Tanzanian Maasai Leader Edward Loure Wins Goldman Prize
We all know the wakulima and wafugaji battle that had been bothering our nation since the 50s, well Edward Loure is one man we ought to be praising for his work in this sector. He recently won a Goldman prize for his work in ensuring communities in the rift valley secure legal title to ancestral land
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Maasai leader Edward Loure, the loss of his family land from what is now Tarangire park was a catalyst to get all ancestral land in the Tanzanian Rift Valley legally protected from land-hungry companies, tour operators and others. Working with the Ujamaa community resource team (UCRT) – one of the first tribal-led NGOs in Tanzania – more than 200,000 acres now has full protection; a further 800,000 acres will follow in the next year.Loure, who has won a Goldman environmental prize for reconciling the competing needs of development and wildlife, identified an innovative legal mechanism that grants land rights to entire communities rather than to individuals, and was the first person to establish certificates of customary right of occupancy (CCROs).
Giving communities legal title to land is, he says, the key to reducing human-wildlife conflicts and stimulating sustainable development in rural Tanzania. Without it, land is continually fought over and safari companies and multinationals have been able to take what they want. With legal title, the different needs of conservation and pastoralism can be met and indigenous people can coexist with conservation and settled communities, he says. Loure’s new model for conservation and development has been widely welcomed, because it can be adopted throughout Tanzania and beyond.
Edward Loure was instrumental in ensuring the environmental stewardship of more than 200,000 acres of land for future generations.
Edward Loure was instrumental in ensuring the environmental stewardship of more than 200,000 acres of land for future generations.But it has required a shift in perception to have customary rights recognised both by government and communities, he says. “It’s a case of everyone seeing that land belongs to the community as much as the individual. It’s saying ‘our land’ rather than ‘my land’. So many companies have come and there has been a lot of land grabbing going on. But we have shown that if we use resources well there is enough for everyone.Pastoralist and hunter-gatherer livelihoods must be recognised as important and not seen as a brake on development. They are often dismissed.Maasai and Hadzabe tribes can now continue to live sustainably on their ancestral lands where CCROs have been established; some Hadzabe CCROs have also formed successful partnerships with Carbon Tanzania, receiving carbon credits to help pay for schools and medical care.” Land in Tanzania has been bitterly fought over since colonial times, with successive governments evicting pastoralists and hunter-gatherer communities from many areas to establish national parks, game reserves and large-scale farming. The Maasai were forced to leave the Serengeti to create the national park in the early 1950s, and the Barabaig forced from the Basotu plains for wheat farming in the early 1970s. The result was severe disruption to customary land tenure and land management practices.One of the beneficiaries of the new customary rights are the Hadzabe tribe, who have lived in this region for more than 40,000 years but are now reduced to 1,200. “Without land rights, these communities would face extinction,” says Loure.- The GuardianUK