Monduli District


The village is located in Monduli`Juu Division in Emairete Ward. It is located 38km from the district headquarters and 19km from the ward office and is in the rift valley. The road from the ward office to the village is rocky and is criss-crossed by rivers without any culverts. The road is impassable during the rainy season.


Mfereji was very remote at a distance of 38km from Monduli. It is located at S 03º 08′ 03.1″ E 036º 28′ 51.8″ in the rift valley with an escarpment running along the eastern border of the village. The village is located on a vast plain of scrub-grassland with scattered trees throughout although clear grassland could be seen at the foot of the hills in the south. Apart from grazing, there are very few natural resources available to the households and as a result the villagers are restricted in their activities to pastoralism supported by very minor farming activities.

Grassland is an important resource here and large cattle herds were seen being grazed. However, the large areas for grazing are needed because productivity tends to be low due to low rainfall and a generally poor, sandy soil. Farming was generally not attempted although this may be a cultural bias rather than an ecological one.

There is only one road that runs from Monduli to the village across the mountains in the south. The village is located in a lowland area with few distinctive features. Mfareji is located at the foot of the escarpment but all other hills and mountains are some distance away. There is no power supply to the village but it does have a borehole, which provides water for livestock and domestic use. There are a number of riverbeds, one was crossed to reach the village and another bisects the village but these were both dry at this time. During wet seasons these rivers would serve to isolate this village from Monduli and prevent some households from reaching other parts of the village. In addition to the school there is also a dispensary in the village but in general infrastructure is lacking. There are no forests in Mfareji and most wood for domestic uses is collected from the trees and bushes in the surrounding grassland.

There is no demarcation of land for different activities as pastoralism dominates in Mfareji. Although the school and dispensary were in the ‘centre’ of the village bomas were located up to 20km away. The distance between bomas is, on average, 5km to allow grazing of cattle around each household. Cattle are also grazed some distance away in the surrounding grassland but are regularly brought back to the bomas overnight for security purposes. Very little farming takes place here and only one small shamba growing maize was seen close to the school.

The Village History

Mfereji village was sub- village of Enguiki village. Mfereji was designated a separate village in 2000. In Kiswahili, the name Mfereji is used to denote a channel of water. However, the area is dry and most of the rivers are seasonal.

Human population, Ethnicity and Settlement pattern

The village has a population of 2469 households. The dominant tribe in the village is Maasai followed by the Arusha and the Meru. The main livelihood strategy is pastoralism. Small-scale cultivation is also undertaken mainly by the Arusha and Meru groups on the outskirts of the village. In the centre of the village only small gardens were observed. Housing is arranged in Bomas which are widely scattered to allow livestock herding within the sub-villages. The distances between bomas and from one sub-village to another are very large. The distance between sub-villages can be anything between 5km and 20km. Public facilities such as the school and the dispensary, are located in the centre of the village. This means that villagers may have to walk more than 10 km to access to access to public services.


The village is pastoral and as such has plenty of land for grazing. Pastoralists practising transhumance travel large distances to use Mfereji land. During extremely dry seasons the men migrate out of the village and sometimes out of the district in search of pasture. Once it has rained and the availability of pasture has improved the men return with their herds. The exact numbers who move in and out of the village are not available. Only the women remain in the village to look after the family.

Present Village Administration

The village government is comprised of the Chairman, the Village Executive Chairman (VEO) and a Village Council (equivalent to the VGT). It was noted from ward officials that despite the presence of a VGT the villagers do not listen or respect the VGT leader or any outsider unless they have been approved by the traditional Maasai leadership. Therefore, the formal VGT leadership is not as strong as the traditional leadership which is headed by the Lai’gwanak. However, at the level of local government, while the traditional leadership is known and respected, the district council and its formal system only recognises the VGT, ward and division leadership. It is common practice for extension staff and members of the VGT, ward and division leadership to work with the traditional leadership in order to get information to households. Extension workers and other local and central government officials working at village level first consult the VGT who introduces them to the traditional leader. If he approves of the work or information to be disseminated he circulates a message to the sub-village leaders and others required to support the work. This process of consultation takes time and depends on the availability, interest and understanding of the traditional leader and those translating the issue to him.

