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Integrated Approaches for Climate Change Adaptation in the East Usambara Mountains

Since 1993 TFCG has been helping people living in the East Usambara Mountains to live more harmoniously with the forests around them. Since 2013, with support from the European Union TFCG has been implementing the project 'Integrated approaches for Climate Change Adaptation. The project is financed as part of the EU's Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).

East Usambara Mountains

East Usambara Mountains, a forest gem

The East Usambara Mountains have been described as the jewel in the crown of the Eastern Arc. With seven strictly endemic vertebrates and 35 Eastern Arc endemic vertebrates the mountains have an extraordinarily high level of endemism given their small area. The forests are also a vital source of fuel wood, building materials, food and water for the people that live there. The mountains are also an important source of water for the people of Tanga. The biodiversity of the East Usambara Mountains are under pressure from fire, expansion of agricultural land, logging, artesenal mining, commercial firewood collection and hunting.

Creating forest bridges

Much of the forest in the East Usambara Mountains lies within reserves managed by the Central Government. These forests are highly fragmented, often linked to each other by only a thread of forest. This means that many of the species found in these forests struggle to travel from one forest to another. They have become isolated. TFCG is working hard to restore connectivity between these forest islands. By working with the local communities, TFCG has succeeded in supporting the establishment of 16 village forest reserves which help to protect the critical forest bridges. TFCG has also supported a massive tree planting campaign in the critical corridor areas. By providing training on agroforestry and tree planting, farmers have been given the skills and resources to plant over a million trees. In some villages up to 86% of households have planted tree crops.

Improving lives

TFCG’s work in the East Usambara Mountains has provided opportunities for women and men to improve their lives by adopting better agricultural techniques and by providing new business opportunities including modern honey production and butterfly farming.

Empowering people

In a recent survey, 97% of villagers stated that the East Usambara forest reserves were beneficial to their lives. By creating awareness and raising the profile of forest conservation, TFCG have been strengthening the voices of people committed to protecting the forests. For example TFCG has been helping local villages to develop and implement strategies to tackle fire, illegal logging, mining and firewood collection and riverbank conservation. The project has also worked closely with local drama groups, choirs, poets and artists to incorporate forest conservation messages in their work in order to raise the profile of forest conservation. TFCG has also been training teachers in environmental education.

Working in partnership

In the East Usambara Mountains, TFCG works in close partnership with ONGAWA, Muheza District Council and Mkinga District Council.


The East Usambara GCCA Project Goal and Objectives

The project’s overall goal is to demonstrate effective and efficient strategies that support poor, rural households in Tanzania to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change and to alleviate poverty. Its specific objective is to support eight communities living near to high biodiversity forests in Misalai and Zirai Wards to increase and diversify incomes, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change-related impacts.

Promoting livelihoods that are more climate change resilient 

The project is supporting 8 communities to manage their forests, water sources and land more efficiently and to adopt climate-smart agriculture techniques. The project is also supporting improved water supply and sanitation services and sustainable energy technologies. The project is supporting adaptation to climate change by linking improved water supply and water resource management with sustainable agricultural production, agroforestry, dairy cattle husbandry, tree planting, and microfinance. Moreover, in order to have a wider impact on health, water access is being integrated with hygiene and sanitation interventions. Participatory forest management is being supported in 5 village forest reserves (Handei, Kwewina, Kizingata, Mzungui and Shambangeda), 1 community forest reserve (Kwevumo) and Nilo Nature Reserve (6,225 ha) through training and awareness raising. Support is also being provided for the development of forest-based enterprises including eco-tourism, butterfly farming and beekeeping. The promotion of these livelihood interventions will contribute to diversifying livelihoods. Domestic energy efficiency and accessibility are being improved through promotion of solar power and energy efficient stoves. The project is also supporting the integration of climate change adaptation into teaching in 4 primary and 1 secondary school.

Building local capacity to adapt to climate change

The project is working with Muheza District Council to build their awareness on the impacts of climate change and to develop concrete measures to address this. It is also supporting the mainstreaming of adaptation strategies into ward and district development plans, as well as into village land use plans for five villages. Through participatory governance monitoring and capacity building the project aims to strengthen village-level governance in 8 villages..


The project is supporting the dissemination and communication of research-based lessons learned to key local, national and international stakeholders. Research is being implemented in collaboration with Leeds University and Sokoine University of Agriculture.


The project is working in 8 villages in Misalai and Zirai Wards, Muheza District (Misalai, Mgambo, Kwemsoso, Kazita, Shambangeda, Kizerui, Zirai and Kwelumbizi).