Tanzania, as well as many other countries in the world, faces specific challenges due to climate change and the growth in population. Former forests (which were once a fertile living space for several species of animal and reptiles) have been cut down to create more space for farms to feed the community. Moreover, you can see visible changes all over the country in the environment. Some trees don’t get enough rain during the year anymore and sadly they eventually die. Trees, forests and a healthy environment are necassary for every community and humanity in general to produce fresh air and provide shade for appropriate living spaces foor humans and animals. This is why Gladness Pallangyo founded the Tengeru Cultural Tourism Program in 2006. She wanted to share her passion for environmental conservation with the community and visitors. She aims to continue educating herself as well as society to reach more sustainability within her work and create awareness of the needs of the environment to create a greener place to live in. Her motto is: “Conserve Your Environment to Conserve You!” At Tengeru Environmental Conservation Program, visitors will see the Arushan environment on the beautiful slopes of Mount Meru. You will learn about the peculiarities of this area and the methods farmers use to protect the environment. At the end of the tour, every single visitor gets a certificate, promising that one tree will be planted in their name during the rain season. Members of the project start regular campaigns, where they educate the community as well as pupils about the necessity of their work and how every single person is able to participate.
As a volunteer, you will work together with the staff, guides and coordinators of Tengeru Cultural Program to create new ways of conserving the environment. You will become a full member of the team and share your knowledge with them and together, exchange experience. You will be reporting in to the officers who work in the Mount Meru Forest Conservation Area, before and after planting activities. Your specific role within the project will be discussed on your first day and depends on your previous knowledge and interests. You will walk and drive around the slopes of Mount Meru each day to gain new experiences and you will work together with local people who are interestedin the same tasks as you; preserving the environment and forests in the area. You may even have the opportunity to visit schools and educate the pupils about your work as part of the environmental conservation team, plant trees with the students and explain what they can do to work towards conserving the environment around them. You might also go up the hills that surroud Mount Meru and plant trees in order to reforest the area, or become part of the avocado tree planting which works to provide a stable income for the farmers. Moreover, you will be a part of the touristic tours and assist the guides to increase and share your knowledge as well as participate in meetings with the community and the environmental staff to discuss further improvement and new ideas. You will meet with people to discuss the value of your daily work to bring the community closer together in following their one goal: to conserve and protect the environment. You do not need any previous knowledge, but you should bring along a strong belief of the importance of environmental conservation and a love of communicating with people about that topic. To help the continuing of the project donations or fundraisers are always welcomed. Please also note that in order to implement the tree planting and to cover transportation costs, you are asked to donate $100, $50 of which is covered by your project donation.
I really enjoyed my volunteering with Viva Tanzania very much and I was able to gain great experiences and get to know new people – even though my time there was short. I especially liked the nice and informal atmosphere in the hostel. I had the feeling to have a contact person for all questions and concerns and to all my wishes regarding the excursions was received. I felt comfortable with you from the first day, everyone is so friendly and helpful and the food in the hostel is really sooooo delicious – a big compliment to the mamas! With regard to my project, I received great support by you from the beginnig. First of all, the Town Tour was particularly helpful in order to get a first glimpse into the Dala Dalas (mini busses). Secondly, it was pretty great that I was accompanied to the project on my first day. Thank you for that. All in all, the 2 weeks were really a great experience for me – as I said, but unfortunately a bit short, but I was still able to gain intense insight into life in Tanzania and enjoy great moments – especially the safari was an unforgettable experience. I’m sure that you will see me again in the next few years – above all, I would like to climb Kilimanjaro at some point, which has not let me go since I saw it. Until then, I wish you and your entire team all the best! Keep up the good work – you guy are really great! Marco, 32, Italy.