Support sustainable development

Join us in the challenge of building a sustainable and fair future in

Northern Tanzania: volunteer, share you skills or donate to support a project!

Ongoing Projects

Join us in the challenge of building a sustainable and fair future in Northern Tanzania: volunteer, share you skills or donate to support a project!

Mkuru Training Camp is at the core of the Oikos and local communities’ joint effort to promote good practices in natural resources management as tools for socio-economic development in the Meru-Kilimanjaro area.
Several projects, in the environment, forestry, agricultural, water and renewable energy sectors, funded by International and Italian institutions and foundations, have been implemented since 2003. MTC represented a key location for local communities trainings and for appropriate technologies demonstrations during project activities.
The great positive impact of MTC and Oikos projects is built on a constructive teamwork with the local population, based on trust and respect (see MTC curriculum).
The permanent collaboration between Oikos and MTC has been established to keep supporting, in terms of fund raising, capacity building and information dissemination, the long term sustainable socio-economic development of the area.
This is why the three most important Oikos development projects in terms of impact and strategic relevance are now open to MTC visitors, that can contribute with their personal skills and resources to the success of the initiatives.
The final objective is to create the "Mkuru eco-village", a winning 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.
How you can contribute
  • You can join one of the Mkuru Training Camp program (see Join the Camp).
  • You can donate using a bank transfer, specifying the project you wish to support.

Bank details:
Banca Popolare di Sondrio, Via Porpora 104 - 20131 Milano
Istituto Oikos, Onlus bank account
ABI 05696 - CAB 01602 - CIN R
IBAN IT80R0569601602000006906X78


Support MTC ongoing projects

Mkuru Training Camp (MTC) is located in Uwiro village within the Meru-Kilimanjaro ecosystem, one of the most important biodiversity areas of the country.
This ecosystem is based on a delicate balance, and this fragility is exacerbated by climate    change negative effects, inappropriate land management practices and the unsustainable use     of natural resources.
 In such context, a responsible tourism strategy represents a concrete economic alternative for local communities, which are now excluded from this sector.



We are committed to assist the Maasai community of Uwiro, who is managing MTC, in the rehabilitation of the infrastructure and improvement of the touristic offer. Our contribution is two-fold.
On the one hand, we work on the maintenance and improvement of services and facilities of MTC in order to guarantee adequate quality and sustainable standards. Thanks to the support of the 8x1000 of Tavola Valdese some renovations have been carried out, such as the roof rehabilitation (makuti), hafir water system, the latrine’s restorations and the tents restyling. With the aim of maintaining the ownership of the community, people form Uwiro village have been involved during the work throughout the casual labor. This has been also an opportunity for young residents to acquire new skills, learning by doing.
On the other hand, we strengthen tourism services through tour guide training course and eco-tourism trails development. With the support of a local expert, 20 people of the local community, with priority given to women and young people, received specific training course on communication, marketing and hospitality management.
Developing economic opportunities that tie environmental protection to development, such as responsible tourism, is an important kind of incentive to conservation, especially in areas in which the valuable natural resources are threatened, such as the Meru-Kilimanjaro ecosystem.

