Monitoring update



Jambo! It is time to update this blog to a year 2018 and tell a bit more about our monitoring in Zanzibar!IMG_20180102_214818_904

Together with DFNR we have done in total 50 interviews in 10 villages around the Kiwengwa-Pongwe area. Through these interviews we have been mapping how visible and active MUMKI is inKiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Reserve and what are the general attitudes regarding the forest protection in the area.


Interviews were done together with translators since the language in Zanzibar is swahili.


Capture from Bambi village after the days interviews.


Workwise the interviews haven’t been the only thing what we have been doing here. One of KIPPO- project aim is to support and assist MUMKI as independent NGO as possible so that when this project ends the organization would still keep running with their own knowledge and incomes. In order to make it happen it is important that MUMKI is connected with other NGOs and therefore we have done networking visits to two other local organizations.

This weeks Monday we had a networking visit with PPIZ (Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar). They give permaculture education and show what sustainable agriculture is in practice. It was very impressive to see how PPIZ were succeeded to build productive soil out of ground that used to be very poor. NGO like PPIZ surely has a lot to give to MUMKI since those are challenges that Kiwengwa- Pongwe Forest Reserve is dealing with. Maybe we will see PPIZs methods someday used in Kiwengwa- Pongwe area!


Laura introducing PPIZ to MUMKI, DFNR and KIPPO.


Last week we had another networking visit with JECA (Jozani Environmental Conservation Association) that has over 20 years history in forest conservation. JECA is working in the Jozani National Park area and with its 9 surrounding villages. Before meeting JECAs chairman and assistant chairman we had a tour in the forest where we saw Red Colombus monkeys and lots of interesting plants that I have never seen before.


The famous and very rare Zanzibarian Red Colombus monkey in Jozani forest.


 Dala dalas heading north from Stone Town.


Luckily we have had time also to explore the surroundings. We have seen Giant tortoises in Prison Island and coral caves in Kiwengwa also during this one month in Zanzibar there has been holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve! Both times we have headed to northern parts of the island. I have to say that one and half an hour Dala dala- ride is maybe one of the worst pains I have ever experienced but somehow you make yourself to do it because you know that there is a reward at the end. The reward is beach life!! Unfortunately I have no pictures from the beaches since I have destroyed one phone and lost another one. I’m blaming the heat..



Arriving in Zanzibar

On Monday 18th of December 2017 at around 10 AM, Noora and I arrived in Zanzibar. The purpose of our one-month trip is to assess how MUMKI’s operation has developed. To achieve this, we will work in collaboration with the local Department of Forestry (DFNR). Our tasks include individual interviews in 10 villages surrounding the Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Reserve (K-PFR), an interview with the MUMKI leader board members and communication between GST, DFNR and MUMKI in general to assess project goals.


My first glimpse of the islands of Zanzibar. I can see turqoise water!

Our feeling upon arrival was utter exhaustion. This was mostly due to travelling 27 straight hours, but also because of the hot and moist weather of Zanzibar which struck us like a sauna. I even had an asthma attack on the first night, so definitely don’t underestimate the climate (dust, pollution and mould also play a part). Other than sweating like a pig, my topmost sensation was one of relief, as we managed to have all the required documents with us and nothing went horribly wrong during the travel. 


The ever so sophisticated and secure baggage collection of the Zanzibar airport. We felt lucky seeing our luggage.

After collecting our bags we got a lift from the airport straight to Zakya’s guesthouse. We got the whole downstairs to ourselves, so there’s a lot of room to do things. The guesthouse is located in a rather busy part of Stone Town with a walk distance to the most important spots. 



Zakya’s guesthouse. Our door is the one with the light on top (wasting electricity!).

Next up in the itinerary was getting lost in Stone Town and getting a heatstroke. It took us ages trying to find a place where they sold SIM cards and credit for data usage. Everyone kept saying ‘Internet that way’ but we never found out which place they meant. Obviously I ended up paying about four times the sensible amount for my Zantel connection (always set the price before letting anyone do anything for you!). 



Stone Town’s streets are narrow and look quite alike, so it’s incredibly easy to get lost (especially when tired, thirsty and suffering from a heatstroke!).

On the first night, Zanzibar feels very exotic to someone who has never left Europe before. Writing this, I can hear people on the street speak Swahili and a call to prayer from a nearby Mosque. The occasional scooter drives by our guesthouse honking before taking the corner. And little do I know at the moment that the next morning I will wake up to the sound of a rooster crowing.




