By Vincent Mbirika
Seeing the importance of traditional Maasai elders, as far as conservation in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is concerned, the new Conservator at the NCAA, Dr. Freddy Safieli Manongi made a special familiarization visit to meet their leader at Irkeepus Village last January.
The purpose of his visit was to have an audience with the Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Ngorongoro Traditional leaders (Laigwanak), Mzee Ngobei Olerunguna regarding issues of environment, community development and tourism development in the conservation area.
Dr Manongi told Mzee Olerunguna that the future existence of Ngorongoro, which is among the world’s heritage sites, depended on full awareness of local residents regarding the importance of the conservation area. The Conservator was of the view that the NCAA should fully involve the communities of Ngorongoro in all activities related to their own development, sustainable tourism and environment conservation in order to ensure mutual survival between wildlife and the Maasai as well as an improved eco-system that can support the flora and fauna as well Pastoralists.
After the Conservator’s introduction, it was the turn for the Laigwanan elder to air his views and Mr Ngobei asked Dr. Manongi to set a special day in which he could meet with members of the Laigwanan committee to discuss many of the highlighted issues.
According to Mzee Ngobei, it is actually these traditional leaders that the Conservator will be coming into contact with on a regular basis when the latter goes about his daily responsibilities around the local villages in the Ngorongoro Division. Dr. Manongi agreed to hold special sessions with the members of the traditional leaders’ committee and managed to meet with them between 26th and 28th of January 2014 during his second tour of Endulen Village.
At the Endulen meeting the traditional leaders, after officially welcoming Dr Manongi, promised to offer total assistance and cooperation to the new Ngorongoro Conservator.
They however reminded the new head of the NCAA that for years now the traditional elders have been sidelined from important decision making panels taking place at management levels.
‘’We find this to be a problem because at the end of the day, traditional leaders are the ones who deal directly with members of the Ngorongoro communities at grassroots levels’’ pointed out the elders adding that in future they would like to see their advice taken seriously.
“In the past as a rule we used to have regular meetings with conservators and during these sessions there would be two-way communications; the officials would update us on matters of conservation while the elders will inform them what is going on in the villages and how the two parties can mutually address various concerns in the NCA’’ said Mzee Runguna.
Among the issues that arose during the Endulen Village meeting is the concern regarding the Livestock Development Project of RAMAT, which though really established many years ago was still a new thing to them because they never saw it. The delegation wanted to visit the area where the Livestock Development Project was supposed to be executed because until then the elders were not aware of its operations.
The Ngorongoro Conservator then ordered that the elders be taken to visit the RAMAT project, which they did on the 28th of January 2014.
After the meetings with local traditional leaders in Ngorongoro, Dr. Manongi will be doing more rounds in the Division, at District and Regional levels, for the purpose of making official introductions.
By Walter Mairo
A new council of workers at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority was recently elected with the Chief Conservator, Dr Freddy Manongi heading the panel of 44 newly elected representatives.
The new NCAA workers' organization replaces the previous council, which was formed on June 29th 2010 and has completed its term in office prompting a general election which was supervised by the Arusha Regional Labor Officer, Mr Yusuph Nzugile and a representative from the Dispute Reconciliation Committee, Mr Sifuni Joseph Mzava.
The Council of Employees of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, which is a branch of the National Conservation, Hotels, Allied Workers Union, has been reformed in line with policy requirements calling for a participatory approach in management at workplaces as stipulated under Presidential Directive Number 1 of 1970 sections 7 and 20 as well as the Labor Relations Act number 6 of 2004 section 73 (i)-(iii). In ensuring that all employees are fully involved in decision making at NCAA the authority calls a general election every three years and revamps the Workers' Organization whose activities include receiving and analysing income and expenditure reports of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, discussing proper schemes of work, proper execution of payment policies as well as setting programmes for workers' welfare and development. But the bedrock responsibility for the NCAA Workers' Organization is to act as an advisory body to the management.
