GIZ comments on its support to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Districts, Tanzania

Last week, Conservation Watch wrote about the violence that has once again erupted against Maasai indigenous people in Loliondo, northern Tanzania. As a follow up to that post, I wrote to Johannes Schoeneberger, at GIZ the German aid agency, to ask some questions about the GIZ project Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Tanzania.

According to the GIZ website, “The project is an integral part of a joint development programme with the Tanzanian Government and KfW Development Bank.” Conservation Watch will now send a series of similar questions to KfW Development Bank.

15 March 2017, Wasso: The banners read: “Conservation is our tradition, OBC leave us our land” and “District Council, don’t receive money from the Germans, since it’s death to us”

Schoeneberger’s responses are posted here in full and unedited.

Conservation Watch: I would be grateful if you could answer the following three questions about GIZ assistance to the Serengeti National Park.

Johannes Schoeneberger: GIZ is not providing assistance to the Serengeti NP; GIZ is supporting the administrations of Serengeti and Ngorongoro Districts regarding natural resources management.

Conservation Watch: Susanna Nordlund has been writing about Loliondo since 2010, monitoring in detail the violence against the Maasai. In a recent post, she wrote that,

    “Those implementing the criminal orders, starting with burning bomas in Oloosek on 13th August 2017 were rangers from Serengeti National Park, assisted by Ngorongoro rangers, local police, KDU (anti-poaching) rangers, OBC rangers, and others.”

    “On 27th November it was reported to me that Serengeti rangers had got into the abuse and criminality. Maybe the soldiers are tired. On Monday 26th November, rangers detained 14 herds of cattle – maybe up to 1,000 cows – at Mambarashani where OBC have their camp, and took them to Lobo inside the national park to claim that they were found there. Now the rangers demand 100,000 Tanzanian shilling per head of cattle to release them.

    By the 29th I was told that the “fines” had been paid, and that the cows probably weren’t as many as 1000.”

Could you please confirm whether rangers from the Serengeti National Park have been involved in the evictions of Maasai people, taking the Maasai’s cattle and charging fines in 2017 and 2018.

Johannes Schoeneberger: See comment above. GIZ has no information whether rangers from the NP have been involved in these incidents.

Conservation Watch: Nordlund also writes that,

    “last year Mwakilema, Serengeti Chief Park Warden, announced that German development funds were subject to the approval of the land use plan proposing the alienation of the 1,500 km2.”

This 1,500 square kilometres is an area of land that Otterlo Business Corporation, a United Arab Emirates hunting and safari company, has been trying to get classified as a “protected area”. This would involve the eviction of about 30,000 Maasai people and the loss of important dry season grazing land for the Maasai.

Could you please confirm whether German development funds are subject to the alienation of this 1,500 km2?

Johannes Schoeneberger: German Development Funds implemented through GIZ are not subject to such a requirement.

Conservation Watch: The GIZ website about the GIZ project, “Sustainable management of natural resources in Tanzania” makes the following statement:

    “Training courses on topics such as the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro districts have increased the capacity for local management of natural resources and defused land use conflicts between protected areas and people living in their proximity.”

Please describe what GIZ has been doing to “defuse land use conflicts” in the area around the Serengeti National Park. Does that include the handing out of beehives and football kits?

Johannes Schoeneberger: GIZ considers Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as important and neutral tools for mapping and delineation of areas; and thereby as useful for the discussion and resolution of land conflicts.

GIZ has handed over beehives to the Enguserosambu Forest Trust in order to support income generating activities of community members active in the protection of this forest.

GIZ has handed over football kits to teams participating at a district football tournament organized by Ngorongoro District together with GIZ; the purpose of the so-called Wild Dog Tournament was to raise awareness regarding the conservation of natural resources in the district.

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  1. I.P.A. Manning

    Schoeneberger’s (GIZ) reply to your queries is woefully inadequate. No wonder the Maasai women call for German aid to cease. They see GIZ as being complicit in their criminal abuse by park rangers, the army, OBC, and Thomson Safaris; with GIZ, AWF and WWF all struck mute. A tourism boycott of Maasailand is long overdue.

  2. He speaks the language of a bureaucrat. His bullshit answer is a meaningless blabla.

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