25 January 2013

Tanzania: Grumeti Reserves Relishes Good Relations

Photo: Bruce Hamilton
Serengeti National Park wins tourism award (file photo).

Serengeti — THE Grumeti Reserves Limited has expressed satisfaction over good relations the company enjoys with the western Serengeti community, citing the ongoing smooth implementation of multimillion shillings conservation and community projects in the area.

"We are proud of the good relations we have with surrounding communities. We are improving the people's living standards as well as our relationship," Singita Grumeti Fund (SGF) Managing Director, Mr Brian Harris said when handing over 83.2 m/- water projects to the Serengeti District Council on Wednesday.

The handing over of the projects funded by SGF was held at Motukeri Village in Serengeti District and officiated by the District Council Chairman, Mr John Ng'oina. "I am very excited to hand over these projects to the Serengeti District Council on behalf of Singita Grumeti Reserves today.

The aim is to enable villagers get clean water for domestic use," Mr Brian said in a brief speech to the guest of honour during the function that was witnessed by dozens of ordinary people, local leaders as well district senior leaders.

SGF is a non-profit conservation and community development organization that belongs to American tycoon Paul Tudor Jones, who has heavily invested on tourism and conservation sectors in western Serengeti after falling in love with the Serengeti eco-system in the recent years.

The US billionaire has set up luxurious lodges operated by Singita Grumeti Reserves (SGR) within the vicinity of a 350,000 concession area bordering Serengeti and Bunda districts, Mara Region. Serengeti District Council hailed the presence of the American investor in the area citing his contribution to social and economic development.

"We as Serengeti District Council are proud to have Grumeti Reserves in our district and whoever hates the company is a witch. We have many lodges in Serengeti but they are not giving us anything.

We have every reason to thank God and it is time to thank Grumeti," the District Council Chairman, Mr Ng'oina, remarked shortly after inaugurating the water projects, which have relieved hundreds of villagers from difficulties of accessing the precious liquid.

The council chairman urged the villagers to make good use of the water projects for their own good. Thousands of people and livestock from three villages of Motukeri, Makundusi and Nyiberekera will benefit from the water projects. Officials estimated that around 2,300 residents of Motukeri village alone and hundreds of livestock will benefit from the project.

The beneficiaries also included 424 students and teachers of Nagusi ward public secondary school, according to Mr Brian. Execution of the projects involved installation of modern infrastructure such as water pipes, setting up water tanks, water harvesting tanks and cattle troughs on the villages natural water sources.

The company pledges continued support on the communities' social and economic development projects citing a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the American investor and Serengeti District Council in the recent months.

The company's heavy investment on community projects is said to have greatly helped to make locals who in the past relied on poaching as one of their major income earning adventures, to realize the importance of conserving wild animals, according to conservators based in western Serengeti.

Poaching has been declined significantly in the villages surrounding the concession area which also borders the world's famous Serengeti National Park.

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