Building Fences to Build Connections

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Kasisa Village is a rural village in the East African country of Tanzania. This project is designed to improve the quality of life of its residents. Clara Ford, founder of Kijiji Innovative Sustainable Solutions (KISS), has directed her efforts toward building a community center with goals of reducing cyclical poverty and empowering the local people with technical skills. The locals of Kasisa Village are stakeholders in the planned center, which will function as a testing ground for social impact implementation in their community. This partnership for community development is a core value for Ford, the KISS Board of Directors, and the Hunt Institute.


Building Fences to Build Connections

Affiliate:

Dr. Jessie Zarazaga

In-country Partner:

Clara Ford

Undergraduate Project Manager:

Taylor Grace

Undergraduate Research Analyst:

Izzah Zaheer

Southern Methodist University

Lyle School of Engineering

Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity

Global Development Lab

Summer 2020

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................................................. 4

DESCRIPTION OF KASISA VILLAGE ............................................................................................................................................. 7

The Standard Options in Kasisa ........................................................................................................................................ 8

What is a Sustainable Option? ........................................................................................................................................ 10

OUR PROPOSALS: ....................................................................................................................................................................... 13

Option 1: ................................................................................................................................................................................... 13

Option 2: ................................................................................................................................................................................... 15

COST ANALYSIS: ......................................................................................................................................................................... 17

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS .................................................................................................................................................. 18

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................................................................... 19

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Building Fences to Build Connections

“A country like Tanzania, blessed with so much wealth in natural resources, shouldn’t

have its citizens living in any state of poverty. If such resources are allocated properly,

Tanzania has the capacity to ensure all of its people are in better living standard than

they currently are.”

Clara Ford, CEO of Kijiji Innovative Sustainable Solutions

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Figure 1: Kasisa Village stakeholders

Introduction

The Hunt Institute’s Global Development Lab partnered with Jessie Zarazaga,

PhD, Director of the Master of Arts in Sustainability and Development from Lyle School

of Engineering, to work with Clara Ford, Founder, President, and CEO of Kijiji Innovative

Sustainable Solutions (KISS) and MASD alumni on what we call the Kijiji Project.

Born in Kasisa Village, a rural village in the East African country of Tanzania, Ford

is especially motivated to improve the quality of life of its residents. Ford has directed her

efforts toward building a community center with goals of reducing cyclical poverty and

empowering the local people with technical skills. The locals of Kasisa Village are

stakeholders in the planned center, which will function as a testing ground for social

impact implementation in their community. This partnership for community development

is a core value for Ford, the KISS Board of Directors, and the Hunt Institute.

Zarazaga explains the importance of this project, saying, “The energy and focus

invested in the Kijiji project is valuable for the village of Kasisa, Tanzania, but it is equally

valuable for the skills of my students, as future sustainability professionals. It is not

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Building Fences to Build Connections

enough to talk about sustainability, it is not an abstract activity. Each solution is

embedded in a real situation with people and territory; this is where learning takes place.”

This project experienced considerable delays at the onset of the Spring Semester’s

COVID-19 response, including a canceled trip to a conference for Zarazaga, a campus

shutdown, and the steep learning curve for doing remote work on a global scale. Despite

these challenges, Zarazaga says, “Covid, and the necessity to work at a distance, made

us learn how much we really can do remotely. Now we see that connecting to Dar es

Salaam (near the Kasisa village) is no harder than connecting to my office at SMU. Our

way of collaborating is changing: we are working with Tanzanian students and

professionals more than we had planned or anticipated; this is good for the sustainability

of the project in powerful ways.”

Phase I of the project was completed over the summer of 2020 focusing on the

development of a sustainable fence for the community center Ford aspires to build in

Kasisa. Over 8000 miles away or an 18 hours flight from Kasisa the team pushed through

leveraging technology to keep the lines of communication open. Undergraduate Research

Analyst Izzah Zaheer and Undergraduate Project Manager Taylor Grace worked with Dr.

Jessie Zarazaga, and Clara to develop a fence that is economically and ecologically

sustainable. “I was put on this team right after I was hired to the Institute over the summer.

