Our pillars are the identity of SANA, the guiding principles of our work. They guide our focus areas and projects. Building on each other block by block, they are also arranged in order of foster community participation in Conservation. Though each have their own goals, they are linked and more importantly belong to one common goal which is Saving Africa’s Nature so that every being can live in a harmonious environment.
Human-Elephant Coexistence Project
Saving Africa’s Nature (SANA) In Tanzania in partnership with Human Initiative to Save Animals (HISA) is implementing a Sustainable Human-Wildlife Coexistence Project with a focus on ending the human-elephant conflict for the communities at Gongo and Matipwili villages located in the Southwest Part of the Saadani National Park.
Gongo Village is among the 17 villages surrounding the Saadani National Park which share its ecosystem with Wami Mbiki WMA which animals, such as elephants and buffaloes, migrate (Mligo, 2016).
However, due to the increase of human activities in the area, agriculture the main activity of the village as well as the industrial exploitation of charcoal has seriously weakened the forest ecosystem of Gongo and fragmented the corridor used by wildlife species including elephants. They are thus forced to cross inhabited area, consequently implying inevitable damage to crops and infrastructures of the villages.
SANA and HISA, therefore, carried out a preliminary study on-site to make the first observations and assess the consequences of elephants’ visits inside the village of Gongo. The study enabled the project team to develop the following sustainable solution to improve the human-elephant coexistence at Gongo Village
Restoration & Establishment of Gongo Forest Reserve
To effectively improve the human-wildlife coexistence at Gongo, SANA has engaged the Gongo Village Government to set aside Gongo Forest as a reserve and initiated restoration activities to create sufficient resources for wildlife, therefore, discourage their need to enter into village farming area. In partnership with stakeholders, a tree nursery and seed bank will be established at Gongo Village to prepare, supply and preserve plant species commonly found in the Gongo forest.
Ultimately, this will involve developing a land-use plan for Gongo Village for purpose of reducing the frequency of wildlife intrusion by clearly allocating a reserved space for conservation and cultivation. SANA will set up a natural barrier to protect farms and village by creating a buffer zone of 10 m using beehives, chilli paper (capsicum spp) and other repellant plants. The purpose of implementing a buffer zone culture between the area of conservation and cultivation is for all wildlife species to continue with their migratory behaviour without intruding in cultivated areas.
Incentivizing Conservation through Offsetting Carbon Sequestration and Ecotourism
SANA believes in community-based conservation as a sustainable solution towards protecting ecological niche areas such as the Saadani Ecosystem.
In 2009, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity initiative estimated the value of tropical forest ecosystem services to be USD 6120/ha/year (USD 7732 today, after inflation), based on data from 109 studies (TEEB, 2009). REDD+ has made some progress with monetizing forests as carbon sinks (Angelson et al., 2012). Forest carbon value alone often exceeds revenue from the main drivers of deforestation (e.g. oil palm; Abram et al., 2016). Forest carbon value alone often exceeds revenue from the main drivers of deforestation (e.g. oil palm; Abram et al., 2016).
SANA has already secured a partnership with a USA based institute willing to link our organization directly to carbon markets. This presents a unique opportunity to ensure revenue flows into local economies for their conserving efforts.
Ecotourism can be a lucrative source of local income, which could directly monetize biodiversity conservation of Gongo Forest. Through our sister organization Kijani Collection (owners of Miseni Retreat), we have established a niche market for sustainable -tourism which has supported Gongo Village. Upon conservation of Gongo Forest, SANA will scale deep engagement with Miseni by initiating forest visit and cannoning at Wami River. All entrance fee will go directly to Gongo village Government, youth and women from the village will get income through forest guide activities and preparation of meals for guest.
Maximizing Biodiversity Recovery To Deliver Multiple Products
Restored native forests can deliver multiple products, such as food, fibre and medicine, ecosystem services, including watershed protection, shade and erosion control, as well as recreational, educational, spiritual or other cultural benefits.
This project utilizes biodiversity recovery as a tool to improve the agriculture practice at Gongo Village. SANA has started to develop an Agricultural Resource and Demonstration Center (Kilimo+) at Gongo Village which will use a holistic approach to inform and provide skills training to youth, farmers and stakeholders on sustainable agricultural practices.
The Center will provide other services such as soil testing, training and workshops on sustainable practices such as hydroponics, greenhouse farming, chicken and beekeeping.
SANA has started training farmers on agroforestry cultivation of crops (such as Chilli, mushrooms, vanilla, kweme etc.) less favoured by wildlife hence guaranteeing food security and farmers economic growth. Rather than being an end goal in itself, reforestation will be a means to achieving various goals.
Preventive Measures against Elephant Intrusion
Together with HISA, SANA has already started implementing several initiatives to prevent elephant intrusion in the village. These initiative involve the usage of chilli bricks, chilli gun, torch, whistles, etc. We are currently fundraising for the project to scale deep these efforts by installing beehives fences in areas buffering the village and conservation area, we will also build watchtowers to monitor elephant movement and create a community task force that will conduct night patrols for preventing elephant intrusion.
Lastly, our team is currently conducting awareness and sharing knowledge sessions with the community. Using videos, educational documents and games illustrating coexistence initiatives used to scare pachyderms away, the awareness sessions are also designed to demonstrate proper use of chilli gun, chilli bricks (ball made from a mixture of elephant faeces and crushed chilli), chilli crackers, etc.