The system of controlling people and information through this traditional system has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are the maintenance of a unique culture, natural environment and mode of production or land use. Disadvantages are related to the way the traditional system operates. Not all traditional systems are democratic and in most cases they are authoritarian. In these cases it is difficult for villagers to question the system or put it to task. However, changing the local system may induce changes that are detrimental to the culture and local environment. It has been argued that the traditional system is conservative and outdated and may be an obstacle to development meant to improve livelihoods. Changes in these traditionally led communities take a long time, often to the detriment of the local community.

Ownership, use and management of CPR

Common pool resources

The following resources are considered CPR:

Water supply

The village has one domestic point located in the centre of the village. The tap was removed to allow water to spill over for watering livestock and water now flows continuously. The villagers believe that one domestic point in the village is inadequate and the distance some have to travel to get water is too great. The water supply is owned and managed by the village government. Although the district council has initiated water committees in all villages that have water supply schemes, Mfereji has neither a water committee nor a water fund. If the pipes need repairs the households in the village are mobilised to provide instant contributions. The last time villagers contributed for repairs they paid 5,000 TAS per family.


There are both forests and woodlands on the surrounding mountains and in the valley around the village. These wooded areas provide a source of wood for building poles and firewood. The Engerosmomet Mountain forests also act as a source of water for the village. The village is included in the district council Cross-border Biodiversity Project that enforces the conservation of natural resources in mountain catchments and lowland forests.

Traditional norms prohibit farming. This has facilitated the presence of large woodlands in the area. However, some of the villagers interviewed, including Maasai, Arusha and Meru, felt that they should be allowed to cultivate in moist areas of the valley and on mountain slopes so that they can avoid food insecurity. The traditional and formal authorities do not permit farming and force residents or newcomers interested in farming to leave. However, there are still farms on the outskirts of the village exploiting moist areas of the valley and mountain slopes. Due to conservation initiatives and the traditional system of prohibiting farming in Mfereji, distances to farms can be large. Villagers are forced to rent, borrow or purchase farmland outside Mfereji, and this reduces their ability to tend their farms regularly and so reduces production.

Land and pasture

There are areas set aside for grazing livestock during the rainy and dry seasons as well during extremely dry seasons. Each sub-village has set aside areas for this purpose. Despite the fact that farming is prohibited and so does not encroach on pasture there are times when the amount of available pasture is inadequate and villagers are forced to move livestock out of the area. Even when pasture is adequate the villagers still practice transhumance to improve cattle nutrition through grazing on grass from different soils and so of a different nutritional status.

Milk and Meat

Although livestock is individually owned by households and controlled by the head of the household, milk and meat is usually shared with strangers or visitors. During market day goats and cows are slaughtered to provide meat for roasting. Friends and associates share the meat purchased or owned by individuals. During Olopolu (when meat is cooked in traditional medicines to cleanse the body), members of the acceptable age group go to the houses of the participants to drink milk after the meat has been eaten. The traditional norm of sharing food means that it is considered a common pool resource and no one should be denied food. However, this causes problems in the present situation where there is food insecurity and limited financial resources. This is because visitors to Bomas stay as long as milk and grain is still available and meat is rarely eaten in the domestic setting.


Villagers and wildlife co-exists in Mfereji. A hunting company based at Enguiki has rights to the hunting block in the village and has started to provide the village with financial benefits.

Past, present and future influences on resource use and management system that impact on poverty alleviation


Transhumance, which is practiced by the resident Maasai and Arusha tribes, is economically advantageous and improves the health of the villagers. This is because mobility allows livestock to make use of pasture of different nutritional value, which enhances milk production and improves the quality of the livestock. However, moving also brings the livestock and people into contact with disease. Cholera has been reported as a recent disease introduced into Maasai areas, probably brought in by villagers returning with livestock.

The land available for the migratory grazing of cattle has been reduced due to the expansion of protected areas. Many areas both inside and outside Monduli are protected by individual owners, villages or district councils and include protected forests, rangelands, farmland and areas covered by the cross-border biodiversity conservation project. This means, for example, that forests that used to provide water and grazing for livestock during dry seasons are no longer accessible and outside their village and district villagers have to negotiate for grazing and occupation of an area. It can be argued that the protection of water catchments through restricted access to forests is beneficial since these areas are vital as a water source for the villages in the area. Encroachment of water catchment forests was reported by district authorities to be one of their biggest problems. Herders also dip or wash their livestock with acaricides, which are frequently washed into water sources that are shared between humans and livestock. If the sources are not protected then there won’t be a safe water supply for villages and towns in Monduli.

