By Prosper Makene
THE German Ambassador in Tanzania, Dr. Detlef Wächter, presented newly constructed office and staff buildings in Fort Ikoma to Professor Jumanne Maghembe, the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism.
The buildings were constructed in the framework of the Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project, which is financed by KfW Development Bank on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and implemented by Tanzania National Parks. Additional financing and implementation support is provided by Frankfurt Zoological Society.
“These new buildings greatly strengthen the park authorities’ presence in the Serengeti and we appreciate this contribution of our German partners to the protection of the ecosystem,” said Minister Maghembe.
Serengeti National Park has moved most staff out of the National Park to reduce the human footprint in the natural landscape. The new houses are located in Fort Ikoma on the north-western boundary of the National Park.
“Tanzania and Germany can look back on a long and successful partnership in protecting the Serengeti. These new buildings are another manifestation of our commitment to further strengthen this partnership and to conserve this ecosystem,” said the German Ambassador Dr. Detlef Wächter.
Germany made funding available through its development bank KfW in the context of the ‘Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project’ (SEDCP), which has a total volume of EUR 24 million (approximately TSH 58 billion).
The project aims at the effective conservation and sustainable use of natural resources as well as at rural development in selected districts adjacent to the Serengeti to ensure that the globally significant ecosystem remains intact.
Community-based conservation and benefit-sharing play a major role in the project. Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) is implementing the project with support from Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and in close collaboration with the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Districts.
Construction of the three office and four residential buildings was commissioned by FZS. The office buildings will provide quality working space for up to twenty park management and outreach staff.
The residential houses can accommodate up to seven employees and will help to reduce the housing shortages of the park outreach staff.
The cost of construction was about EUR 580,000, (approximately TSH 1.4 billion). The construction began in June 2016 and was completed in July 2017.Within the SEDCP project, it is planned to construct 25 more housing units for 50 rangers over the next three years.
The houses were built using hydraform bricks, a cost-effective and environmentally friendly construction material. Hydraform machines use hydraulic pressure to form blocks out of a mixture of soil, sand and about ten percent cement.
The bricks dry in the sun without the need of burning, as is the case in traditional brick-making. They are interlocking and can be used without mortar.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society Project ‘Serengeti Ecosystem Management’ (SEMA) explores pathways both for protection of natural resources and conservation-compatible livelihood opportunities for people living in the Serengeti ecosystem.
Within the KfW-funded ‘Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project’ (SEDCP), SEMA and TANAPA are working to reconcile development needs of the communities with conservation goals. Actions include measures for strengthening sustainable ecosystem management, sharing benefits with communities and improving social and economic village infrastructure.