Meanwhile in Finland

People often ask what it is that we actually do. Activities in Finland can be quite different from the activities in Zanzibar, even though there are also some similarities. The daily execution of the project activities in Zanzibar is naturally the responsibility of the local partners, but there is still a variety of things we do here at home. The activities vary a little through the course of the year and different people have different levels of input, so being a volunteer in the KIPPO project doesn’t mean selling your soul to us 🙂 Here is a short collection of things we have been already doing during the year 2017 with our group of volunteers.


Our work in here in Turku includes the project management, all kinds of paperwork and communication between project parties but also different kinds of awareness and fundraising activities. The busiest time for project management activities is around november-april because that is the time we have to do annual monitoring and report to our donor (the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland). Our continuous, routine part of the project management includes e.g. planning and updating our use of the project funds. This is mostly done by our project treasurer, but everybody can participate in the meetings where we plan on what instruments and practices are used for following the spending of money. Also in our meetings everybody can participate in planning the budget details and communication methods (events, facebook, website, blog, etc) or monitoring & evaluation tools. Communication through our fb page, blog and other media is all done by our volunteers. These are also tools that we use to fill the communications/information sharing duties that the project brings along.


Some project actives in a meeting discussing about fundraising and activities in Proffan Kellari restaurant.


Sharing information about the project and its aims is a big part of what we do in the finnish end of the project. Also, due to donor requirements, we have to collect 15% of the whole project  budget through our own fundraising and volunteer work. Luckily awareness raising and fund raising activities can go hand in hand and we can (/have to) use our own creativity and contacts to make it happen (this is how e.g. our support concerts have begun: with love for music and knowing a few bands/band members).


So far we have organised:


A coffee&cake sale at the Turku university

The start of our public fundraising and awareness raising was the little pop-up cafe we had in a lobby at Turku university. We baked some sweet cakes and savoury samosas and served them with coffee and tea. While at the same time offering people information about our project. Simple and fun!


A support concert called “Beats to Zanzibar”

As said before the support concerts have started through the project volunteers’ love for music and connections to different types of bands and artists. Previously we have done a few concerts around rock music (Rock for Zanzibar <3), but for KIPPO we went in a different direction. Beats to Zanzibar brought people together to listen to some amazing rap music on a saturday evening that both the artists and audience enjoyed.


Participated in Restaurant Day

When it comes to Restaurant Day we do have some history from previous projects. Our Mbogambgoga restaurant has served delicious Zanzibar-inspired vegetarian foods at least on 4 occasions. So, again, we got our hands dirty with the dough and filling and rolled up some samosas. After very unstable summer weather we did get some sunshine and warmth on the Restaurant Day in August.


Participated in a Tanzania Geospatial ICT -themed seminar

Even though geospatial ICT might sound a bit far away and high tech compared to our project, it was a pleasure to participate and bring up the view of smaller grassroots level action among the university and business participants. Also it is good to know what is going on with some bigger institutions and what kind of cooperation is happening on other sectors than just NGO work. In addition to the seminar presentation we also did some fundraising by arranging two snack breaks for the seminar.




Our coordinator Veikko giving a presentation about our work.

Participated in the Turku university Opening carnival

Because our group of volunteers consists of students mostly it is important to make new contacts and share information of what kind of possibilities participating in a development cooperation project can provide for students. Project management, budgeting, fundraising, communications and monitoring & reporting are all fields of work that can prove to be useful in later life and provide some filling for your CV.


A quick pic between the gusts of wind that were trying to destroy our table.


Lottery in the Market of Possibilities event

We participated also in the Market of Possibilities (Mahdollisuuksien tori) in Turku. After figuring out how to put up the tables/booths it was nice to see different actors in the fields of development cooperation, international work and culture and see all the possibilities that people have to join different organisations and make a difference. We also had interesting time talking to people and explaining what we do and why. Our lottery of items from Zanzibar gave us and the people participating lots of laughter and good moments.


Project coordinator and volunteer ready to share information and sell lottery tickets.


In the future we will continue to organize all kinds of events and happenings to both share information about Zanzibar and forest issues and to collect money for KIPPO project’s self financing share. We will also continue to meet in Turku and soon we will start to really plan the coming monitoring trip to Zanzibar that will take place at the end of the year. This means checking and updating plans, budgets and activities for next year (both in Finland and Zanzibar), following up on the past years activities and their outcomes and hopefully learning something new again.

If you are interested in the project you can contact us any time and anywhere. You don’t need to have special skills or previous experience, just a little time and interest and the rest you will learn on the go.


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.


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”.


Here found an office for MUMKI.


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.


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.


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!




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.


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.


Meeting of different NGO-representatives in our apartment


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!