I’m a Junior Research Assistant at RCP. My family is based in Njombe which is an area well known for its large commercial wood plantations. My parents are farmers and grow food crops such as beans and sunflowers.
Growing up, I would assist my parents with farming activities and would spend weekends attending Sunday school learning the Bible and related religious activities such as singing. This has remained with me as I still enjoy music and listening to gospel. Reading on a variety of subjects gives me motivation, ideas and a certain wisdom which I would not receive, unless I read.
After my studies in tourism management and during my internship at the world- famous Serengeti national park, I heard about the Ruaha Carnivore Project through a colleague and I was immediately interested in their work, especially with the local communities. I later went online to learn more and decided to send them my CV.
To my disbelief, I had an instant reply, inviting me for an interview! I made the journey to Iringa and later that evening was given the news that I would be working with Ruaha Carnivore Project’s community programmes.
Today, I am in charge of several of the programmes involving the education of village children which include –
Kids4Cats is a “twinning” programme. It pairs local schools with international schools, for example in the US and UK. The international schools raise funds for the village schools which provide vital benefits such as books, pens, desks and even sometimes computers. When I interview school staff and students, I assess their needs and ensure that the school is able to continue providing education to the students. I also make the purchase of necessary items such as books or desks and hand them over to the school. In addition, we have the Simba Scholars programme which offers local communities the opportunity to continue educating their children by providing them financial assistance by paying school fees for the most promising students, as well as extra tuition in subjects where the students are suffering. As you know… children are the same everywhere! This means that I have to regularly monitor their progress and ensure that they are making the most of this opportunity presented to them.
One of my favourite programmes remains Park Visitation. Local villagers are given the opportunity to visit Ruaha National Park on whose periphery they live. It allows them to appreciate the wildlife and its benefits while receiving education on the importance of preserving the environment. My other duties include the supervision of programmes such as School Feeding and assisting my colleagues wherever required.
What I love about working with Ruaha Carnivore Project is the commitment to capacity building in all the employees and the techniques in working with local communities and involving them in conserving their natural heritage. I would like to remind my fellow Tanzanians and community members that the wildlife we see today is because of the foresight of our grandfathers and elders. They were wise and understood the importance of balance between need and greed. Without conserving what we have, our children shall be bereft of the opportunity to benefit from and enjoy our beautiful natural heritage. It is our duty to ensure that we leave them a world which includes what was left to us by our ancestors.”