Maasai farmer’s leader receives prestigious Goldman Prize

08-06-2016
Supported by Trias, Edward Loure succeeded in preserving 80,000 hectares for nomadic stockbreeders in Tanzania. He has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

During the dry season, the Tarangire-park in the north of Tanzania is populated with wild animals like elephants, lions, zebras and hyenas. Their yearly migration through the ancient baobab trees attracts many tourists.

Less well known is the fact that, until the colonial era, this area was inhabited by the Maasai and other local tribes who would move around with their herds. Government and industry took over huge expanses of land without any form of compensation in order to build tourist infrastructure.

Conversation not conflict

The decrease in land available for nomadic herds encouraged Edward Loure to get all parties around the table. Supported by Trias, the leader of the Ujamaa Community Resource Team (UCRT) succeeded in preserving 80,000 hectares of land for the Maasai.

The land rights will be awarded to communities instead of individual farmers. According to Loure, it took a lot of persuasion for the government to understand that land can also be owned by communities. 'If we manage all of the available land well, there is enough for everybody', he said.

If we manage all of the available land well, there is enough for everybody.

Edward Loure

Next year, additional structural plans should succeed in preserving another area of 320,000 hectares for the traditional lifestyle of local communities. 'Many villages lost access to terrain because of land conflicts. Now they finally have the legal documents to claim their rights,' said Loure.

Green Nobel Prize

The reconciliation between farmers, the government and the tourism sector caught the attention of the Goldman family, who each year present an award in their own name to people who have contributed to environmental protection. Because of its prestige, the Goldman Prize is also referred to as the 'Green Nobel Prize'.

Trias congratulates Edward Loure for this award. 'For many years we have worked together,' said Bart Casier, Trias' country director in Tanzania. 'In nine villages we have set up plans for land use. Some villages are located on an important migratory route for wild animals. Together with Edward, we succeeded in preserving 25,000 hectares in those areas.'