Resolving local tensions for sustainable peace

With the support of Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), Tanzania Initiative for Social and Economic Relief (TISER) implemented an intervention on peacebuilding and conflict resolutions through advancing inclusive management of land and land resources. The intervention was implemented in Mvomero District, 132 km from Morogoro Township in Morogoro region where more than often land was at the center of local tensions leading to conflicts mainly between pastoralists and farmers.

local leaders capacitated in handling conflicts

It was observed that unchecked signs of tensions often lead to full-blown conflicts, especially when early symptoms are ignored. In making the intervention a success, TISER built the capacity of leaders in Mvomero on laws that govern conflict resolutions and procedures in resolving land conflicts.   The training included ways of dealing with local tensions, awareness-raising, and public sensitization. TISER used different approaches among community members to build trust and raise awareness on the importance of preserving peace and security through sports and community dialogues.

Among the beneficiaries of the intervention commented that ‘‘When TISER first came to the district in 2016, their approach of training was twofold. First, they started training us (village leaders) on peace management and conflict resolutions. They then did the same to district-level administrators and the council as well. Secondly, they sensitized and built the capacity of people in the district through village meetings and posters showing grazing areas and farming areas to strengthen people’s understanding of land planning use. As leaders, our understanding of conflict resolutions has increased considerably as a result of TISER interventions. For example, now, I know when a hectare of crops is destroyed, the culprit is obliged to pay a fine of TSH 1,333,800 by law,’’ Jeremiah Kapera – Acting Village Executive Officer (VEO) of Wami Luhindo Village.

How the Village land council benefited

In finding sustainable and lasting solutions to the recurring community tensions between pastoralists and farmers, TISER trained local formal structures to deal with land conflicts through the village land council (VLAC) in the project areas. VLAC is key bodies in resolving land management challenges at the local level. One of the members of the VLAC Mr. Mabrouk Masua said ‘‘The capacity building training from TISER helped us to resolve many conflicts. As a result, our ability to deal with conflicts has increased and we are able to solve conflicts amicably. Our other roles are to educate others on the importance of peace and security in our areas, boundaries, and levels of referrals for conflict resolution; the aim is to build a culture of dialogues in these issues without resorting into the use of force’’

Usually, if a case is unresolved at the village council, it is referred to VEOand Ward Land Council (WLC) for further hearing processes.

Another land council member who is a farmer Mr. Haji Issa Kimaro said ‘‘TISER has been helpful in building and maintaining peace in our communities. Previously, we didn’t know the best way to co-exist (between farmers and pastoralists). Through sensitization, farmers now respect livestock owned by pastoralists and the pastoralists respect farms owned by the farmers.

Community Members watching one of the sports bonanza

How the project benefitted the pastoralist

One of the beneficiaries of TISER interventions is Mr. Philipo Kipuyo, a resident of Dakawa ward and a pastoralist narrated on how he has benefited from TISER’s interventions.

‘‘The situation was bad before TISER came because pastoralists in the Dakawa ward  kept much livestock while grazing land and farming land was scare /limited. This challenge was a source of conflict among patriotists and farmers. TISER’s intervention involved sensitizing people on the importance of peace for community development. They educated pastoralists and farmers that is not right for pastoralist to let their livestock feed on other people farms and it is wrong too to kill other people’s livestock. The organization further distributed posters (mabango) describing grazing areas and farming areas as guided by land-use plans. In my view, the coming of TISER was a God call. We really thank them.’’

With the training, the pastoralists were trained on the best way to keep a few livestock for easier management and avoid conflicts with neighboring farmers. Also, pastoralists such as Mr. Kipuyo have reduced the livestock to manageable numbers. He now keeps 25 cattle indoor and has managed this by fencing his grazing area and collects enough haystacks to feed his cows during the dry season. He currently possesses 50 cows reduced from 70.

FCS supports peacebuilding initiatives by supporting long term and sustainable solutions to conflict and social tensions such as this project intervention because it believes peace and security is the cornerstone of the country’s development.

Related News