8x1000 Tavola Valdese
In 2006 we built the Mkuru primary school, that is now attended by most village children. However less than 1% of the students, can afford secondary school, which lasts 4 years.
1 full 4 years scholarship (public boarding school)= 1000 $
250 $ = 1 year of secondary school, including  school fees (registration and boarding costs), uniform, books and other school material. 
The Mkuru school is one of the 22 schools (18 primary and 4 secondary) of the Arumeru District, attended by 8,400 children aged 6 to 16 years, where MTC and Oikos are working since 2006 to improve school facilities and support the school meals system as a key tools to increase the nutritional status of the children and strengthen the overall quality of the educational system.
Up to now, we have reached the following results:
  • Vegetable and fruit gardens have been established in 16 schools (5 schools have a drip irrigation functioning supported by Rain Water Harvesting systems with a total of 340.000 litres capacity).
  • Appropriate school meals are provided on daily basis in most schools of the area.
  • Kitchen provided with energy efficient stoves have been built in 11 schools.
  • Awareness raising and educational programs of correct nutrition addressed to teachers and families and environmental education programs are organised whenever possible.
  • Solar panels to light a teacher room and one classroom are available in 12 primary schools; solar panels to light a teacher room, one classroom and to power two computers are available in 5 primary schools; large PV systems to power a computer room are available in three secondary schools.
  • Access to safe water and sanitation facilities has improved in most schools.
  • School material (furniture, educational material, computers) and playgrounds have been provided to 5 primary schools.
Many things still need to be done:
  • The classrooms capacities are not sufficient to satisfy the needs of the students and, due to the lack of space, students must go to school in turns.
  • Classrooms are often lacking in furniture, windows and doors.
  • Electricity supply is still insufficient.
  • Some schools still have access to very low quantity and quality water, not drinkable and/or contaminated with fluoride.
  • Some schools have an inadequate number of latrines for the number of students. In acute situations more than 100 students use the same latrine.
  • Most schools do not have kitchens and refectories.
  • School meals are still inadequate or lacking in several schools and malnutrition is very high. A recent survey shows that 64% of the children are malnourished and, of these, 27.6% suffer from severe malnutrition. Protein-energy malnutrition, nutritional anaemia, iodine deficiency disorders or vitamin A deficiency are commonly present.  
By 2015 we are committed to reach the following objectives:
  • Reduce the  percentage of malnourished children of at least 50%.
  • Ensure that appropriate school meals are provided on daily basis in all schools of the area.
  • Organise educational programs on correct nutrition and environmental good practices.
  • Add solar panels to power more classes and computers.
  • Improve the existing vegetables gardens and establish new ones.
  • Provide school material for all students and playgrounds for all primary schools.
  • Increase the number of students that can access secondary school.
Improvement of the nutritional status of 8,400 school children by:
  • establishing vegetables and fruits gardens in each school;
  • training teachers and families on the importance of a healthy diet for children’s growth;
  • suggesting appropriate and affordable school meals and encouraging the establishment of a school meal system in each school;
  • building school kitchens and canteens provided with energy efficient stoves;
  • monitoring the children’s nutritional status.
Improvement of the quality of the school infrastructures and services by:
  • installing solar panels to power at least one classroom and one computer;
  • building adequate latrines;
  • ensuring access to safe and clean water;
  • improving and/or building new classrooms;
  • providing adequate furniture and playgrounds for primary schools.
Improvement of  the quality of the education system by:
  • providing school and educational material (stationery; cupboards; books; computers);
  • organizing seminars on environmental issues, health and sanitation, food security, agriculture and other key issue for the development of the area;
  • organizing schools educational trips to MTC and Arusha National park;
  • providing grants to allow best students to access secondary education.
Mediafriends foundation and Intervita (until March 2013)
 Since 2006 Oikos and MTC have been working to improve food security in the area by promoting sustainable land use practices, both in the agricultural and range management sectors.
In Mkuru livestock is essential for Maasai livelihood and its quality is crucial to local people well-being. However, the Mkuru Maasai population has still little access to veterinarian assistance.
1 day of itinerant veterinarian assistance in the Mkuru area = 100 $
We are working with small scale commercial farmers of 8 villages (9000 people); 25 women groups and 9 farmers associations to introduce sustainable agriculture and range management practices aimed at increasing food security, preserving the soil fertility and the agro-ecosystem capacity to cope with climate change hazards.
The problems
The use of natural asset for the production of food and raw material is the primary source of income in the area. However, major constraints affect the agriculture and livestock keeping sectors:
  • Drought and unpredictable weather conditions.
  • Inappropriate water use for irrigation purposes and limited water availability.
  • Increasing incidence of pests and diseases.
  • Inappropriate use of pesticides with negative consequences for health and environment.
  • Lack of technical assistance for farmers.
  • Lack of veterinarian assistance for livestock keepers.
  • Limited access to finance and lack of financing mechanism for farmers.
  • High farmer price fluctuations.
  • High transport cost.
  • Weakness of organization among farmers.
  • Lack of seeds of improved/appropriate varieties.
  • Overgrazing and soil erosion.
  • Increased incidence of livestock illness and mortality.
Up to now, we have reached the following results:
  • Drip irrigation system established in 219 households.
  • Poultry production increased: 45 Poultry Groups trained for a total of more than 1500 people directly involved; 100 new chicken houses built.