It is a government regulation that visitors should have letters of introduction when they arrive in a village. This rule is used to reduce the theft of cattle which is practiced by herders all over the country. It is also used to reduce the accommodation of criminals and vandalism or destruction of facilities, individual property, crops or natural resources. In the past, chiefs used to control the movement of strangers or people alien to an area (Kimambo and Temu, 1968). But since then the colonial and post-colonial governments have controlled the movement of people.

Traditional norms preventing intrusion

Preventing people from moving to the village or using village land only makes sense if the villagers from Mfereji do not use the land belonging to other villages. The village also needs efficient leadership so that it can run its affairs without outside intervention. However, in Mfereji this is not the case. The traditional leader has used a traditional rule to get villagers to provide his family with money and grain during a food shortage. Although villagers were starving they still had to give money and provided the leader with 60 bags of maize worth between 400,000 and 600,000 TAS. There are also unconfirmed reports from villagers that money contributed by tourists camps and hunting companies for development projects in the village has been embezzled by the leadership and cannot be accounted for. This has led to a situation where the companies have halted their contributions until the fate of the money already given to the village is established. This halt in contributions has meant that the construction of a secondary school has had to be postponed. This situation may not be unique to Mfereji but it an example of how revenue from natural resources can be misappropriated by the indigenous traditional leadership who are usually viewed as being protective of the people and the environment. Without an efficient internal and external auditing system for village revenue and adequate information for villagers regarding their rights, corruption will frustrate any enthusiasm for or efforts to conserve common pool resources.

Traditional norms restricting cultivation and immigration

Cultivation is prohibited in order to protect rangelands and to restrict immigration of people who would appropriate pasture for extensive farming or woodlands for making charcoal. This norm has facilitated the maintenance of ample pasture for livestock. But extremely bad weather conditions with extended dry seasons has led to a growth in livestock diseases and this, along with reduced veterinary services, has lead to a decrease in livestock numbers. This has left many households extremely vulnerable to food insecurity and famine, especially when 80% of a herd can be lost in one season due to drought or disease.

Although maize, beans and wheat flourish well in the area, restrictions on farming expose people to food insecurity even when the weather is favourable for growing crops. Food relief from the district council and voluntary agencies is rarely available in the village. Hunger and malnutrition were reported to be common problems. Anaemia, which can be a symptom of poor nutrition, was reported to be more common among adults than in children under five years of age. This is because children under five are given priority to drink milk before older children or adults. A few household maize gardens were seen to be flourishing within the village and reflected the potential for producing crops and so reducing starvation and food insecurity. There is a need to improve village land use planning to allow limited cultivation in areas that are suitable for farming so as to allow villagers to help themselves. Moreover, not all villagers can afford to sell livestock for grain and hoarding livestock is common because of the large losses that can be experienced when there is drought or disease. Producing their own grain would allow villagers to improve their diet without having to sell off part of their herds.

Despite the existence of a very poor road to the village, the traditional leadership is not in favour of having it improved for fear that it will encourage immigration and lead to the indigenous population losing land and natural resources. Farmers especially are feared as well as traders. However, the reliance on pastoralism in Mfereji is probably contributing to the poverty status of the villagers and allowing the immigration of farmers and traders might improve the availability of food. The tendency of leaders to discourage farming, development activities and social services is doing nothing to improve the situation for most villagers and is likely to be increasing the level of poverty in the village.

Poor management of village projects

Funds for development projects have not filtered down to the level of the ordinary villager, there is a lack of communication between the leadership and villagers and no meetings are held to plan developments or discuss development issues. At present some of the teachers live in the classrooms because there are no teachers houses and no plans to build any. Although a milling machine was donated to the village women in 1995 by Hon. Lowassa (Minister of Agriculture and Livestock) it has yet to be installed. The women have raised 350,000 TAS to have the machine installed but the money has not been used to do this and cannot be accounted for. There is no system in place to force the traditional leadership or the VGT to be accountable to the people of the village.

