FMNR Project

CONSERVE KIBORIANI MOUNTAIN  -  “The fountain of Life”  (FMNR Project)


Conserve Kiboriani - the Fountain of Life is a project initiated by LEAD Foundation for rehabilitating the entire Kiboriani Ecosystem which comprises a range of mountains that covers the two administrative districts of Mpwapwa and Kongwa, in Dodoma Region, Tanzania.  With the height of approximately 2225m above sea level, it has one of the highest peaks in the Region. Apart from its sheer natural beauty and potential for tourism, the Kiboriani range is the only catchment area sourcing water for Mpwapwa and Kongwa towns and their surrounding villages. It is also highly productive for a variety of vegetables, sweet and round potatoes, maize, wheat and citrus fruits much needed by urban dwellers as well.

Decades of unplanned development within and around the mountains and uncontrolled deforestation has left the environment of Kiboriani range devastated, thus destroying the hydrological cycle and threatening water supply to the dependent towns and villages of Mpwapwa and Kongwa, as well as low productivity of agricultural produce from the mountain range.

This project intends to address the problem by formulating means of rehabilitating the Kiboriani Ecosystem including individual water springs, forests and agricultural land in order to restore its status. The project focuses on empowering communities to be upfront in the implementation of mitigation measures, including environmental management plans to ensure sustainability of the environment once it is rehabilitated. 

This abstract provides background information and to some extent, rationale for the Kiboriani Ecosystem Conservation Project. The most important activities will be reforestation and promotion of green agriculture through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), a most economical and rapid method of reforesting worst degraded environments. It is the firm belief of LEAD Foundation that once the mountain range is reforested to its near original state, other benefits will be realised such as rejuvenation of natural water springs, biodiversity, forests and agricultural potential.

Other planned activities, to be undertaken in collaboration with all stakeholders, will include facilitation of land user rights, carbon trading in order to further empower farmers, promotion of alternative energy sources, promoting fuel saving stoves, beekeeping, ongoing training and consultations between stakeholders and documentation of FMNR best practices for replication in the Central Zone of Tanzania.

2.0    WHAT IS FMNR?

FMNR is basically the selection and pruning of stems which sprout from indigenous tree and shrub stumps. It is a method of harnessing an underground forest that needs to be liberated to produce miraculous results. This method is a revelation, compared to the familiar traditional method of reforestation by tree planting. Emphasis therefore will be to promote the FMNR method and where necessary some tree planting will be undertaken to supplement, or in place of, FMNR.

In the implementation of this project, LEAD Foundation will collaborate with Government Departments, parastatal organizations; public and private institutions, NGOs and religious organizations which have already shown keen interest in effectively up scaling FMNR for comprehensive reforestation and green agriculture and at the same time develop the foundation for sustainability of the rehabilitated environment.


3.1    The Past Kiboriani Mountain Range

Until the 1930s Kiboriani range of mountains was thickly forested, as noted by a visitor in 1933.

“One of my earliest annual holidays in Tanganyika was to be a member of a party going to Kiboriani. The very big, substantially built stone building at Kiboriani had been the one holiday place, apart from mission stations, where the missionaries could go for their often very much needed holidays during the earlier years of this century.

The Kiboriani Mountain Range, 20 years ago

Kiboriani is a delightful place for a holiday. It is one of the highest points (over 6,000 feet above sea level), in a range of mountains dividing the Masai Plain from the Mpwapwa Plain. Holidaymakers had to be provided with winter clothing to withstand the cold of the mornings and evenings. We had big fires going in all the rooms every night, there being plenty of dry wood available in the wooded valleys below us. These fire-warmed rooms seemed very strange for Central Africa. We were about six degrees south of the Equator.

We had glorious views all round, lovely hills and green valleys, wide-stretching plains nearly all round and beyond range upon range of mountains encircling the plains.  The vegetation in the neighborhood of Kiboriani was almost autumnal in its coloring, with a mixture of spring, vivid red and yellow-leaved trees and shrubs keeping company with numberless trees covered with masses of blossom of varying shades of pink, just like Japanese cherry blossom (Miss Avis Richardson 1933, LEAD Foundation Archives).

The above revelation shows the richness of the mountains in natural environment. It also demonstrates the potential of Kiboriani Mountain Range for environmental conservation education, tourism and hospitality activities. Such activities if implemented will assist in ensuring the sustainability of the natural forest vegetation and biodiversity.

3.2    The Present Kiboriani Mountain Range

In spite of all the potential, Kiboriani is among the few mountain ranges left behind without any formal public care. It is one of the least known Mountain Ranges within the Eastern Arc Mountains - a chain of ancient Mountains covered by Rain Forests and Grasslands in Tanzania and Kenya.