Dealing with a new role, a new project, and a new environment with COVID was a lot to

take on. However, with the support and guidance of my team and the understanding of

the impact this community center would have on the village, I researched and looked at

the best sustainable solutions for this fence,” said Izzah Zaheer.

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Building Fences to Build Connections

The goal of Phase I was to find a solution that could be integrated into this specific

community and replicated in other surrounding communities. Starting with the fence is

crucial to ensure that the land for the future community center will be protected from

livestock eating and damaging vegetation. This report outlines the findings.

The purpose of this report is to determine the best practices for building a fence to

protect the land bought for the community center from animals in the area, specifically the

cattle that graze and may eat the trees planted on this land. Additionally, the fence needs

to be environmentally, culturally, and economically sustainable in order for the local

community to maintain this perimeter. This fence represents Phase 1 in creating a more

sustainable structure in the Kasisa village and a community center through the Kijiji Non-

Profit Innovative Sustainable Solutions (KISS) (Ford 2019).

The three sustainable fence solutions were presented to the KISS board for review.

“I really enjoyed presenting our findings to the KISS board and local Tanzanians because

they were pleased with our solution. It was the first time we had had the chance to connect

with the visionaries of this project. Their passion and excitement to improve this

community, combined with their resourcefulness, encouraged me and made me so

honored to be a part of such an amazing project that will impact so many lives,” said

Taylor Grace, undergraduate project manager.

To learn more about this project and its future phases, visit the Hunt Institute

Digest.

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Description of Kasisa Village

Kasisa Village is in the United Republic of Tanzania located in the Wakiso District

within the Mwanza Region. Within the Kasisa village, there is no formal plan of

development. Mwanza’s population is one of the one of the largest growth rates.

Although, Kasisa has approximately 8,780 people. The village represents less than 1%

of the national population because of urban migration. Over 70% of household’s income

is generated by agriculture or fishing because of fertile soil and Lake Victoria (Ford 2019).

Therefore, the economy is dependent on agriculture. Changes in climate and poor harvest

seasons present a danger to the stability of households in the village. Therefore, this

center and building the fence around the center with sustainable methods will help the

village.

Figure 2: Kasisa Village location

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Figure 3: Standard enclosures in Kasisa

The Standard Options in Kasisa

The standard solution for a fence or enclosure in Kasisa is typically wire fencing

combined with concrete posts with cement bricks due to security concerns. However, we

want to institute a more sustainable solution for the village since the cement bricks and

concrete posts are not environmentally sustainable due to the heat from sunlight

reflection. Additionally, the materials for this fence are not sourced locally (Ford 2019).

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Building Fences to Build Connections

PROS

Would stop cows from wandering into

property

Good for security

CONS

Not environmentally sustainable

Would require getting materials not locally

sourced

Another standard option in Kasisa is the use of chain link fences. These fences

successfully act as an enclosure for an area and can prevent animals, such as cows from

wandering onto the land. When comparing standard solutions, chain link fences are more

favorable than cement and wire fencing. They are more cost effective and will not heat

up the area around them due to the sunlight.

Pros

Would stop cows from wandering into

property

Cons

Not the most sustainable option

Cost Effective

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Figure 4: African Myrrh tree

What is a Sustainable Option?

Sustainable efforts are meant to balance ecological, cultural, and economic needs.

The goal of this balance is to contribute to development that can be recreated and

continued by locals (Nelson 2000). In order to ensure that this fence can be maintained

by the local village, we want to make sure that it is built with local and environmentally

friendly materials. A sustainable fence would be a perimeter that can be reproduced

locally as well as economically and environmentally sustainable for the community.

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Living Wall Fence

Pros

Would not have to be replaced as the

trees would grow to enforce the barrier

Cons

Labor intensive installing fence posts and

chain link fence

Have more aesthetic value

The Living Wall fence is a method used with the Masai tribe as well as other parts

of Kenya and northern Tanzania. It involves taking the dried-out limbs of the African Myrrh

tree and planting them into the ground like fence posts. (Schiffman 2014). The African

Myrrh tree is common to eastern and northeastern tropical Africa and typically grows up

to 5 meters (16 ft) and 1.5m wide. Direct sun exposure is preferable, thus making it

drought tolerant. All of these characteristics make it a suitable choice for the living wall

and sustainable solution for the local community.

