WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT ARE ITS EFFECT ON OUR PLANET? PART 4

By Gabriel Andre – Art in Tanzania internship

THE RESPONSE OF INSTITUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE

1. UNEP and UNDP 2016-2021 environmental and development strategy

Through a country programme, UNEP (United Nation Environmental program) and UNDP (United Nation Development program) proposed a strategy to counteract climate change issues while improving the Tanzanian economic development. Based on a theory of change where better governance and better placed investment could decrease poverty as well as environmental degradation. In the same way, the goal is to enhance the participation in economic, environmental, and governmental issues of women, youth, and disabled individuals. To anchor sustainable development, UNEP wants to implement sustainable interactions with all institutions such as both private and public partners. In partnership with those institutions as well as the government, UNEP will be able to achieve sustainable development projects. Those projects will mainly focus on environment, natural resources, climate change governance, energy access and disaster risk management.

Þ Forestry, biodiversity, and ecosystems 

The forestry sector is leveraged with the agriculture of the Tanzanian developmental economy representing 90% of the country’s energy resources and ½ of his supplies in construction materials. Because of the high dependency on agriculture and the rapid population growth, pressure on the environment and natural resources have largely increased in the last few years. Deforestation, it’s becoming one of Tanzania’s major challenges. 

UNEP is taking action to improve institutional and regulatory frameworks for safeguarding protected areas and preserving biodiversity. To fight against deforestation and deteriorating environmental quality, the institution is focusing on many interventions: 

  • mainstreaming environmental concerns into development plans
    • Facilitating environmental laws and regulations
    • Scaling up community-based environmental protections initiatives

As well, to protect natural resources and avoid ecosystem degradation, UNEP actively works on: 

  • Improving conservation of forest biodiversity, ecosystems         
  • support efforts to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade     
  • Scaling up sustainable land management practices
  • Supporting community based-forest management initiatives 
  • Promoting conservation agriculture

Finally, UNEP is highly supporting and promoting the REDD+ program. This program creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. Developing countries would receive results-based payments for result-based actions. REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.  

Þ Sustainable Land and Watershed management 

According to the UNEP, the Tanzanian land faces many challenges because of its fast development expansion and its demographic growth. Those challenges are the following: 

  • unplanned human settlements     
  • encroachment into forest areas   
  • inappropriate farming and livestock management practices       
  • unregulated mining activities       
  • poor inter-sectoral cooperation   
  • weak stakeholder linkages            
  • poorly planned and uncoordinated action 

To fight against those challenges, UNEP and UNDP (United nation development program) will take example in the Sustainable land management (SLM) program implemented in other 

Countries that have been successful. The lack of financial resources and adequate capacity in Tanzania remains a key barrier to this program. Both institutions will mainly focus on building institutional capacity and strengthening coordination between stakeholders, implementing practical SLM interventions to land degradation in forest, rangelands and arable land. Finally, they will promote watershed (hydraulic pool) management interventions to show environmental challenges to the Tanzanian community. 

Þ Climate change adaptation and mitigation

As a result of climate change manifestation, Tanzania will face a rise in extreme events as droughts, floods, the rise of sea level, dwindling water sources as well as impacts in the agricultural sector, energy sector and health sector. UNDP’s plan proposed support by promoting the implementation of sustainable strategies through high-capacity building initiatives and the establishment of proper institutional, policy and financial frameworks in collaboration with all key stakeholders, including the private sector. At the local level, implementing small scale climate change adaptation projects to create livelihood opportunities particularly in the agricultural sector as population depends on rain-fed agriculture as a source of livelihoods, income, and consumption. 

For example, promote and help the IITA (international Institute of Tropical Agriculture) in their work with farmers to get agricultural expertise’s. Debate sessions are organized to discuss essential topics such as “What crop can I grow with this irregular rainfall season?”. The final goal is to help those farmers to have sustainable agriculture. 

Moreover, UNDP wants to focus mainly on the implementation of COP21 Paris Agreement outcomes, under the United Nation Framework on climate Change. They will focus on supporting the government in order to create a framework for the implementation of INDC’S (Intended National Determined Contribution) which will be leading to greenhouse gas emissions reduction. 

Þ Sustainable energy 

To tackle the development of the fossil industry and transit to sustainable energy, UNDP implemented the SE4ALL (Sustainable energy for all) program to be achieved by 2030 in Tanzania. This program focuses on three targets: 

  • Ensuring universal access to modern energy
    • Doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency
    • Doubling the share of renewable energy in global energy mix

The institution was able to mobilize significant political support before RIO+20 and continued to provide coordination and technical assistance around those three targets. 

