Hunters and Gatherers

UCRT is privileged to work with Hadzabe and Akie hunter-gatherer groups, some of the few remaining hunter-gatherers left on our planet.

Comparison of DNA from people all over the world, indicate that the Hadzabe are one of the original peoples who likely lived in the Lake Eyasi basin for 40,000 years or more.  Despite their long history, the Hadzabe have gradually been displaced from their land.  Within the last 50 years, the Hadzabe have lost over 90% of their land to outsiders.

Globally, the few remaining hunter-gatherer cultures and economies are generally subjected to extreme stigmatism and discrimination.  Tanzania, with only two remaining hunter-gatherer cultures somewhat intact, is no exception.  Most of this injustice can be attributed to ignorance and misunderstanding of these very different (from mainstream) cultures and economies. 

Thanks to a long-term relationship between the Hadzabe and Dorobo Fund founding members, considerable gains have been made by the Hadzabe and UCRT towards securing land rights and traditional economic land use zones.  Additionally, UCRT's Hadzabe youth educational programmes are working to improve future political leadership and strength within the Hadzabe community.

UCRT Education Programs:

In 2000, the Emusoi Girls Center—a school that caters to educating girls from indigenous communities—contacted UCRT to request assistance in locating four Akie girls who were eligible for free secondary education.  To UCRT’s amazement, we could not locate one Akie girl who was qualified, as none had completed or were currently enrolled in Primary School.  This finding led to our support of 45 Akie children to attend Primary School, with hopes that they would continue to Secondary. 

Since 2000, UCRT has sponsored more than 40 Hadzabe students' secondary schooling and further education training.  The students are vetted by the communities.

Gaining Land Rights:

As it became clear that the Hadzabe land rights were being severely infringed upon, UCRT began working with the largest remaining Hadzabe settlement in the Yaeda Valley.  Through participatory land use planning, lobbying and advocacy, UCRT was able to help the Hadzabe secure rights to their own village, Mongo wa Mono, the only Hadzabe-majority village in Tanzania.  UCRT assisted the community in developing a land use plan as well as village by-laws allowing them to promote hunting and gathering activities on the land and deter pastoralist and agricultural activities, thereby protecting Hadzabe’s long-lived culture. 

In 2007, UCRT and the Hadzabe published “The Hadzabe Cultural Mapping Project.” The mapping project was designed to show outsiders and government leaders Hadzabe people’s intimate relationship to their land and environment, thereby demonstrating their rights over the land and the use of its natural resources.

Currently we are providing village leaders training to promote good governance and land and natural resource management skills.

Building Relationships to Build Strength:

On October 4th of this year, UCRT, with the generous help of the Tarangire Safari Lodge, arranged a gathering of the Hadzabe and Akie in Tarangire National Park. The goal of the gathering was three-fold: to provide an opportunity for the elders of these communities to show the youth what a healthy environment could be like and to give impetus to all to regain, or at least protect, what land is left; to facilitate communal discussions focused on land and leadership ending with groups from each community discussing concrete actions required once they returned home; finally, to build deep and lasting relationships amongst people who encounter similar struggles due to outside ignorance and pressures.