On Wednesday last week, we traveled to Kiwengwa coral caves to meet MUMKI. During the meeting, we clarified some objectives, project procedures and follow-up. However, let me introduce our project environment first, and where all this started from.
When we decided to apply funding for this project, the starting point was very challenging, as MUMKI didn’t really have an office, computer or one single English speaking member. Thus planning any kind of cooperation was of course very challenging. However, with the help of our partner from previous project SUFO, The Department of Forestry, we managed to frame a solid project cycle idea. This time we focus on strengthening MUMKI as an individual organisation, to which in development jargon is referred as “capacity building”.
More about MUMKI itself. MUMKI, founded in 2012, is a forest protection NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation), comprising of representatives from 10 villages surrounding the Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Reserve, which is our area of focus. In each of these 10 villages, there is a village conservation committee, which aims to involve locals in forest protection activities and taking care of the forest reserve. MUMKI aims to be an umbrella organisation for these 10 village conservation committees.
MUMKI’s activities currently include awareness raising about forest issues, organising patrols to control legitimate use of forest resources and bringing the voice of the 10 village conservation commitees together. We are providing training and materials for the young NGO, and in three years we hope, that MUMKI can identify problematic areas around the forest, and target some activities to these communities, such as small livelihood support mechanisms. Furthermore, as the project involves, we hope that MUMKI will take more role in being an information centre for the villagers, as well as providing information about land rights. This was discussed on Wednesday with MUMKI, and they seemed interested about the idea.
Furthermore, as MUMKI are organising patrols in the forest and also giving sanctions, a lot of transparency objectives has been set. One of these objectives for our project is to introduce the mobile data application KoBo Toolbox, to be used recording the violations of forest rules. This application allows you to gather information through a mobile application, and then it updates the information to an internet server instantly, when the form is completed and sent. The application platform allows also collection of pictures and locations on map. The idea would be, that MUMKI themselves also learn to analyse this information to recognize areas that are under and causing most pressure towards the forest, as mentioned above. Complementary to all of this, we are supporting local communities with forest planting and in honey production.
However challenging the environment is, I’m content about the framework. MUMKI seems to be motivated and informed about their near surroundings. It is very interesting and rewarding to try to help by showing a little way for the organisation to set up established action!