By Fifi Rhodes
PALMWAG - Communal conservancies in Namibia under the watchful eye of the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) project have seen incredible growth since 1998.
The cash income of conservancies rose from less than N$1 million in 1998 to N$68 million in 2014.
A media fact-finding tour to Kunene South over the weekend organised by the CBNRM project revealed that in 2010, benefits derived from CBNRM activities, amounted to N$45.8 million.
Dr Greg Stuart-Hill, a senior conservation planner for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said out of this figure, conservancies generated an income exceeding N$39.5 million.
“Additional income was generated either from activities outside conservancies or from enterprises within conservancies not linked to them,” Stuart-Hill said.
Trophy hunting concessions currently provide the second highest source of benefits for conservancies with N$11.4 million being earned as cash revenue, N$4.4 million earned in kind (value of meat distributed) and further N$1.2 million disbursed as salaries and wages from associated jobs.
He said in 2010 the total income generated from direct wildlife utilisation was N$17 million or 43 percent of all conservancy income with key activities being trophy hunting-premium hunting; own use hunting and shoot and sell.
“This year N$20 million was derived from trophy hunting by registered conservancies while 500 000 tonnes of meat was distributed among community members worth N$6 million,” he told media.
The distribution and use of conservancy benefits fall into several main categories. Of the 59 registered conservancies, 45 earned some form of cash while 41 conservancies contributed funds to the operational cost of the conservancies running independently of donor support.
Conservancies cover the majority of costs of 619 conservancy management jobs from own generated income in 2010 of which women held 148 jobs.
In addition to conservancy management jobs from own income, 717 full time jobs and 3 000 part time jobs were created in registered conservancies.
New Era understands that 14 conservancies distributed cash either to individual members or to villages in the conservancy. “Many contributed to their own capital development projects such as the development of water infrastructure and water points for game,” said Hilga / Gawises who is the manager at #Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy.
Here the conservancy is divided into eight zones for the registered 2 500 members.
Each Conservancy uses funds for a range of social benefits including school bursaries, cash for school development funds and soup kitchens for pensioners. The money is also used to support families affected by HIV or AIDS.
CBNRM coordinator Maxi Louis said the CBNRM programme had demonstrated that devolving authority over wildlife and tourism to local communities was a working model as wildlife numbers had shown remarkable growth and recovery with lots of economic benefits to local people.
Namibia was the first African Country to incorporate protection of the environment into its Constitution.
The Namibian Government has reinforced this by giving its communities the rights to manage their wildlife through communal conservancies. New Era Reporter
2014-12-16 08:25:27 | 5 years ago