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• Background & History of the ABCP •

Mr. Sebastian Chuwa, a Tanzanian botanist, and Mr. James Harris, an Ornamental Turner from Texas, started the ABCP in 1996. The intent was simple: Mr. Harris would raise money among concerned people of the western world and send it to Mr. Chuwa to sponsor research, educational, and tree-planting programs for African blackwood (mpingo) in his native Tanzania.

Mpingo is important within Africa for ecological reasons. It also supplies various subsistence needs such as fuelwood and fodder and is utilized extensively by a group of world famous carvers, the Makonde. Internationally it is used by the music industry for the manufacture of woodwind instruments and by western woodworkers who practice a lathe technique called Ornamental Turning.

During his 25 years of field experience as a conservationist, Mr. Chuwa has become increasingly alarmed not only at the high rate of mpingo removal but also at its growing inability to establish young and viable trees in the wild to replace those which are being harvested. Habitat loss from increased population pressures, uncontrolled agricultural burning, and increasing cycles of drought have all contributed to the demise of a young mpingo population.

The ABCP has established a model project — an experimental orchard and educational program in Moshi, Tanzania. In the future it hopes to expand into ever wider areas of eastern Africa. All of the donated funds raised by the ABCP are sent directly to Mr. Chuwa. Mr. Harris, joined by his wife, Bette, donate their time, as well as the printing and postage costs for the fundraising campaign.

"Never doubt
that a small
group of
citizens can
change the
Indeed, it is
the only
thing that
ever has."

• Margaret  Mead •

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Unloading the water tank at the
Moshi Mpingo Plot. Dec. 1999

Cottonwood Foundation

Our first grant came from the Cottonwood Foundation, in the amount of $1000 to install a watering system on the Moshi Mpingo Plot.

In his yearly report Sebastian explains,

"It has been impossible to begin our own tree nursery because of lack of water. As a result we continued using the gardens of interested and supportive local residents like Mrs. Mary Sambeke. We are extremely indebted to her for permitting us to use a part of her garden for our purposes.

Towards the end of  last year we received assistance for the water project from the Cottonwood Foundation. With this assistance we were able to build a storage water tank of 2000 litres and to purchase plastic plumbing items.

seba61-00nl.jpg (9400 bytes)We have opened a new tree nursery or shelter at the site and employed as nursery attendants a local resident Mrs. Natalia Mallya and Edmund Mallya (her son). The new nursery can carry 2000 seedlings of various types of trees. We expect to plant seeds of various trees including fruit trees and trees for shade. The nursery shall be used as a training ground for the local residents, and it will also be used for research."

We extend our deepest appreciation to President Paul Moss and the Board of Directors of the Cottonwood Foundation for their help in facilitating our tree planting efforts. In most countries in Africa the yearly wage is so low and the cost of consumer goods so high that people live with a bare minimum of material goods. Purchases like the water tank would be difficult indeed without the generous support of a foundation like Cottonwood.
Setting up the new water tank at
the Moshi Mpingo Plot. Dec. 1999

From its website (htp:// ): "...The Cottonwood Foundation is dedicated to promoting empowerment of people, protection of the environment, and respect for cultural diversity. The foundation focuses its funding on committed, grass roots organizations that rely strongly on volunteer efforts and where foundation support will make a significant difference."

The ABCP is now Non-Profit!!!

The ABCP received formal recognition of its non-profit status by US Internal Revenue Service Letter of Certification as a 501(c)(3) organization in October 1999. This status now makes the ABCP eligible to apply for funding from all environmental conservation funding foundations that require non-profit status of their recipients. Additionally, all donations to the ABCP in the U.S.A. are now tax deductible.

Kilimanjaro Environmental Conservation Trust Fund

In September of 1999 Sebastian was appointed to the post of Chairman of the Kilimanjaro Environmental Conservation Trust Fund, an office he will hold for 3 years. The objective of the fund is to mobilize resources and channel them to the community with a view to financing community-driven activities geared towards combating environmental prolems and hence improving living conditions.





ABCP Website maintained by James E. Harris, 2000.
Last revised 21 Apr 2008.