Profile - Mama Misitu

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Illegal logging and weak forest governance cost Tanzania billions of shillings in lost revenue each year as well as threatening some of the nation’s landscapes and unique biodiversity.

Mama Misitu is a two year advocacy and awareness raising campaign on governance and forest management.

Mama Misitu is an initiative of the Tanzania Forest Working Group in response to some of the key recommendations of a report on illegal logging in southern Tanzania released in May 2007 by TRAFFIC.

Mama Misitu is a collaborative initiative with 17 launch partners that has been developed over the last nine months.

The Mama Misitu campaign aims to bring about major improvements in forest governance, particularly in southern Tanzania.

The campaign will be working with people at all levels of society to ensure that forests are managed sustainably for the benefit of present and future generations.

The campaign will focus on areas where illegal logging has been most destructive including Coast, Morogoro, Lindi, Tanga, Ruvuma and Mtwara Regions.


Good forest governance can ensure broad-based, equitable and sustainable benefits for Tanzanians in line with national and local development goals, without compromising ecological forest integrity. However the findings of the report, Forestry, Governance and National Development: Lessons Learned from a Logging Boom in Southern Tanzania ', released in May 2007, highlight how, in recent years, a number of complex social, economic and political factors have hampered Tanzania in realising the true value of its forests.

Produced by TRAFFIC, authorised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, and with support from the Tanzania Development Partners Group, the report describes the interlinked challenges in the forestry sector that threaten Tanzania's ability to achieve its development targets outlined in MKUKUTA, Vision 2025 and the Millennium Development Goals. However, the report states that the status quo can be addressed. Tanzania has a sound forest policy with progressive and innovative forest laws. What remains is ensuring their better implementation and improving forest governance.

In light of the findings of the report, the Tanzania Forest Working Group recognises the need for a targeted advocacy and awareness raising campaign in support of the report's recommendations, further increasing the likelihood of them being addressed.

As such the Tanzania Forest Working Group became the forum for the development of the ‘Mama Misitu' campaign, a name chosen to allow for the development of an enigmatic character and household name. ‘Mama Misitu' will be developed and used as a powerful tool to deliver messages to a wide audience. ‘Mama Misitu' is a collaborative initiative of members of the Tanzania Forest Working Group.

This proposal outlines ‘Mama Misitu's' two year advocacy and awareness raising campaign that will target both national and international stakeholders at multiple levels.

The overall objectives of the Mama Misitu campaign are;

1. Forest-adjacent communities become aware of the economic value of forest resources and begin to demand and receive benefits arising from sustainable forest management.
2. Key forest governance issues are recognised and addressed through increased stakeholder awareness and the adoption of appropriate stakeholder actions focused on stopping the illegal timber trade and promoting best practices in forest management.

With an accumulative experience of more than 190 years project implementation experience in Tanzania, partners of ‘Mama Misitu' have an extensive knowledge base that will ensure efficient implementation of the campaign.


Mama Misitu has been supported by GTZ and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Finland.