The Project

Kihembe is an environmental learning, research and park interpretation facility adjacent to Saadani National Park in Tanzania. It provides a place for local villagers and others from across Tanzania and beyond to come together to increase ecological knowledge and understanding, learn new skills, and empower people to make positive change towards sustainable livelihoods and conservation of the environment.

Kihembe is under development and requires financial support to construct the necessary facilities.

Why it's important

Saadani National Park, the only coastal park in the country, protects a unique combination of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The area is also the homeland of many traditional coastal tribes whose culture and livelihood has been built and continues to depend on the area’s natural resources. These resources are under extreme pressure from changing land use, population growth pressure and changing climatic conditions. The Kihembe Environmental Learning Centre will help find ways to sustainably use and benefit from those natural resources while ensuring the long-term integrity of Saadani Park.


Residential youth programs: Practical, hands-on environmental education for youth.
Sustainable livelihood training: Adult education and training in environmentally sustainable approaches to agriculture, forestry, beekeeping and fishing.
Research: Coordination and support for environmental, conservation and livelihoods research.
Park Interpretation: Interpretive displays and programming for visitors to Saadani National Park.

The Site

Kihembe is located on a 100 acre parcel dedicated by the village of Mkange to promote environmental conservation through the development and operation of the centre under management by the Kesho Trust and Saving Africa’s Nature [SANA]. Located near the western gate to Saadani National Park, two hilltop locations offer excellent views of the surrounding area and the southern portion of the park right to the Indian Ocean.

Surrounding the hills are open woodlands where a variety of facilities are proposed and now being developed. Facilities include a visitor interpretive centre, education programming areas, meeting rooms, library and resource room along with basic accommodation, food services and utilities.

Our team

Kihembe is a joint initiative of the Kesho Trustand Saving Africa’s Nature (SANA). Kihembe’s management team is made up of 2 representatives from each of the two organizations. Currently staff from both organizations are working to establish and operate the centre.

Other key partners in the Kihembe initiative play an important role in making this centre a reality. In particular, Mkange village who have dedicated a portion of their land to this undertaking and Saadani National Park for whom the goals of Kihembe are critical to the long term integrity of the park.


Kesho Trust

Bruce Downie

Bruce has a strong commitment to bringing greater harmony between people and the environment in which they live. He has brought that commitment to the fields of protected areas planning and environmental education where he has served in positions in government, as a consultant and in the NGO sector. He first came to Africa from his home in Canada in 1993 and has worked in various areas in eastern and southern Africa since including living and working in Tanzania for 6 years. It was during that time he founded the Kesho Trust and has worked to develop the network of partners and project initiatives that reflect his commitment to human/environment harmony. Kihembe is the perfect symbol of that harmony. It brings together the needs of communities and the needs of environmental integrity and demonstrates positive approaches for change that will make our world and our life in it better.

Agnes Sirima

Agnes is an Assistant Lecturer at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania. Her research interests focus on understanding the human dimension of parks and protected areas management, especially around issues of sustainability and tourism, community capacity building and development, and integration of traditional ecological knowledge to landscape conservation planning. She is currently on leave from the University and undertaking her PhD at Clemson University in the United States. Agnes has a keen interest in the relationship between conservation and development and volunteered with the Kesho Trust to apply some of her expertise at the community level. She joined the board of directors of the Kesho Trust in 2013.



Costa Coucoulis

Costas is the founder and Chairman of Saving Africa’s Nature [SANA]. He also built and owns Saadani Safari Lodge, now managed as part of the Sanctuary Retreats group of luxury safari lodges. Costa was born in Burundi but studied in Athens, Greece. His family still reside in Bujumbura the capital of Burundi and have done so for 82 years working in commerce and farming. Costas spent many years travelling around Africa, learning and appreciating the diversity of the continent and its people. It was during these travels that Costas discovered and fell in love with Saadani, which was then a game reserve hardly known to the rest of Africa. He experienced first hand the atrocities committed in the civil war that ravaged Burundi and it was this combined with his genuine love for Africa and it people that stimulated him to set up SANA to bring not protection to the nature that he loves but also benefits to the people for whom nature is home.

Baraka Kalangahe

Baraka is from western Tanzania but has been living and working on the coast for many years. He uses his experience in coastal management and mariculture to work with local communities to strengthen livelihood sustainability and improve the health and living conditions of the people of the coast. His interests include addressing the impacts being brought about through climate change and the relationship to sustainable community development. As an entrepreneur, Baraka also sees the need to ensure livelihood activities adequately serve the needs of the local people on a sustainable basis while respecting the integrity of the environment and thus is committed to the objectives of Kihembe as a means of achieving such balance.

