Rehabilitation of degraded water sources in the Usambara Mountains

  • Local group leader inspecting nursery

Community tree planting in Longoi Village, Tanzania

One day a former classmate from Tanzania asked us to join hands and help him with his endeavour to improve the drinking water availability in the village where he grew up. His project was too small to simply pass on his request of support to one of the big organisations that deal with international cooperation. Thus it left us with the challenge to get active ourselves and do things just as good or even better. It was the starting shot of this social profit organisation.

The village most pressing problem is the vanishing of its water sources, which can be traced back to a disruption of the natural water cycle due to over exploitation of the surrounding forests. In order to restore the water cycle in the long run and allow slow infiltration of rain into the groundwater trees would have to be planted. Step number one for our friend was to raise consciousness of the problem and its origin among the villagers. Step number two was to make them advocates of the solution. Step number three was to continuously plant trees with as much support as he can get. He founded a NGO that gave training on environmental conservation, taught the villagers how to establish nurseries with beneficial trees and with an initial fund planted about 3000 trees.

The 5000 Euros he received from a governmental institution was barely enough to realize this undertaking in his home village but would hardly make an impact on the water cycle restoration. With our help he wants to upscale his project. We intend to extend his program of environmental education and also bring it to the primary and secondary schools. The training of school children and adults should aim at an indefinite perpetuation of the already and newly established tree nurseries. The Environmental Conservation Committees of other villages are meant to get on board and finally many more trees are intended to be planted – continuously and by the villagers own initiative.

Weltweit – Gesellschaft zur Förderung lokaler Initiativen e.V. will support this local initiative by a) making technical support accessible, e.g. for the development of suitable teaching material b) researching for similar projects and knotting ties with other experts and organisations c) organizing additional funds.

In June 2015 Weltweit e.V. transferred several thousand Euros to the account of the Longoi Agricultural and Environmental Group in Tanzania. It was the first intallment of the 9000 Euros in total that we received from the Erbacher Foundation for this local initative.

After an initial burst of happiness and gratitude having received so much financial support from abroad the Longoi Group and the villagers began immediately to expand the existing tree nursery. Cultivation of new saplings had to commence before the short rainy season would cease somewhen in July, otherwise the people of Longoi would have had to wait until November. The villagers started clearing and leveling the ground, they filled little plastic bags with compost to be used as containers for new saplings and they discussed the sequence of the next activities.  It was decided that  the errection of a rain water harvest facility on the primary school’s roof should be carried out as soon as possible to provide clean drinking water at least for the school children.

  • Schon jetzt wird Regenwasser gesammelt, das vom Schuldach tropft.

Review of 2015:

  • Finance of Weltweit e.V.:

In our founding year 2014 we were mainly busy to build up the structure of the association. We had to do all the registrations with the official authorities, we opened an account with the GLS Bank, we set up a system of knowledge management using Dropbox and we prepared the content of the webpage. We also participated in a workshop of participatory project planning in Frankfurt where we received helpful inputs. With our project partner Ibrahim Hussein and the Longoi Agricultural and Conservation Group we drafted a project plan by drawing a stakeholder analysis, a goal map, a risk analysis, a budget plan and finally a logical framework matrix.

In 2015 we actively began to raise funds for the project. The first application to the Erbarcher foundation was sent in January. We received a letter of acceptance in May and from there on we saw some movements on our account:
Incoming amount:


18.5.     Erbacher -Stiftung                                                                                    9000
14.12.   Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.                                                                     4500
22.12                                                                                          810
22.12    Weltladen Hofheim                                                                                 3000
Single Donations, Member Fees                                                           2509

Sum                                                      19819


6.5.      Server fees                                                                                                    15
6.5.      Transaction to Tansania                                                                            59,5
26.5     Transaction to Tansania                                                                        1009,5
5.6.      Transaction to Tansania                                                                        5009,5
5.6.      Transaction to Tansania                                                                        3009,5
30.11.  Travelcost toi Rapunzel                                                                             60
24.11.  GLS Bankcard Gebühr                                                                               15
21.12.  Transaction to Tansania                                                                       4809,5
Web host fees       8 Month a 2€/Mobth:                                                16
Account fees       12 Month a 2,80€/Month:                                          33,6

Sum                                                       14037

  • Financed activities in Longoi und Mlifu

By the end of the year 2015 the Longoi Group has received 14,000 € in total from us, the last instalment went out shortly before New Years. The Longoi Group used the money to:

1.) Expand the original tree nursery (established in 2013) and plant fresh saplings.

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Costs occurred by:

  • – Purchasing seeds, planting bags, fertilizer
  • – Management (watering, weeding, planting)

2.) Set up a second nursery with bigger capacities:

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Costs occurred through:

  • – Clearing the ground and preparing seed beds
  • – Purchasing seeds, planting bags, fertilizer
  • – Management (watering, weeding, planting)

In total about 10,000 seedlings of the species Pinus, Albhizia, Grevelia , Cyprus, Eukalyptus were raised in the nurseries.

