Updated 02/12/21

2019 - 2022


The school “Climate, Livelihoods, and Agroecosystem Resilience in East Africa” (CLAREA)

The school CLAREA from the University of Dar es Salaam is a training project through pluridisciplinar and participative research about the main environmental challenges in Tanzania and East Africa. Its objective is to find solutions to major environmental and sustainable development issues by combining social sciences and biophysical sciences and by involving local populations. Today CLAREA involves 6 departments and colleges from the University of Dar es Salaam: Social sciences, Geography, Agriculture and Fisheries, Natural sciences (Geology, Botany, Chemistry), Education sciences, Water and Engineering. In 2021 other participants got involved from the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority, Tanzania Forest Services Agency, the Rungwe district and the Nyasa Basin.


The principles and promises of CLAREA are the following:

  • A pluridisciplinar approach and welcoming anyone with a Master degree or further
  • A cursus length of approximately 40 hours
  • A combination of 30% classes (physically or remotely) and 70% roaming field participative research (1 week)
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© IRD - David Williamson

Site archéologique Isimila: observation de l'école CLAREA des mécanisme d’alteration chimique et d’érosion mécanique des sols ferralitiques en milieu semi aride.

The school is linked to a unique site: the volcanic province of Rungwe (VPR). It a unique partnership that started in 1994 between Europe (more than 9 French, Belgian and British institutions) and Tanzania on Climate changes (Rukwa project). The school leans on the development of the Rungwe Environmental Science Observatory Network (RESON), one of the first participative observatories of environment and climate changes, officially inaugurated in 2007 by the embassies of France, Belgium, the cabinet of Tanzania’s Prime Minister, the University of Dar es Salaam, the district of Rungwe, with the support of the CNRS, Cirad, IRD and 5 French and Belgian universities. Therefore, the school CLAREA benefits from a scientific framework (RESON has supported more than 20 PhDs and Msc so far) and a network of local partners (schools, farmers, territorial agents). Both these framework and network allow the participants (students and researchers) to exchange with local interlocutors informed and mobilized on climate and environmental issues.


The first edition of the CLAREA school took place in October 2019 in Tanzania, with the theme of farmland degradation, in the framework of the UN Decade for Deserts and the fight against Desertification and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Around 30 students and researchers from various colleges of the University of Dar es Salaam (Engineering and Technology, Agricultural Sciences, Natural and Applied sciences, Social Sciences, Institute of Resource Assessment), participated in the 10-day program.


In 2021 the second edition of CLAREA took place, under the same theme and involved 24 direct participants, of which 4 French researchers: Pierre Etienne Mathé (Aix-Marseille Université); Anne Alexandre (CNRS - UMR CEREGE); Claire Médard (IRD - URMIS-Moi University) and David Williamson (IRD - UMR Espace Dev – Montpellier University of Excellence).

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© IRD - David Williamson

Exemple de processus de dégadation des terres dû à la variabilité et l'intensité des pluies

A Geosphere reserve in the volcanic province of Rungwe

Although less well-known than the Kilimanjaro, the volcanic province of Rungwe (VPR) offers to Tanzania, East Africa and the rest of the world an abundance of:

  • geological heritage (volcanoes, crater lakes, hot springs, forests, landscapes)
  • agronomy (« pantry » of Tanzania),
  • biodiversity (many endemic species and several reserves, of which the National Park of Kitulo and the reserve of Poroto),
  • archeology (from Middle Stone Age to the Colonial era),
  • linguistics and culture (more than 7 vernacular languages),
  • scientific and social, thanks to RESON and its numerous scientific publications, its participative approach and the implication of many Tazanian scientists (Tanzanian Ministry of Minerals, University of Dar es Salaam, University of Dodoma, etc.) and international scientists (France, Belgium, United-Kingdom, Italy, Germany, USA).

The VPR therefore has the full potential to become a flagship site for socio-ecological co-viability. Discussions and steps forward are currently happening between Tanzania and UNESCO to promote an international label process of the VPR.


Visit in France of Tanzanian participants to CLAREA

Right before the Africa-France Summit 2021, 6 CLAREA participants (3 students and 3 seniors) went to France (Montpellier and Aix-Marseille) from October 5 to October 29, 2021. They met with IRD scientists and visited IRD laboratories (Espace-Dev, CEREGE), as well as a Cirad laboratory (Tetis), discussing various themes:

  • farmland degradation
  • costal ecosystems pollution (lakes, mangroves)
  • protection of pollinators and the antibiotic and antiseptic properties of honey
  • land fragmentation
  • climate and sismovolcanic risks
  • networks of "low cost" measurements
  • satellital observations
  • physical and geo-biochemical measurements in the environment (isotopic and molecular).

Questions raised at the CLAREA school are then brought up to French researchers and laboratories in order to create strong partnerships around these topics.



Scientific coordination: David Williamson (IRD) and Amos Majule (IRA).

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© IRD - David Williamson

Séance de débriefing et d’expertise scientifique de l'école CLAREA à huis clos, ne regroupant que chercheurs et étudiants