Thanks to UNDP, sustainable energy access for all in Tanzania is moving fast. By coordinating the implementation of the SE4ALL initiative, an Action Agenda and an investment prospectus has been created. It brings poorer communities appropriate, reliable, and affordable energy technologies. This can be possible mainly by improving policy and regulatory framework, improving institutional framework and human capacity, strengthening the M&E (Monitoring and evaluation) framework as well as generate relevant data. 

Þ Resilience and disaster risk reduction

Resilience is the ability of the system, community, and society to resist, to accommodate against hazards. Over 70% of all-natural disasters are hydro-meteorological and the major disasters have included droughts, floods, and epidemic diseases. All of them, affecting humans and wildlife.

As an example, let’s take the “El Niño phenomenon” that occurred in Tanzania in 2011. It causes massive floods which wash away crop farms and damage transport infrastructure, such as roads and railways. As well as destroying houses making people homeless. It also increased diseases. We’ve seen the impact of an RCP 8.5 scenario; phenomenon’s like “El Niño ” will occur increasingly frequently. 

As a response, UNDP’s proposal is to strengthen the institutional framework of meteorological institutions, including the establishment of a 24/7 Emergency center for climatic disaster management. Improve weather and climate forecasting infrastructure throughout the procurement of the installation of highly sophisticated hydro-met technologies to improve collection of the hydro-met data. 

Also, they want to improve analysis, interpretation, and customization of data in order to provide relevant information to groups including farmers, urban and rural dwellers, and aviation. Finally, the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) to improve coordination in dealing with disasters between the relevant institutions. 

2. Climate Action Network International implication for Tanzania

Moreover, other than the United Nations institutions, other NGOs stand out for their innovative projects and their response to the global warming threat. It’s the case of Climate Action Network (CAN) International, very active in Tanzania. 

Þ Climate Action Network Annual Strategy Session 2020 in Arusha

In February 2020, CAN organized the Annual strategy session about Climate change in Arusha. This event, which brought together several major climate actors, was an opportunity to discuss two major topics: “What does it mean for society/funders to build power in this climate emergency?” and “What are they doing to respond to the crisis and what do they believe is CAN’S role?”.

Through many debates and workshops all these actors agreed on the priority areas where investment is needed in terms of funding, human energy, and collaborative strength. Centering climate impacts and people to ensure governments act with urgency as well as exposing and undermining the fossil fuel industry, are the two priorities CAN and other NGOs should focus on. 

Major events are going to take place in the next five years depending on the pandemic situation. These gatherings involving actors from all over the world (government, NGOs, the private and public sector industry) will be an opportunity to put these two issues on the table on a larger scale in order to take urgent action for our planet.

Þ CAN interventions and actual projects

In the meantime, while awaiting those gatherings, CAN already started its fight for the climate by working on diverse projects and implementing solutions for the Tanzanian community. Here is the major one’s: 

 Water Purification & Biogas Plant (TAHUDE Foundation) is an initiative to build low carbon and resilient communities by providing access to clean drinking water and energy. 

 Climate-Smart Agriculture (ACT) is a community-led action agricultural initiative, which provides training to farmers on climate smart agriculture techniques such

as water conservation (bases/pots technique), short harvesting period, intercropping and mulching materials. 

 Climate-Smart Coffee Farming by Solidaridad is also a community-led initiative which provides training to coffee farmers on climate-smart coffee farming practices such as developing pest resistant methods, water harvesting/ conservation, short harvesting cycle crops, nursery practices, intercropping and shade coffee management. 

 Water for Livestock (Oikos) is part of the ECOBOMA initiative which is a project to build the adaptive capacity of the vulnerable Tanzanian community to cope with the adverse effects of climate change and reduce poverty in rural areas. 

 Tree Planting & Forest Conservation (Arumeru District Government)

 Media Training Bootcamp: a practical skills session to build the capacity and strengthen the member’s ability to be spokespersons and to deliver powerful messages for press conferences and interviews. 

 Leadership & Diversity and Building a Grassroots-Driven Network Bootcamp: the objective of this session is to build members’ knowledge and understanding of how to link policies with people and navigate power and privilege to facilitate diverse inclusion and create safe, engaging spaces for grassroots leadership and organizing across CAN. 

 Developing Funding Proposals Bootcamp: the purpose of this session is to provide members with concrete ideas and shared thinking on good and effective fundraising. The bootcamp facilitated discussions on key elements of fundraising,

a good elevator pitch and how to approach funders and keep the communication lines open.