During our visit in January we saw public land where trees in former years had been planted. When a villager plants ten trees he or she will receive one tree sapling for his or her own farm. This kind of arrangement is positively accepted by the villagers because trees are very valuable and in great demand. We hope that the participation among the villagers in the tree planting exercises will steadily increase through this 10 to 1 regulation.

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3.) Provide 80 beehive boxes:

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Farmers with their farms close to the communal forests and water sources, and farmers who were very active in the conservation activities received the beehive boxes.

Timber is a valuable construction material that is much sought-after and therefore the price for it is very high. The costs for the wood, the transport and the construction of one beehive box are ca. 35€.

4.) Install three water tanks for rainwater harvesting at two elementary schools:

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The water tanks need a baseplate on which the tanks can accurately be installed. The rainwater flows through rain gutters into the water tanks. Costs in total were ca. 1000€.

5.) Hold several meetings and workshops:

IMG_8971 members discusing

During the meetings activities were planned and discussed. In the workshops farmers were informed, instructed and motivated to participate in the measures of nature and resource conservation.

  • Successes and throwbacks

The arrangement of the tree nurseries and the activities involving beekeeping were so far very successful. We were able to witness this when three members of Weltweit e.V. visited the project area in January. The Longoi Group chose those sites for the nurseries that were surrounded by farmers’ fields and partly shaded by trees. The tree saplings were thus protected from too intensive sun radiation and from damage caused by game animals. The farmers who cultivate the surrounding fields are all integrated into the project and therefore take special attention that the nurseries are protected. A construction for sun shading and fences could therefore be dispensed with although those were planned for in our original budget plan. Thus the Group saved costs that were spent on other activities like the beekeeping.

Meanwhile other villages further away became aware that the Longoi Group is successfully running tree nurseries and one village already sent a request to obtain healthy saplings from them. We have therefore reason to hope that in the future the tree nurseries will be self-sustaining by selling little trees.

When installing the rain gutters for the water tanks in one of the two schools people noticed that the construction of the entire roof would need refurbishment and therefore is not suited to attach the gutters properly. Therefore the rain gutters had to be installed in a provisionary manner to be connected to the water tanks. If this preliminary instalment will be efficient enough to lead to satisfactory results will be seen in the next rainy season. A new construction might be necessary. At the moment the school has not enough funds available to conduct a general restoration of the roof.



Project completion – October 2016

This project in the Usambara Mountains is progressing faster than originally anticipated. A few month after Weltweit e.V. transferred the remaining funds to the Longoi account in January and april the Longoi and Mlifu Group had reached almost all of their milestones. Two tree nurseries in Longoi and two in Mlifu have been installed. 30 000 tree saplings were cultivated and already transplanted on community land and farms surrounding the degraded water sources. The farmers who volunteered for the tree planting exercises received one sapling for their own farm for every ten saplings they have planted on community land during the first round of planting last year in October. For the second round of planting in April the farmers even received one sapling for each sapling planted. The Longoi and Mlifu Group raised the ratio because it was foreseeable that there will be more than enough trees in the nurseries to reforest all of the designated community land.


140 wooden boxes for beekeeping were produced and handed out to 58 farmers who participated in the project activities. Wild bees have already moved into many of these boxes and the farmers are producing their first honey. The honey is used mainly for medicinal purpose, for self-consumption and some is sold or bartered in the community.


Workshops were conducted to train the farmers and raise the level of awareness concerning conservation issues.


One primary school in Mlifu received beehives and a tree nursery was installed in the school garden. Teachers participated in workshops and are now giving practical training to students on tree cultivation and beekeeping.


Words of success of this project have already travelled to distant villages. The nurseries are becoming renown for producing strong and healthy seedlings and villages tried to place orders. The nurseries are already filled with freshly planted seedlings again and the people of Longoi and Mlifu have the possibility to run them on a commercial basis in the future.

The neighbouring village Shume is suffering the same problem with its water sources and asked the Longoi Group to advise them on installation of their own community nursery

The two local groups in Longoi and Mlifu received 19.800 euros from Weltweit e.V. in the first project year. Mr. Alli the project leader decided that we should not transfer further funds for now because the self-set objectives have been basically completed and that within a very short span of time. Of course more nurseries, more rain water tanks and more beehives could be erected and the project itself could be expanded in scope and area. But Mr. Alli is afraid that the villagers develop the impression that the support from Germany is endless and rather wants them realize their community goals with the funds already received. The instalment of another 3000 euros from the Weltladen Hofheim by the end of this year will therefore be used only for the monitoring of the planted trees during the coming two years and the introduction of environmental curricula at other schools in Longoi and Mlifu. If no unexpectancies arise our financial support of this project will therefore be finalized with this last instalment. The people of Longoi and Mlifu are enormously grateful and we are very happy for their success. Thank you all for your help!