Once these tree limbs are planted into the ground, the chain link fence is

intertwined with the limbs. Over time, the trees will mature in 2 years and become

interlocked, making it difficult for animals to enter the enclosed area. The enclosure is

more secure and impenetrable unlike chain link fences alone. When the limbs are placed,

they already form an enclosure and the continued growth just reinforces the perimeter.

Beehive Fencing

Pros

Deter animals from the trees planted

Not aesthetic

Cons

Dummy beehives can be placed

While the beehives are in place, visitors

have to be careful with the hives

Not proven that they deter cows

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Beehive Fencing has been used in Kenya and Tanzania with the purpose of

deterring elephants from crops around Serengeti in Northern Tanzania, specifically

(Gottlieb 2017). These beehive fences can be used to deter cows from eating the trees

within the perimeter. Additionally, the beehives would not have to be there permanently.

In prior applications, once the animals developed an aversion to the sight of the beehives,

dummy beehives were enough to keep them away.

Chili-Oil Fencing

Pros

Bothers surrounding animals due to

strong smell

Irritates animals’ olfactory senses and

keeps them away from the trees

Cons

Not aesthetically pleasing

Can be potentially irritating to humans

Not proven that they deter cows

Chili fencing involves placing fence posts and connecting them with rope. Then,

grinding dried chilies into fine powder and mixing it with oil. This chili-oil mixture gets

dipped in cloth and then hung on the rope that is strung between the fence poles (Gottlieb

2017).

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Our Proposals:

Option 1:

For the fencing around the community center, we propose a mixed purpose as

modeled on the figure down above. On the perimeters marked in green, we propose a

living wall fence, which would be sustainable and has been used in areas of Northern

Tanzania too.

Figure 5: Source Google Maps

Legend

Living Wall Fence

Standard Chain Link Fence

Gates (not drawn to scale)

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Building Fences to Build Connections

For the fencing around the community center, we propose a mixed purpose as

modeled on the figure down above. On the perimeters marked in green, we propose a

living wall fence, which would be sustainable and has been used in areas of Northern

Tanzania too. By planting limbs of the native African myrrh tree along the perimeter as

fence posts 8-10 feet apart and connecting them with chain link, we create a barrier that

will keep out livestock and prevent them from wandering into the land. The living wall

fence satisfies the need for the perimeter to appear aesthetic once the trees mature in 2-

3 years. Additionally, this method has proven to be cost effective since the tree limbs and

chain link can be sourced locally. Finally, in terms of environmental sustainability, growing

trees contributes to the overall environment of Kasisa and is a solution that involves

minimal disruption to the land in the area.

However, living wall fences tend to block the view inside the area they surround.

For that reason, it would be difficult to see inside the center from the front and difficult to

see the lake from the back.

For cost and labor purposes, we propose having the standard chain link fence

along the side of the perimeter marked with grey. Installing a living wall fence around the

entire perimeter would be extremely laborious. By having a standard chain link fence

there, it provides enclosure and leaves the opportunity to convert into a living wall fence

in the future.

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Option 2:

Figure 6: Source Google Maps

Legend

Living Wall Fence

Standard Chain Link Fence

Gates (not drawn to scale)

Although based on our research, Option 1 would be the most cost effective, while

still giving weight to sustainability, the image above presents another viable option. In this

scenario, the living wall fence would be on the green portions of the perimeter as shown

above, while the grey portions contain the chain link fence.

This would be beneficial by allowing more visibility at the front of the center.

However, most of the cows try to enter from the front and the back of the center, thus the

chain link fence will not be as efficient as the living wall fence. Additionally, this would be

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Building Fences to Build Connections

more laborious and require more work when first installing the living wall fence since there

is more area to cover.

Although the beehive fence and chili oil fence would be preferable in terms of

sustainability, these fences have mainly been used to deter elephants and not cows.

There is no evidence that these fences are effective in deterring cows. Therefore,

installing those types of fences around the perimeter would be an experiment rather than

a certain solution.