Our Staff

Peter Millanga

Peter Millanga was born and raised in Mwanza. He pursued his university education beginning at the University of Dar es Salaam and then Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He completed his BA in Geography and Environmental Studies and his MA in Geography with his thesis focused on examining conflicting land use objectives in Ngorogoro Conservation Area. Peter is committed to the idea of helping communities see benefits of conservation initiatives. In his role with the Kesho Trust as Project Officer he works as a facilitator to involve communities and implement conservation focused projects. Peter is motivated to see a positive change in the attitudes of communities and National Park staff and believes that “together, we will see change

Ally Abdallah

Ally was born in Arusha, later on moved to Dar es Salaam for High School and further studies. Before he joined SANA, Business Administration and Journalism were his two fields of interest for his studies although his experience draws also on work as a teacher and in broadcasting. Ally coordinates SANA’s project implementation activities with the local communities and the relevant government officials, maintaining strong bonds of communication between SANA and the communities. His appreciation for the meaning of life has been broadened from the experience of working with the communities where he has seen the challenge local people have in achieving adequate livelihoods and protecting environment simultaneously. He is enthusiastic about encouraging the communities learn to live sustainably through application of entrepreneurial skills as a way to reduce pressure on the nature.


Mkange is a village on the western border of Saadani National Park along the road between Saadani and Mbwewe villages. Like many of the villages on the inland side of the park the livelihood focus is on subsistence agriculture. Facilities and services are extremely limited and the development of Kihembe is a welcome focus of activity that will bring visitors and inject much needed resources into the local economy. The village council and residents strongly support Kihembe and look forward to its full operation.


Containing over 1100 km2, Saadani National Park lies on the Indian Ocean coast about 70 km north of Dar es Salaam. Gazetted in 2005, it is the only coastal park within the national park system and protects a unique mix of marine and land-based flora and fauna. Protecting the coastal zone and its diverse resources and range of activities is the central purpose for the park but within that broad mandate are some very exceptional resources that warrant special attention including: the threatened green turtle and its habitat; the lowland coastal forest; the estuaries and mangroves, especially in the Wami River area; and the historic and cultural sites of the area.

Working in partnership with Kesho Trust towards greater conservation awareness and outcomes in the local communities, park managers have endorsed the Kihembe concept as an important component of community engagement that is in keeping with the directions of the park management plan.

A great gesture

Kihembe is under development and requires financial support to construct the necessary facilities.
Donations are made through the Kesho Trust


Robert Bateman

Canadian Naturalist and Painter

Robert Bateman is one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife artists and naturalists. His expertise is evident not only in the creation of inspirational works of art, but also in his leadership and contribution to the field of sustainability and raising awareness around environmental topics such as ecology, biodiversity, vanishing habitats and endangered species. Bateman dedicated his work to realism in the early 1960’s developing a signature style that would make him one of the foremost nature and wildlife artists worldwide. His work has been displayed through solo exhibits throughout North America and is housed in many public and private collections and art museums. Robert Bateman has been awarded 12 honorary doctorates and numerous honours and, awards including: the Officer of the Order of Canada; the Member of Honour Award; World Wildlife Fund; the Rachel Carson Award; the Order of British Columbia; Queen’s Jubilee Medal; and, the Human Rights Defender Award from Amnesty International. He was also named one of the 20th Century’s Champions of Conservation by the U.S. National Audubon Society. Robert Bateman’s art reflects his commitment to ecology and preservation. Since the early 1960′s, he has been an active member of naturalist and conservation organizations, now on a global scale. He has become a spokesman for many environmental and preservation issues and has used his artwork and limited edition prints in fund-raising efforts that have provided millions of dollars for these worthy causes.

Jane Goodall, DBE

English primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace

From her home in England, Jane Goodall traveled to the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars. But with her unyielding patience and characteristic optimism, she won the trust of these initially shy creatures. She managed to open a window into their sometimes strange and often familiar-seeming lives. The public was fascinated and remains so to this day. Today, Jane’s work revolves around inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment we all share. The Jane Goodall Institute works to protect the famous chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, but recognizes this can’t be accomplished without a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of local people who are critical to chimpanzee survival. Our community-centered conservation programs in Africa include sustainable development projects that engage local people as true partners. These programs began around Gombe in 1994, but have since been replicated in other parts of the continent. Likewise, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, which Jane started with a group of Tanzania students in 1991, is today the Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program for young people from preschool through university with nearly 150,000 members in more than 130 countries.