African Blackwood Conservation Project  

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Grants Received by the ABCP

Since its inception in 1996, the ABCP has been supported by contributions from interested and concerned individuals who have made its existence possible. With much gratitude, we thank those supporters who shared our vision of a grass-roots conservation project to positively affect the future of African Blackwood. Without this support in response to our fundraising newsletters and this website, the ABCP would not have been able to lay the foundation from which its current efforts are being launched.

We acquired US IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status in the fall of 1999. This has allowed us to submit applications for grants for our work to foundations whose concern is with the type of conservation and environmental educational work that is the mission of the ABCP. The following foundations and organizations have generously supported our cause.

The Cottonwood Foundation

In 1999 and 2000 The Cottonwood Foundation awarded the ABCP successive grants to install a watering system on the Moshi Mpingo Plot. With this funding Sebastian was able to install a 2000 liter storage tank on the Moshi Plot, install a pump and run a piping system from the nearby Kikafu River to supply the tank. This enable us to move our nursery from its temporary location at Mary Sambeke's house to the Moshi Plot. It will save us the cost of transporting seedlings and greatly facilitate our replanting and distribution efforts.

In his yearly report from this period 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. 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."

In 2002 the ABCP received funding from the Foundation for the purchase of a computer for Sebastian. It will be used to produce educational videos and for GIS and desktop publishing work. This computer will greatly benefit the educational aspect of our project.

In 2003 and 2004, the ABCP received funding from the Foundation for a permanent building at the Moshi Mpingo Plot. This complements the water system previously sponsored by the Cottonwood Foundation, and will allow workers a place to stay when working on the nursery and secure storage for tools and supplies for the project.

In 2005, the ABCP received funding from the Foundation for a second permanent nursery shelter to extend our tree seedling capacity to 100,000 mixed species plants. Then in 2006, because of a severe wind and rain storm which destroyed our first nursery shelter, the Cottonwood Foundation funded sunscreening material for a rebuilt nursery shelter. This year's funding also supported the purchase of fencing, as the ABCP has received the gift of an extra acre of land from the community. We intend to create a secure permanent fence to surround this acreage, which will double the total size of the area is which we can plant trees. This new area will be devoted to multi-planting, using mpingo trees as the upper story plants, with maize and other crops grown between and around the trees, to demonstrate the soil-fixing properties of mpingo and how it may be interplanted with crops on farms.

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.

The Cottonwood Foundation was founded in 1992. Focusing strongly on grass-roots efforts, it awards grants to those organizations which meet the following criteria: protect the environment, promote cultural diversity, empower people to meet basic needs and rely on volunteer efforts. The Cottonwood Foundation itself relies on volunteers and allocates over 90% of its expenditures directly for grants.

From its website: "...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 Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation

In a Press Release issued June 29, 2000, the Lindbergh Foundation announced the awarding of a grant to Sebastian Chuwa and James Harris on behalf of the ABCP. Entitled "Balancing Ecological Diversity with Art and Music—A Community-Based Program to Replant African Blackwood." The grant was designed to launch a unique video project to foster environmental education and mpingo conservation in northern Tanzania.

The Lindbergh award provided funding for the purchase of a TV, VCR and generator so that educational videos on conservation topics can be shown to school children. In addition, it funded a digital video camera so that Sebastian himself can produce videos to cover subject matter that is specific to mpingo conservation and the preservation of natural resources.

These videos will be narrated in Kiswahili and shown to audiences of school children, villagers and farmers to teach them about conservation techniques they can put into use in their own lives. Propagation and replanting techniques will be demonstrated for mpingo and various other trees of domestic and commercial value.

The grant also provided funding for Mpingo Malihai Clubs and nurseries and a field trip for students and teachers to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and Lake Manyara National Park. Because of the expense involved, many Africans never get to visit the magnificent wildlife parks of international fame in their own countries. Trips such as these instill an appreciation of their heritage and environment and will perhaps inspire some children to become future conservationists.

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh foundation was established in 1977, the 50th anniversary of Lindbergh’s historic New York-to-Paris flight. Its mission is to support present and future generations in establishing a balance between technological advancement and environmental preservation. Instrumental in its founding were General James H. Doolittle, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, and James D. Newton, longtime friend of the Lindbergh’s.

Following are quotes from the Lindbergh website:

"Each year, the Lindbergh Foundation awards up to 10 grants in amounts of up to $10,580 each (the cost of building the "Spirit of St. Louis" in 1927) for projects addressing the issue of balance in various fields. Over the years, Lindbergh Grants have become increasingly prestigious awards, supporting innovative ideas at an early stage of their development and establishing pilot projects which often receive much more extensive funding later on from other sources.

