Context for the Development and Pilot Implementation
initial pilot implementation site of TIST was in Mpwapwa, Tanzania. Mpwapwa
is located southeast of Tanzania’s capital, Dodoma. Tanzania
is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income
$280, and Mpwapwa is one of the poorest areas of Tanzania.
mortality is very high, with 98 deaths per 1000 live births. Adults live
to 52 years on average, but recent data indicate that close to one-third
of local young adults are HIV+ so this life expectancy may decrease.
80% of the adult males can read, compared to 57% of adult females. About
half of the population in the area lives below Tanzania’s poverty
is semi-arid. The land was once well forested and replete with wildlife.
Now, as a result of "slash and burn" subsistence farming practices
and the increasing demand for charcoal for cooking, most forest land has
been depleted over the last 50 years. These practices have exposed the
fragile topsoil to severe erosion during the hard, brief rains found in
the annual rainy season. Water tables have dropped, and rivers that once
flowed year-long now dry up between rainy seasons. Yield from the local
dominant crops – maize, millet, and ground nuts – has averaged
3 bags per acre, but even this average is nearly impossible to attain
during droughts, and as a result, famine results.
are virtually no widespread relief programs in the area. The church in
Tanzania has therefore played a vital role in connecting local parishes
with international resources. The TIST project is an important example
of how a project that began as part of a church-growth strategy has led
to pragmatic strategies to alleviate famine and restore forests.
Paths Diverge -- Which One Shall Mankind Take"
Path to Sustainability
1998, Anglican Bishop Simon Chiwanga of the Diocese of Mpwapwa (DMP) invited
a team of missionaries from Truro Church in the USA led by Vannesa and
Ben Henneke for an initial seminar in Small Group Servant Leadership.
An initiative began to organize the members of his Diocese into self-supporting,
cooperative Small Groups. These groups would empower his community toward
helping themselves, strengthen the church, empower the lay people, and
reduce the load on his clergy. These groups would become resources for
each other and work toward sustaining life for members.
Chiwanga addresses a TIST seminar
US mission team returned a year later and conducted a follow-up seminar.
During that Small Group seminar Mpwapwa participants developed the
of sustainable agriculture and tree-planting. In late 1999, led by Clean
Air Action Corporation (CAAC), this idea became the TIST program designed
to achieve integrated sustainable development objectives including
actions that reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the air for a new “cash crop” — growing trees — for
carbon sequestration; conservation agricultural management; food security;
and basic business