Fear of values from outside

Health promotion and poverty alleviation activities were reported to be badly affected by the assumption that outsiders (Waswahili) intend to introduce values that might be detrimental to the Maasai culture. For example, the MCH clinic at the village dispensary had to be closed down and equipment and vaccines returned to the district council because women were banned from attending. There are many health problems in Maasai communities that are related to the culture of early coitus and marriage. Sexually transmitted diseases have also been reported in children under five years of age. However, the clinic was seen as a potential forum for outsiders to impact negatively on children’s health and women’s fertility. In general, people rely on traditional medicine and only go to the dispensary when seriously ill or dying. The younger generation are more aware of the benefits of health care provision but are not in a position to instigate change.

Many cultures are inherently ethnocentric but not all values and knowledge from outside are bad. Although the fear is genuine and has a possible historical origin, part of the development problems experienced in Mfereji can be attributed to the traditional system that is authoritarian and not responsive to people’s needs. The system is not receptive to outsiders and is unwilling to adapt to changing circumstances even when the people it serves are suffering. The VGT leaders are able to exploit the system for personal gain while the local government authorities are not able to intervene for fear of being accused of forcing changes that might be detrimental to the Maasai. If poverty alleviation is to occur then both formal and informal systems of local level administration should be scrutinized for their performance and made accountable.

Norms regulating resource use and management

These norms include:

  • Control of immigration by filtering and approving messages. The formal government and other systems have no part to play in the society and its resource management without the approval of the traditional authority.
  • Resource use is controlled by traditional land use systems that preserve dry season and wet season grazing areas.
  • Transhumance in grazing and maintaining large distances between sub-villages and bomas to allow grazing of calves and livestock within settlement areas.
  • Avoidance of any regulation or practice that seem to jeopardize the local traditional way of life and maintenance of the ecosystem.

Conflict resolution

Researchers were informed that VGT leaders are mainly symbolic and all matters of conflict are resolved by the traditional leadership (Lai’gwanak). The leader is well accepted, respected and feared.

Village problems

Key problems identified by village leaders

  1. Education: lack of adequate classrooms and teachers houses
  2. Poor road: the village is not easy to reach
  3. Lack of transport to and from the village
  4. Water tank needs rehabilitation and improved capacity
  5. Lack of market for livestock products like milk
  6. Diseases: Malaria and diarrhoea

Problems identified by respondents

  1. Water supply: long distance to the present domestic point.
  2. Poor road
  3. Livestock and human diseases
  4. Food insecurity
  5. Lack of farmland
  6. Inadequate Classrooms
  7. Inadequate teachers houses
  8. No MCH clinic: most women use TBA’s or go to Monduli
  9. No cattle dip
  10. No adult education classes to improve literacy
  11. Lack of credit for women
  12. Drought and death of livestock
  13. Long distance to school
  14. Lack of Milling machine
  15. No access markets

Common diseases (listed by villagers)

  1. Malaria
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Stomach ache
  4. Cholera (during the rainy season)

Financial benefits from natural resources

Benefits accrued from protected areas

The forest protected areas around the village are there to ensure adequate water supply. Charcoal making is prohibited by district council laws as well as village by-laws. Any charcoal making that does occur is only for domestic use and is usually done by the elite of the Maasai and Arusha tribes. Mfereji village falls within the area used by the Tanzania Game Trackers Company (TGT). Unconfirmed reports from interviewees and key informants (government extension staff working at village level) suggest that the TGT donates money to the village. The money is meant to be used for development projects such as the repair of cattle dip, repair of old classrooms and the construction of new ones, construction of teachers houses and the repair of the women’s milling machine. It was also reported that since the TGT started in 1997, it has allocated 3-6 million TAS per year directly to the village government. How this money has been used is not known and nobody can question the VGT leadership who have a good understanding with the traditional leadership. Villagers reported that no village assembly meetings are held for approving village plans or financial reports. Villagers are also suspicious that there may be collusion between the hunting companies, the traditional leadership and village government leadership so that the benefits from wildlife are given directly to members the local leadership as gifts. The following is a summary of the amount of funds received by the village government from wildlife. There was minimal co-operation received from the VGT so it was very difficult to obtain information regarding benefits from wildlife and other conservation activities. Given the limited amount of time available for fieldwork it was not possible to confirm the amounts with the TGT or the Monduli DED.

