Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas: Looking to Local Communities as the Key for Sustainable, Green and Smart Development

Start date: 12 February, 2014 End date: 8 May, 2014 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A26739 Countries: Tanzania Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Stephanie Loveless Total grant: 20,000 DKK



Tanzania is dependent on revenue from tourism, a sector that can only thrive if conservation efforts to protect its prized ecosystems and species rich biodiversity are taken on. Efforts have resulted in securing a variety of protected areas from game reserves, to game controlled areas, national parks and more recently, the participatory conservation scheme called Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
Yet, because, Tanzania lacks the financial resources and manpower to fully protect their wilderness areas and esteemed wildlife, the WMA scheme includes mobilization of communities in assisting with conservation by giving up a parcel of land for protection. In exchange communities receive education on how to manage land sustainably, receive revenues from tourism and aid in community development goals.This participatory WMA model, oft referred to as a win-win situation, is explored in this study, shedding light on the process of including communities in conservation and the impact on local livelihoods.

The results of this study point to a lack of inclusion of communities, resulting in resistance, little education on conservation and a scheme that is in large part rejected by residents. Findings suggest effective conservation and sustainable development inTanzanian WMAs requires community mobilization and a dire need for improving policies and processes that emphasize and empower local communities, to encourage their participation and willingness in protecting conservation areas.