To its credit, the Government of Tanzania is not short of environmental conservation policies. However, very little has been done to rescue the Kiboriani range. For example, a long standing proposal to establish the Kiboriani Forest Reserve has neither been followed up effectively nor its management clarified. As a result, for many years Kiboriani forests have been devastated at an alarming rate by past and current human activities including logging, farming, cattle grazing, fuel wood, pole collecting and wild fires. Water springs have been invaded for cultivation and cattle grazing, soil erosion is increasing rapidly, threatening the towns of Mpwapwa and Kongwa with floods filling up some bore holes and destroying communication infrastructure. Alarming predictions are frequently being aired that in ten years time Mpwapwa and Kongwa will have no water, leave alone productive land for crops and pasture. In his speech to commemorate the Environment Day held nationally in Moshi, Tanzania on the 5th July 2012, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania said:

“Tusipokuwa makini na kuchukua hatua thabiti za kuhifadhi mazingira, uhai na ustawi wetu utakuwa shakani. Tusipofanya hivyo, huko mbele ya safari kuna giza nene la maangamizi”.

The English translation is: "If we are not careful and take concrete action to conserve our environment, our life and welfare will be endangered. If we do not do that we will be heading to a thick darkness of destruction".

The Present State of Kiboriani Range of Mountains


The project will cover the entire Kiboriani Mountain Range. It will also include the devastated land of at least 30 villages of Mpwapwa and Kongwa districts whose life is highly dependent on this Ecosystem. Detailed information on the project area and its characteristics is presented in the Attachment.


The project will focus on reforestation and promotion of green agriculture through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). It will also aim to create awareness in society of the value and uniqueness of these mountains for sustainable livelihood and climate change mitigation.

5.1    FMNR - the Answer for Kiboriani Mountain Range

Motivated by the excellent results of FMNR in other countries, LEAD Foundation is launching the Kiboriani Project using the FMNR technique in order to restore the glory of the Ecosystem for the life of the present and future generations. FMNR has demonstrated convincingly to be the most effective reforestation method at low cost, involving individuals, families, groups/institutions, and for meeting various needs such as of forestry, agriculture, livestock and tourism. FMNR was first publicly practiced in West Africa from the 1980s, now practiced on over 30,000 km² of land in the Niger Republic as well as Chad, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali and other countries.

5.2    Implementation Strategy

In the implementation of this project, LEAD Foundation will invest heavily on active participation of village governments and community based organizations, thus empowering them to be the driving force for forest management and conservation. Best practices for community involvement, such as small group processes gained from local, national and international experiences will be sought and applied. To that end LEAD Foundation will engage with the Central Government, Regional and District Authorities to seek official clarification on how the several Village Governments in both districts will apply Participatory Forest Management (PFM) regarding the 54,000ha described as Local Authority Forest Reserve, and whether it would not be more efficient to opt for Community Forest Management rather than PFM. The desire is to achieve tangible village government authority and community in order to ensure sustainability of the Project Outcomes.


LEAD Foundation believes that, with FMNR, we are in for an exciting and historic break-through in our war against recurring food shortages, poverty and environmental degradation in the Central Zone. Conserve Kiboriani - the Fountain of Life promises to demonstrate how solidarity of an alert community can most effectively and economically restore the Kiboriani range of mountains, and release new life in its fullness, without creating serious social and political tensions among the stakeholders. LEAD Foundation affirms with Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere, “It can be done, Play your part!”


1.0    Villages Covered by the Project

Table 1:  Project Villages - Kongwa District
KONGWA    KONGWA     1    Kongwa    6,412
        2    Mlanga     4,772
    UGOGONI    3    Ugogoni    1,016
        4    Ibwaga    3,000
        5    Nguji    1,252
    SAGARA    6    Sagara A     4,022
        7    Sagara B     4,548
        8    Ijaka     2,743
    IDUO    9    Iduo     3,230
        10    Suguta     1,837
MLALI    CHAMKOROMA    11     Chamkoroma    4,397
        12    Mangweta    1,952
        13    Tubugwe Kibaoni     2,812
        14    Tubugwe Juu    2,248
TOTAL    44,241

Table 2: Project Villages – Mpwapwa District
LUPETA    1    Makutupa    2,216
    2    Bumila    3,345
    3    Lupeta    4,049
     Sub-Total    9,610
VINGHAWE    1    Vinghawe    8,211
    2    Isinghu    2,684
    3    Manghangu    2,887
    Sub-Total    13,782
MAZAE    1    Mazae    1,639
    2    Idilo    1,014
    3    Kisokwe    4,665
     Sub-Total    7,318
MJINI    1    Mpwapwa Mjini    13,264
    2    Kiboriani     2,226
    3    Ilolo    2,568
    4    Igovu    2,769
    5    Mwanakianga    2,057
     Sub-Total    22,884
CHUNYU    1    Chunyu    5,171
    2    Msagali    7,484
     Sub-Total    12,655
NGHAMBI    1    Nghambi    6,190
    2    Kiegea    1,497
    3    Kazania    1,497
     Sub-Total    9,184
MATOMONDO     1    Mbori     4,470
    2    Tambi     4,392
    3    Mlembule    3,739
    4    Mwenzele     3,847
     Sub-Total    16,448
TOTAL    50,594

2.0    Mountains of the Kiboriani Range

Distances are from the Kiboriani highest peak. Mountains marked with an asterisk* will not be involved in the current Kiboriani Conservation Project.

