Community Outreach & Conservation Education in the Udzungwa Region
As a wildlife biologist interested in conservation, I strongly feel it is part of my responsibility to share my knowledge about the value of natural resources with local communities, especially children. To do so I have given talks about the Sanje mangabey to several schools from villages surrounding the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. These schools, despite being located in an agriculturally productive region of Tanzania with fertile soils, abundant rainfall and the presence of the National Park, are usually very poorly equipped. One in particular, Msalise Primary School, is particularly disadvantaged. As such, the Sanje Mangabey Project has been working closely with Msalise to increase the number of books in their library, install solar panels to provide the only source of electricity within 15km, buy a computer and send the teachers to computer classes, and renovate the buildings that were in need of repair. Our next project is raise funds to build an on-site house for the teachers, as many of them cannot make it to school in the rainy season due to flooding. As there are only six teachers for the 600 students, this is a critically important project. Msalise village has already begun building the house and we are in the process of raising money to complete the construction. Our hope is that the house will be ready in the fall of 2012.