Kikole Village, one of four villages in Kikole Ward, has a population of approximately 1,370 people most of whom rely on farming to support their livelihoods. It has forestland that is primarily miombo woodlands, and has a significant population of mpingo trees.
Our Work in Kikole
MCDI has worked with Kikole village since 2004. After raising awareness about the benefits of participatory forest management, and in particular, about what the establishment of a Village Land Forest Reserve (VLFR) would mean for the village, the community began the process of establishing its own VLFR. With our help, they identified 454 hectares of forestland to set aside as the VLFR and they developed a management plan for the forest. In 2005 Kikole’s VLFR became the first village forest management plan to be approved by the Kilwa District Council, and in 2006 Kikole earned TZS 800,000 (USD $670) from oil prospectors who felled trees in the VLFR while testing for the presence of oil.
Kikole village was also the first village to join our Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) group certificate scheme, joining the group in September 2009. As of mid 2013 Kikole has earned Tsh 7,963,520 (USD $4,913) from the sale of FSC-certified timber, which has been used by the community to build desks for the primary school, a house for the local midwife, and a community borehole for year-round water supply. Some money was given to individual households and spending was made at their discretion.
In addition to financial benefits, there have been some significant improvements seen in local governance of natural resources over the last few years. For example, the community has become very insistent upon financial accountability, and they actually removed the Village Executive Officer from his post because they felt he wasn’t being transparent with revenue expenditures. Also, today anyone found logging illegally is reported and pays a fine, which goes to the community.
More About Kikole Village
Kikole village was first established in 1905, although the village administrative centre wasn’t set up until 1947 when the British colonial government began resettling people from Liwale District to Kikole to avoid problems with sleeping sickness and to establish the Selous Game Reserve. Today Kikole is divided into three sub-villages – Kikole, Nanyati and Mbunga. Kikole is the largest sub-village with approximately 86 households; Nanyati has 37 households; and Mbunga has 50. Kikole does not have a proper village office; however, the Ward Executive Officer has an office and there is a school, dispensary, mosque and madrasa. Tanzania’s ruling party, Chama Cha Mapunduzi (CCM), is the dominant political party, but there is also a small group of Civil United Front (CUF) supporters as well.
Kikole village sits on fertile, loamy soil, making it conducive to farming. Therefore, despite being relatively isolated, many community members are engaged in agricultural trade. In fact, in a recent survey, 92% of the households interviewed said that farming is their main source of income, with sesame being the most important cash crop grown in the area (64% reported that sesame sales contributed the most to their annual income). Other important crops include rice, sorghum and cassava.
Kikole residents also reported that they are highly dependent on forest resources, with 78% of survey respondents saying that they are reliant on the forest for important resources, such as building materials, medicinal plants and food. Some community members were also making their living off of timber sales (prior to the logging ban), with 18% of respondents reporting that they were earning 1,500 TZS per log.