go with the brand name Kili Paper, at a shop in United Kingdom through one of our friends who we met during a visit to Tanzania several years ago,’’ Mochiwa said.
The group, whose current membership stands at 10, also makes compost manure and does bee keeping.
Volunteers and interns from Art In Tanzania have been supporting the group in its daily work. ‘’They help in sowing seeds, watering tree nurseries, transplanting and even making the Kili Paper. We are glad for the assistance,’’ Mochiwa said.
As the world marks these two important days of forest and water, our call to all is to conserve the environment, our forests and water sources and bodies.