In 2009, the Jane Goodall Institute received US$2.76 million from the Norwegian Embassy in Tanzania. The money was to run a REDD project in the Masito Ugalla Ecosystem. Under the REDD project, farmers were violently evicted. The farmers received no compensation, and have had no help since the evictions.
Now farmers from the agricultural areas of Kasakati, Msimba, Songambele, and Mwasha have launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for lawyers to take their case to court. They call themselves the Kamsisomwa farmers, from the first letters of the agricultural areas.
Click on the image below to go to the crowdfunding campaign and please donate:
And please share the crowdfunding campaign on social media. The farmers are hoping to raise about US$15,000.
On the crowdfunding website, the farmers describe what happened to them.
They have farmed the Kamsisomwa land since 1991. They explain that,
The reason for our suffering is that from 2010 the project of REDD+ was implemented in our area, however we were not involved in the planning of the project and we refused to accept it.
The Jane Goodall Institute did not carry out a process of free, prior and informed consent before starting the REDD project.
Once the REDD project started, the farmers were beaten by forest guards from the REDD project and a related conservation programme. The forest guards were supported by the local police and the government.
The Kamsisomwa farmers describe the brutal eviction:
They came with heavy weapons like sub-machine guns, pistols, to make us feel afraid like they were going to kill us. People were forced to stare at the sun for some hours so until now they cannot see well. People were forced to eat soap. Also we were given matches in order to burn our houses. So houses were burnt and the property inside them because we were not permitted to remove everything from our houses. After burning our houses they used to beat us like animals. After that they forced people to go to their farm to slash all crops which were not mature. So people went and slashed their plants like banana trees, cassava, palm oil and maize. They took some animals like goats cows and hens, they used to shoot dogs. Some valuable things they used to take, like bicycles and radios.
The farmers have written letters, held meetings, spoken to lawyers and government officials. “We were given nice words,” they say about their meetings with government officials, “and then we went back home.”
Because they have so far not succeeding in getting any help, the Kamsisomwa farmers have now launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for legal help.
Please donate, and share the link on social media: