Stop Press: FMNR saves embarrassment and class disruption

July 14, 2016

by Bishop Simon Chiwanga – Lead Foundation

Mumi Secondary School, Ugogoni, Tanzania was built in 2006 on a treeless plain. Andrea Nyemba (2nd School Master – in orange) explained that in those early days the wind would blow through the class rooms, it even blew the female teachers’ dresses up! You can only imagine the embarrassment for the teachers and the disruption to the class. To address this problem they started a program of tree planting, in attempt to create a wind break. However, in the harsh environment of Ugogoni, very few trees survived despite the hard work and careful preparation that they put into it.

In 2012, Bishop Simon Chiwanga of Lead Foundation introduced the school to FMNR. In just four years, a dense forest with trees over four meters tall has replaced the bare land and dead seedlings (photo below). In the past, school children were required to bring firewood for the school kitchen or else go hungry. Collecting firewood from a largely treeless plain before FMNR was difficult enough for an adult and doubly so for children. Before FMNR the children would often come to classes late, distracted and sporting various cuts and bruises. Now the school largely relies on firewood harvested from their own forest. Neighbours also benefit from being able to collect the seed pods which are a rich source of fodder for their livestock. In the future the school intends to install bee hives for an income stream for the school and source of nutrition and learning for the children.

The school has the support of the District Commissioner who enacted laws protecting the area from grazing animals which could hamper tree regeneration. And, the President of Tanzania presented Mumi Secondary School with a certificate for their environmental protection work. In the local language Mumi means “alive”. Mumi is also an acronym – each letter being the first letter in the name of four villages which have joined hands to achieve a common vision of re-greening and restoring the environment: Machenje, Ugogoni, Mautya and Ibwaga.

FMNR for Mumi secondary school means no more embarrassment or disrupted classes and a united front to restore the environment.