The village has received:

  • 7 million TAS from the TGT, 20 bags of cement for constructing school classrooms and 14 corrugated roofing sheets
  • 1 million TAS from Friends of Environmental Protection (NGO)
  • TGT provided the VGT with 300,000 TAS for improving/rehabilitation of the cattle dip, although nothing has been done to date and the dip is still not functioning
  • 700,000 TAS from Friends of Mazingira (NGO)
  • The TGT promised to pay for the construction of a boarding school (5 million TAS)

The TGT agreed to construct the primary boarding school if the village government contributed 2 million TAS. However, the village government has not yet made any contribution. TGT has therefore withheld its share until the village government submits its share. Most village children walk between 5km and 20km to school. Some children are not registered for school until they are older because of the distances involved. When rivers flood during the rains or when wildlife are present along the route to school some children are unable to attend. At present, one classroom has to be shared between two classes and this makes it very difficult for the children to learn. Despite all these problems there have been no initiatives set up by parents, the local government or the traditional leadership to improve the situation. Some villagers suggested that it would help if the district council and the ward authorities followed-up and supervised the construction of the school and other village facilities that are aimed at improving peoples lives. At present all control is in the hands of the village government and the traditional leadership whom residents are afraid to question.

According to the District Commissioner (DC), the problems of embezzlement of wildlife funds at local level has been identified by district authorities. At present, tour operators and hunting companies are required to report to the DC the amounts given directly to village. Some villages were said to lack both traditional and VGT leadership.

Other income accrued from natural resources

Land and pasture is free for use by all residents including other locally acceptable groups that migrate to the area during dry season. Milk and meat constitute the indirect benefits that enable people to obtain an income. Land is free for everyone to use for grazing livestock and cultivation is insignificant. The shrubs and bushes in the surrounding grazing land are used for housing and fencing and are also free. The village has piped water collected from Ergosomoti Forest and there are no water charges. Only when pipes break is a contribution made through a village meeting. The last contribution was in the year 2000 and 5,000 TAS from each family was collected for repairs. The money was deposited with the MDP (Monduli Development Project, a programme that works with the Monduli District Council to help development projects) and they carried out the repair work.

Wealth ranking


The village is located 54 km south of the Arusha-Minjingu-Babati-Dodoma Road and 9km south west of Makuyuni village where the ward headquarters are located. Niatolia village is bordered by Tarangire National Park.


Naitolia is 5km from the Arusha-Ngorongoro road on top of a hill at an altitude of approximately 1100-1200m a.s.l. (above sea level) at S 03º 38′ 15.0″ E 036º 06′ 00.6″. There is no central living area, instead bomas are spread out throughout the village over 10km along the main road and down the east side of the hill to the plains below. The vegetation in the village and the surrounding low lying areas is homogenous in type with only a slightly discernable increase in tree cover for a small area on the hill to the south. Sisal is widespread in the village and has been incorporated in the protective barriers around each boma.

The village is located on a substantial hill surrounded by low-lying grassland. There is one road that runs from the Arusha-Ngorongoro road along the crest of the hill through the village and on to two tourist camps at least 15km south of the village that serve the Tarangire National Park in the west. Access to the other boma’s further away from the road was only possible on foot. There was no water source either natural or man-made in the village or surrounding area. There is evidence of a seasonal stream but even with the high rainfall experienced this year this was dry. There is no power source supplying the village. There is a small school in the village, which also provides meeting space for the village chairman and secretary. Trees were scattered throughout the village and the surrounding area but in no place did they form a closed canopy, although a small area in the south of the village was more densely wooded.

