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Phase II — Education

One major factor that has delayed commercial and private efforts to replant mpingo is that it takes 70-200 years in the wild to reach harvestable size. In order for the ABCP to have a lasting long-range impact it will necessarily have to provide information to the coming generations about the value of mpingo and the proper methods of replenishing its numbers. Consequently Phase II of the mpingo project will be educational.

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Building the fence at the Moshi Mpingo Plot
after the El Niño rains had flooded the area

The ABCP is now soliciting funds for a video camera, 2 VCR’s and a TV for Sebastian. Two VCR’s will give him a rudimentary capability of editing and copying videos. With this equipment he will be able to make educational and training films about mpingo. These will teach plant recognition, how to collect, sort and germinate seeds, how to prepare a seedbed and care for seedlings, how to choose the best habitat for replanting, as well as general instruction on the principles of conservation.
Sebastian’s brother – Joachim – has experience in filmmaking and will assist in this part of the project. Sebastian himself will take footage during his various work-related projects. These videos will be shown to both school children and groups of interested adults.

We can do no great things—
Only small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

Through these educational efforts we hope to achieve several objectives: 1) to raise awareness among Tanzanian citizens about the economic and ecological importance of mpingo so that it will
not be needlessly harvested, 2) to enlist an increasing number of local people to help in the replanting effort, 3) to establish additional Mpingo Clubs, 4) to inspire other towns in the area to start mirror projects like the Moshi Mpingo Plot, 5) to provide a documented body of knowledge which will be offered to other groups wishing to duplicate the programs of the ABCP, and 6) to attract attention to the effort so that support can be solicited from major conservation funding organizations.

Other activities being taken by the ABCP at this time are a grant–writing campaign and efforts to expand our range of contacts — sending information and literature to major environmental and non- governmental agencies.

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15-month old mpingo saplings ready to
transport to the Moshi Mpingo Plot

The ABCP has also been introducing Sebastian to various conservation organizations, some of which offer grants and prizes to conservationists in recognition of their efforts. Since he is little known outside his country, most individuals and groups in

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Unloading mpingo seedlings ready to
transplant into the Moshi Mpingo Plot

the conservation community are uninformed about his accomplishments. Few are aware, for instance, of his pioneer efforts in tracking and monitoring the black rhinos at Ngorongoro Crater which has led to their successful protection from poachers and kept this small remaining population intact. The ABCP hopes by such means to better publicize and support the work of this outstanding conservationist with whom it is our great privilege to work.

In His Own Words

The following information is from an email received from Sebastian Chuwa in mid-February, 1999, "…Some money I'm using is from my own pocket. I gave somebody a temporary job looking after our Mpingo plot and watering because I planted them with the expectations of short rains in Dec/Jan, which never happened. The worker will water and do other work on the plot. Along the fence I planted some bushy trees called Dovyalis, a wild bush with long thorns and very good fruit which can be used for making jam. The poles we can buy here only last for ten years. The Dovyalis will grow up around the wires and make a permanent fence.

If your plans are for one year, grow paddy.
If your plans are for ten years, grow trees.
If your plans are for fifty years, educate people.
—Saying quoted by Sebastian Chuwa

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Sebastian transplanting mpingo saplings

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The rest of the seedlings we are going to plant around schools and farms. I have a lot of requests from individuals for planting around their farm boundary. I have listed 46 people who want Mpingo seedlings and I asked them to wait for a few weeks until the rains start. I have already talked to some local teachers about establishing Mpingo Clubs in their schools and the pupils are looking forward to that. I found it is very important to inform people, especially the youth, before we start moving the trees to the wild because there are a lot of Mpingo enemies like fire and cattle, which harm the young trees. I'm going to raise more seedlings, especially for replanting in the wild and will use youth groups for planting as part of an environmental conservation project and to preserve Mpingo for the future. If I get more funds I will start an education program."

 

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Last revised 21 Apr 2008.