JGI initiated the Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education (TACARE) project in Tanzania in 1994. The program was designed as a pilot project to address poverty and support sustainable livelihoods in villages around Lake Tanganyika while arresting the rapid degradation of natural resources, especially in the remaining indigenous forest. The program focuses on community socio-economic development and offers training and education in sustainable natural resource management. TACARE implements a community-centered conservation approach, which effectively addresses human needs while promoting conservation values. TACARE’s activities are divided into five primary project areas: Community development, Forestry, Agriculture, Health, and Roots & Shoots – environmental education for youth. TACARE is the flagship PHE Project for the Jane Goodall Institute and its successful approach is being modeled and replicated in other JGI PHE Activities.
The populations living in villages around Lake Tanganyika have limited economic opportunities as well as limited access to health and other public services. These rapidly growing populations are forced to therefore exploit local natural resources and have depleted natural forests to the extent that they now threaten the last remaining natural forest in the region, also the location of the world-famous Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve.
TACARE addresses human development issues to provide people with the opportunity to exercise environmental stewardship as part of their own livelihood improvement. TACARE is a holistic and participatory program supporting locally managed education, socio-economic development and sustainable natural resource management. The Program improves health care, provides family planning training and methods, and supports local people in the development of sustainable and more efficient agricultural and livestock practices that contribute to their economic growth. The Program also focuses on improving local governance, empowering communities, and the application of information technology to support sustainable practices.
The community development aspect of TACARE focuses on improving the standard of living in the region of Lake Tanganyika. It contains activities in Saving and credit, Promotion of fuel-saving stoves, Village Development Fund for village infrastructure, and a Scholarships for girls. TACARE’s forestry initiatives are multi-faceted. Tree nurseries support reforestation efforts and provide economic opportunity. Tree planting in and around villages promotes a conservation ethic as well as reforestation. Village-managed forest reserves provide a regulated long-term means of conserving forest. TACARE promotes agricultural practices that follow sustainability principles by focusing on demonstration plots, training farmers and peer educators in on-farm agro-forestry and soil erosion control measures. TACARE’s health projects focus on improving access to family planning and reproductive education and supplies and include outreach and capacity-building on Voluntary Counseling Services and Family Planning Methods, formation of Community-Based Distribution Agents – , community members selected by peers to disseminate family planning information and resources, and environmental health interventions such as water and sanitation. Finally TACARE implements the Roots & Shoots, a global environmental and humanitarian initiative for youth who take an active role in developing and implementing projects relating to animals, the environment, and their communities.
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