Voices from the field #2: what students think about CONTAN

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A project involving people (like students, professors and professionals) must take into high consideration their feedbacks and suggestions on the activities carried out. That’s why we wanted to hear their voices and are now pleased to share some of their words and opinions on the main topics addressed by the Project.

We already listened to a couple of students in Mweka taking about field trainings, online lessons and biodiversity in general. Now we share the point of view of Ashura A. Kaniki, attending the Master in Botany at Dar Es Salaam University and another contribution whose author prefers not to be mentioned.

Would you say CONTAN project is an important educational experience for your future and why?

Ashura: By participating in the CONTAN project, I develop critical thinking skills and enhance my knowledge of research methods and data analysis. These skills and knowledge are valuable for my future careers in academic and research as a researcher, towards finding sustainable solutions to environmental problems and contribute to creating a more sustainable future for our country.
Anonymous: The CONTAN project is an important project as its gives students time to learn things physically and practically as we do believe that seen is believing. Practice makes us more familiar with what we have learned in our class sessions. It also gives us time to network with expertise as well as networking within students. Also, the project carries insightful sessions, as far as the two different areas of study is concerned. Being in Kilimanjaro for a week after we went to Morogoro was an opportunity to learn and make a comparison of what we have learned in a sense that every student was free to ask questions throughout the field studies.

What do you appreciate most of CONTAN lessons, trainings or methods? Is there something (collected data, moments, discoveries, etc.) that has particularly impressed you up to now?

Ashura: First I appreciate CONTAN by giving us student an opportunity to participate in all the activities during field training. Second, the project brings together students and professionals from different disciplines, including botany, climate change, natural resource and biodiversity. This makes us know other things even if it’s not my discipline and relate those to biodiversity.
Particularly, I’m impressed with practical experience – the project provides me with hands-on experience in designing and implementing research projects related to conservation and the equipment we learnt to use was new but very useful to my area of study, because they save time and make the work easier; but I’m impressed as well with collaborative learning – the project emphasizes collaboration and teamwork, allowing us to learn from peers and professionals from different backgrounds. This approach promotes creativity, innovation, and the development of a shared vision for sustainability.
Anonymous: The most important part to me were… The moment we measured the size of trees, and find out their family (species) was so amazing to me and from there I have learned that climate change contributes to the disappearing of some species and even to the low quality of some species as time goes. Another moment was when we climbed mount Udzungwa, it was a learning lesson and I have enjoyed the new experience at the same time. A last moment that was fun to me was when we gathered for farewell dinner, all students, expertise and the representatives from UDSM. That was a moment to remember, we ate, danced and made a commitment as students to work on what we have learned and to make the training and knowledge being sustainable. We also committed ourselves to share the knowledge with colleagues and also to apply the knowledge to our work whenever possible.

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Do you think biodiversity monitoring and conservation is an urgency from what you see in your surroundings? What is the importance, from your point of view, to act globally even for local issues?

Ashura: Monitoring biodiversity is crucial for understanding the impacts of these activities and for developing effective conservation strategies. Without proper monitoring, it is difficult to assess the state of biodiversity, identify threats and track changes over time. Conservation efforts can also help to restore degraded ecosystems and prevent further losses of biodiversity.
Conservation of biodiversity is not only essential for preserving the natural world but also for sustaining human societies. Therefore, it is urgent to prioritize biodiversity monitoring and conservation to ensure a sustainable future for all life on Earth.
Anonymous: It is true that biodiversity conservation is something that needs to be monitored and well protected just because of its sensitiveness and being so important in our environment. We, as human beings, are much depending on environment and for us to enjoy it biodiversity needs to be conserved. There is also the issue of climate change vs. biodiversity lost. We need development, yes, but at the same time we need to protect our environment for sustainability of the biodiversity and ecosystem. So this is automatically the global issue, the world has to wake up and act now.

Is there a moment or something that has happened in your life that you remember as the very special moment that made you choose to work in this field? Tell about it.

Ashura: I remember when I was a child I used to go to my grandmother’s village and the environment was green and the air was so cool, but when I grow up that memorable environment was gone due to human disturbances… there when I want to conserve the biodiversity.
Anonymous: I’m a journalist by professional, I came to realize that I was not able to treat or do a news coverage on the issue of climate change and, in my department, there was no one with even a basic knowledge on climate change issues, as a leader of the team I feel so embarrassed and I generate interest on this subject, that’s why I’m here today, I am enjoying my work. As a professional, I have added value on what I am doing, I help colleagues when it comes to the issue of environmental and climate change.

From your point of view, which are some of the primary issues that need to be faced to foster conservation?
Ashura: Climate change poses a significant threat to biodiversity, as it alters temperature and precipitation patterns and affects the timing of seasonal events. Climate change can also cause changes in the distribution and abundance of species, and exacerbate other threats, such as habitat loss.
Anonymous: The primary issue that I will suggest that my help to foster conservation is that conservation is a communication issue. So, by creating awareness to societies, will help them to understand the importance of biodiversity and to get familiar with their roles. Then, to build strong institution that will make sure the rules and laws are observed and to discourage illegal wildlife trade. To make sure the benefits which come from having or conserving our resources are benefits to all and not for few people. The last thing I could say is that the world should stop killing, stop marketing and stop demanding on our natural resources.

Thank you both for your precious, personal and in-depth contributions!!

#biodiversity #conservation #CONTAN #education #Erasmus+ #EU #European Union #monitoring #Project #Tanzania #Universities

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