Posted on 01 October 2020
Maximillian Chatila, (40) from Mapogoro village is a para professional for CARE-WWF Alliance project in Iringa. He is one of the champions in transforming his community towards learning and adapting the new ways of practicing agriculture in a sense that it adapts to climate change and variability. He tells his story.
I was born here, and my family before me has lived in this villages for several decades. In my life time I have seen drastic changes in the water supply. At the beginning we had a good life with plenty of water for our domestic, agriculture and our livestock. We had enough rains ad you could see several; streams across the villages almost throughout the year. But then things started to slowly change, within no time water supply became a problem, especially during dry seasons. Most of the water sources we have within reach dried up. We could only get water during rainy seasons. We didn’t know what was really happening!
But then in 2012 WWF project people visited our village and started training sessions on climate change, the importance of protecting water sources and literally telling us that we are the custodians of our futures. It was a wakeup call for us! A few of us took these sessions into heart and started evaluating our situation; We were destructing our water sources by activities that we thought were fine. Farming was happening literally in the rivers, we were taking our livestock for grazing at the water sources and cutting down trees around the sources was an everyday occurrence (because that was where the best trees were)!
We decided to take action, I myself decided to encourage my fellow villagers to join the meetings and trainings that were facilitated by the CARE WWF project, but I decided to take lead in educating the others and encouraging them to take action. I have lost count of how many trees we have planted so far.
Then came in the CARE-WWF Alliance, it has altogether provided mass community education on protection of water sources through community meetings, seminars and workshops, which has strengthened our knowledge and understanding. Disseminated education has made community realise the need to protect water sources and now we as community are pioneers in tree planting, fencing, strictly prohibiting production activities near water sources including installation of warning signs.
Today we have managed to restore 7 water sources which are providing us water throughout the year! (Chelesi, Kimatelefu, Mwini, Mngandilongo, Lyakikomelo, Mdugaa, Ifuguta)”
What is best today is we have indeed become the custodians of our water sources. We are benefitting greatly from the decision we made a few years ago. Look at me for example, I have a farm that I use the water from one of the sources, my yields have never been better, and I see my life becoming better and hopefully my children will have an even better life than I had.
Life is not the same again, and we credit it to the individual efforts of the community members here. I see a future were people will not struggle to get clean and safe water, a future where our revenues are better and therefore our and our children’s livelihood are better, we deserve it and I will not stop until I see that happening. I am committed to continue educating my fellow villagers and spearheading the protection of our water sources by leading tree planting and making sure that we are observing the bylaws and guidelines of using the water at our village.
We dearly thank WWF and the Alliance for stepping in and opening our eyes, I don’t know where we would have been now if they didn’t come in when they did.