What is an action day?
An action day is an event that the volunteer team plans and delivers in the community in which they are based. Action days are an excellent way for the Expedition teams to establish themselves within the community and introduce themselves and project developments on their own terms.
Speeches, handover ceremonies and presentations
To prepare for the action day we spent the preceding fortnight generating ideas and plans for speeches, handover ceremonies, presentations. We also translated everything into Kiswahili to create an event everybody could enjoy, especially the community and visiting officials.
Sophie, Lotte and Henry (international volunteers currently based in Nandala) created a puppet show for the handover ceremony to show how they had understood the history of deforestation Nandala and the importance of the work we’d done there with the tree nursery and the rocket stoves which we had built.
Expedition photographer, Hilary, who attended the event commented, “the team, with the guidance of the team leaders put something together which was creative, innovative and fun. The puppet show was a delightful tool to bridge different cultures and languages.”
Revo, Christina and Andrew (volunteers) worked together to create a speech to thank the village and our project partner Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) for hosting and supporting us while fellow volunteer, Ludi, presented images of the village and the work we’ve done there.
Engaging youth with how sustainable forestry can benefit both people and the natural landscape
It was important to us to ensure that the youth in the community felt engaged with the action day and the project in general. This connection with the young people helped us work toward our project goal: creating tree nurseries that will offer local people a sustainable alternative to harvesting the natural forests over the long term. We aim to empower the community to take management of the natural resources which surround them in Nandala into their own hands. To encourage youth participation we decorated the barn in the village where we held the action day with bunting, balloons, paint and ribbons and Tanzanian volunteer Celina had composed a song for the local school children to sing.
On the action day itself
The barn was filled with community members, school children and officials from all over the village and the district. People also came from Ihanu, a village where Raleigh has worked in the past with great success, as we found out from our visit there to plant mature saplings.
By holding an action day we were able to encourage the community to take ownership of the project. Through various creative means of presentation, we were able to convey, with the support of project partner Tanzania Forestry Conservation Group, the importance of continued community involvement in natural resource management. We highlighted the importance of protecting Tanzania’s natural forests and how sustainable forestry can benefit both people and the natural landscape.
Words by volunteer Lucy Cooper. Edited by communications officer Rebbie Webb. Images by photographer Hilary Sloane.