Planning and implementation of environmentation projects: the case of natural resources management in primary schools in Njombe District.

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University of Dar es Salaam
The purpose of the study was to investigate and identify the factors determining the effectiveness of environmental projects with reference to Natural Resource Conservation and Land Use Management (Agroforestry) project (NRCLUMP), in primary schools in Njombe district in Southern Tanzania. The study sought to investigate the major attributes in project planning and implementation of environmental conservation projects. Attributes given more attention encompassed: needs assessment and local community participation, derivation of objectives and implementation strategies, the strengths and weaknesses of implementation, strategies and the appropriateness of the administrative structure of the project towards effective project management in both, the local communities and primary schools. The study employed a qualitative research design utilizing the techniques of focused group discussion and individual depth interviews. Two sampling techniques namely, a stratified random and a purposive sampling techniques were adopted. A stratified random sampling was used to select school pupils and respondents from the local community. A purposive sampling was used in obtaining the project and education officers, teachers, members of the division mazingira team and in getting the two villages and their respective schools. Data were collected through documentary review, focus group discussions and individual depth interviews. others were observation, checklists and diaries. The findings identified that during the planning of NRCLUMP (Agroforestry) the needs of the target population were not analysed properly. It was revealed that schools were not involved in the planning process. Yet it was identified that meetings were conducted in the local community to inform the target people about the project. Instead of consulting the people, the conservationists made consultation with their representatives. Evidence indicated that the NRCLUMP implemented the objectives of the project to suit the environmentalists and conservationists' interests. The project treated environmental conservation and sustainable development as separate aspects and that conservation could be achieved with disregard for poverty alleviation. Project proposals were not consistent with objectives. It was also identified that the implementation strategies were weak to bring about the improved agriculture productivity through a diversified and sustainable agriculture and forestry in schools and local communities. The school approach programme was incapable of bringing changes in the attitude and interests among the pupils and teachers because it was not incorporated into the school curriculum. Human capacity building could not be achieved. Evidence also revealed that the administrative structure of NRCLUMP (Agroforestry) was ineffective in promoting the project activities. There was failure to clearly indicate the places and roles of some key stakeholders in the project administrative structure. The district education officers, ward officials and the schools were not indicated. There were administrative bottlenecks including acute shortage of personnel, weak financial resources and tax base which weakened project performance to a large extent. The findings revealed also that NRCLUMP attained some achievements in its implementation such as activities under the Women Mazingira Fund (WMF) like piggery, poultry, sheep, soil and water conservation measures, awareness raising among stakeholders (target groups) and improvement of opportunities for women. Weaknesses that were found included acute shortage of extension officers, lack of project sustainability, weak mazingira management teams, lack of commitment to project activities among politicians and the inconsistency between the objectives and strategies, poor involvement of the target people in the project implementation and excessive centralised administration as well as lack of decentralised system of administration. It is recommended that for a better quality management of the conservation projects in both the local communities and schools, the planning process of a project should involve the target people. Environmentalists and planners must be willing and ready to understand problems from a grassroot perspective, interests, needs, desires and expectations before they embark into major programme of natural resource conservation. The basic needs and pressing problems of the community must be solved for a project management team to be successful. It is suggested that a similar study should be done in new areas with a different ecological setting and where new implementation strategies are used. This will aid comparison purposes and come up with a solid solution towards effective management of the projects. The role of culture and traditions in effective managing conservation projects could be further studied in order to improve managing the projects. A quantitative survey approach which employ large sample and questionnaires could be adopted for detailed data for effective management of conservation projects.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HC79.E5.M9)
Natural resource management, Environmental policy, Women Mazingira Fund (WMF), Njombe district, Agroforestry
Mwenda, B. M. (1999). Planning and implementation of environmentation projects: the case of natural resources management in primary schools in Njombe District. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.