Shape, rectangle

Description automatically generated Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation Treaty Bootcamp: this session provided members with a background and overview of the Non-proliferation Treaty for Fossil Fuels Initiative. This initiative uses the experience and outcomes of the Non-proliferation Treaty on Nuclear as a basis and is trying to adapt this to dealing with fossil fuels. The session explored a set of high leverage strategies that this initiative could galvanize around such as the phase-out of fossil fuels and shifting narratives on fossil fuels, strengthening local action to stand against fossil fuel expansion, and encourage international cooperation to stop fossil fuel proliferation through a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

After the announcement of all these projects, we can better understand the involvement and dedication of the institution to change the habits of the Tanzanian community to provide them with a more promising future than RCP 8.5. However, there is one last project that particularly caught my attention, and which demonstrates the long-term impact vision that the institution is trying to establish.  This CAN project is the climate and livelihood center in Bagamoyo. The purpose of this green village is to link scientists to the communities to provide new initiatives. Many activities are organized going from cultural events to environmental workshops. Everybody is welcome regardless of their work sector (fisherman’s, students, small-scales farmers, etc.). The center provides knowledge through training and teaching, the possibility to implement the improvements directly on the site and most of it, the center tried to provide this networking to have a bigger impact and reach more communities and partnerships. 

They organized three workshops in December 2019 to raise awareness and inform the participants on renewable energies (RE) and the necessity of transitioning to clean and affordable energy. 124 participants were representatives of women groups, local government authorities, and civil society organizations. 

Because the baseline study was focused on their own villages, people were highly interested. The survey showed that 92% of the households were not capable of paying the highly initial cost of renewable energy. But the community saving groups might present an opportunity for decentralized energy.  42% were unaware of the potential of RE, only solar was common and most of them (91% of the survey) use charcoal and firewood for cooking 

Because of deforestation, people have difficulties using firewood (takes three hours to collect) and their only alternative is charcoal. Many of the village’s council stated that they did not include RE into their agenda due to the lack of understanding and support from government and non-governmental stakeholders. 

Participants were really curious and interested about identifying achievable and long-term solutions. With the help of CAN in Tanzania, they establish and initiate RE clubs in primary and secondary schools that allow children to be innovative and creative. Finally, those workshops promote awareness about RE. Shumina Rashidi, the councillor of the Bagamoyo District and a businesswoman, for example told the CAN team: “In the workshop I learnt that cooking with gas is very cost effective – especially because I am living in Bagamoyo town, where it is available everywhere. I am going to use gas for cooking – not only for my health, but also to protect the environment. “  

The important point is to understand that these people have no idea of what climate change is, why we said that the globe is becoming warmer, and why we should care about fossil fuels. That’s why it’s essential to sensitize and inform them before taking actions or implementing projects where they don’t understand the environment purpose. 

3. Collaboration between NGOs and Government 

During our interview, Adelaide Mkwawa said “you know there is a huge friction between NGOs and the government. If NGOs tell the truth and the government disapproves, they can remove your NGO license”.  NGOs have to be very careful and clever not to come into conflict with the lack of investment and impact of the government while at the same time making them understand the importance of acting quickly and strongly. 

For Adelaide, who had also worked for the UNAT (United Nation international justice system), NGOs had implemented lots of projects in response to the SDGs. Most of them have being undertaken by the Parliament Group of sustainable development to enter those propositions and projects in the government budget. But at the moment, where those projects and propositions are in the hands of the government then it’s really hard to find their progress because of the lack of information and the lack of knowledge to communicate by the government. Communication between institutions is really poor due to lack of resources and the inordinate amount of time that elapses between the transmission of the first information and its evolution. For Adelaide, this is one of the biggest issues and that’s why projects in Tanzania take so much time. In her opinion, the creation of a communication sector that’s effective will facilitate this collaboration between the government and NGOs. 

Investment for Climate change is all about communication and collaboration. Even for the private and public sector. A close collaboration between institutions on their new methods and techniques to afford sustainable development is a key point to move forward. Some institutions in Tanzania have excellent ideas to fight against this global warming while in the meantime ensuring the economic development of the country. This is the case of TWIGA CEMENT INDUSTRY. 

4.  Combining economic development and environmental responsibility: TWIGA CEMENT example

Tanzania Portland Cement Company Limited (TPCC) also called TWIGA Cement is a cement-manufacturing company. Member of the Heidelberg group and listed in the Dar es Salaam stock exchange, is the largest cement manufacturer and reports a company total asset of 322 billion TSH (141 million US$). 

