A field station
in the Maasai Steppe
Mkuru Training Camp is a nonprofit independent organization fully engaged in the challenge of bringing people together from all over the world to join forces with the local communities to support their challenging path towards sustainable development.
Mkuru Training Camp (MTC) is a field station where knowledge and good practices of water, soil, forests, wildlife and energy management are developed and promoted, in collaboration with the Mkuru community, to ensure the long term maintenance of the natural systems and thus a future to local people.
It is located in Mkuru subvillage (Uwiro Village), at the foothills of Mount Meru, just outside Arusha National Park, in a strategic position within the complex, fragile and beautiful Meru-Kilimanjaro natural system (see The Area).
MTC was established in 2003 by Istituto Oikos, in collaboration with Oikos East Africa, the University of Insubria and the local authorities and communities, as a base camp and training field station to manage conservation and development projects in Northern Tanzania.
Since then, Oikos has been working with the local Meru, Maasai and Warusha communities to experience and promote good practices and innovative approaches aimed at making environmental conservation a pillar of socio-economic development.
The camp has always offered vocational trainings, literacy courses and awareness raising initiatives with the goal of increasing the local population skills in managing their natural resources and in making a living out of their sustainable use. More than 2000 local people have been trained at MTC in the last 10 years.
Three income generating activities in the renewable energy, handicraft and eco-tourism sectors have been started and are currently independently managed by local people, giving employment to about 300 people.
The camp also offered research, training and cultural exchange opportunities for national and international universities, bachelor, Master and PhD students interested in the environmental sustainability aspects in the framework of international cooperation (see MTC curriculum).
In 2011 Oikos decided to open the MTC facilities to a wider public: Mkuru Training Camp became a nonprofit independent organization engaged in the challenge of bringing people together from all over the world to share and strengthen the Mkuru experience, join forces with the local communities to support their challenging path towards sustainability and spread the main achievements in Tanzania and abroad.
MTC today is a living laboratory and an educational hub open to different communities: local people and foreigners, students, researchers, businesses and public institutions committed to build knowledge, foster innovation and share experiences to guarantee a fair management of the natural and cultural heritage of the area (See Join the camp and Ongoing Projects).
The final objective is to create the "Mkuru eco-village", a successful example of a rural village that found its way out of poverty through a new and sustainable use of natural resources. An experience built on the effective collaboration between the local people and the international community, replicable in other villages in Sub-Saharan Africa.