  • Honey production increased: 144 Tanzania Top Bar Bee Hives, protective gears and smokers distributed to 31 beekeepers groups; two Honey Processing Centres built, each equipped with honey press, strainers, furniture.
  • Traditional irrigation schemes revised; 27,5 km of irrigation channel serving 1280 hectares rehabilitated; 6 irrigation organisations constituted.
  • At least 550 farmers adopted improved farming techniques: tomato yield increased; watering time per acre reduced by 30-50%; pesticide application rate reduced 4 to 6 times.
  • 5 Irrigators Organizations, 39 poultry groups, 20 beekeeping groups, 6 Women Gardening groups have improved their performance in terms of environmental sustainability, production and governance.
  • 17 operators have been trained on care and management of animals through simple diagnosis, treatment and preventive approaches.
Many things still need to be done
To address the basic food needs of the vulnerable Maasai and Meru communities of the area, sustainable agricultural and range management practices need to be applied to the entire cultivated land (21.000 hectares). In particular the following goals need to be reached:
  • Significant reduction of health problems linked with improper pesticide use.
  • Improved quality of agricultural products (significant reduction of pesticides residues and improved conservation methods).
  • Increased agro-biodiversity and agro-ecosystems quality.
  • Improved governance of the agricultural sector in terms of technical assistance, market access and land management.
  • Improved veterinarian assistance available.
  • Improved access to food processing (meet drying in particular).  
By 2015 we are committed to reach the following objectives:
  • Provide farmers with additional trainings on appropriate on livestock management (animal selection, disease control and by-products development) and good agricultural practices (pesticide use, irrigation systems, seeds selection etc.) capable of increasing the production’s quality, preserving agro-ecosystem stability and the farmer’s health.
  • Support honey production and poultry to increase food security.
  • Improve access to technical services and agricultural inputs and provide support to agricultural professional groups.
  • Provide additional access to veterinarian assistance;
EuropeAid (2010-2011); Intervita (until 2012)
Since 2006 we work to foster the empowerment of the Maasai women of Mkuru, that currently live in condition of extreme poverty, suffer from gender discrimination, have almost no access to health centers and education.  
One of our long term objectives is to provide the people of Mkuru, women and children in particular, with more regular access to medical assistance.
1 day of itinerant doctor in the Mkuru area = 100 $
To support women empowerment MTC and Oikos’ strategy has been to work to increase women access to income opportunities, while offering training and education moments.   
Maasai women in Mkuru do not have any access to paid job opportunities and live in conditions of severe poverty, from which they tried to escape by producing and selling charcoal, an illegal, tiring and hardly remunerative practice, that produces severe impacts on the conservation of the fragile savannah environment and on women health conditions (i.e. respiratory system problems due to the smoke inhaled during charcoal production).
Maasai women are traditionally craftsmen and their ability in bead working is a potential source of revenue. Beadwork is an important part of the Maasai culture: jewels have a ritual value and they are part of the Maasai identity. However, the women living in isolated rural areas have no access to the market and cannot sell their beaded jewels.
The overall objective of Maasai Women Art has been to increase Mkuru Maasai women’s access to income generation opportunities through the creation of a successful small enterprise committed to the production and commercialization of handmade jewellery. The specific goal was to start an activity able to expand its market from Tanzania to other parts of Africa, Europe and America, in order to provide the women with a reliable and long lasting source of income.
Up to now, we have reached the following results:
  • 140 Maasai women of Mkuru have been supported in the establishment of the Nasaruno group cooperative.
  • Mkuru women have been trained in: high quality handicraft production, women entrepreneurship, cooperatives management.
  • Thanks to the collaboration with the European Institute of Design of Milan (IED Milano) the group of women was trained to improve and diversify the craft production and is now able to periodically innovate their products.
  • Mkuru women attended literacy, HIV prevention and basic hygiene courses.
  • The Cultural Boma workshop has been built.
  • The TMWA Company Limited by Guarantee, consisting of the Nasaruno Women Group, Istituto Oikos and Sanjan (a local company), was established in 2008. TMWA has a shop in Arusha and a web site ( with an online catalogue for the international commercialization of the items.
  • Currently, the group of women is responsible for the production of beaded jewels, while TMWA is responsible for quality control, selling the products and expanding the distribution network.  
  • 80% of the profits of TMWA goes directly to the Nasaruno group women, the remaining 20% covers the Company’s management costs.
  • Since 2008 the 140 women involved in the Maasai Women Art initiative have stopped tree cutting for charcoal production. Thank to this initiative, the women of the Nasaruno group have improved their overall socio economic conditions. They can better support the education of their children and they are starting to reinvest their profits in other income generating activities (such as the purchasing and re-sale of goats and poultry).
Many things still need to be done
To keep supporting the women of Mkuru in their path of empowerment, the following objectives still need to be reached:
  • Increased access to medical assistance.
  • Additional literacy, Swahili and English courses.
  • Additional Business management, leadership and group organisation courses.
  • Promotion of the Maasai cultural heritage at international level.
  • Awareness raising on sustainable good practices in household management (use of energy efficient stoves; water management; food conservation strategies).
Charity and Defence of Nature Trust (until 2009); Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (until 2009)