Our Partners and Supporters

A big thank-you to all our funders and supporters over the years. On the budgets at which we operate every single contribution makes a big difference. You are too numerous to list exhaustively, but we would like to particularly acknowledge some of our biggest and most loyal partners and supporters below.

Government of Tanzania through District Councils

Kilwa District Council

MCDI has established an excellent working relationship with the District Council and its officials in Kilwa. The council plays a critical role in MCDI's work as the Full Council must approve all bylaws proposed by villages to govern the use of their Village Land Forest Reserves, whilst the management plan for each community-managed forest must be approved by the District Forestry Officer. MCDI's cooperation with KDC, however, extends far beyond that: work plans are shared, our staff work closely alongside each other, and new initiatives are launched only after full consultation.

Mtama District Council

MCDI has an MoU with LDC to promote sustainable forest management in Mtama district.

Other districts

MCDI also collaborate with all District Authorities where it operates (Ruangwa, Liwale, Nachingwea, Tunduru, Namtumbo, Songea and Monduli).

We work closely with the Tanzania Country Office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-TCO). WWF-TCO support conservation activities across Tanzania, and have a major interest in conserving forest as a whole and  East African Coastal Forests in particular, fragments of which are found in most MCDI's operational area. As well as supporting MCDI financially, WWF-TCO have utilised their technical expertise in support of MCDI's work

Forest and Value Chain Development Programme (FORVAC)

Forest and Value Chain Development Programme (FORVAC) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

MCDI is collaborating with FORVAC in six districts in Lindi and Ruvuma regions.

United States Forest Service

We entered into a long term partnership with United States Forest Service in 2015. A group of technical experts have since visited us on various missions to leverage their resources and expertise in GIS to bolster our mapping and monitoring needs. This has played a transformative role in enabling us to accurately map patches of critically endangered coastal forests in the communities where we work, and to improve our community-based wildlife monitoring programme in these areas.

University of Edinburgh

We are partnered with the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh in the UK. They have specialist knowledge on determination of carbon stocks within Miombo woodlands and the effect of fire. These technical skills makes them a critical partner on our REDD pilot project.

We have partnered with the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia in the UK. They are helping us to monitor changes in household wealth and wellbeing as a result of our work in the communities, and also changes in the quality of governance within communities, which is critical to how they manage revenue derived from their forests.

Tanzania Natural Resources Forum

The Tanzania Natural Resources Forum (TNRF) is a collective civil society-based initiative to improve natural resource management and conservation in Tanzania by addressing fundamental issues of governance. MCDI is a leading member of TNRF's Forestry Working Group, and a partner in the Mama Misitu Campaign to improve forest governance in Tanzania.

We have an organisational development partner, Maliasili Initiatives, with which we work closely to grow our internal capacity as a leading conservation and development organisation in Tanzania. With Maliasili Initiative's support, we developed our first, comprehensive five-year strategy in 2015. This serves to guide our organisation towards achieving its vision. In 2016 we began to clearly link this strategy to our annual budgeting and work planning, which helps to guide us in deciding which new projects to prioritise in order to scale up the level and quality of support we are providing to Tanzanian communities in sustainably managing their forests.

The Environment Africa Trust (EAT) is our main UK partner. Its mission is to support organisations working in Sub-Saharan Africa that encourage sound environmental management and biodiversity conservation through a strong community economic development focus to achieve sustainable livelihoods. EAT have spearheaded our drive to get funding for our FSC group certificate scheme.

Beautiful Cups

Rainforest Projects is an initiative of Beautiful Cups, a Dutch company which is supporting the protection and restoration (rain)forests in several projects all over the world. We are building a brighter future for the forests, its wildlife and its people. Beautiful Cups is raising additional funds for the work of Mpingo through their network of customers and partners.

Comic Relief

Comic Relief is a British charity, supported by prominent British comedians, whose vision is a "a just world free from poverty". In 2008, MCDI, through its UK partner, Environment Africa Trust, received a grant of £282,000 over three years from Comic Relief under the title "Fair Trade for African Blackwood". This had been presaged by a smaller Project Development Grant in 2007 under which we explored various aspects of the blackwood trade in the UK, and developed some of the key elements of the proposal for the main grant. In 2011 EAT, MCDI and Kilimanyika received a further one year grant (£240,000) to continue this work and to review some key issues around the trade and marketing of certified blackwood and the governance of the different elements of the project.

The value of MCDI's work to conserve these important habitats was recognised internationally when, singled out among more than 130 applicants, our CEO was presented an award for International Nature Conservation by the Whitley Fund for Nature. The award was donated by WWF-UKClick here for our video, or read more about how we have used the money to expand our reach and impact by connecting forests, people and wildlife here.

The Darwin Initiative

The Darwin Initiative seeks to help safeguard the world's biodiversity by drawing on UK expertise to work with local partners in countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources. The fund is supported by the UK Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Defra). The Darwin Initiative awarded a partnership between Fauna & Flora International and the MCDI (then known as the Mpingo Conservation Project) a grant of over £140,000 to cover core costs of MCDI's activities in Kilwa district between May 2005 and March 2008. In 2017-2020 Darwin Initiative supported MCDI for the second time.

Conservation Leadership Programme

The very first expedition in 1996 that started MCDI won a prize in what was then known as the BP Conservation Awards programme and is now known simply as the Conservation Leadership Programme. The 1998 and 2000 expeditions were short-listed for follow-up awards. Then in 2004 the project was awarded one of the top consolidation awards ($75,000), allowing us to start practical conservation activities.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) are one of our key partners, and were the lead partner on our Darwin Award. In addition they have helped us with several grants over the years:

  • In 2006, through FFI's Communities, Livelihoods & Governance Programme we received a portion of a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Entitled Resources for Improved Livelihoods, the grant enabled FFI and its partners such as MCDI to reflect on how and why we are addressing human needs, to monitor achievements and to develop best practice in combining poverty reduction with conservation.
  • In 2008, FFI provided critical bridging funds to MCDI between the end of the Darwin grant and the start of the Comic Relief grant.
  • Then alongside the Comic Relief grant FFI channelled additional funding from Anglo American, again focusing on the balance between conservation and community needs.