Since its establishment in 1993 Envirocare has been advocating for environmental protection mainly through promotion of sustainable agriculture as a way to improve rural livelihoods and alleviate poverty. Envirocare sees a close link between poverty, environmental degradation and abuse of fundamental human rights and has therefore developed an approach that addresses these problems in a holistic way. Development can only be sustainable if environmental justice is safeguarded, meaning there is a fair balance in the exploitation of natural assets so that it does not threaten the capacity for the natural environment to regenerate. Environment department is focusing on:
Pollution remains a potential threat both in rural and urban areas. In Kilimanjaro region, where intensive use of pesticides in agriculture is taking place, Envirocare has been working with farmers in reducing the impacts of pesticide use through community based pesticide monitoring. In Textile industrial sector, Envirocare is campaigning and advocating for pollution prevention through promotion of cleaner production. Also, the organization has created awareness to the entrepreneurs in batik making on pollution prevention.
As part of environmental conservation, Envirocare has worked with communities to promote tree-planting both at household level and at community level through participatory forest management, a good example being tree planting in Kahe ward Moshi-rural with an estimation of over 300,000 trees planted, also along Rombo primary school in moshi in which not less than 100,000 trees were planted, mangrove planting also was initiated in Mkinga district Tanga with an estimation of over 5 million mangrove plants being planted.
Soil and Water Management
The organization has carried out tree-planting campaigns in water catchment and soil-degraded areas. Also, farmers have been made aware of contour farming practice as it keeps valuable topsoil in place on sloping fields and slow water down and let it soak into the soil. By doing this, farmers have made and maintained the contour through use grassed waterways in areas where runoff is concentrated to prevent gully erosion.
Food processing and preservation
Supporting small scale farmers and orphans and vulnerable children in food processing and preservation has been one of the Envirocare major activities. In Mwanga, Musoma and Mufindi districts, the beneficiaries have been exposed to new methods of processing food such as solar drying and use of preservatives such as sugar, salt and vinegar. Processing has added advantage of increasing the value of foodstuffs and making them available for longer.
Marketing of Agricultural Products
When small-scale farmers living rural areas sell their produce, they normally have little choice about who they sell to or how much they charge. A typical situation has been for farmers to sell their crop at a low price to middlemen. Unlike the farmers, the middlemen have access to transport and are in a good position to drive a hard bargain. Desperate for money to pay back debts or maintain their households, farmers take the little they are offered, but never earn enough to make investments in their farming business or pull themselves out of poverty. Envirocare has been supporting farmers in exposing them to marketing strategies. One of the strategies is the use of information and communication technologies such as mobile phones which enables farmers to get information about current prices in different markets and is linking them directly to buyers. Others include, market research whereby finding about the patterns of demand for certain crops help farmers to make better decisions about what to grow and when to grow it. Also, farmers have been exposed to direct marketing and contract farming which enables them to supply their produce direct to the consumers. Last but not least, farmers have been supported to participate and exhibit their products at the agricultural fair.