The challenge for TWIGA is colossal. On the one hand it is one of the biggest employers in the region, employing hundreds (more than 300 in 2019) of people. These jobs are quite simply indispensable for people’s survival from a human and community point of view. Moreover, it is one of the main reasons for the development of the region, where their cement has enabled the construction of many buildings and most of the houses.  However, on the other hand, it is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and is at the origin of many environmental challenges, in particular its production: Soil erosion, soil health, topography, deforestation, pollution of waterways, health, and safety of workers and community. 

We had the chance to visit it and we realized some important facts during this day. First, there is a military base in the company’s own premises which testify an economic state interest and a voluntary security to the factory. Second, most of the workers pass have also a Chinese translation which testify an economic interest from China. 

The largest drivers of climate change are large corporations and industrial factories. Since TWIGA belongs to this category they are holding themselves responsible to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Despite all the prejudices I had on this type of company, I was quite surprised. 

TWIGA Cement counters their negative action by giving to nature what they had stolen from her. About ten years ago they founded the Nursery project to tackle their environmental impact. In order to collect these precious stones for the creation of cement, TWIGA has to dig for hundreds of meters, destroying the surrounding nature. When the digging space is exhausted, they fill it with soil and sand and replant some fast-growing tree species on top. These trees allow the soil to be re-fertilized, thus restoring the basic natural conditions. Once the fertilization has been completed, the fast-growing wood is cut for consumption and various new species are then planted permanently. It’s at this point that the nursery project appears.  

The goal of the nursery is to mitigate damage being done to the surrounding environment, improve the health and wellbeing of underserved groups in the community, such as school children and prisoners by providing free shade trees. The nursery improves air quality and the environment at large through carbon sequestration. In the nursery they have quite a lot of species going to the Averrhoa bilimbi (culinary interest and the leaves serve as a paste on itches, swelling, rheumatism, mumps, or skin eruption) to the moringa oleifera (Its young pods and leaves are used as vegetables. The seeds are also used to purify water, as a detergent, or as a medicinal plant.) and even mint. 

A barren plot of land in close proximity to the cement production has been transformed into a lush haven for biodiverse plant species and crucial pollinator species. Many of the trees grown there have medicinal benefits or are fruit bearing. To achieve their goal TWIGA has undertaken this project and educates the community by engaging with volunteers and hosting students to teach them how to maintain gardens and plant trees. They are also introducing the concept of sustainability to many local youths and giving them the tools to raise their own trees in needed areas. They are spreading the culture of sustainability and changing the mindsets of the young generations. 

However, there are still some challenges to achieve such the six volunteers in the nursery compared to the hundreds of people employed in the factory. Despite all the efforts made, we can still understand where the priority is. 

TWIGA Cement could be a great example to follow for many drivers around Tanzania and even further. Everybody needs cement, unfortunately in Tanzania, wood is the main construction material and the transition for sustainable tools that avoid deforestation and greenhouse gases are not readily available today. The carbon sequestration provided by those hectares of nursery, permits TWIGA to achieve its goal of developing Dar es Salaam district while at the same time reducing its negative impact. 

Investing in R&D (Research and Development) for green energy could be the next step for TWIGA cement to achieve their goal of being a zero-carbon emission company. 

Because at the end, compared to developed countries such as European ones or the United States, African countries and especially Tanzania have only small responsibility in the global warming issue. Tanzanian people because of low incomes mostly consume daily needs. Most of them don’t travel out of their countries because plane tickets are too expensive, and their water consummation is ridiculously low compared to a country like Germany or France. When you drive through Tanzania you don’t see any herds with thousands of animals, in other words no intensive farming and all their agriculture is natural, i.e., without the use of pesticides. Still Tanzania and other African countries will be the most affected by climate changes in the next decades. 

As I said, Tanzania is a small greenhouse gases emission driver. Nevertheless, if the major drivers of those greenhouse gases which are mainly fossils industries. Take the example of TWIGA Cement and how they invest in R&D for clean energy, Tanzania could become an example of sustainable development for all African countries. 

CONCLUSION

Through my internship at the Art in Tanzania institution, I had the chance to participate in many debates classes whose aim was to learn English while debating on sensitive subjects such as religion, waste management or Covid 19. I was very surprised by the open-mindedness and the stance that Tanzanians can take on such subjects. Unlike our European countries where discussions often turn into a confrontation of two ideals rather than the understanding and acceptance of a difference. Therefore, after more than two months of living together and sharing their traditions, I am convinced that the Tanzanian community has a key role to play in their climate issue. The government and the various institutions that want to work towards a more responsible and sustainable economy can rely on the collective strength and openness to change of its people.  Tanzania can become a pioneer in the development of a green and responsible economy. To do so, its community needs to be informed and heard. The government and institutions need to invest heavily in intelligent campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of the environment and the importance of caring for it. As we have seen with the example of the workshops held in the Bagamoyo Knowledge Centre, the participants are more than interested in green energy as it can improve their daily lives, their economy, and their biodiversity. The Tanzanian community is willing to listen and act for the good of their country, if it will improve their life. The next generations have a major role in this awareness, and it is through the youth that these innovations will be born. Of course, nothing worth doing is easy and such a transition will not happen overnight. 