The widespread use of land to grow maize suggests that the area is relatively productive, as was the high density of trees. The constraining factor is likely to be water as there are no natural streams or rivers and the area relies exclusively on rainfall to allow agriculture and livestock grazing. Maize is grown in shamba’s and around the boma’s. There is no dedicated area for farming as in the villages in Same District since there is no source of water. Therefore farming is scattered throughout the village in a patchwork of shamba’s distributed through the grassland. Livestock grazing is also carried out within the village in the grassland areas although the lack of water means that the herds are frequently taken some distance away from the village into the low lying areas. Large numbers of herds could be seen grazing in the low-lying areas along the Arusha-Ngorongoro road to the east of the village. It is not possible to tell which villages these herds came from but it is likely that they come from a number of villages in the area including Naitolia. Evidence of overgrazing could be seen with patches of land with no vegetation cover and extensive gully erosion in some areas. Similar erosion was not evident on the hill within the village suggesting that only livestock from this village is grazed here and the majority of grazing is conducted elsewhere. Since there is no source of water in the village, water for domestic use is collected from a borehole about 20km away along the Arusha-Ngorongoro road.

Village history

Niatolia was a sub-village of Makuyuni village but in 2000 it was registered as a separate village. However, much of shared facilities and financial resources are still in Makuyuni. Formally, all the land in Niatolia belonged to a British settler called Mr Stein. He used to own 300,000 acres of land in Makuyuni Ward. Recently the government confiscated part of his land and each villager who was present at that time was allocated 10 acres. Others requested more land and were allocated land according their needs and capacity to use the land. This capacity included labour and availability of farm equipment.

Human population, ethnicity and settlement pattern

The village has a population of 203 households and 900 people. The major ethnic groups are the Arusha followed by the Maasai. For someone unfamiliar with the two cultures it is difficult to distinguish between them as they dress similarly and speak almost the same language. They also have the same type of houses and boma layout.

The village is divided into the central part, which is more settled and has a primary school, and a farming area which is not far from the houses and grazing area. The Tarangire National Park borders the grazing area.


There is temporary immigration into the village by similar Maa speaking groups, mainly for grazing. The villagers also seasonally migrate to other villages outside Niatolia for grazing. Immigration occurs during the dry season. The rainy season starts in November and ends in April while the dry season starts in May and ends in November/December. It is generally colder between June and August and even by August the area is still slightly wet. During the dry season, available pasture becomes inadequate and villagers migrate to Mbopo and Longido areas and to Ngarananyuki. By September, cows become weak due to absence of pasture and water, milk becomes scarce and many cows die. 20-80 cows can be lost in one normal dry season. Extended drought makes things worse. People have adapted to transhumance in order to avoid cattle loss. Only the men migrate and they return home after the onset of rains. Villagers reported that they do not sell livestock, especially cows, due to losses that are incurred during drought and from disease.

Present village administration

The village has a formal village government with the following committees:

  1. Construction
  2. Finance, economic and planning
  3. Social welfare
  4. Water supply
  5. Lands

The village also has an environmental management sub-committee, which focuses on environmental issues. Each of the above committees has 1-2 women members. The presence of women on the committees is reflective of a recent change in gender awareness and a requirement of the district and central government system. Traditionally Maasai and Arusha men do not sit in a meeting together. The village still has a traditional leadership but most issues are dealt with by the chairman of the village government and the sub-village leaders. The VGT leadership is quick in responding to issues as they arise and was interested in new development ideas to tackle problems in the village. This was quite different from Mfereji village.

Ownership, use and management of CPR

Identified CPR

The villagers identified the following as CPR.

Grazing land

The majority of villagers are agro-pastoral and farming tends to be the dominant strategy. Grazing land is free for use by residents and immigrants from other villages but farmland is owned by individuals. During the dry season grazing land in the village is used by people from as far as Kenya and Mfereji.


Firewood is collected from grazing land and from public land owned by the village government but earmarked for public service facilities. People can also collect firewood from private farms except where the leasehold owners do not allow trespassing. Collection of firewood is the responsibility of the women but there is a problem with the availability of firewood and households with tractors use them to collect firewood from further away. Firewood collected from public lands is free and villagers are also allowed to cut branches for building poles as long as they do not remove whole trees. There are less poles used in house construction now than in the past because of changes in house design. More people are using mud blocks and stones to build houses instead creating of mud, pole and cow dung shelters.

