By Lake Zone Watch Writer
Leaders of villages bordering Serengeti National Park in Tarime District Council, Mara Region, have thanked Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA ) for the education and health projects being implemented in their villages, valued at more than 287.5 m/-
The projects include construction of three classrooms at Kegonga Primary School in Nyanungu ward and three teachers’ houses at Byantang’ana Primary School in Nyabirongo and a dispensary at Karakatonga both of them located in Kwihancha ward.
Karakatonga village government Chairman, Amos Waisahi Chacha described the construction of the dispensary as good news to residents living near the park.
“We thank TANAPA for remembering us. This is their first project in Karakatonga. We are beginning to see the fruits of conservation. Indeed, we are very grateful,” the village government chairman said on Tuesday.
Construction of the dispensary is expected to ease the burden which the villagers shouldered while walking or travelling long distances to seek medical treatment.
The local government chairman was speaking on the sidelines of a special tour of the TANAPA projects supervision committee,aiming at assessing the progress and pinpointing the challenges in the three villages.
The councilor for Kwihancha ward, RagitaRagita also welcomed the projects saying of late, they have decided to take serious measures against some people involved in poaching of wild animals.
“ The villagers have admitted that there are some people who have been poaching and killing crocodiles. But nowthey have said no to poaching. Even the traditional traders have supported us and poaching is now prohibited,” Ragita explained.
The local leaders also spoke about the beacons that were recently erected by the government to demarcate the border between the park and the villages, predicting that besides ending useless conflicts, the move is expected to open tourismrelated business opportunities.
“Already we have seen our border with the park. We need to set aside areas that can generate income to our villages by establishing camp sites,”Chacha pointed out.
Speaking on the same occasion, the Serengeti National Park Chief Park Warden, Izumbe Msindai congratulated the villagers for showing cooperation in implementing the projects being funded by TANAPA in their areas.
“ I would like congratulate you for the job well done. This is good work. Your cooperation is remarkable,” the chief park warden told the local leaders and some villagers shortly after inspecting construction of the three teachers houses at Byantang’ana Primary School.
The projects are implemented under TANAPA’s outreach programme, which, among other things, is designed to make communities living near the national parks reap the fruits of conservation.