Eastco local

EASTCO – A Part of the Local Community

In 1989, Hartley King was involved in building the first police station in the Masai Community of Lolkisale on the steppes east of Tarangire. Volunteering time and labour and supplying the cement blocks to complete the construction: years before the family started operating safaris and camps! This was the start of a very close relationship between the communities on the Masai Steppes, the King family and EASTCO which has stretched for over 20 years. Long before community conservation became a marketing tool for savvy operators, EASTCO was supporting local communities in building schools, police stations, hospital clinics and installing water pumps.

The culmination of that close relationship, was the establishment in 1994, of the Tarangire Conservation Area on the eastern border of Tarangire National Park, protecting the traditional grazing areas of the pastoral Masai, as well as conserving large tracts of habitat in the migration zones of the park. The very existence of the Tarangire National Park was under threat from large scale faming and destruction of habitat adjacent to the park. The continuation of the traditional lifestyle of the Masai was also under threat from loss of grazing land which would have seen the Masai lifestyle disappear as it has in so many other parts of East Africa, the Masai living as a tourist attraction only.

This is not another project which relies constantly on donations and aid to continue to exist but is a sustainable project which is managed and operated by the local communities. In 2009, nearly 15 years after the project was first proposed, the communities earned over $180,000 USD in user and village fees from visitors who stayed in the three lodges and camps in the area. These funds go towards food supplies during times of drought, water dams and water reticulation, schools and hospitals. With the new Secondary School in Lolkisale over 500 children are getting an education which previously was denied to them.

It is this experience and background that elevates EASTCO above the general safari operator, a reputation earned over many years.

This is without a doubt the most successful community conservation project in Tanzania not only in terms of revenue generated but also in terms of habitat and wildlife preserved for future generations.

Download the Tarangire Conservation Area Management Plan pdf and link to the Milk from the Elephants feature as well as the Tarangire Conservation Area website for further information.


Juliana and Hartley King, Lolkisale Village Council meeting Tarangire Conservation Area, June 1996
Lolkisale Council outside the village clinc built in 2002 with funds from the Conservation Area
David King internet surfing with locals Swahili Coast, December 2009 

 

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