World Pulse

TANZANIA: Climate Justice Begins with Me

rosemary_ntoipo
Posted December 11, 2015 from Tanzania

In Rosemary's Tanzanian village, long dry spells are causing dire consequences for women.She's taking action to change that.

rosemary_ntoipo | Tanzania

When I think of the long dry spells, I think of my village. I think of the animals that fled in search of water, of the men who fled in search of a better life. As the men and animals moved further and further away from home, the women were left behind with little food, no way to feed their families, and the burden of caring for children in a desolate land.

I think of Nantoyie, a wife to one of the men who left the village. The dry spell caused her to lose the animals she depended on for milk—some had fled, others had died due to the long dry season. The only way to survive was to walk to a nearby trading center to beg for food. Sometimes, Nantoyie was lucky and she came home with food. Other times, she was forced to go home empty-handed to her crying children.

One day, as Nantoyie sat outside her house with some of the children, she saw five men walk into the homestead. They looked tired and worried. Concerned, she immediately asked after the whereabouts of her husband. The men told her that her husband had died of hunger while following the animals as they searched for grazing grounds.

Nantoyie cried for many days. The men could not carry her husband’s body back with them, and instead buried him in the wilderness. Other wives in the village became worried that Nantoyie’s husband’s fate would be the fate of their husbands.

Now, when dry spells return, Nantoyie is struck with grief.

I worked miles away from my village while in college. During a visit home, I met Nantoyie, who was my good friend and neighbor. Not knowing her sad tale, I asked after her husband and children. She narrated her ordeal amid sobs. I was touched; it hurt to hear her tell her story because I know this is just one of many sad stories that are arising in my community due to climate change

The year-to-year variations and extremes in temperatures have changed the lives of the indigenous communities of Tanzania. The Datoga, the Hadzabe, the Maasai—among others—have been affected by harsh climatic changes. The Maasai people, for example, depend on livestock for their living. As the climate changes, livestock dwindles, and poverty levels have risen. The same experience is seen in other pastoralist communities in my homeland.

I know that climate justice begins with me. I am working on training women in my community to be environmentally conscious.

For example, when men and animals left the villages, the women were left with no way to feed their families. They started to cut and burn trees for charcoal—a dangerous endeavor that contributes to climate change. I encouraged women in my community to instead collect manure and to sell it to nearby towns to be used as fertilizer. Manure can be an alternative energy source for livestock farmers. An anaerobic digester will partially convert manure to energy in the form of biogas, which contains methane. I trained women on the importance of manure for biogas production in order to stop the felling of trees and burning of charcoal.

Let us all train our communities in environmental conservation techniques and methods. Let us empower women, so that Nantoyie and those in her position can prosper and thrive.


ABOUT THIS STORY

World Pulse partnered with WECAN International tocrowdsourcestories about gender and climate justice. In conjunction with COP21 climate talks in Paris, we are highlighting select voices on this urgent topic.

Comments 6

Log in or register to post comments
Tamarack Verrall
Dec 12, 2015
Dec 12, 2015

Dear Rosemary,

This story helps bring the understanding of our need to prevent climate change to a new level. Photos of dry earth have been shown, and these photos are powerful and this one especially shows how real it is. But the actual stories of what people are facing in those drought-stricken areas, in this case your own home, your own friends, make changing what is being done to the earth all the more critical. Your bringing such practical new ideas of what can be done for your community is great news. Hopefully the ideas will spread to other places that can benefit as well. Knowing this story deepens my conviction to do what I can to continue to reduce my own carbon footprint, and to continue to speak out for change.

In sisterhood,

Tam

rosemary_ntoipo
Apr 25, 2016
Apr 25, 2016

Dear Tam, Thanks a lot. I hope to get resources to help us do a lot about our land/ restoration of the environment and that some day other people will join in to help/ support us make that positive change. We would like to train many people especially women to be on the forefront in caring/help change the environment positively .

Am grateful that you are also going to do something about the reduction of your own carbon footprint and help speak out for change.

Again,thanks,

In sisterhood,

Rosemary

nidal.mousstamir
Dec 19, 2015
Dec 19, 2015

Je suis très choquée ma soeur de lire votre histoire  liéé à la checheresse,qui ménent à la pauvreté et à d autes problèmes ,Cette secheresse causée par l homme ,par ces moyens de transports,les usines,qui ont causé le rechauffement de la planete.En effet il faut penser de trouver de fortes solutions pour reduire ce phenomène

Merci de penser a votre village

rosemary_ntoipo
Apr 25, 2016
Apr 25, 2016

Merci beaucoup ma sœur . Comme vous l'avez dit est choquant et beaucoup de gens ne comprennent pas cela à moins qu'ils apprennent à connaître de ceux d'entre nous qui viennent de ces terres touchées . Thats la réalité à propos de ce qui se produit ici . Certaines routes ont été coupées par la formation de galères très profondes .

Nous allons sûrement essayer de faire ce que nous pouvons changer cette façon positive . Encore une fois , merci .

Chaleureuses salutations,

Romarin.

Kika Katchunga
Jan 24, 2016
Jan 24, 2016

Thank you for sharing with us, Sister Rosemery  picture speaks a lot in your place, things are so horrible Tanzania has courage to fight for change

rosemary_ntoipo
Apr 25, 2016
Apr 25, 2016

Hi Sylvie,

Thanks a lot too and yes, pictures help us tell others what is happening in many parts of Tanzania especially semi arid lands. A lot of land degradation has taken place and again, yes we in Tanzania need to do a lot to make a positive change towards the same.

Thanks. 

Warmest regards,

Rosemary.