Thursday, December 8, 2011

Back to Finland


One month has passed by too quickly in Zanzibar, and tomorrow night it's time for me to head back to Finland. All the village visits are done, but still some analysing of data is needed and report writing. My computer didn't work for a while, but now it's back to the business again, hopefully for a long time. We were supposed to have a discussion on evaluation results today, but there is another meeting at the office, so Markus will have it after I have left. Tomorrow it will be Tanzania's independence day, so no working at least for the locals.

In general after the evaluation I would say that the LIVE-project has been a good project according to the staff and most of the group members, although there have been some not so succeeded groups. 16 groups we have lost on the way from the baseline to today; this requires some attention. Maybe a little bit better planning of the number of the groups and their possibilities in the project should have been done in the beginning. The evaluation has gone quite smoothly, but the individual questionnaires we couldn't make as many as in the baseline survey, due to the lack of time. I also left out some of the questions.

Yesterday I joined Markus, Niina, Juki and Abbas for their field trip in the research project. It was interesting to see how the fieldwork is done and what kind of forests there are in the island. Mostly there are low forests, almost bushes in Finnish standards, apart from the conservation forests. The most extreme part of the field trip was going to coral rag area, which was very difficult to walk in. Especially because I was wearing sandals that didn't protect my feet at all... not a good idea. Now I have a little bit twisted ankle and some cuts in my feet. On the way back we couldn't find the path back in this difficult terrain full of bushes, and when we finally did, we were so relieved.

It feels a little bit sad to leave Zanzibar and the colleagues in here, but it's also nice to go back home to see family and friends. Maybe, some day, I will get a chance to return.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happened in Unguja

Habari za kazi?

Hello, one more week has passed by in Unguja and we have done village visits each day. We had to reduce the visits for one village per day, since the evaluation takes time, and we have also collected some new groups for the next project at the same time. Tomorrow there is the last village to visit, Kandwi, and after that I'm planning to spend the weekend in Kendwa. It's my last weekend and I would love to enjoy sun and some swimming before getting back to cold and dark Finland.

The photos added tell the story of one village visit in Matemwe. During my interviewing and making the questionnaire for the group members, we heard a sudden collapse and some loud noise. It was the collapse of the brand new water container of the vegetable growing group, and for a minute there was a deep silence. Then, everyone started laughing - what else can you do? But for the group it was no good news, especially since it was the second time for the container to collapse. This is just an example what can happen in the field, and almost every day something unexpected happens or I learn a new thing I've never heard about. Everyday is a new adventure :)

Ofcourse field work is also hard, it's hot and one has to pay attention all the time, and try to understand what people want to tell you. Collegues at the office translate the questions and answers, but already I'm catching some most common words. Sometimes the best way is to see the things by oneself, as we did on Tuesday when we visited a family in Matemwe, to see how they use fuelwood in open fire and fuel saving stoves.

The other thing is to write clear the answers in the evenings and try to write the report. Luckily I still have one more week to do it, and even in Finland I can do some finishing. Next week we are supposed to have a seminar on the results, so I need to prepare a presentation of them, and then we can discuss with the forest department staff. So there is a lot of work but also some relaxation hopefully in the weekend :)



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Village life


Now we have visited two villages, Bambi and Tunduni, for evaluation. We have also met the village heads, shehas and intervued them. The life in the villages is fascinating, and it keeps amazing me how patient people are here. Even though the intervues take a long time, now one complains or goes home. Something I and maybe most Finnish people should learn from them. People are in general very pleased with the LIVE-project and sad that it's coming to its end. They also wonder why and I have explained to them that in Finland the development projects usually last for three years.

In the villages I've seen some genious solutions for example for the lightning during the evening (the darkness falls at around six pm). Many people are also engaged in several different livelihoods, and today I saw some beautiful colouring of clothes in the soap making group in Tunduni. Village people have many problems concerning their livelihoods, for example thieves and cows and goats grazing freely and destroying their harvests. Also disease and pests are common in agriculture. The weather conditions may also harm the livelihoods.

It has been sunnier here now and also quite hot, at least in my standards. On the weekend I stepped on a sea urcher while swimming and had to pull the sticks out of my foot all night...



Monday, November 14, 2011

Greetings from the rainy Zanzibar


I (Elina) arrived in Zanzibar on Friday and I've been trying to get used to the living in here. People are still very friendly and everything is pretty much the same as last year, when I visited Sansibar, but there is still some adaptation I need to do. We (me, Markus and the DCCFF project staff) visited the caves on Sunday 13th with more than 20 tourists from Keski-Suomi. The visit was successful despite the heavy raining we had. The caves are always fascinating to visit. It's been raining a lot in here, yet it's very hot.

