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Conservancies flourish despite challenges

2022-08-01  Loide Jason

Conservancies flourish despite challenges

The N#a Jaqna and Nyae Nyae conservancies in the Tsumkwe area are yielding tremendous results, despite the challenges they endured during the Covid-19 pandemic.

European Union representative Silke Hofs said through continuous support for about a decade, the two conservancies have produced tangible, sustainable results.

They have been supported through the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia. 

Hofs said this on Tuesday at Tsumkwe, where she was on a project monitoring visit to the two conservancies.  

“I am impressed with the level of professionalism, particularly at Nyae Nyae conservancy, as they are very engaged with their community. There is a high level of competence at the conservancy office,” she observed.

 She was also happy with the degree of continuity at management level.

“It is important for us the donors to see continuity as we always look at sustainability aspects, and we are glad to see even after the Covid-19  pandemic, they are doing quite well as they don’t depend only on tourism but have diversified income streams,” she added. 

However, there are areas that need strengthening, such as women’s empowerment and creating job perspectives for the youth.

“There is high youth unemployment in the country, and I believe here it is even higher. You need to give the youth a perspective if you want them to stay without looking for other opportunities elsewhere”.

The chairperson of the Nyae Nyae conservancy, Gerrie Cique Cwi, who has been serving the conservancy for more than 25 years, said the conservancies have diverse income streams such as trophy hunting, Devil’s Claw, agriculture and water projects as well as a crafts centre.

These activities generated around N$4 million last year, and about N$5 million this year.

The conservancy management team said Devil’s Claw generated approximately N$900 000 annually.

Cwi indicated that the conservancy has quite a lot of staff. They do weekly staff planning, board meetings four times a year, management committee meeting once a month, village and district meetings every year in 39 villages, as well as annual general meetings.

More importantly,  they try to empower women to get involved in the conservancy.

“Most women did not go far with education due to teenage pregnancy, and most of them are not involved. There is a lack of participation from women, but those who are now getting involved are happy to get involved. Hence, we just need to empower them,” he continued.

The chairperson said the conservancies have no major conflicts with other members as they distribute their benefits fairly, such as N$1 300 in cash per member last year. They assist with the provision of water through solar pumps and boreholes, while members are accorded an opportunity to hunt game using bows and arrows for the members to promote their culture.

“We are also distributing seeds to the members for agricultural purposes, as well as money to the traditional authority to do their work. We have coffin support for those members who die, and likewise offer transport for sick members to hospitals,” he explained.

Saskia Sheehama, the director of the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia, said they have been providing support to the conservancies for many years, especially about governance, to make sure that they meet the environment ministry’s requirements as well as with activities such as Devil’s Claw harvesting and permaculture, crafts, fire management and legal issues.

“They are taking it on, and we just have to ensure full ownership in years to come.

Shortly, we are thinking of assessing the potential to grow in cultural tourism, and working on women and youth empowerment”, she added. 


2022-08-01  Loide Jason

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