The German government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is funding the translocation of animals donated by the Savé Valley Conservancy, while making funds available to the conservancy to support community development projects in the area.
Savé (pronounced Sah-vey) Valley Conservancy is dedicated to protecting the region’s ecology for future generations. The conservancy spans an area of some 3 400 square kilometers in the south-east Lowveld of Zimbabwe and is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA). It lies just north of Gonarezhou National Park, which is an integral part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
The conservancy places special emphasis on preserving rare wildlife and their habitats in an effort to guarantee survival. The conservancy is also committed to sustaining local conservation and educational projects for the ongoing benefit of all concerned.
Historically, the area was used predominantly for cattle ranching but a massive drought in 1991 caused individual ranchers to opt for conservation and create an enormous wildlife reserve, thus the conservancy was born. Over the intervening years wildlife was successfully re-introduced. Thanks to the good management of the area, the animal numbers have increased to such an extent that surplus animals are now available for relocation to other conservation areas where wildlife has been diminished.
Thus the conservancy offered to donate some of its surplus wildlife to Gonarezhou National Park and other conservation areas of the Great Limpopo TFCA (the next phase of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park). The German government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) agreed to fund the translocation of the animals donated by the conservancy and, as a quid pro quo, to make funding available to the conservancy to support community development projects in the area, as well as for carnivore research. Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority approved the project and GIZ requested Peace Parks Foundation to oversee implementation and to manage the finances of the project.
The community outreach project entails four environmental outreach courses that are conducted annually. The programme serves as an education tool, while at the same time delivering a conservation message by demonstrating the real benefits of wildlife to the community. The project targets five schools (Uteke, Chinyika, Chidutu, Makata and Maronga primary schools), in order to educate 2 139 children from pre-school to grade 7.
The rehabilitation of school facilities got under way, with Chinyika and Chedutu almost complete. At Chinyika School, 11 classrooms, two offices, two large toilet facilities, six storerooms and flag pole facilities were renovated. All broken window panes, 87 in all, were replaced, as well as 15 doors, with handles fitted. A storeroom was converted into an office for the principal and fitted with two desks. Bookshelves and storage facilities were also installed and 140 chairs and desks refurbished. Environmental posters will be fitted to the schools as part of environmental training.
The refurbished schools bear testament to Savé Valley Conservancy's endeavours to improve the lives of all in the conservancy.