Chem Chem Association (CCA) is a nonprofit organization in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem with a mission to protect wildlife and empower the surrounding rural communities. The area of operation connects the Lake Tarangire-Manyara National Park through the Kwakuchinja wildlife corridor, putting the Association in a unique position to protect the ecosystem.
The Association has been implementing wildlife conservation and community development projects in the Tarangire-Manyara region since 2008, including the development of 10 villages in the Burunge Wildlife Management Area (Burunge WMA). The region also hosts one of the largest populations of migratory animals in East Africa and the greatest elephant and buffalo populations in northern Tanzania, making it an area of high conservation significance. The Association works with Burunge and the area’s communities in the fight to restore and preserve this critical wilderness area. Since its inception, it has worked to implement programmes in conservation (joint anti-poaching patrols, mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts), wildlife monitoring and research, and education, including building classrooms.
In 2009, the Kwakuchinja corridor, which connects Tarangire National Park with Lake Manyara National Park, was declared distinct in a study report by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI). Similarly, the Burunge WMA was depleted of wildlife. Within 12 years, our efforts in collaboration with the Tanzanian government contributed to the restoration of wildlife to the area. Animals including elephants, buffaloes, lions, giraffes and other wildlife now use the Kwakuchinja corridor again. Our ultimate goal is to fully rehabilitate and conserve the Kwakuchinja Corridor, ensuring the preservation of the link between the two national parks and protecting the larger Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.
Apart from this achievement, illegal activities still pose a major problem in the Kwakuchinja corridor. Poaching, rampant logging for charcoal, trespassing by livestock and roadkill continue to be major threats to the ecology of the corridor. With our overall objective of strengthening the implementation of the Kwakuchinja corridor to ensure the biological connectivity of the corridor for migratory wildlife, we continue to work with diverse local stakeholders to tackle these activities and continue wildlife conservation.
We strongly believe that access to quality education creates opportunities to enhance the lives of local communities in the Burunge Wildlife Management Area. We support the infrastructure of public schools by renovating classrooms, teachers’ houses, and school toilets. Besides contributing to the provision of educational materials, we offer scholarship programmes for high-performing students and have previously donated a school bus to shorten the 8km school commute. In collaboration with the Tanzanian conservation authorities, we also support the delivery of environmental education in 10 villages, and have previously provided English language courses for youth and women to broaden the scope of their education.
The conservation of wilderness areas requires buy-in from the local communities who bear much of the costs of living with wildlife. The future of wilderness areas depends on how the Association engages communities as partners in conservation, with shared responsibility and incentives for success. The Association has a holistic approach to conservation, where tourism, protection of wildlife and community engagement are intrinsically linked. Its Community Engagement Program is rooted in community participation and carried out in partnership with local leaderships. Meanwhile, it leverages its own expertise and work with community partners as well as service providers with the objective of uplifting communities.
Chem Chem Associations approach aligns closely with Wild Philanthropy where travel acts as a catalyst for conservation and community development.