New England Biolabs Funds Green Garden Womens Group
New England Biolabs Foundation has funded projects for several of our affiliated womens groups and this year they have awarded a grant to the Green Garden Womens Group (GGWG) in Moshi to expand their mpingo nursery and start replanting projects at new locations, Machame Shari and Usa River, west of Moshi. The women will also start a small-scale poultry project and purchase school supplies for AIDS orphans in their community.
The GGWG has been a strong force for promoting conservation in the Moshi/Kilimanjaro area for 8 years. The women run a commercial nursery in Moshi and regularly contribute trees to surrounding communities for environmental conservation. They are known in Moshi for their expertise in building a variety of energy efficient stoves, particularly for institutional use. They hold instructional classes on tree planting and conservation, and have sensitized their community to the importance of mpingo.
On our trip, Linna Komba, Salama Lema, and Glory Mamkwe, group leaders, treated us to a lunch of traditional Tanzanian food, and then conducted a tour of their nurseries, their stove demonstration hut, and some of their income earning projects.
Cottonwood Foundation Builds New Nursery at MMP
Since 2002, when he received the Rolex Award, Sebastians work for mpingo conservation has expanded greatly, and he is receiving an increasing number of requests for mpingo seedlings. In order to take advantage of the increased demand, the Cottonwood Foundation has awarded funding to the ABCP to build a new 50,000 seedling nursery shelter at the Moshi Mpingo Plot (MMP). Because of this, 100,000 plants can now be distributed every 18 months.
The MMP was established in 1996. In addition to a nursery, rows of orchard trees were planted for scientific observation. These trees are now mature enough to produce seeds and our nursery attendant is carefully collecting them to germinate new seedlings. This is advantageous for the project, because the cost of seeds is high and there is difficulty of access when gathering them in the wild.
The permanent building funded earlier by Cottonwood has been very useful for workers when they are producing large numbers of seedlings which must be planted in a narrow window of time. Travel in the local area is difficult and the accommodations (with kitchen, living, and bathroom facilities) allow workers to stay overnight and thus use their time more efficiently.
New Acreage at MMP
Because of the work done by Sebastian and the ABCP for conservation and youth education, he has been awarded an additional acre of land adjoining the present Moshi Mpingo Plot for conservation use by local village authorities.
Preliminary plans are to use part of this acreage to influence people to include the use of mpingo trees in intensive agriculture. Approximately 1000 mpingo trees will be planted and each row of trees will be interplanted with food crops such as maize and beans to demonstrate intercropping and the uses of mpingo as a multi-purpose tree. As a legume, mpingo will enrich the soil and add nutrients for the vegetable crops. It will also provide shade for crops that have limited sun tolerance.
Kikavu Chini Update
During our stay we also traveled to Kikavu Chini to meet with members of the Mpingo Womens Group, which has been funded, through the ABCP, by New England Biolabs Foundation. NEBF awarded them money for starting a tree nursery, a bee-keeping operation, and a poultry project. All of these enterprises are helping the members and the community in significant ways.
Each year the women supply the township with thousands of trees that are planted in Kikavu Chini for community improvement. Since beginning with 6 beehives they are now carrying on a significant bee-keeping operation with 33 active beehives. Their poultry project is supplying them with funds to farm a large acreage given for their use by the local government.
We spent the day with this group, and drove to their various projects. Their love for the environment has been a significant factor in influencing conservation activities in their community.
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