We planned the evaluation of the LIVE project I aim to do, and tomorrow I will start going to the village visits together with Tahir and Othman. We will start from Kiwengwa. I will write more as we have visited some of the villages and the livelihood groups.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The village visits are here!

Last week went by being busy with my studies, but we managed to proceed little with the project planning. Last Thursday we had a meeting with Antje, a lady organizing women groups in Matemwe. We were mostly interested about a women group called DADA, which produces food products, like jams, pastas, dried vegetables, sauces, etc from organically grown materials to the urban markets of Zanzibar Town. She kindly promised to share their know-how in drying, packaging and processing of vegetables and provided us with a list of agricultural products that could be sold directly to DADA groups. Besides the actual support, she gave us a good example how thinks can be done sustainably. The range of usable plants and the versatility of already used plants she know was astonishing, not even mentioning her house that got all the required water from the rains and energy from the sun. Talking with her gave us some new creative ideas and made me remember that question of sustainable way of living is not only an issue that needs to be promoted in the Western world, but also elsewhere.

This week, actually today we started the village visits from Bambi and Tunduni. We visited the dairy goat group and two vegetable groups in Bambi. I was sorry to hear that although the goats were able to breed the kids died before growing up. Hopefully this is a problem we can help with the new project. We arranged a meeting in the villages to introduce our new idea, get direct comments from stakeholders, ask about the problems facing food security and list the groups interested in our new project. Luckily Othman translated to me again, but I think he skipped some of the jokes about the weird mzungu :D Majority of the groups were the same we worked in Live project, but I was happy to see there were some new ones also.

There were some obvious differences between the villages. For example in Bambi the demand was for larger projects that would cover the whole community while in Tunduni participants questioned the functionality of group farming and wanted to support individuals. But altogether the problems in food production were quite similar: poor quality of seeds, not enough fertilizers, pests, lack of training, poor tools, etc…

Weird dreams caused by the malaria medication made me little tired today, but hopefully I’m bit more energetic during the field visits tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Hello to everyone from rainy Stone Town. The short rains have arrived, but I have problems understanding the word 'short' in the phrase. The rains have neither been short in length or small in amount. I'm Markus (pictures will follow somewhere in the future) and I arrived to Zanzibar last week. I'm here for two months to work with the Live-project and to collect materials for my master thesis.

The first week went by quickly in adjusting, getting things organized and participating a GIS conference. To be honest it was rather absurd situation to participate in a GIS conference in a tropical island, but I can't complain :D This, second week, I have worked with Live-project. Our project is coming to its end and I'm here to take part in the planning of a new project. On Monday I met Tamrini and the others from the Forest department working with Live. We shared some ideas about the new project and planned the fore coming schedule. The new project is dealing with issues of food security, so on Wednesday we had a meeting with the director of Food security department and talked with her about our idea. She gave some new ideas and offered her help for the future.

Yesterday we presented our idea to the Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Adviser Committee (or something like that), which included village leaders and other important people from the villages surrounding the forest. In the meeting there were long discussions about how to prevent illegal fuelwood collection and stop people from hunting those small antelope looking creatures. The discussions were long and it seemed like everybody had something to say about every issue, luckily Othman translated to me, otherwise it would have been just three hours of wondering and bewilderness.

Next week we are going to start the village visits, a welcomed change to flooding streets of Stone Town.

Until then,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rain and Ramadan

Sorry for the lack of updates on the blog, this past month has not treated us well. We've been busy taking antibiotics and anti-ameba medication.. A little bit of work too but much of the energy has gone into getting well again. Now we have one more week left in Zanzibar, hopefully we'll stay well!

Although we've been sick, we've also managed to make a bit of progress. The brochures are ready and printed now, next week we'll take one day to go visit some hotels if we have time. We've visited travel agencies and left them with cave brochures, hopefully some tourists take interest and go visit the caves. We've got an estimation after estimation for fixing the road and finally we have something reasonable. We'll try and get things started there next week before we leave. We've also planned and bought materials for new signs at the caves. On Monday we'll go to Kiwengwa, paint the signs and put them in their places. We've also attended some study visits and trainings organised for the livelihood groups. We have the intention of making sure the rest of the study visits and trainings will have set dates before we leave. Also the guides at the caves will get some training: we've been planning on sending them to Jozani for a week to get trained by the guides there. There has been progress on the online promotion as well: TIES published an article on the Mchekeni coral caves that Elina wrote.

Next week is our last one at work and it seems that it's going to be a busy week. Visits to the caves and hopefully some hotels, some work at the office, training on book keeping and business management and then finally a seminar on our and Elina's reports before we leave.

The past few days it has been raining and raining. Ramadan started yesterday and we're trying to get used to the changes it brings along: most of the shops and restaurants aren't open during the day and people aren't supposed to be eating in public. We're interested in seeing what else Ramadan is going to change.

Irene and Kaisa