Transformative knowledge for people, forests and climate in Tanzania (Mageuzi ya Maarifa)

Project summary

Climate change policy and forest management laws and regulations in Africa are developed by experts who are trained using Western epistemological approaches. A wealth of other approaches, using bottom-up knowledge, are available, but these are rarely considered or used. Our project “transformative knowledge for people, forests and climate in Tanzania (Mageuzi ya Maarifa)” seeks to work with communities living close to nature and address climate, biodiversity and human development challenges. We will collaborate with University and NGO partners in Tanzania to study the development and uptake of novel approaches to citizen science for producing environmental knowledge, primarily through the use of digital technologies such as smartphone enabled apps. The proposed project will investigate how digital technologies applied to forest ecosystem governance in Tanzania can decolonize forest management, improve forest governance, empower citizens, and achieve better forest conservation outcomes. The partners involved in Mageuzi ya Maarifa represent an interdisciplinary and highly specialized team combining excellence in technology, ecology, the anthropology of policy making, and national and international agreements and laws relating to climate, nature, forests and development. The project will deliver 4 PhDs, working with Professors and senior researchers in Denmark and Tanzania, who will produce a set of policy-relevant theses and papers. This body of work, in combination with facilitated workshops and policy engagement with decision makers in Tanzania, will enhance available insights and increase research capacities on how citizens’ use of digital technology can support transformative knowledge systems, improve forest governance and empower Indigenous and local communities. Collaboration with national and Indigenous associations in Tanzania will ensure up-take of lessons learned. The project contributes to both sustainable development in Tanzania, and global learning on citizen science for climate and nature action.

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