REDD in the Yaeda Valley is one of Plan Vivo’s newest and largest projects, covering over 20,000 hectares of Hazda community land in Tanzania. The hadza are an egalitarian society and value their land highly, however getting others to understand this value isn’t always easy. Creating a ‘real’ economic argument through carbon payments for the ecosystem service helps communicate this value as well as supporting the communities who depend on the land.
Carbon Tanzania have been developing this project alongside the local communities, employing women as much as possible for greater reliability, honesty and to encourage spending on more family related issues. Pili Goodo is one of their coordinators in Yaeda and as such is responsible for project operations within each village. She compiles the data on land use and poaching brought in by the scouts, represents CT at meetings within the village and generally acts as the first point of call for any project activities.
She talked to Marc from Carbon Tanzania about how the project has affected her community.
Pili: Marc came [to a community meeting] to introduce us to this idea of valuing trees because of the carbon inside. We had a lot of questions about how you know that the carbon is in our trees and how people in another country can pay us to help protect our trees and land, why would they do this?
We began to understand how people know about carbon in trees during the tree [above ground biomass] survey where we measured many trees and put the results into a computer. Many of the community were trained during the survey and Carbon Tanzania explained to us using maps and pictures taken from high up that our land is being changed by farmers.
What have you learned about your natural resources through this project?
We know that our resources and valuable but how can we make others see that? They want to farm because they don’t know how to live without farming. Now people are seeing us getting money and jobs and want to know how they can get money.
Why and how did you become involved in the efforts to protect Hadza lands?
We are all involved! I have secondary education and therefore a better ability to communicate with others like UCRT and Carbon Tanzania… many women will not travel far from their homes but the men can move over a greater distance… [to] do the work of community guards and anti-poaching. We all need to guard our land, without our land we are lost, we can’t be hadza without land, the hadza are part of environment.
How do these carbon conservation efforts help you and your community?
Myself and the community guards are all paid directly from the carbon project… I have started a small shop with my money and others buy things from me.
The money [paid to the community] is usually spent on school fees, hospital and food. The community sits down and has a meeting to decide what the money should be spent on, we have to document this meeting and send it to Carbon Tanzania, they then put the money into the designated account. In November more of the money is spent on food reserve as it is the end of the dry season and there is very little natural food.
Why do you feel it’s important for women to work on conservation?[Laughs] Why not? … this job is perfect because I am always near my home and everyone can find me to report information.