Table 3: Distances of Mountains from Kiboriani Peak
1    Kiboriani
0.0    13    Iyoma*    29.6
2    Mhuni    0.5    14    Ibumira    29.6
3    Vianje    4.1    15    Chunyu    31.2
4    Mahowe    12.3    16    Chisamisi    31.2
5    Wahehe    13.0    17    Mguluhatambulwa    33.1
6    Kutunhila    20.5    18    Kutiasi*    34.8
7    Chamasimba    22.1    19    Kibumbuni*    35.2
8    Kitzizi    24.6    20    Mautia*    36.8
9    Lugala    26.3    21    Chimlata*    37.7
10    Masungwi    27.5    22    Laikala*    37.8
11    Munyakongo    29.0    23    Machenje*    42.7
12    Sang’anga    29.5    24    Laisanga*    46.8

3.0    Major Streams of the Kiboriani Range

Table 4: Distances of Streams from Kiboriani
1    Mvudu    20.5    9    Sagara*   
2    Chelwe    24.9    10    Ibwaga*   
3    Mukauka    28.9    11    Chunyu*   
4    Mugaye    36.9    12    Mayawile*   
5    Mlanga    40.4    13    Vianze*   
6    Kongwa Mission    23.9    14    Mujitu*    13.0
7    Kongwa Maji*    29.0    15    Chamuhawi*    16.9
8    Tubugwe*               

Two lists are in circulation in Mpwapwa and Kongwa. One, written in 1998, shows nine streams (No.7-15) as the main sources of water for Mpwapwa and Kongwa towns and adjacent villages. The other, based on historical records, gives a list of 15 water springs. LEAD Foundation is studying to establish the living and the dead streams by 2012 in order to set the basis for impact assessment after 5 years of practicing FMNR in the Ecosystem as a whole. Streams which had dried out due to environmental degradation on the Humbo mountains in Ethiopia came back to vigorous life after 5-7 years of FMNR application.

5.0    Neighbouring Villages/Towns from Kiboriani Peak

Table 5: Distances of Neighbouring Villages/Towns from Kiboriani Peak
1    Kiboriani    5.0    8    Kikombo    13.0
2    Ibwaga    13.0    9    Bumila    26.3
3    Sagara    14.8    10    Mpwapwa    16.4
4    Kongwa    26.2    11    Chisokwe    18.3
5    Tubugwe    35.0    12    Chunyu    37.1
6    Iduo    41.2    13    Nghambi    36.6
7    Suguta    49.2           

4.0    Where is the Kiboriani Peak?

•    On the boarder of Mpwapwa and Kongwa Districts.
•    Latitude. -6.2833333°, Longitude. 36.4833333°
•    The time zone in Kiboriani is Africa/Dar-es-Salaam
Sunrise at 06:46 and Sunset at 18:34.

Figure 1: Map of Mpwapwa & Kongwa Districts





Figure 2: Map of the Districts of the Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania


6.0    Where to Stay in Kiboriani

The Leadership and Environmental Planning Institute (TUMIKA), an NGO Partner of LEAD Foundation, welcomes conference and holiday makers, tourists, researchers and friends who wish to visit the heart of the Kiboriani Conservation Project. The Institute, housed at the Anglican Retreat Centre, has a residential capacity of at least 50 people, apart from open air camp sites. Advance notice will be appreciated, through Tel. No. 0784727205 or email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Trekkers scaling the Kiboriani Mountain to the TUMIKA Centre

7.0     Travel up Kiboriani Range

Hikers can scale up the mountains from various points (advisable to use beaten paths), depending on their direction of approach to the range. Drivers (a four wheel vehicle advisable) can reach the Kiboriani village and TUMIKA Centre from either the north through Kongwa, Ibwaga, Nguji or from the south through Mpwapwa, Kikombo and Vianze.

8.0    Airports/Airstrips close to Kiboriani Peak

•    Dodoma(DOD) Airport (181.7km)
•    Mpwapwa Airstrip (16.4km)
•    Kongwa Airstrip (26.2km)
•    A Helicopter can easily land at Kiboriani Village or TUMIKA Centre grounds.