Expectant mothers benefit from forest management

“I know the benefit of the forest, so will protect it” - Mama Hadija Makokoto.

MCDI have been supporting people in Nanjirinji, a rural farming community in south-eastern Tanzania, to responsibly manage forests on village lands since 2011. The community made their first sustainable timber harvest in 2012, since which they have generated over USD $130,000 (TSh 200 million) from certified timber sales. Guided by MCDI's training on good governance and financial planning, the village council in Nanjirinji has used this revenue to promote local development and improve services in the village, including by building a local primary school and marketplace, and providing health insurance to vulnerable members of the community.

More recently, also using profits from forest management, Nanjirinji introduced a programme to assist local women with labour costs; all expectant mothers in the village are now eligible to receive TSh 50,000/- (approximately $30) to fund birth facilities. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are leading causes of death and disability among women of reproductive age in developing countries and, in Tanzania, the total number of maternal deaths was estimated at 7,900 per 100,000 live births in 2013 (Countdown to 2015 report). Reducing this number is one of the primary goals of the Tanzanian poverty reduction strategy, although progress thus far has been slow. Thanks to conducive national forest policy in Tanzania, however, which provides clearly defined forest land and tree tenure rights to local communities, more than 70 rural women in Nanjirinji have already benefited from better maternal support, fully funded by proceeds from forest management.