Iringa Environmental Protectors
Chris Simwinga is a smiley respectful fellow from just south of central Tanzania in the region of Iringa. He is an expert at developing relationships and projects for the environment. Making his start in this world, he originally was born and raised in Mbeye the fifth largest city in Tanzania and about an hour from the northwest border of Zambia.
He has had an interesting career. After college he clerked at the National Bank of Commerce. Then, he researched at the World Bank. He became so touched by the way deforestation has caused land degradation and that people mostly had no environmental awareness of it. This passion precipitated into his work at a slew of environmental organizations: Kagera Environmental Conservation, Trees for the Future, and Serengeti Environmental Development And Protection Association.
Today, he is the project coordinator for an environmental organization called Iringa Environmental Protectors. The organization is based within the Kihesa ward of the city of Iringa, a midsized city relative to others in Tanzania with a population of 150,000.
Iringa Environmental Protectors (IEP) has been around several years, founded in 2011 by Victor Mponzi. Their very first project was establishing tree nurseries. These tree nurseries were built in and employed by the very folks that would benefit the most from them, those in the rural communities around Iringa city. More than 5 years later, IEP has a group of employees: one leading the business, another managing the nurseries, a field officer, and Chris, the man who turns ideas into successful initiatives. They also have an army of volunteers who support them. And I think we can all agree, these volunteers are what it’s all about. There is nothing better than folks having fun and making their community and environment better.
Iringa Environmental Protectors has come a long way since they founded their nurseries. One of the more recent projects has been one of their largest yet. They distributed seedlings across a swath of schools and colleges. They touched places east to Lundamatwe, west to Igula in Ruaga National Park, and they go to places outside of Iringa like Mgongo, a town residing in the Singida Region. IEP then worked with the students, accompanying environmental education with seed planting. They planted two million trees!
Since they started Iringa Environmental Protectors , they have planted three million trees for with primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, churches, government institutions, and farms. Way to go Chris and IEP!
There is a lot more to this. More folks are involved and they have interesting stories. This is just the start. I think we’ll meet a Mr. Hance Melchior next. More to come…