In addition to this fencing, we also propose planting wax myrtle shrubs around the

compound. These plants irritate livestock and keep them away from the area that they

are planted (Duran 2019). Therefore, this will act as a deterrent against the cows in the

area. These plants are very common and can be found in areas of Africa. These shrubs

can be planted 5-8 feet away from the fence. When cows come and try to eat the shrub

and are averse to it, they will frequent the area less and less.

Figure 7: An example of shrubs in front of an enclosure

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Cost Analysis:

Given the perimeter of the land, we need 1305.8 meters of chain link fence to go

around. For option 1, the living wall fence requires that the tree limbs are planted every 8

to 10 feet or every 2.44 meters to 3.05 meters. Considering this, we would need

approximately 53 to 67 limbs for the front of the center and 80 to 100 limbs for the back.

For option 2, the living wall fence will also require tree limbs planted every 8 to 10

feet along the perimeters on the side of the land. Therefore, we would need approximately

138 to 174 tree limbs for the side at the top of the map and 170 to 213 tree limbs for the

side at the bottom of the map.

At this stage, we are ready to determine the cost of the chain link fence needed

and the African myrrh tree limbs needed in order to complete this fence:

Items Needed Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum

Amount Needed Amount Needed Cost* Cost*

Chain Link 1305.8 meters N/A ? ?

African Myrrh Tree

Limbs (Option 1)

African Myrrh Tree

Limbs (Option 2)

133 167 ? ?

308 387 ? ?

*Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, contact with hardware stores in Tanzania was

not possible and we were unable to find a website that lists pricing.

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Concluding Observations

The goal of the best practices research was to determine which methods of fencing

will be successful in terms of environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability. I

determined three methods of unique and sustainable fencing such as a living wall fence,

a beehive fence, and a chili-oil fence, while also considering the standard option of a

chain link fence. Considering these options, I moved forth with two recommendations

enumerated in option 1 and option 2 above. Option 1 entails a living wall fence along the

front and back of the center, while chain link covers the perimeter on the side. Option 2

is the inverse and involves a living wall fence along the side, while using a chain link fence

for the front and back, both options give weight to sustainability and cost effectiveness.

At this point in the analysis, it would be crucial to move forward and collect exact

pricing for the cost of the chain link fence and African myrrh tree limbs to get a better

picture of costs as the project moves towards implementation.

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Building Fences to Build Connections

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Kasisa Village stakeholders ................................................................... 4

Figure 2: Kasisa Village location ........................................................................... 7

Figure 3: Standard enclosures in Kasisa ............................................................... 8

Figure 4: African Myrrh tree ................................................................................. 10

Figure 5: Source Google Maps ............................................................................ 13

Figure 6: Source Google Maps ............................................................................ 15

Figure 7: An example of shrubs in front of an enclosure ..................................... 16

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Building Fences to Build Connections

References

Author Unknown. (2015). Empower Big Cats Conservation Today. Retrieved July 20,

2020, from

http://www.afrpw.org/initiatives/wildlife-conservation/

Duran, A. (2019, November 16). How to Stop Cows from Eating Plants: 5 Effective

Tips. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from

https://bestfarmanimals.com/how-to-stop-cows-from-eating-plants-5-effectivetips/

Ford, Rulegura Clara (2019). Kijiji Innovative Sustainable Solutions. Lyle School of

Engineering Master of Arts in Sustainability and Development Capstone.

Unpublished work.

Gottlieb, B. (2017, July 21). Beehives and Chili Fences Promote Elephant Conservation

in Tanzania. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from

https://fieldstudies.org/2016/02/beehives-and-chili-fences-promote-elephantconservation-in-tanzania/

Nelson, F. (2000, August 10). Sustainable Development and Wildlife Conservation in

Tanzanian Maasailand. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1011487017684

Nowak, K. (2018, August 22). Beehive fences and elephants: Tanzanian case study

offers fresh insights. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from

https://africasustainableconservation.com/2018/08/22/beehive-fences-andelephants-tanzanian-case-study-offers-fresh-insights/

Schiffman, R. (2014, April 07). Lion killing in Tanzania reduced by installation of 'living

wall' fences. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/07/lion-killing-tanzaniareduced-installation-living-wall-fences-masai

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