Governance & Capacity Building

Transparent Decision Making

Communities themselves decide how their forest resources should be managed, while MCDI supports this process by strengthening local governance and accountability.

We support village councils to implement effective and transparent governance systems that promote community-wide engagement in decisions over how their forest resources should be managed. For example, locally preferred models for distributing revenues from forest product sales are agreed upon during community-wide meetings known as village general assemblies, and documented in village forest management plans and bylaws.

Regular village general assembly meetings are an important governance tool in Tanzanian communities. Village councils are required by law to hold these meetings on a quarterly basis, and they should be attended by at least two thirds of voting-aged adults. This is important for democratic decision making that actively considers the needs of all local stakeholders.

Governing Forest Revenues

In all of our partner communities, the profits generated from sustainable timber sales in local forests are put into a fund managed by the village council for local development projects. We provide one-on-one coaching and support to local leaders in managing these communal development funds. For example, we help to guide them as they develop annual work plans and budgets to ensure that these are clearly aligned with the long term vision and goals set by each community in their village development plan.

These work plans and budgets are then presented for approval by the wider community during village general assembly meetings. Whenever possible, we attend quarterly village general assembly meetings to help ensure that annual reports, work plans and budgets are clearly presented and that the concerns of all local stakeholders are equally considered in decision making. We place a strong emphasis on incorporating the needs of marginalised groups, such as youth, women and residents from sub-villages.

As a result, forest revenues have been used in a variety ways that have broad-based benefits for entire communities, and that are relevant to the particular needs of the village where they have been implemented.