Water supply

The village has a borehole that was built by Mr Stern, the previous owner of the land. However, the borehole is 10km from the village. It has a diesel leister engine to pump water to the surface. The water is available to anyone but they have to pay. Both resident and immigrant livestock keepers pay for water according to use. The bore-hole has a water committee made up of two men and four women. The water is pumped at night and the water committee supervises use of water in the morning until 11 a.m. Most villagers prefer to go to Makuyuni for water (5-8 km to most Bomas) than to the bore-hole. A charco dam also supplies water for domestic use and livestock.

Catchment forest

The village has scrubland as well as a catchment forest known as Loosimingori. There is no access to the Loosimingori catchment forest as it is under the protection of the bidioversity conservation project run by the Monduli District Council. Charcoal making is prohibited by village and district council by-laws. However, charcoal making continues and is done mainly by farm labourers from the leasehold farms. There are large trees and forests on the leasehold farms and the owners are free to use them as they wish. A bag of charcoal is sold at 3,000 TAS and retailed in Arusha at 5,000 TAS per standard gunnysack bag (100 kg).


Only land that is owned and managed by the VGT is considered to be a CPR. Resources such as pasture, firewood, and thatch can be collected from this land by anyone free of charge. Individuals own farmland, which in general is fertile. The main problems are the weather, which can be unreliable with an uneven distribution of rainfall, and the low capacity of the soil to retain moisture. Crops produced are maize, beans, lentils and guinea peas. People farm using a hand hoe, oxen pulled ploughs or a tractor. Individuals in need of land can apply to the VGT. They can be temporarily accommodated on grazing land while details about their affairs are investigated from their former village of residence. Upon approval and acceptance the immigrant is allocated 1 acre. At present the VGT has no free land to allocate for farming. When someone requires land, the VGT must ask a farmer already with a lot of land to give some up for re-allocation. This land is usually the poorer land in the farmers possession. Apart from the former colonial settlers who owned hundreds of acres, there are others like the Mbulu and Somali people who own large areas that are not cultivated. These were first people to acquire land in some areas of the village. Occasionally VGT asks them for land so that others might have land to build their homes on.

Past, present and future influences on resource use and management systems that impact on poverty alleviation

Land scarcity has become an important issue. Young people have problems securing land and the scarcity has led to an increase in the value of land. Renting has become popular as a means to over come land shortage. Innovations that have developed to deal with problems of land scarcity include a serf system where land is lent to poorer members of the community. In this way they can grow crops while the landowner maintains ownership by keeping it permanently cultivated.

Norms regulating resource use and management

The following traditional and VGT norms apply. The rules or norms are known by everybody:

  • Immigrants coming to the village are required to report to the VGT and to submit their letters of introduction. There is no settling in the village without permission
  • People in need of land for farming must apply to the VGT
  • Forest laws apply to all village forests. Charcoal making and cutting of trees is not allowed, only branch cutting is permitted
  • In order to facilitate operation and maintenance of the water system, people are charged for domestic water and for watering livestock
  • Villagers are required to scare wildlife entering their farms instead of killing them
  • Rangelands are to be used for grazing only unless permission is gained from the VGT
  • Watering livestock is only allowed at the tail end of the irrigation spillway

Conflict resolution

The village land committee is responsible for allocating land to those in need and for patrolling and caring for land resources. The patrolling initiatives were introduced to support biodiversity conservation in the village. The committee also deals with land conflicts. Village leaders reported no any major resource use conflicts between village residents except for minor boundary conflicts.

The main conflict in the village is between the hunting and photographic tour operators who have access to village land. These companies want the village to introduce restrictions so that only one company has access. However, the villagers believe they benefit more by having more than one company operating in the area.

Village problems

Key problems identified by village leaders

During a meeting with village leaders and a ward officer, the following problems were identified:

  • Water supply. The nearest bore-hole is 8-10km from the village and there are no domestic water points in the village
  • There is no dispensary in the village. The nearest is in Makuyuni (8km away)
  • Drought
  • Vermin, mostly zebras from Tarangire National Park

Key problems identified by respondents

  • Need for hybrid seeds that are less affected by drought
  • Need for hybrid seeds that are less affected by drought
  • Lack of drinking water supply
  • Diseases (Malaria, gastroenteritis)
  • Livestock diseases (At present there is an outbreak of flies that bite and suck blood from livestock, which has led to a loss of animals)
  • School
  • Distance to dispensary
  • Lack of loans for women (They would like to trade in grain and other food items)
  • Old age and less support

Common diseases

The common diseases mentioned in Niatolia are malaria, diarrhoea due to sharing water with livestock and wildlife, gastroenteritis, and cholera outbreaks.

