Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Serengeti Needs Sh550 Million to Conserve Ecosystem

SERENGETI Ecosystem Community Conservation Forum (SECCF) plans to collect 550m/- from various stakeholders to support conservation and community development projects.

SECCF Chairperson Ms Avelina Kyakwambala made the revelation shortly after chairing the forum's general meeting that met in Magumu town to discuss among other things, possible means of obtaining the funds. "We expect to collect 550m/- from various stakeholders between 2012 and 2015.

Out of this amount, 60 per cent will be injected in community development projects ", Ms Kyakwambala said. She hinted that Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) has already agreed to give SECCF unspecified amount of money during the same period.

SECCF is a non- governmental organization (NGO) with more than 25 members from government, public, private and civil society institutions dedicated to support conservation of Serengeti ecosystem.

The forum was officially launched in 210 in Serengeti District whose large part is made up of game protected areas, including the world heritage of Serengeti National Park (SENAPA). SECCF is said to be the first such forum to be established in the country.

So far, districts that are members of the forum are Meatu, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. According to Ms Kyakwambala, the NGO is committed to finding solutions on problems facing community members in the three districts with some villages surrounding SENAPA.

"If the forum gets money and enough labour force we shall improve social services like water, education and even roads", Ms Kyakwambala, who hails from Meatu District in the new region of Simiyu, said. The meeting was also attended by Ngorongoro District Commissioner (DC) Mr Elias Wawa and representatives from key conservation stakeholders of Serengeti ecosystem.

They included officials from SENAPA, Singita Grumeti Fund (SGF), FZS, and the three districts of Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Meatu . DC Wawa hailed SECCF, predicting that it would play a significant role to address challenges facing Serengeti ecosystem.

"This forum is important because it brings stakeholders together to address Serengeti ecosystem challenges", the DC said. SECCF Secretary Ms Florentina Julius said the stakeholders will now share available resources in addressing community issues.

"Our aim is to ensure sustainability health of Serengeti ecosystem as well as sharing resources to address community issues", Ms Julius who also works for FZS Serengeti office said. Increased poaching activities and human wildlife conflicts are some of the major challenges facing Serengeti ecosystem at the moment, according to conservators based in Western Serengeti.

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