Interview with a volunteer

Interviewing has always been something exciting for all of us. Learning about experiences one had is a fantastic feeling for the rest. This interview is with a volunteer working with Art in Tanzania, an NGO known for upbringing major social impacts in the community of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Let’s hear about Sari’s experiences and how she worked with AIT to help the community grow.

Interviewer: Hey Sari, How are you doing?Sari 3 (1)

Sari: It’s good. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m great. Let’s start. First, tell me something about yourself.

Sari: I am Sari, living in Finland now. My first time in Tanzania was two years ago. This is my fifth time with Art In Tanzania since then.

Interviewer: That’s amazing. So, you’ve been volunteering for a long time. You can tell me exactly how do you think volunteering affects the community?

Sari: I can say from my side, as I was in the Construction as well as Environmental conservation project that even if you do a small thing for a community or teach a few people how to do something, they can spread the word. Even a small help from your side can be a big thing for the natives. You can’t change the whole world but you can change a community by taking a single ‘step’.

Interviewer: That means a lot, really! Have you been volunteering before these AIT Volunteering?

Sari: Not really, this is practically the first.

Interviewer: That’s good. How did you end up at Art in Tanzania?

Sari: Yeah, we had a big festival in Finland called ‘World Festival’. I met Marjut at the Art in Tanzania stand there.  I was planning to have a sabbatical year from work & she told me about the volunteering & internship opportunities here. It sounded so good that almost the next day I was booking the tickets.

Interviewer: Awesome. So What project were you working on at AIT?

Sari: Mainly construction & some environmental projects like in Moshi, we had a Tree Plantation & Conservation project. In Zanzibar, I learnt how to make Dhow boats & in Dar es Salaam, we made the compost & I taught native people how to use it for agriculture.

Interviewer: That’s so good. How was your experience with AIT during these two years?

Sari: I was so good, that it is my fifth time here. I really love this. I keep coming back & back & back.

Interviewer: Now Sari, I want you to rate Art in Tanzania on the following points on the scale of 1-5.

Sari: Yeah, go ahead.

  1. Community Service that AIT is doing 4
  2. The closeness to the local community 4
  3. The kind of projects 4
  4. The support you get from ait while you are on your project 3
  5. Accommodation 4
  6. Food 4
  7. Overall 4

The interviewer is a volunteer working with Art in Tanzania & has no relation with AIT at all. The interview is devised and conducted by the interviewer itself, with no interference from the AIT team.Sari 2 (1)

Wonder Workshop, where art meets innovation

By Laura Alioravainen and Marjut Valtanen

Team Leaders, Art in Tanzania (Originally published on Sep 9, 2013)

Artists work on a wood at Wonder Workshop of Oysterbay in Dar es Salaam

An artist works on a wood at Wonder Workshop of Oysterbay in Dar es Salaam

When you pass between tens of little stores and boutiques selling imported shoes and clothes from Asia and all the pirated DVDs salesmen,  you can find a true gem in the streets of Dar Es Salaam. Behind the red gates exists Wonder Workshop. This craft shop was founded in 2005 by Paul Joynson-Hicks and its business model is pure genius.

Starting with three employees Wonder Workshop was making art out of scrap metal. Presently the organization employs 42 Tanzanian nationals with different disabilities. The brilliancy of Wonder workshop lies in the ability to see resources and potential where others so often overlook. Here used products and trash, typically scrap metal, wood, glass and plastic, from the streets get a new life in beautiful forms of greeting cards, jewellery, art, toys and in so many ways that our imagination can’t reach. The employees of Wonder Workshop say their inspiration comes from the nature and beauty of Africa and its wildlife.

Paper making at Wonder workshop

Paper making at Wonder workshop

Every year there is about hundred new applicants to work in Wonder workshop and get off the streets. A valuable asset to the workshop’s development and expansion is collaboration with volunteers and interns from all over the world. Volunteers can use their education and knowhow to help develop new products. Volunteering here is also a great opportunity to work with recycled material, truly test innovativeness with limited resources and learn the unique wonders of this workshop.

For more information, visit the workshop’s website: www.wonderworkshop.co.tz/