Mountains in Clouds
  • Emily

Hear a Tanzanian environmentalist's story!

You can donate to Paul's grassroots organisation, LoliondoActionsForGreenEarth, here:


Find out more information about the grassroots charity here.



Paul, when did you first start caring about the environment and why?

I started caring about environment when I was in primary school (2000-2005). First of all, I was an environmental leader, so I was the one organizing and planning for school cleanliness and where to plant trees. So, I started working with planting trees when I was very young.


What led you to start Loliondo Actions For Green Earth?

I started Loliondo Actions for Green Earth in 2017. I grew up in a village where our main economic activity was livestock keeping. Masai are pastoralists so I used to go for grazing animals in our forests. Around the area where we were living, the forests were dense and people only go there for grazing and women go to fetch firewood. It was just only an area of the forest near the village that we went into. We didn’t go inside the forest because forests were dense and we used to get heavy rains and rains seasons were predictable. But things started to change since 2010 when we started to experience heavy drought.


I came to realize that the forest’s size kept decreasing because of agriculture but also people started to cut down trees for timber and charcoal. The forest is no longer dense and human activities in the forest increased so this forced me to find a platform I could use to educate my community about the impacts of the environmental destruction but also about climate change.




What does the organisation do for the Tanzanian environment?

The organization is doing its best to first raise awareness about conservation through provision of conservation education but also to involve the community in taking actions like trees planting.


What has been the highlight of the organisation's work?

The highlights of our organization’s work are conservation and protection. We educate and we engage with our community in protection and conservation of our beautiful planet, since our mission is to create a community that takes environmental conservation and protection as its first responsibility.



What's one thing you'd like someone from a Western background to know about environmental issues in Tanzania?

What I want them and big organizations to know is that there are small grassroots organizations working in grassroots levels directly with communities which sometimes need their attention and support since sometimes only big and well-known organizations only get their support and leave these small organizations to die.


I'm saying this because when writing proposals and applying for grants and partnerships, some big organizations have conditions on the amount of funds you can apply for.


You can apply for funds only if in a previous year your budget reached a certain amount. While sometimes you may find organizations like ours, we didn't get any funds. But they also have a condition of minimum years of operation so things like this mean our organizations remain unknown.


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This interview has been edited. Thank you to Paul for being our Earth Ally for this week!

 
Lioness