Community Natural Resource Management
The benefits that natural resources can provide to a community are vast. In Northern Tanzania, natural environments can bring tourist dollars and agricultural investments, while also supporting local livelihoods with food and water. However, these resources are not endless, and it is critical to establish sustainable management practices to facilitate continued benefits for communities and the environment.
UCRT trains communities to identify locally available resources that can be utilized for economic development. They help facilitate village formulation of sustainable natural resource management plans, and guides villages to ensure they enter into fair contracts and agreements, such as eco-tourism projects or hunting agreements, with outside investors.
UCRT helps communities demarcate and formalize rights to their lands by formulating village by-laws in order to clarify and enforce local rules about how resources should be used. These land use plans and village by-laws are developed in close collaboration with village governments and leaders from different social groups, in order to ensure that as many people as possible are fairly represented in the process.
Land use planning processes provide an opportunity for communities to collectively consider and discuss their common future. It also may provide an opportunity for documenting important traditions and customs for managing resources. In the Yaeda Valley, the last refuge of Tanzania’s Hadzabe people, the UCRT facilitated a ‘cultural mapping’ project to document indigenous knowledge of this unique hunter-gatherer community. The resulting publication—composed simultaneously in English, Swahili and Hadzane—documents the intricate local knowledge that the Hadzabe bring to the management of their natural resources.
UCRT also works with communities to improve their ability to benefit from the natural resources on their lands. For example, village tourism ventures with private operators can provide considerable revenues to communities in some areas, particularly pastoralist lands with abundant wildlife populations. UCRT works to support these ventures and ensure that communities have the knowledge to prevent private investors from negotiating with an unfair advantage. We also provide extension training and support for livestock production in pastoralist areas, which remains the foundation of rural economies in much of northern Tanzania.