Sarah Hanus: Dodoma is one of Tanzania's driest regions. Its tree population is already scarce and the few trees that are left are being cut down to make charcoal, the main source of energy used for cooking in Tanzanian homes. The locals are aware of the problem in principle. The idea is that for every tree that is felled, two new trees must be planted. But people don't always grasp the urgency of the situation and, in many cases, they have no other option.
Another aspect is the refuse collection – namely, there isn't any, at least not on a regular basis. It is therefore even more important to keep plastic waste, which is virtually non-biodegradable, down to an absolute minimum. The children understand these connections, so it is important to show them that small changes can make a big difference. For example, by not using a new plastic bag every time they go shopping.
But compared with a country such as Germany, the ecological damage caused by people in Tanzania is minimal. It often felt strange to me to be teaching the locals about protecting the environment when I come from a country that needs to do much more itself.