"Grants are made in numerous areas of special interest to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, including aviation/aerospace, agriculture, arts and humanities, biomedical research and adaptive technology, conservation of natural resources, education, exploration, health and population sciences, intercultural communication, oceanography, waste disposal management, water resource management, and wildlife preservation.

"As individuals, they (Charles and Anne Lindbergh) each had a special place in history, but for the family, and to those who knew them best, they were above all a partnership. Together in pioneering aviation, together in exploration, together in philosophy and in vision, they shared the belief that true human progress depends on achieving and maintaining a critical balance between our scientific and technological achievements and the preservation of our natural world.

"Through a wide variety of educational and research projects and programs, the Lindbergh Foundation seeks to further this balance between nature and technology. We remember Charles Lindbergh's words: 'The accumulation of knowledge, the discoveries of science, the products of technology, our ideas, our art, our social structures, all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life.' We deeply respect Anne Morrow Lindbergh's belief that 'Power over life must be balanced by reverence for life.' "

The ABCP grant is the first one named in memory of James D. Newton, Lindbergh Chairman Emeritus, who died just before Christmas. We are deeply honored that Ellie Newton, his wife, chose our grant as the one she thought her husband would have most liked. Mrs. Newton also liked it on her own account because 80 years ago in Montreal her father built exquisite houses with rosewood and mahogany paneling. Her brother-in-law also left in his will that a particular grove of redwoods in California should be preserved in perpetuity.

We are very honored to be a recipient of this award and extend our deepest appreciation to the Lindbergh Foundation. We feel certain that their endowment will have many positive ramifications in the lives of those who are touched by the work of Sebastian Chuwa and the future of mpingo conservation.

New England Biolabs Foundation

New England Biolabs Foundation (NEBF) is an independent private foundation, founded in 1982 by the president of New England Biolabs, Inc. In April, 2002 they funded a grant to the Mpingo Women's Group which is instituting programs for self-reliance and environmental conservation in Kikafu chini, south of Moshi. The Women's group is planting mpingo seedlings in the area to insure its future survival.

NEBF supports grassroots organizations working with the environment, social change, the arts, elementary education and science. Their primary funding priorities are targeted to environmental issues. The following is from the NEBF website: "One trustee passionately believes in the power of grassroots movements to bring about changes. Another is convinced that economic incentives, coupled with judicious management of the environment, is the key to a sustainable world. A third thinks that science and art are two complementary manifestations of our humanity."

The Mpingo Women's Group will use the funding to purchase gardening, tree nursery and bee-keeping equipment, as well as alternative energy stoves which use rice husks, their local crop, as fuel. It will fund educational trips to local research centers so that they can learn more about forestry practices and bee-keeping. The grant also gives them a stipend for educational materials for youth groups.

Sebastian Chuwa has acted as counselor to this group since its inception in 1997 and regularly visits them to offer his advice.

In October, 2003, the Kikafu chini Mpingo Women's Group received a second grant from NEBF to fund a self-sufficiency enterprise involving poultry farming.

In January, 2005, another women's group called the Fonga Women's Group received funding from the NEBF in support of self-sufficiency projects including a fish pond, honey bee operation, and tree planting.

In April, 2006, the Green Garden Women's Group received funding from the NEBF to support a poultry-raising effort, and an extensive mpingo planting initiative, centered at Makuyuni. 


British Petroleum  – Tanzania

Mr. Charles Mmbaga, previously Press and Publicity Services Manager for BP Tanzania, has been very helpful in advocating the cause of mpingo conservation through the articles he writes and publishes in various East African newspapers. During his employ with BP he helped us obtain a fuel donation for Sebastian's work from his employer British Petroleum. The fuel is being used to carry out his travel responsibilities in relation to the ABCP. BP Tanzania External Affairs Manager, Jomy Jomalema, felt the support by his company was well deserved by Sebastian in light of his efforts for conservation in northern Tanzania and in recognition of the honor of his 2000 Lindbergh Grant award.

Mr. Fred Kibodya, BP Tanzania Corporate Affairs Manager, has assisted in providing fuel allotments for Sebastian's work in the fall of 2004. Sebastian assisted BP in planting mpingo trees at some of their fuel depots on the road to Dar es Salaam to highlight this national tree of Tanzania and to promote its conservation.

The BP Conservation Programme supports various conservation organizations and has a program in which they award grants to students to conduct conservation studies in countries the world over. ABCP salutes BP Tanzania for their enlightened support of environmental concerns in Tanzania where they have been a great help to the Mpingo Conservation Project and now the ABCP. They have been a champion of causes aimed at benefiting mpingo and deserve recognition and thanks for supporting this much needed effort.



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