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Sustainability in Zanzibar - Waste, Agriculture, Environmental Education

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Volunteering and Internships are possible with our partner Sustainable East Africa in waste management, waste reduction and recycling, resource optimisation, environmental education and awareness-raising, and sustainability in agriculture.

Project Details

Since August of 2012, Nell Hamilton from England, who holds a MSc degree in Tropical Marine Ecology, has been part of our Zanzibar team. Nell had worked in projects in Belize, China and England, and as a university teaching assistant in Canada, before coming to Zanzibar in 2010 as Community Outreach Coordinator for the renowned Chumbe Island Coral Park and as project coordinator for the EU-financed environmental education program of ReCoMap (Regional Coastal Management Plan). In 2011, Nell started her own program "Sustainable East Africa" in Zanzibar. World Unite! and Sustainable East Africa are now partners, whereby World Unite! contributes to the funding of the projects and finds volunteers and interns, and Nell carries out sustainable projects that allow for qualified volunteering and internship options. Recently joined by Rebecca Maguire, an arts and cultural industries facilitator, SEA is involved with several Zanzibar partner projects.
Nell and Rebecca are particularly experienced in the work with local communities. Members of local communities often contact her, expressing their wish for an improvement of their living situation, asking for support and practical solutions. This often results in Sustainable East Africa pilot projects that, when proven successful, get transferred to and multiplied at other communities.
Below, we give an overview of Sustainable East Africa's current projects. Interns and volunteers will work from the World Unite!/Sustainable East Africa office in Zanzibar Town. Often it is possible to participate in several projects within Sustainable East Africa, transferring the learning outcomes from one project to another. Sustainable East Africa adds new projects and opportunities all the time, so if you are interested in volunteering, please fill in the questionnaire and Nell and Rebecca will let you know of the latest suitable opportunities that match your interests and skills.
Vikokotoni Group environmental awareness and clean-up activities
Vikokotoni is a quarter of Zanzibar town, located between the Darajani bus stand and Michenzani, and is characterised by dense housing, small locally owned shops and stalls, and narrow streets. The area, just outside the core zone of the Zanzibar Municipal Authority, has no house-to-house or business garbage collection service, and until recently, its narrow pedestrian alleys and streets were extremely dirty and littered with rubbish.
In July 2012, SEA arranged a major "Stone Town Community Clean-Up", where local and foreign volunteer helpers cleaned large parts of Zanzibar Town off severe rubbish. This gave the impetus and encouragement to a local group called "Manispaa Vikokotoni Jamii" to take action in their quarter, removing the rubbish from the streets of their quarter every morning from 6 to 8. In just a few weeks the group managed to completely transform the narrow streets of their neighbourhood from being ugly, dirty and insanitary, to being clean. The group also separates recyclable materials such as glass, plastics and metals, achieving revenues through the materials' sales.
SEA assisted the Vikokotoni Group with a crowd funding campaign, towards the purchase of a vehicle to help extend the reach of the street cleaning, and with the building of public toilets for the market area.
In 2016 a group of volunteers helped to analyse the waste collected in the area. Its findings will help to understand the composition for potential sales of recycled materials and an upcoming composting project. In the same year, the group also dug a new drainage channel which has the aim to avoid or at least to reduce the flooding of the busy streets of the Vikokotoni area during the rainy seasons.
Current activities and future plans include the on-going development of the composting, the urban farming of vegetables, and the development of environmentally friendly income streams.
Volunteers at this project can work with Nell and Rebecca in the creation of environmental education materials so that the 45 NGO members can learn about ways to improve waste management and environmental protection in their community, how to motivate Vikokotoni residents to be cooperative, and to get to know innovative and cost-effective techniques such building compost heaps and keyhole gardens (see below), manufacturing bio-briquettes from waste paper and cardboard, and other solutions identified with the community.
The idea is to use the educational materials and techniques for further town and village communities throughout Zanzibar. There will also be more general environmental education teaching materials to produce and pilot in local schools such as Learning for Life (see below).
Working with the Vikokotoni group is a fantastic opportunity for suitably motivated volunteers to be part of a team of Zanzibaris committed to making a positive difference in their community, and to produce learning tools that will be used in the future by countless similar groups and therefore have a lasting, sustainable impact making Zanzibar’s environment cleaner and healthier for everyone.
Creative Festival of Water, Matemwe
In partnership with the Zanzibar Cultural Arts Centre, local schools and Panga Chumvi Beach Resort, SEA have been organising the annual Creative Festival of Water in the coastal village of Matemwe, Zanzibar, which takes place every year at the end of March (around the UN World Water Day). Watch a video about it!
Volunteers with an interest in issues around water or Arts Management can get involved in a wide range of activities from school projects in the visual and performing arts, to planning environmental workshops, to advertising and promotion, to organising the festival and helping on the day.
Info Box
Location: Stone Town, Zanzibar
Availability: All year
Minimum Duration: 1 Month
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Swahili
Shared Accommodation, Host Family, Hotel
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Marine Ecologist (MSc)
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant studies or experience
Further Contribution To Project: Yes, one time additional contribution of 50 USD
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Relevant knowledge/skills
Further Contribution To Project: Yes, one time additional contribution of 50 USD
Motivation, Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

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