Meet MUMKI, our partner organisation!

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.

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MUMKI on 29.3.2017

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”.

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Here found an office for MUMKI.

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Needs some maintenance though… and perhaps a little paint. If we give you the paint maybe you can paint by yourselves?

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.

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Firefighting in Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Reserve, an activity MUMKI is also involved in

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.

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Here we are explaining the monitoring (follow-up) framework for MUMKI with Salim from the Department of Forestry. Salim will also be our coordinator for the first year, just to get everything smoothly running.

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!

 

/Veikko

 

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Creating networks and sharing knowledge

This visit to Zanzibar isn’t just the KIPPOs first – it is also my first encounter with Africa. Luckily I have Veikko with me as a guide. Our trip has taught me a lot about the implementation of this kind of a development project in circumstances that are very different from those back home. Things don’t always go as planned – which is not necessarily a bad thing – and many decisions have to be reconsidered on the fly.

Last week we had meetings with people from Zanzibar’s Department of Forestry and Non-renewable Resources (DFNR), which is one of the project’s key partners. These discussions have raised new ideas and knowledge about the possible challenges project might face and how to overcome them. In between the meetings planning has been done mostly by the sunset at some of the many rooftop terraces in Stone Town, while listening the prayer calls echoing from the minarets.

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Later we have met some representatives of other local NGOs and development projects and gained valuable knowledge about the local realities: miserable failures but also inspiring successes. Working for this project here in Zanzibar has awaken many thoughts about the ethical and social issues that development cooperation confronts in practice. Today’s meeting with the founders of DADA (“sister” in swahili), an NGO which provides environmental friendly trainings and job opportunities for women, was especially interesting and we learnt a lot during our conversation at their patio in the middle of – thanks to their commitment – beautiful regrown forest.

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Meeting of different NGO-representatives in our apartment

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Antje from DADA introduced us to these magnificent baobab twins in Matemwe

One of KIPPO’s objectives is to support the local women so that they could participate more in the management of their surroundings and livelihoods. In a society like that of Zanzibar, where strong gender roles are still maintained, empowerment of the women has to be considered carefully with respect to the local culture. According to DADA, women are so bound to their traditional role in the kitchen and caring for the children that few can even imagine any other way of living and illiteracy is common. We also learnt that people rarely are willing to change their habits and many initiatives have failed just because were afraid of change.  This is rather understandable as trying something new — which ends up not working — might lead to hunger. People can’t afford to fail so they need to see the advantage of change with very clear examples to generate confidence in alternative options. As an example, DADA told us about their experience with the solar cookers: These innovative solar energy based cookers were introduced to some villagers with disappointing results. In the end very few wanted to use them. The reasons varied from habit of cooking inside (and being able to watch small children at the same time) to inability to understand the cooker’s physical function and have trust. I believe this is an important lesson for KIPPO, too.

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Solar cookers that ended up abandoned

So we’ve had quite fruitful trip so far. The next important step is meeting our partner NGO MUMKI, whose representatives we both are very eager to meet. See you soon!

Ilona

Greetings from Zanzibar!

It is time to kick off the new KIPPO blog, and the project itself! Welcome readers! Last week we arrived here in Zanzibar to do preparations and clarify the objectives for all stakeholders. During this week we have had several meetings with Department of Forestry (DFNR) and with some local organisations as well.

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Cloudy morning in Darajani market

The meaning of this visit is to create a common foundation for the project and make sure that everyone are on the same level of understanding. On Wednesday we will meet our main project partner MUMKI, which is a young NGO engaged in forest conservation.

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Bless the rains down in Africa…

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Originally, we had quite ambitious plans for this trip, such as to assess the baseline with interviews. However we had to abandon this and some other plans, as this trip became a bit of a surprise for the Department of Forestry, even though we had mentioned about this trip already in January and February. So it goes. However, I am happy that we came, as we push things forward.

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Planning monitoring with Salim, our temporary project coordinator from DFNR in Zanzibar until we get things running

Thus largely what we have done is planning the actual project implementation and monitoring, met with people from the department and making contacts to different NGO’s. Besides the MUMKI meeting on Wednesday, I’m also looking forward to introduce a mobile data gathering application (KoBo Toolbox) for DFNR during April. I’m getting all the time more sure that the project is in safe hands and can’t wait to meet MUMKI!

More to follow!

/Veikko