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Rainmakers 3: A Tanzanian Story

“To restore the land, we must go back to our roots”. In the third and last documentary of the Rainmaker’s series, we follow the journey of villagers in the Dodoma region of Tanzania as they work on their land to further prosper the organic dependency of mankind on nature. We hear Simon Chiwanga, the founder of LEAD Foundation, which is a partner of Justdiggit in Tanzania, talk about his relation to the Dodoma region and how growing up in the region taught him to look at trees as more than just trees but as living and nurturing organisms. Along with Simon, other members of the LEAD Foundation speak up about why they decided to join and how they are seeking opportunities for change in nature conservation of Dodoma. Reasons as to why nature has changed in the area is due to reckless deforestation and deep gullies due to the riverbeds that cannot sustain the water properly, which results in puddles that cannot be absorbed by the fertile soil of the earth.  

The journey of the Dodoma region is not about digging, it is about going back to solutions that are already in the ground. Some believe that the earth in this area is barren and depleted, and that the trees once cut down are lost forever. However, below the earth surface we can see that this is not the case, as the root systems of many living tree stumps still reach the fertile soil. This means that they may grow smaller branches but won’t ever develop into whole trees, unless we amplify a method which cuts down most of the stems which leaves the strongest bunch to grow into completely flourishing trees. This technique is known as Kisiki Hai, which is Swahili for ‘living stump’. The trees are important for the community and its people, as it does not only provide fruits, nuts, and timber; but they also help retain water underground which increases crop yields and enriches the livelihood of the locals. These solutions may seem like they would work best on a local scale, but scientific studies actually show that nature-based solutions (including bringing back vegetation in barren areas) are 37% of the solutions to climate change. To engage the locals Justdiggit, along with LEAD Foundation, decided to use media and communication to spread information about regreening and restoring trees to the people in the villages in an innovative and efficient way. What they came up with was a ‘Movie Roadshow’, a video caravan that gathers people in the villages and shows their work while also informing them about how they can contribute to change in their local land. Inspiring others to take action and advocate for the regreening of their land through Kisiki Hai is the start of what can become a new wave of change for the communities in Tanzania and around the Dodoma region.

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