WILDLIFE PROJECTS, COMMUNITY PROJECTS BY THE CULLMAN AND HURT, ARUSHA, TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA.
Clients on safari
with Robin Hurt Safaris (Tz) Ltd. contribute voluntarily to fund
village projects in and around the areas allocated to Robin Hurt
Safaris. These contributions are based on a 20% fee, called a Community
Conservation Fee, and are voluntarily paid by RHS clients over
and above the Tanzanian Government Fees. Through the years villagers
in 34 villages around Tanzania have received over $715,000 in the
form of materials to support projects of their choosing. The Project
stresses that these funds are direct benefits from the wildlife
and environment in their area and if conserved will provide
them benefits for many years to come.
In more detail, the funds donated by clients are held by the Project on behalf of the village, by agreement with the village. At the end of the year money is totaled and the village and district authorities are advised of the amounts available and asked to work closely with the Project Managers to utilise funds for villager-elected development projects. District Authorities are advised of the village proposals so as to avoid possible project duplication. The money is never given to District Authorities for village projects.
A village meeting is organised, a village project is identified through discussions and voting procedures and a project committee is formed, usually comprised of 3 women and 3 men. A budget is then drawn up for materials and labour, local builders are contracted and villagers donate the labour of carrying sand, rocks and water. Two village committee members accompany the Project staff to the nearest District or Regional center where Government officials are advised of the village project. Materials are purchased in the presence of the village committee members and transported to the village. There is strong emphasis put on accountability and openness regarding the utilization of CHCWP village benefit funds.
Although vehicles and machinery are extremely important to remote villages, the costs of repairs, running and maintenance cost can be prohibitive to restricted village budgets. Therefore, villages are now being encouraged to think more of using the funds for some form of building that will be a permanent asset. Primary Schools are in disrepair or nonexistent in many villages. Students are without desks, sit under leaking roofs and study in decaying classrooms. Villagers have elected to rehabilitate or build Primary Schools to create an environment that is conductive to learning. Dispensaries, Clinics, Water Projects, Schools and staff housing are the type of projects that the Project encourages.
A very important aspect of the help given to villages must be that the people are made aware that the assets gained from these funds are not merely a product of some aid scheme, but rather that these funds are realised as a direct result of stewardship of their wildlife. If poachers are caught from the Project villages, benefits are with held until the villagers make a concerted effort to stop poaching. To date, only one Project village was dropped from the Benefits Program due to excessive poaching, but Project Anti-Poaching continues to cover the area.