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Macalester College

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


Despite rapid urbanization in Tanzania, agriculture remains central to the nation, the economy, and the livelihoods of a large portion of the population. Smallholder farmers account for the vast majority of agricultural production, yet are an extremely vulnerable population due to poverty, single-sourced income, and climate-dependency for both subsistence and cash-crop agriculture (Rapsomanikis, 2015). This report explores these dynamic rural livelihoods through interviews and portrait photographs in a case study on Mazumbai, Tanga region, Tanzania. Semi-structured interviews explore the people’s modes of economic subsistence, domestic lives, education, challenges, and life stories. Excerpts from these interviews combined with portrait photographs create vibrant profiles of individuals that together reflect the broader story of all the livelihoods of the people of Mazumbai. Through these profiles, three major themes emerged as most pertinent: (1) the centrality of agriculture, (2) the impact of education, and (3) efforts to diversify income. This report brings these three themes to life through a storytelling format that is accessible, interesting, and informative to a wide audience, beyond just academia. There is universally a humanitarian importance and benefit to learning about and understanding other ways of life. Locally, these rural livelihoods are especially important to understand and document because while they are central to the nation, they are under threat and vulnerable. Studying Mazumbai as an agricultural community also highlights some of the most direct, negative impacts of climate change on a global scale, and how these affected populations will continue to respond and adapt in the future.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agriculture | Art and Design | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Studies | Human Ecology | Photography | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sustainability


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