Planting Trees At Kilimanjaro

Tropical rainforest covers the slopes of Kilimanjaro up to a height of about 2800 meters (9200 ft). From a distance, the forest appears dense and intact, however when having a closer look, it can be easily noticed that it is intensively used and trees are widely cut to be used as as firewood, to make charcoal, as a construction material, or to make space for farmland, such as coffee plantations. This has negative consequences including soil erosion, changes to the microclimate with effects such as drought, and an heavy impact on the area’s unique biodiversity.

The volunteering activites which are part of the program “Environmental Conservation at Kilimanjaro” aim at addressing these critical issues. You will work on a tree nursery, join reforestation activities, demonstrate sustainable methods of cooking, and you will join environmental education programs.

This well run program by World Unite! has full-time volunteer coordinators. The volunteer coordinators also act as cultural facilitators and will do leisure activities with volunteers, giving them the chance to fully immerse into life at a traditional Chagga village. The villagers of Mweka are welcoming, warm-hearted people that are willing to share their life and stories with guests.

Accommodation for volunteers is at the comfortable Kilimanjaro Forest Camp near Mweka Village or with host families in Mweka.

Reforestation and tree nursery

Volunteers join the activities at a tree nursery, cultivating native tree species to be planted around Kilimanjaro. Seeing how quickly the little trees grow and how they are used to fill the gaps caused by man, recreating green nature space is a very rewarding task.

Big planting projects are usually during the rainy seasons (March-June and October-December), but at places with natural water resources, planting is done throughout the year. Seedlings are additionally distributed free of charge to the local population during the rainy seasons.

Energy efficient cooking demo park

At the camp we have a collection of energy efficient and renewable technologies for cooking. The demo park is open for school classes and other visitors who want to get a demonstration of the technologies.

The technologies include different types of solar cookers, the production of pellets from organic waste materials to be used with energy-efficient stoves, and the bottling of biogas. The idea is to introduce the local population to sustainable cooking methods in order to reduce the amount of firewood and charcoal needed. We also run an income-generating program for villagers to produce pellets for their own use and sale.

Environmental Education at schools

After an introduction and orientation, volunteers assist with and carry out environmental workshops at primary and secondary school and village community centres.

For children, this is done in a playful way and topics include the tropical rainforest ecosystem, the water cycle, the effects of deforestation, waste, and the biodiversity of the Kilimanjaro region.

For youth and adults, sustainable methods of income-generation are taught including fish farming, handicraft production for the tourism industry, and stingless beekeeping for honey production.

Community Work

Community work includes activities from which the whole village of Mweka benefits, such as supporting coffee and banana farmers during harvest season, construction and renovation of schools and dispensaries, arrangements of festivities etc.

Once per week there is a meeting between community members and the volunteers at the camp to discuss the community’s current needs.

College of African Wildlife Management

The College of African Wildlife Management in Mweka is the only training institute of higher education offering BA and postgraduate degrees in Wildlife Management in Tanzania. It is also one of the most prestigious ones in the whole of Africa, attracting many international students.

Participants of the World Unite! Kilimanjaro Environmental Conservation Camp have the chance to attend one lecture about topics related to African wildlife per week at the college at no extra cost.

Volunteers are also regularly joining activities done by the student clubs of the college.

Tree nursery
On a coffee plantation
Planting trees
Solar Cooker
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