Tanzania: Maasai winner of environmental prize protects land from ‘grabbers’

| April 25, 2016

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Dressed in his traditional red shawl, Edward Loure was watching over a herd of grazing cattle when he heard that his effort to protect indigenous land rights had earned him one of the world’s most prestigious environmental prizes.

The 44-year-old Maasai community leader has spent more than a decade securing land rights for the Maasai and Hadzabe communities, in partnership with the Ujamaa Community Resource Team. Resource and tourism projects had threatened the traditional lifestyle and land of the semi-nomadic Maasai herders and hunter-gatherer Hadzabe communities in Tanzania.

Mr. Loure, who keeps more than 200 cattle in Tanzania’s northern Manyara region, was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in recognition of his efforts.

He says, “Some people call this land a conservation area, but for me and my family, this is our home.”

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Photo: Edward Loure (standing) takes part in a village land-mapping activity with fellow Maasai community members in Simanjiro District in Tanzania’s northern Manyara region, March 2016. Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Kizito Makoye