There are many workers' organizations in Tanzania but the NCAA employees are represented under the Conservation, Hotels, Allied Workers Union abbreviated as CHODAWU as per its Kiswahili description. The Union CHODAWU normally sits with the management in compiling a special contract, which serves as a guiding document in the entire process of forming the workers' organization. The contract states clearly that each department at the NCAA should produce a representative, or several depending with their numbers, who will then become candidates to be voted for by all employees in order to establish a panel of legislatures in the workers' council.
The council of workers is thus made up of committee members including the NCAA Conservator, Directors, Heads of Departments and CHODAWU representatives. Others are the chosen representatives and a member of the National Trade Union at regional level.
By Walter Mairo
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority has built two secondary schools that will now benefit local Maasai communities in the Ngorongoro Area whose children used to travel long distances in search of advanced education after completing Primary Schools.
Established at different times the two institutions include Embarway Secondary School located in the Endulen Ward and Nainokanoka Secondary, which is the latest school to be inaugurated in the Nainokanoka area. Nainokanoka Secondary, established in 2012, has started with 415 students in Forms One and Two grades that have 270 boys and 145 girls, and according to the Acting School Principal, Mr. Haji Mzee the Maasai people have been motivated to send their children to school.
The head teacher pointed out that even the girls, who in the past used to be reserved for marriage, are now attending school and their numbers keep on increasing on a daily basis. “And the 70,000/- annual school fees figure is relatively cheap, if not the cheapest in the country which means parents can now afford to send their children to school without necessarily being compelled to sell their cattle’’ he said. Even the shortage of teachers, a problem that the school faced in the past, has now been solved with the appointment of 14 new qualified tutors.
The Human Resource Officer with the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council, Mr. Parkepu Nakuroi revealed that both Embarway and Nainokanoka Schools are being supervised by the Council with funding from the NCAA. The Pastoralist Council pays for the school vehicle’s fuel and maintenance, monthly teachers’ allowances of 70,000/- and electricity generators.
The NCAA had also donated two Land-Cruisers to be used by the schools. Nakuroi stated that their council, with assistance from the NCAA has also constructed two additional classrooms at Endulen to be used as Advanced Level streams of Form Five and Six. While more school infrastructural development projects under the NCAA are going on, the government on the other hand is supporting the institutions through providing school meals to students and paying teachers’ salaries
By Walter Mairo
In efforts to transform the lives of Ngorongoro residents the Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has dispatched its veterinary experts to help improve their livestock. The Maasai in Ngorongoro depend on cattle for their livelihood and through the special programme a number of the animals have undergone modern breeding processes through Artificial Insemination (AI) for improved species.
It is now five years since AI was introduced in Ngorongoro and already the residents of Nainokanoka, where the process started, have seen its advantages, lauding the initiative. Soon the AI services, with related awareness raising training sessions, will be extended to other areas of Ngorongoro where villagers demand the same treatment and according to experts it is only a matter of time before the area is provided with improved cattle varieties promising high milk yields and better beef products that will eventually attract better markets elsewhere. Veterinary experts pointed out that in their studies, they discovered that the cattle population in Ngorongoro Division comprised mainly the Zebu variety that are not only small in stature but also don't yield much milk and thus there is a need to introduce them to AI to cross-breed them with better seeds and that is what the cattle improving project in Nainokanoka was all about.
With healthier livestock and quality products from their cattle the residents of Ngorongoro are guaranteed to experience better lives through an improved economy derived from boosted earnings from their animal products.
Hotels and Tourist Lodges operating within Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and other parts of the country provide a ready market for cattle products such as beef, milk and other products. Also, once the residents start earning handsomely from their animals, they stand to be self-sufficient as far as food and income are concerned such that they will never think about growing crops in the area for the purpose of supplementing their domestic food as they have been requesting of late.
After the closure of the Lerai ascent road for repairs, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority is happy to announce that the ascent road is now open again and tourists now can enjoy the nice and smooth ride out. Visitors who prefer to exit the crater through the Lemala gate can still do so.