Financial benefits from natural resources

Benefits accrued from the adjacent protected areas

Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks border the village. The village also has a tourist camp (Tree Tops – an Australian company) and tourists visit for photographic tours. It is supposed to get direct financial benefits from tourist camps and from the national parks.

The tourist camps give 20% of their income to the village. The gatekeeper at the tourist camp informs the VGT about the number of tourists who have visited and the planning and finance committee draws up plans for the money. The village assembly then approves the expenditure. The 20% can vary between 100,000 and 300,000 TAS depending on the number of tourists. The problem is that funds are still submitted to Makuyuni village, the village with whom the contract was originally signed, although Makuyuni village has since been split into Makuyuni and Niatolia. Naitolia as an independent village has not yet entered it own contract with the tour companies. This means that while tourists take photographs and camp in Naitolia, the money still goes to Makuyuni. Money accrued from sales of bore-hole water also still goes to Makuyuni. Recently, Makuyuni and Naitolia leaders met and discussed their shared resources and income but as of yet no decision has been reached.

TANAPA has constructed a classroom and a teachers house in Niatolia. TANAPA also gives 25% of the income accrued from tourism, mainly from the nine hunting blocks in the area, to Monduli District Council. The income (approx. 76 million TAS) is shared by the 20 wards in the district. Wards like Makuyuni convene a Ward Development Committee and plan for the distribution and use of the money. Makuyuni ward has planned to invest its share of the money from TANAPA in the development of a water supply scheme. The scheme will cost 50 million TAS. 6 million TAS has already been deposited with the Dutch supported Monduli Community Development Project. Once 25% of the total cost has been raised MDC will provide the remaining amount to have the water supply scheme constructed. Villagers see that benefits from wildlife can be more than the losses when they live adjacent to wildlife conservation areas. Local communities are now participating in protecting conservation areas and preventing illegal activities like poaching.

Other income accrued from natural resources

Land rent

Villagers rent out excess farmland and the fee charged is either monetary or through piecework. Villagers rent land to those who move to the village or who need land for cultivation. The rent varies between 10,000-15,000 TAS per hectare per season depending on the agreement reached. Piecework also depends on the agreement. For example, Mr Leilumbe Mengoni (57) rented out ten hectares from which four hectares were cultivated for him and regarded as rent. Money changes hands when the owner is in need of cash. This may be during drought or famine, or when cash is needed to water livestock and buy food for their family. Payment in cash is not common because of the uncertainty of the weather. Piecework means that those who are unable to work their land are still able to gain an income, while the person renting the land is not bound by cash payments in the event of a poor harvest. Villagers who own tractors usually provide cultivation services for a fee. Harrowing one hectare costs about 12,000 TAS. There are three tractors in the village owned by three separate bomas but during the farming season more tractors are brought in from elsewhere.

There are water charges imposed on water obtained from boreholes. A 20-litre bucket for domestic use costs 20 TAS, while water for livestock costs 20 TAS per cow and 10 TAS per goat or sheep. Anyone from outside the five villages who use the boreholes is charged a flat rate of 500 TAS. Water in dams is free. A water committee of six members including four women, manages the money collected through water charges but at present all proceeds still go to the ward water committee in Makuyuni rather than Niatolia. The Ward water committee has a bank account and the money is used to purchase diesel and to pay the pump attendant who services the machinery and guards the facility. The pump attendant is paid 15,000 TAS per month. The water committee members who distribute the water do not get paid.

The village has set aside an area to be rented out as a campsite. The area is at the border with the national park. 20% of the camp’s annual income will be paid to the village government as a fee. The money collected from campsites will be managed by the village committee for planning and finance, which has a bank account for the money. The money will be used for village projects with the supervision of the district council. Projects will include the construction of a village office, classrooms and teachers houses. At present the campsite in Niatolia has only just begun operating and so far no money has been paid to the village.

Wealth ranking

Last Updated: 15 March 2018