Latest News17 January 2014
Sustainable farming skills for Simalaha communities
In 2012, Peace Parks Foundation received a generous donation from the Swedish Postcode Lottery to develop a wildlife sanctuary in the Simalaha Community Conservancy in south-western Zambia and improve the local people’s human rights, including their food security by training in better farming methods. The Kadans Foundation, with its partners Hitachi Data Systems and Hercuton, is now funding conservation agriculture in the conservancy. → read more…
KAZA TFCA has many distinguishing features of global importance, among them the largest contiguous population of African elephant on the continent, numbering approximately a quarter of a million animals. Of significant benefit to both the local communities and this huge meta-elephant population will be the establishment of one of Zambia’s first conservancies, the Simalaha Community Conservancy, spanning the Sisheke and Chundu chiefdoms. The conservancy will be an important area in KAZA TFCA to re-establish wildlife populations and their migration routes and will ultimately link Chobe National Park in Botswana to Kafue National Park in Zambia.
Establishing the Conservancy
Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta of the Sisheke Chiefdom and Chief Sekute of the Chundu Chiefdom agreed to establish the Simalaha Community Conservancy as an area to re-establish wildlife populations and a mechanism to stimulate community benefits through wildlife and tourism development.
With funding received from WWF Germany, the first steps in the establishment of the conservancy were taken. Through a consultative process with the local communities, the boundaries of the conservancy were determined.
On 22 October 2012 the Simalaha Community Conservancy was officially launched by Chief Sekute and Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta. They also opened the conservancy offices at the Mwandi Kuta, kindly made available by Senior Chief Yeta. The Senior Chief thanked the Mava Foundation for Nature and the Swedish Postcode Lottery for their support to the conservancy.
On the same day, the teachers accommodation at the Mwandi School in Simalaha, built thanks to Stichting Energo, were officially handed over.
A wildlife sanctuary covering an area of 24 000 ha that involves both chiefdoms was established to relocate seed stock of wildlife to where they can be properly protected and allow them to increase in numbers. A large and varied wildlife experience will result in more tourism that will generate much-needed income.
Field rangers will also be trained in this area and an awareness programme for the communities will be launched to ensure ownership of the wildlife and the project as a whole. Once the animal numbers have increased sufficiently, the fences of the sanctuary will be removed to allow the wildlife to move into the bigger area. A game proof fence has been erected around the wildlife sanctuary thanks to funding by MAVA Foundation, the Swedish Postcode Lottery and the Cleveland Zoological Society.
Local community members were identified to assist with the construction of the fence, which enabled them to earn a living for their families. Eighteen community members, including a number of these labourers, will be trained as field rangers. The field ranger training will be funded by the Cleveland Zoological Society. Two field ranger stations will be built in the sanctuary, one in each of the chiefdoms, as well as water wells to serve the stations. Two mobile stations will also be constructed to allow for mobile patrols;
As more funding becomes available and capacity to manage the area improves, the sanctuary fences will be removed to allow wildlife to move into the larger area.
Sunday, 6 October 2013 saw the first ever wildlife translocation to the Simalaha Community Conservancy.
Human rights-based approach
On 11 May 2012 the Swedish Postcode Lottery announced a donation of of SEK10 million for a special programme to be implemented in the Simalaha Community Conservancy in Zambia. This follows on an application jointly submitted by Peace Parks Foundation Sweden and the Joaquim Chissano Foundation.
The programme funded by the Swedish Postcode Lottery will focus on a community-based approach to natural resource management that will improve local ownership and access to basic human rights, such as access to food, health, shelter and education by responsibly managing natural resources and wildlife.
The programme constitutes four projects, namely the establishment of two wildlife sanctuaries, training in conservation agriculture, training in controlled grazing, and the introduction of sustainable energy products, which will all bring socio-economic benefit flows to the community.
The Kadans Foundation, with its partners Hitachi Data Systems and Hercuton, is funding conservation agriculture in the conservancy.
The most important aspect of conservation farming is the minimal disturbance of the soil. In addition, seeds are used more sparingly and natural fertilizers are made by composting cow manure and biodegradable materials. Less labour is needed, as weeding is only done at specific times, thereby leaving more time for other household duties. Increased productivity leads to saving forests, as less land is cleared by burning.Together, these benefits lead to increased yields, improved food security and profits, and the conservation of biodiversity.
The project aims at reaching at least 350 farmers in and around Simalaha.
Watch the video on the Simalaha wildlife translocation and conservation agriculture projects, made for SABC's 50/50 programme, here