OIKOS East Africa Contributes to Tanzania Eco-Tourism
OIKOS East Africa has offered eco-tourism gears worth Sh14 million (US$6,000) to the Tanzania Enduimet Community Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Longido district, Arusha region, in a bid to improve tourism activities.
Straddling between the world’s most extraordinary wildlife areas of Kilimanjaro National Park and the Amboseli ecosystem, Enduimet, the country’s pioneer wildlife management area, is a dispersal area for tens of thousands of wild herbivores, and its grass supports likewise tens of thousands of heads of cattle.
Camping equipment for 10 campsites, 5 state-of-the-art tents, 10 camping mattresses with canvas covers, 10 chairs, 5 camping tables, and 8 mountain bicycles are among the items that were handed over to the Enduimet WMA this past weekend.
“These gears are part of the 3-year CONNEKT (Conserving Neighboring Ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania) project, funded by the European Union,” said Project Manager Ms. Samantha Button.
It is understood that this project is executed by Oikos East Africa, a Tanzanian NGO based in Arusha and operating since 1999 to promote the protection of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources as tools to fight against poverty and boost socio-economic development.
“The idea is to enhance tourism undertakings within the Enduimet WMA where in turn [it]will improve the lives and livelihoods of the community,” Ms. Button explained during the handing-over ceremony.
In addition, Oikos East Africa also donated equipment for walking guides, a group comprised of former rangers of Enduimet WMA.
The gear includes 3 sets of binoculars; sturdy backpacks for trekking; bird, tree, and wildlife books; and first aid kits.
The Enduimet WMA has committed to ensure that the rangers will have group management in place and that they will be supported by being given an office space at Sinya ranger post for the coordination of their activities.
Additionally, Oikos East Africa has also handed over 2 laptops in a bid to help to build the technical capacity of the Enduimet WMA management to carry out their roles effectively
Oikos East Africa is supporting the development of Enduimet WMA’s ecotourism industry to increase in a tangible way the benefits for communities from living alongside wildlife.
Revenue is earned when guests visit Enduimet WMA, and to increase the portfolio of products, Oikos is supporting the development of bike tourism as experts consider the area as the perfect destination.
“By diversifying the portfolio, we hope people will stay longer in the wildlife management area, increasing the WMA’s income. As we speak, specialized bicycle mechanics have been trained and can offer their services to both community members and tourists,” Ms. Button noted.
During 2018 and 2019, Oikos East Africa has trained more than 40 men, women, and youths in hospitality and guest management through a series of tailor-made trainings conducted by Jobortunity, a training and professional development institute, and more than 20 beneficiaries as bicycle mechanics, through a series of trainings conducted by the Arusha Bicycle Centre.
As it stands now, the Chairman of Enduimet Authorised Association, Mr. Parsanga Lendapa explained, these community members of the 11 villages that formed the WMA are poised to benefit from employment in the enhanced tourist offerings, which will grow as a result of the newly-acquired tourism equipment.
For his part, Enduimet WMA Manager, Peter Millanga, was so grateful to the ecotourism gears, saying they will boost the tourism growth and enable them to collect sufficient revenue for the community.